There are three, maybe four, levels or types of copyright involved in the Whateley Academy Universe.
Each Canon story is the intellectual property of its author. Rights of ownership of the story and its characters rest with that author. However, all Whateley canon authors have agreed to share editorial freedom, distribution rights, and the use of story elements and characters in derivative works with the members of the canon group. This gives the Canon team the authority to make format and restricted changes to the text of stories for the purposes of presenting them to the reading public and to create further stories within the context of the universe that reference or include events and characters owned by other members. All Whateley Academy stories are authorized for publication by the Canon authors via a designated site. For a number of years, that site has been located at the domain crystalhall.org, first owned and maintained by Bob Arnold and more recently controlled by the owners of Bigcloset. The official site will move to WhateleyAcademy.net on readiness of that site to handle the hosting demands (which crystalhall.org may be redirected here or maintained as a mirror). Some stories have also been released to other locations by their authors. Any such agreement is between that author and the site where the story is available. But only stories released specifically to other sites are authorized to be published elsewhere. Publications/distributions rights ARE held by the author and Canon group and stories may NOT be shared publicly by any other individual without violation of copyright law.
The Whateley Academy Universe
The Universe itself is an intellectual property owned collectively by the Canon author team. Use of the Concepts and Resources of the Universe in creative work is limited at (currently) three levels. Full access to resources and planning information about the universe and the creation of canon stories in the primary timeline is strictly limited to the canon team. Inclusion in the Canon team is by invitation only. There are policies in place to allow for the inclusion of 'new blood', necessary due to 'retired' or 'absent' authors after more than ten years of project activity. The second level of access to the Universe is that of the 2nd Generation Canon team. These authors are primarily responsible for the development of a second timeline for the Whateley Academy, beginning with the Fall 2016 school year. These authors work as needed with the original canon team to develop a continuity accurate alternate story series, but do not personally have access to the full original planning resources or authorization to write in the original timeline. 2nd Gen Canon membership is also by invitation only.
The third tier of participation is that the WA Canon authors welcome the participation of authors who are not canon in the creation of stories about the universe. While Fan Fiction authors do not get direct access to the backstory or canon details, most canon authors welcome a certain amount of questioning about the world and people to help Fan Fic be as close to canon as possible, without releasing years of planning into the wild. As a result, some of the fan fic is as good or better than canon stories. It is also possible for fan fiction authors to be offered the opportunity to re-release a story as fully canon (where a single story hits just right and we feel that it needs to be a part of the canon) even while not bringing the author in as a full canon member. Fan Fiction stories remain fully in control of their author, though if they choose to publish on the site; they are asked to give us some level of control to handle editing/publishing details. Fan fiction authors ARE required to indicate that their stories are fan fiction at the top of each story. This prevents outsiders from mistaking fan fiction as something officially in the timeline... something along the lines of:
"This is fan fiction for the Whateley Academy series. It may or may not match the timeline, characters, and continuity, but since it's fan fiction, who cares? To see the canon Whateley Stories, check out Whateley Academy at (http://whateleyacademy.net)"
The Crystal Hall
A great deal of time and effort go into developing a functioning web site and its associated web community. At no time is the theft/copy of a web site and its material... or the diversion of its community by posing as a mirror or alternate source of their material a viable way of handling web business. Just as the Universe and the Stories are protected by Copyright Law... so to is the site. At this time, the only site not at either crystalhall.org or whateleyacademy.net that is officially connected with us is the status page maintained by our staff at http://status.whateleyacademy.net which is technically offsite at Kristin's wisdomsprice.com domain, offering a valuable reference point if for some reason the main site is down (if you can't access this site, that one will tell you how to contact us and if we're already aware of problems, some details on what we know and when it'll be fixed).
Other than that? Bigcloset has supported us for a number of years and deserves both the recognition and respect for rescuing the site when its former owner and our friend passed away. And Sapphire's Place was the original home of the stories in 2004 when they first released. But even these two sites do not have any special recognition regarding Intellectual Property control over the WA Universe. Anyone else trying to convince you they are 'official' Whateley... is breaking the law.