• Fairy tales are often described in proprietary terms. Because the myth of their origin among the anonymous folk is so strong, the general tendency in both popular and scholarly discourse is to conceive of fairy tales as either the common property of all humanity or the treasures of specific cultures, nations, or ethnic groups. Since the publication of the Grimms’ collection and the advent of copyrights laws, the idea of fairy tales as unique, protected individual possessions has emerged. This essays explores the implications these views have on the utilization of fairy tales and proposes a view of ownership that relies on the autonomy of individual reception.