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Infringing adaptations and fanfiction

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While Wattpad supports the creativity and expression of writers through the stories they tell, we work extremely hard to protect and respect the copyrights of storytellers on and off our platform.

At Wattpad, it is strictly prohibited for our users to post the copyrighted works of others without their explicit legal consent. We are deeply committed to this in our Copyright Policy, which can be found in our Terms of Service. With that, Wattpad does not allow users to publish adaptations of existing works.

Repeat infringers - In addition to the above policy, we may, when appropriate and at our discretion, terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly or actively infringe the intellectual property rights of others. If an account has multiple copyright infringements or an additional violation is discovered at a later date, the account will be closed. Please note that users' actions are linked to the holder of the account, not the account(s) themselves.

 

Note: We cannot determine whether or not your story is an infringement on your behalf. You can refer to our Copyright FAQ to learn more about copyright on Wattpad. If you need further information, we advise you to consult with a lawyer. If you are unsure of whether a work infringes your copyright, we encourage you to seek professional/legal advice before submitting a notice.

 

For questions about using existing works such as song lyrics or translations, and obtaining permission, please check out: Can I use their work/story/content?

 

Common questions about adaptations

What is an adaptation?

A story adaptation is a work that is based on, or derived from, one or more already existing works in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This means that only the original writer/artist can adapt or give someone permission to create an adaptation of their work. Translations, rewrites, sequels, or transcriptions are all examples of adaptations that need permission to publish. For more information and other examples of derivative works, please refer to this infographic by the US Copyright Office.

 

Can I post another author’s story if I change the name/gender of the main characters?

No. Changing the names and/or gender of the main characters still infringes on the original author’s copyright. Imagine you have worked hard to craft an interesting story with complex characters, and a simple name change allows another person to copy that story. We don’t think that respects your creativity and ownership. We don’t believe you would either. Any reported story that copies an existing work will be reviewed and may be taken down for copyright violation.

 

Note: Copyright only protects the physical representation of an idea, not the idea itself. Please note that titles, character names, similar plots, and similar themes do not constitute as copyright infringement. If you are unsure of whether a work infringes your copyright, we encourage you to seek professional/legal advice before submitting a notice.

This establishes the proof of creation required for any copyright issues that arise. If there is any dispute about the original source of the work, the registered date of the digital work on Wattpad provides support for your claims.

Is there a difference between a fanfiction and an adaptation?

In copyright, there is a difference between “fanfiction” and an “adaptation”. Fanfiction is the use of existing characters or settings (For example, the character Percy Jackson and the location of Camp Half-Blood) in an original story. An adaptation, however, is taking an existing work and its text or unique events and only changing certain elements. For example, writing a story about Percy Jackson and his peers reading the novel “The Lightning Thief,” and including content from the novel would be an adaptation and therefore copyright infringement. Another example would be changing the character of "Percy Jackson" to "Harry Styles" and leaving the rest of the text and dialogue the same as the original story. This would be considered a copyright infringement. 

 

Can I publish an adaptation of another story if I specify that the story ‘does not belong to me’? (I.e. saying ‘all rights are reserved’ to the original author)

Wattpad users cannot publish a story that does not belong to them unless they have explicit permission from the original author or copyright owner. Crediting an author on an adaptation that you do not have permission to publish is a copyright infringement. For more information check out our article: Stories removed for copyright

 

I posted an adaptation and my account was deleted for copyright infringement. Can my account be restored?

The removal of stories, images, and/or accounts due to copyright violations will not be restored unless you have evidence of obtaining permission from the copyright owner to publish their original content. For more information check out our article: Stories removed for copyright

 

Why was my adaptation/translation removed, but not others?

Wattpad works hard to take down copyright infringements as quickly and accurately as we can, but with the volume of stories on the platform, we can’t find every infringement without them being reported to us. If you see a copyright infringement on Wattpad, please do not assume we allow copyright violations. Instead, report the story for copyright infringement. For more information check out our article: Stories removed for copyright

 

I found an infringing adaptation. What should I do?

As the copyright owner of your original work, you have the right to submit a DMCA takedown request to any website you find your work being infringed on, including Wattpad. To learn more about reporting infringing content, both your own work and the work of others, please check our guidelines and reporting procedures in our article: Reporting copyright infringement

 

We always recommend saving any original works you create outside of the Wattpad platform. In the event of an account closure due to a violation of any of our policies, we will not restore or transfer story content, which may include your original works that are not an infraction.

We also recommend checking out our Support Bot when looking for quick answers! You can find our bot by clicking on the icon in the bottom right corner of the Help Center (https://support.wattpad.com/hc/en-us), or going to your Settings > Help Center on the app.

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