The news today is that Amazon has made a deal with Alloy Entertainment to allow fan fiction writers to write in Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl and get paid for it. This is part of the new Kindle Worlds program, and they're planning on announcing more licensing agreements in the near future. This has implications for fan fiction writers, for professional writers who do media-ties and fan fiction readers, and not all the implications are good.
As a former fan fiction writer myself, on the surface this sounds great. Getting paid for writing with someone else's world and characters? Great, right? Not so much. Before you decide to get involved in the program, take a look at the contract terms. You can read about it in more detail on John Scalzi's blog right here, but the gist is that the entertainment company can take your original ideas or characters and use them for their own purposes without paying you a cent, and Amazon can use your story for any purposes it wants without paying you a cent. Basically, you're giving up any rights you might have to your own creations. Bad, bad idea, folks.
As time allows, I'll look into this more and blog about it. In the meantime, for more information and thoughts from writers in the trenches, you can start here: