file off the serial numbers
From the practice of filing the serial numbers off of firearms in order to make their origin and ownership difficult to trace.
Audio (AU) (file)
file off the serial numbers (third-person singular simple present files off the serial numbers, present participle filing off the serial numbers, simple past and past participle filed off the serial numbers)
- (fandom slang, idiomatic) To remove the copyrighted elements from an existing work of fan fiction so that it may be commercially published as original fiction.
- 2002 January 15, David Thornley, “Re: harry potter”, in rec.games.int-fiction, Usenet:
- I've heard a rumor that Bujold started the Barrayar series as Star Trek fanfic, and there's enough resemblance there to make that seem very plausible to me. Suppose she did. By filing off the serial numbers, she was able to make the universe her own, to change as she needed to.
- 2012, Elizabeth Tai, "Quantity over quality?", The Star (Malaysia), 1 April 2012:
- I say “may have” because [E. L.] James has “filed off the serial numbers” of her fanfic.