To continue our exploration of the question of fan fiction, which is, curiously, occupying a prominent place in our fiction-free Lent, I absolutely must refer you to the engaging article, "Legal Fictions: Copyright, Fan Fiction, and a New Common Law" by Rebecca Tushnet, who makes a compelling case (at least to me, a non-lawyer) that fan fiction, apparently more legally murky than I previously believed, might fall under the category of fair use as long as it's noncommercial.
If you love fan fiction, or if you write it, this is definitely an article to read. I can't put it down, and that's something I never would have thought I'd say about an article on copyright law. It's a testament, I suppose, to Tushnet's writing skill; I hope she puts that to good use and produces some great fan fiction.
Hat tip this bad boy to EveTushnet.com.