Discouraging fanfiction isn’t the purpose of this post. There are many benefits to it. Writing fanfiction is an excellent writing exercise and an argument can be made that it creates more interest in the derivative work. However, understanding the role copyright plays is still important to be thoughtful and intentional with your (repurposed) art.
For the first time this century, a wide array of artworks, books, music and films fell into the public domain. Works in the public domain, which now includes those created in 1923, are no longer under copyright protection, so anyone who enjoys creating something can make use of works in the public domain for inspiration. While the late 20th century saw a copyright term that only got longer, the 21st century sees the public domain finally grow.