Originally Posted by HarryT
I respectfully disgree with you, Dale. By using another author's characters one is creating what's called a "derived work", and that requires the permission of the original copyright holder (which is presumably Ms. Rowling in this case). Whether or not commercial gain is involved is irrelevent. As a purely practical matter, I agree with you that publishers will generally turn a "blind eye" to fan fiction, but that doesn't make it legal.
I am certainly no lawyer but the FanFic folks seem to be exempt from any attacks and Ms. Rowling has acknowledged this in several interviews. Again it is not my opinion on this that matters. It is a whole collection of folks that seem to embrace this idea and I would guess that it has not specifically gone to court for a ruling so it is likely not illegal so far at least.
My point was that the copyright statement that Melinda enforces and is worried about is the control of her documents in that they do not make any money from it which she and the entire community believes provides protection under the law.