I just stumbled upon this petition and had a good laugh. The petition has been closed for 3 years apparently, but it still serves as a monument to everything that’s wrong with fanfiction authors in general. The best part is this line:
Fanfiction.net has always been a place for us writers to ‘Unleash our imagination’ as the tagline states, and now we are having that right to freedom of speech and expression taken away from us. Since when are they allowed to dictate what goes into our stories? They are OUR pieces of work. What if the violence or sexual content is part of the plotline? This whole situation is absurd.
I agree that it’s absurd, because the fact that they are a PRIVATELY OWNED WEBSITE gives them the right, you child. The owners of such sites decide what gets uploaded, and what gets taken down. In essence, they decide what speech is free, and what speech gets blocked. It’s their site, it’s their right. You agree to this when you join. Does the phrase “terms of service” ring any bells? It’s the name of that document with the “I Agree” checkbox whenever you join a website with a forum and a hosting service. Somewhere in there are the terms stating that they decide what kind of content is appropriate, and also that they can change the ToS whenever they feel like it. I can only imagine that this particular author already voiced her disdain over FF.net’s “civil rights violations” on the website, got shot down, and rather than realize she was being silly, started a pointless petition to empower herself. I see this kind of crap on indie game sites, too.
While we’re on the topic of fanfiction, fanfics are not, in fact, your stories: they’re the property of the original rights holders, referred to as “derivative works”. You are (basically illegally) creating new content on behalf of someone else, regardless of how much original content goes into the product. You own precisely nothing in any fanfic, so making a petition to voice complaints is pointless, especially when those very complaints prove you didn’t read the terms of service of your host of choice.
I can see why less than 50k signatures made it onto this petition: the other millions of authors probably knew better (or were busy with their own foolish petitions). Here’s a great idea: don’t write fanfiction for serious. Use it as a writing exercise, but eventually graduate to original content that you actually have legal control over. Then FF.net’s policies won’t even be an issue for you (assuming you even read them in the first place).