It has come to my attention that some members (including myself) have received very complimentary and near identical invitations to sign up and start posting work at I wish to advise those of you who are considering posting your work there, that the TOS (Terms of Service) states:

"You hereby grant FanLib a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Submissions in connection with the Website."

This means that, a for profit site, is going to let you keep ownership of your work, but take total freedom to do what they like with it and earn from it without paying you a cent. This means that you lose control over your work, therefore losing ownership too. This is aside from the tenuous legalities of whether a site can profit from fanfiction. In my experience, fanfiction has always dodged copyright laws because it is nonprofit and written with the original author's consent or rather, lack of disconsent.

I am not saying don't post there (I will say that I have no intention of posting there myself until the TOS improves, though), but I am saying please read and consider the terms carefully because I am concerned that some members here will or have not done so. Please.

Edit: As requested, following is an unedited complete copy of the email invite that I received on Apr 20, 2007 10:04 AM. Subject was "Your Lord of the Rings fanfics":

Hi Susan,

I saw some of your Lord of the Rings fan fiction online and really enjoyed your writing. I work for a brand-new fan fiction website called and my colleagues and I want it to be the ultimate place for talented writers like you. In case you're wondering, FanLib's not new to fan fiction. Since 2001, we've been producing web events with people like CBS, Showtime and HarperCollins to bring fan creativity into the big leagues.

We're impressed by your writing and impact in the fan fiction community, and we value your opinion. That's why we're inviting you to be among the first to experience

Feel free to take a look around, upload some fics, maybe read and comment on a few. Do as much or as little as you like. On, you'll be able to connect with other first-rate writers like yourself and exchange ideas with the site creators. Also, stay tuned for our sweepstakes, which will give fanfic writers and reviewers a chance to win prizes.

Don't worry, you won't get spammed. We're not selling anything. We just want you to try the site and hopefully give us some feedback.

We look forward to having you as a founding member. Together, we can create the greatest fan fiction site the web's ever seen!

FanLib Launch Coordinator

This message was sent to you from Lord of the Rings Fanfiction located at

Naomi (a.k.a. railroadwings) has been a member of this site since the 19th of this month. I think it is therefore safe to assume she signed up for the sole purpose of emailing authors by way of the contact gadget thingy that is on each member page. Unless you reply to her invite by email, she will not know your email address from this site.

--Susan on 21/04/07 - 10:49 pm 67 Comments
Just piping in for a second: It's really hard to research your "longstanding professional reputation" not knowing who's actually affiliated with that site. This discussion on is the only time and place I've seen a name associated with Fanlib. Other than that, it's "we" and "Fanlib". Nothing to find what "we" actually entails on the site. And certainly NOT on the About Us page, where a normal person would expect information like this.

Over and out.
- Michelle on 03/05/07 - 03:59 pm
Yeah, we're still building that part of the site, but there's a good amount of info here...

In a few days we'll have a full blown "bios" section.
- davidbw on 03/05/07 - 05:06 pm

And, here's a real brief excerpt from our in-progress company backgrounder:

FanLib was founded in 2002 by veteran filmmaker Craig Singer, internet pioneer David B. Williams and former Yahoo! executive and film producer Chris M. Williams as a division of their production company My2Centences.

FanLib's investors and advisors include notable names from both Hollywood and Silicon Valley, including film producer Jon Landau (Titanic), entertainment attorney Jon Moonves, and FanLib Chairman Anil Singh, former Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Yahoo!.

FanLib, Inc. is a private, venture-funded (H.I.G. Ventures, company based in California with offices in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.
- davidbw on 03/05/07 - 05:23 pm
Okay... where is Adora in all of this?
David, please. Niriel Raina has beta'd for me on other accounts before, and she knows what she is talking about. I don't think three different members of the site all imagined being asked private information.
Notice it was after Zhie said, "Now, I also happened to get the opinion of a couple of lawyers on the terms of service for FanLib. In their overall opinion, those running the site can claim some ownership of what is posted there." David shows up. Kind of weird, when a threat comes, a messenger follows.
I wouldn't post there. This is way too fishy.
- Raine on 03/05/07 - 07:14 pm
Ok... I got an email as well, I just checked. I dunno if anyone's said this but I know someone asked; our email addresses were retrieved by clicking the 'contact author' button on our bio. I got the message on an account where I was a REALLY bad writer. My chapters were about 800 words long at most. I think a lot of people got this, probably ones that showed consistent work in their stories, which I did in my old-old-very-old account. This would have added publicity to their site, for the people who were really into writing. But I still want to know: Where is Naomi, or Adora? Naomi is the one who sent the letters, she should be the one here, not David. ADORA, please come...
- Raine on 03/05/07 - 07:21 pm
Thanks Raine! Nice to know someone doesn't think I'm an idiot who accuses people of kicking puppies. Which I did not, I should add, since David sure seemed to try to make my view invaildated by his comments, something I truly do NOT appreciate as a well respected member of many sites.

Where is our wonderful Webmaster? She is awfully busy, unfortunately, but I'd love to get her opinion on some of what has been said here. I've seen her over at the Moderator's group where we've discussed this issue quite a bit. Real life is a bummer sometimes.

I agree with you completely, this whole thing is extremely fishy and the comments here have only pushed me further away, rather than winning me over.
- on 03/05/07 - 07:28 pm
I'll shoot a message out on the Mod group, Raine! But she is very busy. But I'll send an SOS! *grin* ~NiRi
- on 03/05/07 - 07:32 pm
Well, just read the TOS again,but I am not sure if Fanlib got the message from this fandom.

I just read:
"Section 1. FanLib's Intellectual Property Rights
FanLib claims no ownership or control over Your Submissions. You retain all of Your ownership rights in Your Submissions. However, by submitting the Submissions to FanLib, You hereby grant FanLib a non-exclusive, worldwide, and royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display the Submissions in connection with the Website. FanLib may prepare derivative works from Your Submissions solely for the purpose of promoting and showcasing them in connection with the Website. FanLib shall not make any use of your Submissions or exercise any of the rights to Your Submissions granted to it hereunder other than in connection with the Website. This license is transferable only in the event of a sale or merger of FanLib, and only to the other Company involved in the transaction. You also hereby grant each user of the Website a non-exclusive license to access Your Submissions through the Website, and to use, distribute, and display such Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these TOS. The foregoing licenses granted by You terminate once You remove or delete a Submission from the Website."

Excuse me, but I still don't want grant Fanlib that right, it is as simple as that. Even though it is fanfic, I want to determine where *my* work is used, not Fanlib. The whole thing about mergers and sales, with youtube in mind and knowing Yahoo is a third party, is just fishy as it can be. It's also in the privacy statement that in case of a merger, all your details end up in the hands of the new party and will be used accordingly to their TOS and statements.

I cite:
From the privacy statement:
"Use of Information
We may share aggregated demographic information with our partners and advertisers but this information is not linked to any personally identifiable Member information. We may use third party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our Website. These companies may use information (not including personal information) about your visits to our Website and to other Websites in order to provide advertisements on the Website about goods and services of interest to you. In addition, we may share Website usage information about Users on our Website with such companies for the purpose of managing and targeting advertisements on our Websites.

We will use your personal information to contact you and provide you with information that you may request. We may also use your personal information for internal business purposes such as analyzing and managing our business and improving our Website. We may use third parties to help us operate our business and the Website or administer activities on our behalf. We may share your personal information with these third parties for those limited purposes."

Also Dave, I still think you need to work on that sensitivity issue, to say this:
""We honestly just got carried away. A previous outreach to a different audience had gone well we just lost our sensitivity to the personal relationships and trust that are such a defining part of sites like yours. Believe it or not, there are other sites where no one's really minding the store."

Is just a slap in the face of many hard working archive admin/web masters and moderators who try their utmost best to do work behind the screens and not to be so much in the face of users. It's simply a lame excuse to harvest pennames from archives and flock their inboxes with invites.
- Rhapsody on 04/05/07 - 08:48 am
Whoa ... now that's really fishy ... Thanx Rhapsody! Very useful ... very, very fishy ... ;D
- BookLuva7 on 04/05/07 - 07:23 pm
I accepted the apology with regards to their behaviour in contacting users on the site because I see no purpose in not doing so and to my knowledge, they have not continued to spam members here. But Rhapsody, you are very right about the line: "Believe it or not, there are other sites where no one's really minding the store." That is a slap in the face. I didn't read that line in the first apology, but now I'm inclined towards taking my acceptance back. David, you really need to work on your sincerity.

The apology only dealt with their behaviour on this site. As to the other issues about FanLib, it is still a commercial site, the About Us is still ridiculously unhelpful, and their TOS still essentially reads the same as it ever did. And David, I would appreciate an explanation as to what you mean by "consumer-generated media for the marketplace" (

I still do not recommend fan-authors post their work at FanLib at this time. This is because fan fiction is arguably already a violation of copyright on which fan-authors can be sued. Fan fiction is passed a blind eye because we do not make money from it. FanLib IS making money from fan fiction, and as long as it remains a commercial site, that's not going to change and I definitely do not want to be associated with them should they get into any hot water.
- sylc on 04/05/07 - 11:35 pm
I'm with you Susan and Rhapsody on the lack of sincerity and tact on David's part. They don't seem to really care that their behavior was out of line at every site a webmaster wasn't contacted. They only seem to care they got in hot water here and are now scrambling to do some damage control.

I said I was done with this conversation, but I have rarely been so insulted or angered and feel I must clarify to David and those following this discussion just exactly how I came to find and my experience there.

I heard about at a LOTR yahoo group. It was mentioned by someone who had been invited to look at the site, and Sivan Shemesh, who was a beta tester for, confirmed it was a real site. I followed the thread on the group for a while and then followed a link given by the moderator of the group. I went back and checked the address and it was:

That is the link I clicked on. I don't go looking for new sites on a regular basis as I post at too many places as it is (I counted 13 off the top of my head). is the first site in a long time I have even looked at outside the usual sites where I post, as it looked promising, especially since FF.NET can't seem to keep their site working properly. I went to FANLIB.COM - not another site or partner as David keeps trying to say - on Sivan's recommendation. I looked around at the handful of LOTR stories and thought I'd give it a try despite the somewhat disturbing TOS. I thought to just read and review and see how the site did for a while before posting. From their homepage at, I clicked on "Sign Up" in their Membership sign in area. But it asked me for much more than David said it does now. It wanted my street address and real name in addition to pen name and email address! I went back to the home page and tried it again, thinking I must have been directed to the wrong place, only to be taken there again and asked once more for VERY personal info! I'm not ignorant of where I go online. I know where I was, and what I did. FANLIB.COM asked for that info to join the site! There was no way I was going to give out that info and that is when I got suspicious. I avoided it until I got the letter from Naomi sent through's contact page. Being as it was such a form letter, I wasn't all that flattered, though, maybe, I should have been, seeing as it wasn't sent out to everyone as I thought originally. I was more upset that someone was sending such letters without Adora's permission. I got my letter the same day Susan contacted us through the Moderators group about the letter she had gotten, and we decided we should warn people about the TOS and what happened.

Now, that said, if David had simply said there must have been some kind of glitch and apologized that I was asked for info that I shouldn't have been, I'd have said, Ok! Great! It was a fluke! Maybe the site isn't so bad. Still not happy with the TOS and wouldn't have posted my stuff there until it read better, but I'd have a much better feeling about David and those who run the site.

Instead, David basically told me I don't know what the heck I'm talking about! He attempted to discredit me with his "kicking puppy" crack. Acknowledging that maybe something went wrong (a computer glitch somewhere? Hey, it happens!) would at least let me know they were genuine, and not just doing damage control, which is what I think their comments in this forum are about. I really don't think they care about my opinion or what happened to me at their site, and that more than makes me leery, it makes me want to avoid their site like the plague!

I don't like this type of situation, but David hasn't done much to make me want to trust him or his site. I have valid concerns. I have tried to express my experience with, and I am told I basically don't know what I'm talking about; I must be confused. At least, that is how their comments seemed to me...and my friends who are emailing me left and right and who are also upset about what David said to me. Is that what is about? Trying to discredit those who are skeptical? Instead of trying to figure out what happened, just deny someone (not just I, may I add?) has a valid complaint? Is this how they do business? *looks stunned*

You said you take credit for your "moronic mistakes", David. Well, you sure didn't seem overly sorry for seriously offending me. You also are not very tactful or sensitive to fans and their concerns. That isn't good business. I'm reminded of my job and the customer service required therein. I work in both retail and services, and I work on commission. My job is dependent on clients returning regularly and bringing others in through word of mouth. If I upset a client, not only will I lose that client, but their friends, family and coworkers as well. Insulting a client or telling them they don't know what they are talking about would get me fired!

For every person who leaves this conversation with a bad feeling or opinion about, there will be at least one more (probably many) who hears of it and comes to also have a bad feeling about your site. Just something to chew on.

- on 05/05/07 - 04:28 am
I just looked at the sign up page and it is still asking for a post code on the first page.

I did a bit of research on google and found the site seems to be linked to an official Star Trek WEb event.

I have never known any other fanfic archive solicit for members like this. Some of those I post at,have been hard to gain posting rights on.

I don't think I'll be joining fanlib anytime soon !
- on 06/05/07 - 12:52 am
Well, I already removed all of my stories from the site.

I just wanted a home to my other fics from another fandoms.

Luckily, i returned to other site which return alive and well.

This site is the home for all my LOTR fics, as it mentioned as well in my signature.
- Sivan on 06/05/07 - 06:21 am
"Fan fiction is passed a blind eye because we do not make money from it. FanLib IS making money from fan fiction, and as long as it remains a commercial site, that's not going to change and I definitely do not want to be associated with them should they get into any hot water."

I agree, Susan. It's a good thing I didn't go there, because I would have been flattered by that letter had I not read all of your posts first.

David, you have not been kind to the members. I suggest that you apologize (again) in a sincere manner and leave. Fanlib is just getting a worse reputation in my view each time you post. I agree with Nieriel Raina on that. I personally am not going to post there, ever, if you are making a profit from fanfiction. That is most likely illegal, and for someone who forgets to put a disclaimer, I really feel sorry for them. It is as if we would be claiming Tolkien's characters, settings, and basic plotlines (For some authors) and we could get in serious trouble for that.

You should not act as if the members of this site are imagining things, David. They know where they went. You're talking to people who remember what they do. They aren't all imagining the same thing, as I said before.

- Raine on 06/05/07 - 11:49 am
I was tipped off about this on another LOTR archive so when I received a PM today on FFnet, I knew exactly what it was. Being the wife of a law student who has done intensive work and study in contracts, this looks (as Rhapsody and others put it) VERY fishy.

No personal information should be given out and no rights handed over to the website. Rhapsody is right about mergers too, if there is no contract where you say you don't want your information passed on, they will do it. They use specific language to be sneaky and dance around the issue without quite saying what they will do with your fics or personal info.

They are mostly going to prey on unsuspecting Americans I think from the looks of the site and the marketing. With the way identity theft and fraud these days, I'd avoid fanlib at all costs.
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