Halt, criminal scum. · 4:44am
I'd noted several authors posting tip jars on their pages. Tempting. But, timorous about the legality of it, I inquired on a free legal website: "Are tip jars for fanfiction legal?"
The consensus was 100% from all the lawyers who answered: The very act of writing and posting fanfiction is a violation of current copyright law, whether or not you make any money. Tip jars, commissions, etc only increase the likelihood that the copyright holder will be motivated to litigate.
Translation: Yes, your fanfiction is illegal, and all of us would happily sue you if someone asked.
I recommend taking down the tip jars, fellas. Don't give them a hint of an excuse.
No, this isn't about paranoia, and no, it's not just a technicality. This is cold, cruel, stupid legal reality, and this is me pointing out you might want to think twice before posting paypal links on your stories.
It doesn't matter that corporations actually benefit from fan art and activity. Corporations are assholes. We live in a world where Disney sues nursery schools for painting Mickey Mouse murals on the walls of their school, and a girl who downloaded "happy birthday" was sued for literally millions of dollars by the RIAA. A roomful of lawyers just told you that what we do is already illegal and that the only reason they're not suing is because it's not worth the money--- yet.
Unpleasant, unfair and even unlikely as it is, take it as the caution to tread lightly that it is meant to be, because a Cease and Desist order here could ruin everyone's day.