Erotic ‘Wolf-Kink’ Fan Fiction Feud Ignites Debate Over Copyright

LOS ANGELES—A sprawling genre that began as erotic fan fiction based on the long-running CW Network TV series Supernatural has now spawned a copyright dispute between two authors of steamy novels, both of whom draw on the “Omegaverse,” a fictional, online world whose distinguishing kink is male pregnancy — according to an in-depth New York Times report published Sunday.

The dispute involves Addison Cain, the bestselling author of sexually explicit, historical fantasy novels such as Born To Be Bound, Dark Side of the Sun, and Cathedral, and her recently emerged rival, author Zoey Ellis.

Both authors use themes and situations familiar to fans of the Omegaverse, an online fan fiction archive of steamy tales set in a world in which people are divided into wolfpack-like hierarchies consisting of of Alphas, Betas, and Omegas (and a few other categories) — and engage in frequent bouts of wolfish rough sex, according to this summary of the genre.

But what really sets Omegaverse characters apart, is that “Omega” men can “catch” — the Omegaverse term for “get pregnant” — through anal sex.

According to Times reporter Alexandra Alter, the Omegaverse, “emerged about a decade ago, when devotees of the CW drama Supernatural began writing stories in which its two lead actors are lovers. One would be the dominant alpha male. The other man would be a feminized omega, often with the ability to become impregnated.”

The new fanfic subgenre quickly expanded to encompass “lupine, sex stuff,” and followers of other TV shows such as Teen Wolf and Hannibal began tapping the wolf-sex, pregnant-dude themes for their own fan fiction. Eventually, the Omegaverse grew into its own “universe,” generating steamy fan-written, stories based not based on any particular TV or movie fandom. 

According to Alter, Amazon now sells “hundreds” of Omegaverse novels, with titles such as Pregnant Rock Star Omega and Wolf Spirit: A Reverse Harem Omegaverse Romance.

But the most successful Omegaverse author is Cain, who got her start penning Batman fan fiction about eight years ago. But when Ellis started publishing her Omegaverse novels — in her ongoing Myth of Omega series — in 2018, Cain and her publisher quickly took action, persuading major online booksellers including Apple and Barnes & Noble, to drop the upstart author’s works, using provisions of the Digital Millemium Copyright Act.

Ellis’s publisher sued Cain in United States Federal Court, charging “defamation, interfering with Ms. Ellis’s career, and for filing false copyright infringement notices,” according to the Times report. 

The case remains in court, and could prove to be a landmark, because if Cain wins, the door opens for authors to claim copyright over not only fan fiction universes, but “common tropes in genre fiction” as well, according to The Times.

In other words, an author could (in theory) claim copyright over the idea of a story involving a private detective who solves murder cases, or a superhero who has the ability to fly through the air.

But if a court rules in Ellis’s favor, authors of original stories could be hit with a a new burden of proving that they have not used common themes and tropes from genre fiction, in order to protect imitation of their work.

A pretrial conference in the case is set for June. In the meantime, Amazon has already published more than 200 new Omegaverse novels just this year, according to the Times report.

Photo By Zoey Ellis Twitter