Article at Columbia University.
It's funny. When we were contacted by the young lady who wrote it, I was thinking to myself, "professional journalist", and I was trying to be helpful, informative, and supply her with lots of information and tidbits she could use. However, it didn't occur to me that a) good article writing is a skill that requires art and practice, and b) people can only absorb a few tiny chunks, so don't tell them much. She quoted Trekqueen a bit without giving her source, and I feel this article is a bit weak and scattered, but then it is only a piece for a college paper, after all!
The interviewer excerpted my most shocking and startling comment, and left out my more general remarks on how fanfic works, the function it serves, the ethical issues involved, and my own feelings about copyright, which are... cautious.
~ Do whatever the heck you want on your own computer.
~ Sharing it on the web means making a permanent record for all to read. Then you need to ponder ethical considerations and Fair Use.
~ Violation of copyright laws by using someone else's creation in your own writing = technically illegal. Naughty, but as long as you give authorial credit or it's something well-known like Star Wars where people KNOW what the original is, and whose it is, it's not unethical, it's more on the level of parking without putting money in the meter. You should not turn a blind eye to the fact that it's illegal, or resent fanfiction websites setting rules to mitigate the possibility of legal action.
~ As long as you're not making money off of it, it's not bad. If you're making money, then the original artist deserves a cut.
~ Writing things that authors would not like you to write with their characters -- that's where I start to draw the line. For me, I understand that artistic creations are like one's children. One lets them out into the world, and they become a gift to the world, but you don't want them raped, folded, or mutilated. Therefore, I feel no guilt about writing normal fanfic, but I wouldn't post adult fanfic in a world whose author has requested that his/her world not be fanfic'd. It would be abhorrent to him/her, and at that point I think artist's wishes take precedent over my own fun. That's with a living author. With a dead author, like Tolkien, I may feel a twinge of guilt, but he's not around to be bothered by it, and it's certainly no worse than what Jackson got paid big bucks to do.