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Issendai's Lair > Bishonen > Riku > An open letter to Disney

An Open Letter to Disney

Right now, you're between a rock and a hard place.

On the one hand, if you allow fans to write and draw what they like using your characters, you'll be facing a challenge to your copyright. If you don't defend your copyright, other competitors—competitors who, unlike us fans, stand to steal your market share and make huge amounts of money off of your creations—will have the right to take your creations and use them as their own. American law is draconian in this respect.

On the other hand, if you clamp down on your fans' productions, you are alienating your fanbase, casting away reams of free advertising, and stifling the very creativity that Disney stands for. Fan art and fan fiction are expressions of the same wild imagination which you say you want to encourage in your viewers; isn't it ironic that in the name of staying in business, you must abandon your own cause?

I have great sympathy for you. It can't be easy to order your own fans to stop... well, to stop being fans. And I understand that you are a victim here as well. American copyright law is forcing you to be the heavy.

However, you have a way out. Most people who defend their copyrights don't have much power, but you're Disney. You are a huge corporation. You have the clout and the purse to take on the American copyright system and begin demanding some changes. If you take a stand, you won't stand alone; other entertainment companies will no doubt join you. Your fans—the very people who are souring on you now—will love you for it.

If you can't sell the accountants on the idea now, try this on for size: There's money in it. Fanart and fan fiction are forms of free advertising which target their audiences more directly and penetrate more deeply than any advertising you could ever hope to do. In Japan, where fan art and fiction do not challenge copyright, series aimed at 8- to 12-year-old boys become explosively popular with boys and girls and men and women well past the age of 30 because fan artists and writers reshape the show in their works to suit audiences far beyond what the original author intended. Right now, Kingdom Hearts is a game for children. It has cartoon characters and a plot devoid of sexual or romantic interest. If you give your fans freedom, they will inject the missing elements into the game and sell it to adult fans, without spoiling the game for children who don't want to think about such things. And after Kingdom Hearts... well, was this the last collaboration you were going to do?

Take a stand. Please. Your fans are asking you to. It's the right thing for us, and it's the right thing for you.

— Issendai


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