"Anyone or anything that is not ME its heirs and assigns coming away with a dollar they didn't have before because of fanfic constitutes too much profit as far as I'm concerned." is what stakebait said about the WriterCon fic auctions and what lasultrix used as an epigraph for her entry about fan_the_vote. (Of course, thebratqueen raised the same issues around VidCon and WriterCon before either of these.)
I’ve said before that "Anything wherein you are playing with someone else's universe/characters is, by my definition, fanfic." Certain people get paid to do that, but they get permission from the people who own the universe/characters. If i ever get to make a fanfiction department, i’m making sure that gets emphasized in every class: both the historical precedent and the legal logistics.
I’m okay with ficathons wherein you write someone a fic in exchange for getting a fic written for yourself, but the cons have had people auctioning off services including fanfic writing in order to raise money to help people attend the cons. As someone who doesn’t come from money, i’m a big fan of scholarships, but i really just don’t think we’re allowed to make money off of fanfic (or fanart) without permission.
stakebait: "The con profiting, the scholarship recipients profiting, anyone or anything that is not ME its heirs and assigns coming away with a dollar they didn't have before because of fanfic constitutes too much profit as far as I'm concerned."
thebratqueen: "the cons are raising money with something that is not theirs to raise money with."
fan_the_vote has people offering up fannish services such as fics, betas, etc. in exchange for pledges to the John Kerry campaign and/or MoveOn.org. This has the same problem as the cons plus, as lasultrix said: "People have promised fic from a hell of a lot of fandoms here. You really think nobody who owns the rights to any of these fandoms is a Republican? Forget taking a little bit of what's their money by right to line your own pockets - in this community, you'd be sending their money to a political party they oppose and encouraging others to do the same thing. I can't count the ways in which that's wrong."
I thought this (thanks to raskazzptitsa for the article link) was the coolest thing. I didn’t actually participate but hello, thebratqueen found a way to end world hunger. If you want to give money in support of something and associate your donation with an additional cause, go for it. (Hello, businesses do that all the time: giving money to charities while also getting the good publicity for their business.)
The charity [the International Committee of the Red Cross] was chosen to reflect both the international nature of the fans who contributed to the campaign and the mission of the title character, Angel - to "help the helpless." -press release
"I said a while back that I tend not to like fan campaigns that involve donating money for Variety ads and the like because my personal moral system is that I don't feel comfy giving away money to something like that when there's people and organizations out there who really need it."