Site Rules

Continued use of this site denotes agreement to these rules. Any story/account found in violation is liable to removal by staff

This is a fairly imposing document but we've tried to make it as easy to use and understand as possible. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us or check our FAQ's. You can reach the staff via the forums, help center, or our site staff e-mail addresses.

We have taken information from the FAQ's, Terms of Service, Submission Guide, etc., and put it together in relevant groupings but this document is not a substitute for reading the TOS.

 

Please use the links in the navigation bar to learn a bit about how our site works and what our rules are.

Overview | Reviews | Submissions | Forum | Ratings & Warnings | Writer's Duel | Archive | Terms

Rules Overview

12+ Rule

Anything posted in a public area of the site must be rated 12+ or lower. This rule applies to the forums, reviews (both reviews and author responses), comment section of the main page, chapter and story titles, summaries, etc.

Our site prides itself on being safe for users of all ages, and while HPFF does not guarantee suitability of content for all readers, the staff do their best to monitor and remove content that does not comply with our 12+ Rule. Material deemed unsuitable may be removed from public areas of the site. Severity and frequency of the infraction(s) will determine whether further action will be taking against the member or members involved, and may include account suspension, removal or banning.

Please refer to the Staff Tutorials for more information on the type of language/content allowed at a 12+ rating.

 

Spamming Rule

This site considers any unsolicited e-mail/PM as spam. This includes letters asking people to read your story, join your site, etc. If you are looking for story reviews, please see the section below marked [Reviews].

On HPFF, spam can also apply to certain story reviews, including those that: do not directly relate to the story being reviews, reviews left by the story’s author to increase their review count, several reviews from one user on the same chapter that appear to be an attempt to increase an author’s review count, etc.

For members receiving unsolicited e-mails/PMs from fellow users, please get in touch with a staff member immediately. Depending on the severity and amount of spam sent out, spammers may face warnings, account removal, suspension/banning, and, in some cases, being reported to their Internet Service Provider.
 

Abuse/Rudeness

Rudeness to fellow members and staff will not be tolerated.  Rudeness can include insulting another member, swearing, or deliberately offending someone.  Intolerance of any kind, be it based on race, creed, sexual orientation, etc., will not be allowed. This applies to all public areas of the forums as well as in trouble tickets, e-mails, and any other means of member interaction.  Users found to be abusing others, depending on the severity, can be given a warning, removed from the site, or permanently banned if the offense is severe enough.

If you feel as though a fellow user (staff or otherwise) has been rude to you, please contact a staff member and the matter will be handled as quickly and amicably as possible.



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Rules about Reviews

Reviewing are one of the greatest things about fan fiction. To help keep our review section safe, productive and tidy, please obey the following rules when posting and responding to reviews:

» No swearing! Obscenities violate our 12+ Rule.

» No reviewing yourself! While the staff accepts that sometimes you just make mistakes and accidentally leave a new review instead of a response to a review, reviewing your own story isn't permitted.

» Be Polite! While constructive criticism is allowed, reviews that are considered "overly rude" may be removed by staff members. Too many of these will result in account deletion, suspension or IP banning. Remember, you are dealing with people of many different ages and skill levels. Try to consider that many authors have been turned off writing by rude reviews.

» No Spam! [More on Spam]

» Breathe. When reading an unfavorable review, stop and consider what the person is trying to convey. Always try to take criticism in the most positive of lights and when responding to reviews, do not do so emotionally. Being mean to people, especially "flamers," will only incite them further. Instead, report abusive reviews to a staff member and we will handle the situation appropriately.



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Submitting A Story

For a detailed description on how to submit a chapter, the validation process, and how to find and read stories, please refer to our site Knowledge Base and FAQs

 

Rejections

All stories submitted to HPFF are first reviewed by the staff before becoming visible to members (for exceptions, see information regarding Trusted Authors). This is done in order to ensure that posted content complies with our ToS and our overarching goal of maintaining a family-friendly site.

On occasion, submitted chapters are rejected, meaning they are returned to the author with a note regarding what changes are needed in order to have the chapter in question hosted on the site. Unlike many other sites, we do not reject stories on the basis of grammar, preferred ship, or overall quality of the writing/experience of the author. Below you will find a list of the most common reasons stories are rejected. Please note, the staff reserve the right to reject stories for reasons not included below when they feel the story fails to comply with our Terms of Service. The staff have the final say on what is and is not considered acceptable for posting on this site.

 

1. Your chapter was under 500 words. - Song Lyrics, Authors Notes, Quotes, etc., do not count toward this minimum word count.

Only original story content will be included when calculating a story’s word count. This means that stage directions, song lyrics, poems, quotes, and other non-narrative material does not count toward the overall word count of your chapter.

 

2. Your submission contained links.

Chapters should not contain any links. Sometimes users include links deliberately but, in other cases, a user will accidentally download a software program that auto-inserts links into their stories. For removal information, you can contact a staff member.

 

3. The rating/warning was incorrect

All stories are rated and include certain warnings so readers are better able to find content that is suitable to their age and reading preferences. Stories need to be rated for the most graphic scenes. A staff member may reject a story if the base rating is too low, there are missing warnings, or the rating and warnings are inconsistent with one another. [More on Ratings & Warnings]

 

4. It contained illegal/un-cited/copyright material

Movie titles, quotes from books, quotes from poems, song lyrics, the names of real and living people and about 100 other things fall into the category of copyright material. Some of these things can be used as long as they are cited properly, while others are simply not accepted for legal reasons. [More on Copyright Violations] The staff is always willing to work with members who have queries about the content of their stories.


5. Your submission contained disallowed or inappropriately handled sensitive themes.

Listed below are the most common plot themes that present an issue for validators, but this list is not inclusive. If you plan to include a sensitive plotline in your story, please contact the staff for clarification geared toward the context of your specific story. What constitutes a sensitive theme is fully at the discretion of the HPFF staff. [Staff Tutorials]

Sexual Assault, Child Abuse & Spousal Abuse We do not allow descriptions or depictions of sexual or intimate violence. Allusions (i.e., to refer to in a historical context [dictionary.com definition] to sexual assault (including attempted assault) are permitted so long as the references are not graphic or glorifying in nature. The same rule stands for abuse. Child and spousal abuse are defined as physical abuse and/or excessive emotional abuse. Stories containing references to such themes must be rated M and carry the warnings for Strong Violence and Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme.

Suicide & Self-Mutilation
Depictions of suicide and self-mutilation are very closely monitored and final decisions on suitability will be made by HPFF staff. Depictions may not be considered graphic or at all glorifying of the act and any story containing any descriptions or conversation of said acts must be rated M with attached warnings of Strong Violence and Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme.

Bestiality, Incest. Adult/Minor & Student/Teacher Bestiality, relationships between adults and minors and/or students and teachers are not permitted under any circumstance. For more information on our relationship rules, please view the breakdown, which can be found here. Incest is, in pureblood families, a somewhat trickier area. If you have questions on whether or not a certain relationship is allowed, please contact a staff member.


Forced/Arranged Marriages
Arranged marriages can be written about in some circumstances. Forced marriage, however, is not permitted at all. If a character is being coerced into the marriage in any way, the story will be rejected (regardless of the age of the character). Please consult the staff tutorial on arranged marriage for more information.

Slavery
Any depiction, reference or insinuation of slavery will not be tolerated. Staff members have final judgment on what constitutes slavery under this rule. If you have any doubts, please feel free to contact any member of our staff for assistance.


6. It's not a story (i.e., blank chapter, chat format, ask/answer, interactive writing, karaoke fic, poetry, etc.)

Chat format looks like this and is not permitted:

      John: Hi, Jane.
      Jane: Hey, Johnny!
      George: They make me sick!
      Susan: It is rather disgusting.

This archive is for stories only. Interactive writing is considered anything that includes reviewers as characters, "pick your own ending" fics (this does not disallow alternate endings), and calling for votes on which way the next chapter should go. You are welcome to ask for "plot bunnies," as getting help with Writer's Block is a big part of this site. We also allow users to "team write" stories but they can only be posted on one account.

The "etc." here is a bit expansive. Submissions that are considered not to contain enough plotting or content to be considered a story will be rejected. This can include stories that take the form of letter exchanges, diary entries, reality tv series, game shows, etc. HPFF follows a 1/3 rule. This means that things such as letters, diary entries, poems, newspaper articles, etc., may not comprise more than one-third of the overall word count of any chapter. Karaoke fics (ie, stories wherein characters sing all or part of a published or self-written song) are not accepted on this site. In any one chapter, characters may sing up to no more than 3-4 lines of lyrics. For more information on the use of song lyrics, please see the copyright section below.


7. Open formatting tags

Please refer to our Knowledge Base for more information on formatting and coding.


8. Redirecting to other fiction sites.

This does not mean that you cannot "quit" on a story or that you must only post it here - you simply cannot redirect readers to find the rest or alternate versions of your story elsewhere.


9. Threatening For Reviews.

This site is a community and threatening not to update until you receive X amount of reviews is neither polite nor allowed. Instead, check out the Help Offered section of our Forums, where you will find a wealth of people offering to give feedback on your piece.


10. Image Violations

Story banners may be no larger than 700x110 pixels and may only appear in the story summary. Chapter images must not exceed 380x300 pixels and only one image is permitted per chapter. Images must not be hotlinked, and all images must abide by the 12+ Rule.


11. Contained Living Persons Such As JKR/Emma Watson/Tony Blair

In order to avoid a messy lawsuit, the site does not permit the use or mention of living people in stories. Historical Figures as well as generic titles like the Queen of England may be used. References that are used in citing quoted material are also acceptable.

12. Your story/chapter title/summary was not rated 12+

All story and chapter titles and summaries must be rated consistently with our 12+ Rule.

 

13. Inconsistent Ratings vs. Warnings

This can refer, for example, to a story that is rated 12+ but includes the warning Scenes of a Sexual Nature. For more information on ratings and warnings please check the guide which can be found here.


14. Authors Note Only Chapter

Authors’ notes (messages from the author directly to readers) are allowed within any chapter but may not be sent in as a stand-alone unit.


15. Abusive to Staff/Other Members Anywhere In The Submission

Abuse of staff or members is not permitted as it violates our Abuse/Rudeness Rule.


16. Your story contains a Formatting Issue

In general, a story will be rejected for formatting under only two conditions: the story is unreadable or it contains open formatting tags that distort the viewing of the page by readers. Because this is a constantly evolving issue, the most up to date information can be found in our FAQs.


Multiple Rejections

From time to time, members do not understand clearly why we rejected their chapters. In these situations, they may end up resubmitting more than once. Before resubmitting your chapter, please make sure that you have understood and corrected your violation(s) fully. On the third resubmission, authors who do not heed the advice of the staff will find the story in question removed and their account privileges revoked for up to 30 days. If you have questions regarding your rejection, you are always welcome to post a query to the staff.

 

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Using The Forums

Before continuing, please note that full use of the forums requires a separate registration process. Please read all the information in your registration email and under the New Member section of the forums before starting to make posts.

The forums fall under part of the 12+ Rule and it's important to remember that avoiding the language filter with symbols and other letters is just as big a violation as actually swearing. A great way to get to know the forums is to read all pinned topics, which can be found at the top of any forum section.



Warning Levels

Warning level increases happen when a user breaks the Forum Rules (this includes any rules posted in pinned topics of various forums.) If you receive enough warnings, you will receive an automatic temporary suspension. If that happens twice, a lifetime ban is imposed.

In specific instances of severe violations, staff may issue immediate suspensions/account removal and/or IP ban. Abuse of the Personal Messaging system (PM) will result in revocation of the privilege. [More on Spamming]

Linking

The following linking rules apply to both the forums and the Author Bio Section of the Archives:

- You may not link to sites that contain NC-17 material or otherwise violate our Terms of Service

- You must include a rating (12+, 15+, or M) next to ALL links. Links to public areas of HPPF are understood to be 12+, but it's always best to include a rating. Example: BitterEpiphany’s Author Page [12+]

- Linking to or pushing sites that promote the sharing of personal information is not allowed. These include, but are not limited to: formpring, facebook, YouTube, and twitter (only staff members are exempt from this rule).

-You may link to personal website, quizzes, etc., provided the content is not of an NC-17 nature and does not contain ANY personal information (this includes names, personal photos, age, hometown, etc.). Topics, posts, blogs and threads advertising sites are never permitted.

- Any offsite linking being used as a way to share unvalidated material/stories with content we do not accept on this site is not allowed.

- Linking to other Harry Potter archives is not allowed. You may link to other original fiction/fanfiction archives as long as the content is neither NC17 in nature or contains any personal information.

- The staff reserve the right to remove any links without prior notice if they feel the sites they redirect to do not comply with our site rules.



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Ratings & Warnings

As stated above, all stories posted on HPFF must include the proper rating and warnings. As this is a publicly accessible document, the explanations of these ratings are not as in depth as we might hope.  As such, if you have any questions regarding the specifics of the definitions, please feel free to contact a staff member via e-mail or trouble ticket. For further information on ratings and warnings when dealing with specific topics like language, violence, etc., you can check the staff tutorials, available here.

Ratings:

12+ -- Directed to Readers Over 12 Years of Age:
This story is designed for children age 12 and above. It may be more appropriate for children who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this story may include mild fantasy or comedic violence, or may frighten children under the age of 12. Therefore, parents may wish to consider the suitability of this story for their very young children. It contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situations.



15+ --Directed to Readers Over 15 Years of Age:
This story contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 15 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this story and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 15 read this story unmonitored. This story contains one or more of the following: mild violence, non-graphic sexual situations, occasional strong language, or suggestive dialogue.



Mature Teen -- Mature Audience Only:
This story is specifically designed to be read by a mature audience and therefore may be unsuitable for persons under 17. This story contains one or more of the following: intense non-graphic violence, explicit non-graphic sexual activity, or crude indecent language.

While this has been a longstanding rule on our archive, it bears repeating that we do not accept material that is NC-17 in nature.  Stories deemed to be too graphic or glorifying will not be accepted into our archive.

Warnings:

HPFF uses warnings to assist readers in finding appropriate material and we request that authors err on the side of caution when assigning warnings to their stories. A story will never be rejected for being “over” rated, but it may be rejected if the warnings and rating are deemed too low. In addition to the descriptions below, please refer to the Staff Tutorials for more help in deciding the appropriate warnings for your story.



Mild Language: (12+, 15+, Mature)
The warning "Mild Language" can apply to all stories posted on our archive.  As a guideline, Mild Language on a 12+ story could be considered anything that is playable on a basic FM radio station.  The warning "Mild Language" does not necessarily apply only to the amount of language in your story.  Severe/strong obscenities must always be given the warning Strong Language, even in instances of only one.



Strong Language: (15+, Mature)
The warning "Strong Language" can only apply to stories rated 15+ and Mature.  The strong language warning applies to all stories containing language more severe in nature. The warning "Strong Language" can also apply to stories with excessive "less severe" obscenities.



Mild Violence: (12+, 15+, Mature)
Stories with the warning "Mild Violence" may contain accidental or deliberate violence that is not so strong as to scare children. The intensity permitted varies relative to the rating applied to your story.



Strong Violence: (15+, Mature)
Stories with the warning "Strong Violence" will contain stronger or more descriptive violent scenes.  Stories containing references to abuse, rape, suicide and self-harm must always contain the warning "Strong Violence."



Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature: (12+, 15+, Mature)
While all stories can contain a warning for scenes of a mild sexual nature, stories rated 12+ may contain no more than nondescript kissing scenes or the nondescript reference to more explicit sexual activity. Stories rated 15+ may be slightly more descriptive but not so much as to be considered graphic.



Scenes of a Sexual Nature: (15+, Mature)
Stories with the warning "Scenes of a Sexual Nature" may be more explicit but are still bound by the rating rules in the Terms of Service.  They may not be considered “too graphic" as to branch into the realm of NC17. 



Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing): (12+, 15+, Mature)
While all stories may contain same sex themes, this warning has been designed to alert people who may find the material offensive before they venture into a story.  This warning does not imply that there will be scenes of a sexual nature in a given story.



Substance Use or Abuse: (15+, Mature)
Stories that contain mentions of substance abuse/use, whether intentional or accidental, require this warning.  The consumption of a mind-altering potion can also result in the need for this warning.



Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme: (12+, 15+, Mature)
This warning is one of the most commonly misunderstood.  While many sites have "Kleenex" or "Tearjerker" warnings to signify depressing or "mushy" stories, our archive does not use one.  Instead, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme refers to material that is delicate in nature.  This could include a character’s violent death, suicide, self-harm, rape, child abuse, etc. If your story contains any of these themes, please include this warning.



No Warnings: (12+ only)
No warnings means that a story requires no warnings - there is no language, violence, etc. This is not a warning that you select when you are feeling too lazy to select the warnings that really apply.



Contains Spoilers: (12+, 15+, Mature)
Contains Spoilers refers to the content of the story and means that it contains details that might ruin the plot of a newly released book or other canon information.



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Extra Archive Rules

Here you will find all of the rules that are applied to our archive but just didn't quite fit in anywhere else.



Bios & Personal Information

While HPFF offers a space for you to write a little bit about yourself, the area is something that has to be heavily monitored.

Images:
Images in biographies may not be links, can be no larger than 380x300 or 700x110 and may not contain any language or imagery that conflicts with our Terms of Service.

Links:
- Links must include a rating (12+, 15+, or M)

- Linking to personal information sharing sites are not allowed (including formpring, facebook, YouTube, and twitter)

-Link to personal websites are allowed as long as they do not contain NC-17 content, personal information or unvalidated material.

- Linking to other Harry Potter archives is not allowed.

- You may link to other original fiction/fanfiction sites as long as the site doesn’t contain material prohibited by the above rules



Personal Information:
In an effort to protect the users of our site, we do not permit ages, full names, addresses, phone numbers, or personal photos to be shared anywhere on our archive or forums.  If you have any questions regarding internet safety or what we would consider "too much" information, please feel free to contact a staff member. As with all violations of this nature, the material will be removed by a staff member on the first offense and a warning e-mail will be sent.  Further violations may result in account removal.



Bumping

"Bumping" is when an author adds a new chapter to their story and then deletes it in an attempt to push their story to the recently added list.  On a first offense, staff members will send a warning e-mail.  Further violations can result in story or account removal. 



Multiple Accounts & Joint Writing

Many of our users tire of their pennames and register new accounts. While the staff does not recommend this as it results in revocation of trusted author status and loss of reviews, as well as confusing your regular readers, it can be done. Simply ask a staff member to delete your existing account (you will need to provide the account name and the e-mail address it is registered to) and they will take care of it as soon as possible.  Once the account has been removed, you are welcome to register a new one.



Members are allowed to have more than one archive account as long as it is not being used to abuse the review system or to circumvent an account suspension or banning. In the case where multiple members are using the same computer (ie, at home or at school), please be aware that abuse on any account may result in the banning of an IP, revoking site access to all users sharing the computer.

 

Joint writing is done a lot on this site.  While round robins are not permitted, two or more authors may get together to write a story.  When it comes to posting, authors may either post the joint story one of the author’s existing accounts or create a third account just for their joint writing. Either way is acceptable but please keep in mind, a story must not be posted on the archive more than once. This means that when changing a penname you must remember to delete the stories from your old account before submitting them under a new account.



Plagiarism

Stories that have been plagiarized from other authors, be they from our site or others, will be removed immediately.  The author plagiarizing the material will also be removed from our site.  No warnings will be given and reviews cannot be recovered.  If you find your story, or the story of another author, to be plagiarized, please report it to a staff member immediately and the matter will be handled as quickly as possible.

 

Student/Teacher & Adult/Minor Ships

As school attendance is compulsory, relationships between students and teachers of any age are not permitted.  However, Student/Former (or Future) Teacher relationships are not disallowed, provided they do not violate the Adult/Minor rules.  That is to say:

John, a 36 year old Math teacher from Piedmont, North Dakota has recently encountered a new student, Mary. Mary is 16, a Capricorn and has a steady boyfriend, Frank, who has recently turned 22 and plays football for the local college team.

Mary (16) takes a time machine back twenty years and dates John (16) = OK
Mary (18) dates John (38) who is no longer her Math teacher = OK
Mary (18) dates John (38) who is her Math teacher = TOS Violation
Mary (16) dates John (36) who is no longer her math teacher = TOS Violation

Mary (16) dates Frank (22) = OK
Mary (16) dates Frank (22) who is working as a PE Coach at her school to make extra cash = TOS Violation

If you have any questions regarding a ship you would like to post, please feel free to contact a staff member.

Trusted Authors

Trusted Authors are authors who are allowed to post their stories directly to the site, without having to wait through the validation process.  This privilege does not come easily and is only given to authors after they have proven to the staff that their stories are strictly adherent to all of the rules stated in this document and the Terms of Service.  Remember, Trusted Author status is not a reflection on the quality of your writing or the content of your personal character. 

 

For more information on how to become a Trusted Author, please see the blog post here.



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Terms

Our staff and members use a lot of terms that can be confusing to new users. Some of them are already itemized in FanFiction A to Z but terms that are more specific to our site and staff are listed below.

 

Validation: This refers to what happens after a story is submitted.  It goes into The Queue and is reviewed by a staff member for suitability.



The Queue: The Queue is a listing of all of the stories that have been submitted. A staff member will look the stories over and validate or reject them based on their compliance with the Terms of Service.



Waiting: Stories that have been submitted and are waiting in The Queue to be validated are “waiting.”



One-Shot: A One-Shot is a story that is completed in one chapter.



Signature: A signature is the block of text that appears beneath your posts on the forums. Signatures on the HPFF forums may be no larger than 300 pixels tall and images used within a signature may be no larger than 500x200.



Avatar: An avatar is the image that appears below your name but beside your posts on the forums.  Our forums allow avatars as large as 100x100 pixels.



PM: PM's or Personal Messages are the user’s way of communicating privately over the forums. From time to time, staff members will send you a notice via the PM system.  It can be found in the upper right hand corner of your screen on the forums.



Recently Added List: The Recently Added list contains the last 150 posted chapters. All stories appear on this list when they are validated.



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Copyright Violations

Movie Titles/Movie Crossovers
The Rule:
Everyone loves movies, right?  Unfortunately, writing a fan fiction based on a movie you just saw or bearing the same title is not allowed as it infringes on the rights of the studio, etc. Movies may serve as an inspiration for a story, but simple inserting Harry Potter characters into an already existing movie plot is not acceptable.

Song Lyrics
The Rule
A lot of authors choose to include song lyrics in their stories. While this is permissible, certain restrictions do apply. First, credit must always be given to the artist who performs the song. This can appear directly after the lyrics or in an author’s note at the beginning or end of the chapter. A story that includes all the lyrics of a song must be labeled as a songfic and follow proper songfic format. This includes breaking the lyrics up and using them throughout the chapter. An example of a properly formatted songfic can be found under the Staff Tutorials. Non-songfics may contain no more than 3-4 lines of lyrics per chapter. Please keep in mind that we do not allow karaoke-style fics on this site. Characters may not sing more than 3-4 lines of lyrics per chapter, regardless of whether or not the story is labeled as a songfic.

 

Poetry & Quoting
The Rule
We have a "Three Line" rule at HPFF.  This means that you may use no more three lines of any poetry, interview, quotes, etc., per chapter and you must credit the material directly to the original author. Please note, this also applies to the original Harry Potter novels and movies.

 

Paraphrasing

The Rule

It is not uncommon for authors to feel the need to paraphrase copyrighted content, particularly as it appears in the original Harry Potter books and movies. That said, slightly altered quotes still count as quotes and therefore must adhere to the “Three Line” rule, as well as be properly cited (book/author or movie/production company). Paraphrasing can also refer to recounting plot points from other stories in an authors’ own words (for example, an author having Harry recount to Ginny his adventures in destroying the Horcruxes by summarizing the main events in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). While this is allowed, please keep in mind that this site only accepts original material. Simply retelling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but changing Harry’s name to John Smith is not allowed. The staff has the final say on determining if a story contains too much copyrighted material.

Other Fanfictions

The Rule

Authors may not post fanfictions belonging to or based on characters from other fanfictions without proving express permission from the original author. Simply saying you have permission will not suffice.

 

Disney Material

The Rule

The Walt Disney Company and affiliated corporations have strict rules regarding use of their material. For legal reasons, no stories containing Disney material (including characters, plots or songs) will be accepted on this site.