Why I Removed My Fics from AO3

Mpepper/ August 18, 2023/ Writing

I really love sharing my fan fiction with the world. I’ve received more love and validation from the various fan communities for which I write than I have for my original works. I suppose that is to be expected; it’s easier to capture existing fans than create new ones. That’s one reason Hollywood is so focused on existing IP over original stories or characters.

But when I realized people were using AI on sites and platforms to scrape creators’ works, well… It made me uncomfortable. No one is entitled to use my work in any way without my permission. That may sound rich considering fanfics are exactly that, but there is, I feel, a difference. People using AI will eventually profit off my work. I cannot profit from my fics except in feeling the love of the readers. And while that love is priceless to me, I’m not willing to feed the scrapers.

In addition to taking down most (though not all) of my fics, I have ceased posting snippets of my work on social media. It’s a shame since I do love sharing my favorite lines and scenes. But the Internet has become a hostile environment for creators these days. I’ve often heard it compared to the “Wild West,” and can certainly feel that way at times. There is an “anything goes” attitude, a lack of respect for boundaries, and no rules or enforcement. It has seriously made me consider also only putting my books out in physical form rather than ebooks, just to make it harder for anyone to steal my work. It’s as if progressive technology is forcing some of us backward.

But print books sales are falling these days, and many new readers won’t take a chance on a small, unrecognized author unless they can get a book or story for (nearly) free. (By the way, “One Night in Wildcat Woods” is free on most major platforms! And “Aptera” and “Origami of the Heart” are also free to read online. See my Bibliography page for links.) So I don’t know how realistic it would be to only produce physical media.

In all, I’m hoping that eventually there will be regulation and legislation supporting creators’ rights to their works over people deciding that anything they find online is free to steal. Until then, I’ll not be posting any new tidbits of my works in progress and the like. And, sadly, no more fics, either.

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