May 19, 2024

John Green Tackles Copyright Via YouTube


Copyright law is complex enough—throw in an instance of international remixing by young nerdfighters, and you have a real mess. But in the hands of author John Green, it’s the basis for a pretty cool video. 

In the three-minute clip (below), Green recounts his attempt to discern the provenance of a poster (pictured) based on characters from his novel The Fault in Our Stars, revealing the complexities of copyright in the digital age along the way.

“We really don’t have a good way of defining the difference between nerdfighters [Green’s community of fans] making something on YouTube and Viacom making something on CBS,” says Green. “Until the laws get better, we’re going to have to police ourselves. The good news is the Internet is pretty good at that.”

In the meantime, Green encourages the creation of fan fiction and other art inspired by his books. And the work that started it all? With the permission of his two 16-year-old collaborators, one Norwegian, the other in the Phillipines, Green’s made the poster available on his DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome) site.

Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.


  1. Alissa B says:

    I love hearing about authors encouraging creativity among fans. Yet again, John Green proves he’s made of awesome.