I'm glad authors hold claim over their characters. Because there are a lot of terrible fanbases out there that just changes the character in a way I don't like. There's a reason I liked the canon character in the first place. A character that has been spoiled by a fanbase has less value because it was branched off the original concept and is nothing more than "fanboyism." Granted some fanboys come up with creative and new things from time to time but it's rare and I would rather they use their creative minds on making their own work that has nothing to do with other author's works.
I believe characters belong to their authors, not to the fan base. Authors are the creator of the character and they are also the one to manipulate the character, much like a young girl manipulates a Barbie doll. While fans may enjoy characters and connect to them, that does not make them the owner.
I believe that the characters that are created by their authors should belong to the authors. I think that the authors who create the characters are the people who own their rights. The fanbase shouldn't be able to dictate how a characters is portrayed if the author doesn't agree with it.
It's great when fans embrace a character, but at the end of the day, that character was created by the author and not by a community.
If the JK Rowling had not put pen to paper, then Harry Potter would not exist. Luke Skywalker doesn't exist without George Lucas and on and on and on. No amount of fandom can create a character. Only an author can.
Obviously in a legal sense the author owns them but once the character is published and gains popularity, the author has little power to stop the interpretations and new layers of personality that the character is given by fans. Once a character is made and the author gives it whatever traits (s)he wants, it is up to the fans to bring the character to life.
I believe that characters belong to their fan base, because it is the fans who adopt the characters, and decide to get into them and like them. A character is dead until someone takes an interest in it. The author creates the characters for all of us to enjoy the way that is meaningful to us.