Note: This is all formed from research and has a heavy dose of my personal opinion.
Fanfiction has always existed, but in the 21st century, the perception we have of it is something that people—typically teenagers—write behind closed doors. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fanfiction has a long and storied history beginning from Kirk/Spock fanfiction in the 1960s through to the cultural touchstone we know today.
I want to explore a specific time in fandom history: corporatisation. Fanfic is, by its very nature, ‘stealing’ from source material; fic writers were and are often rightly paranoid about being sued by copyright holders of the material they write fanfiction for (see: Anne Rice). It has therefore become deeply embedded in fandom culture that we share and share alike, avoiding copyright holders by ensuring that no money changes hands.
Until, of course, one company sought to change that.