Amazon is working with WB to publish (read: sell) fanfiction from the Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries 'verses. And they said that more "worlds" will be announced soon.
Basically, fanfic writers will be able to sell their fics - formatted for Kindle - via Amazon, and the restrictions are not as massive as you'd think!
No excessive product placement for non-show brands.
But here's the thing about porn! Amazon says they don't allow porn to be sold on their site, so as long as your fic content is no more explicit than anything that's on Amazon's site today (see: 50 Shades and anything in the erotica category) then it won't run afoul of Amazon's content restrictions - and if they say it does, then the Internet will stand behind you as if you were a Nutella fan barred from celebrating its wonderful tastiness.
HOWEVER, each World Licensor will be providing "Content Guidelines" for their specific 'verse - and I can't find those anywhere. THAT might make a significant impact on what types of fanfic one can and cannot sell, but until we've had a chance to look through them, we can't determine the specifics.
I don't think it's realistic to be concerned that the existence of Kindle Worlds will mean that tv show/film/book creators will stamp out freely given fics. At this point, Kindle Worlds will only accept things over 5000 words, anyway, and the longstanding laches issue that protects fics posted elsewhere and given away will still hold.
However, it does mean that people who write in the fandoms covered by Kindle Worlds and sell ebooks of those stories outside of the Kindle license may find themselves dealing with cease & desist letters. But there was always a chance they would because of the commercial aspect of that action.
Also, this will leave fandom with a lot of questions on issues other than legality be on fan-created gift culture, commissions, fundraising for charity, or even the ability of pro writers to write in other universes>
Does this further "legitimize" fan creativity (which I think has long been a pretty legit hobby), will it just create an additional outlet for story distribution, and what other fandoms will WB add?
I wouldn't be shocked if they bring Tomorrow People into this as the show launches in the fall, but what about things that are ending their runs like Nikita, or shows with massive fanbases and almost a decade of fan creativity, like the behemoth that is Supernatural?
Oh, and here't the royalty-related info:
- Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to the rights holder for the World (we call them World Licensors) and to the Fic Author. Fic Author's standard royalty rate for works of at least 10,000 words will be 35% of net revenue.
- In addition, with the launch of Kindle Worlds, Amazon Publishing will pilot an experimental new program for particularly short works (between 5,000 and 10,000 words). For these short stories—typically priced under one dollar—Amazon will pay the royalties for the World Licensor and will pay authors a digital royalty of 20% of net revenue. The lower royalty for these shorter works is due to significantly higher fixed costs per digital copy (for example, credit-card fees) when prices for the entire class of content will likely be under one dollar.
Now, I want to be very clear - I think the possible impacts of this are serious and significant and will change fandom massively - but I'm not sure that it gives any rightsholders any additional rights/chances/ability to go after anyone who's giving their fic away for free - at least not in the US, under current IP law.