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  • OTW Fannews: Doing Your Part

    By Kelly Ribeiro on Úterý, 12 May 2015 - 4:49 odpoledne
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    Doing Your Part

    • NPR was among some reporting on a new Russian policy that began banning some memes. "In effect it really bans all memes using celebrities. Insofar as the language of this announcement, which was posted on VKontakte (ph) - which is the Russian equivalent of Facebook - they said that any images that use famous people's identities, or images, they're against the law if they take that image out of context of that person's reputation." However, "this decision is totally unenforceable. The entire point is not to purge the Internet of bad things. It's to make people online afraid of getting in trouble."
    • The New York Times warned that Net Neutrality progress in the U.S. didn't mean that it wasn't under threat elsewhere. "Last month, the European Council...adopted a proposal that would allow telecommunications companies to charge Internet businesses like Netflix and Google fees to deliver their videos and other content to users faster than could smaller companies that cannot afford to pay for preferential treatment. In India, the country’s telecommunications regulator asked for comments on whether it should adopt a provision similar to what Europe is considering. The regulator also asked if telecom companies should be able to charge users extra fees for services like YouTube, WhatsApp and Skype on top of the fees people already pay for access to the Internet."
    • The OTW has petitioned for a renewal of a DMCA exemption for fan video makers. Our Legal team has been asking that fans write in about their need for high quality source from sources that are only available on Blu-Ray; or sources from places like iTunes or Amazon when that's necessary to make a timely vid to participate in an ongoing fannish conversation. OTW Staffers will be testifying before the Copyright Office at the end of May to extend their rights to break encryption to Blu-Ray, as well as maintain them for DVD and streaming sources.

    What efforts have you seen fans making to oppose restrictive laws? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: About and By

    By thatwasjustadream on Neděle, 10 May 2015 - 3:49 odpoledne
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    Banner with the words OTW fannews and the OTW logo along with lines suggesting an envelope and rows of text on a computer screen

    • Arab Times reported on a new comedy, Ana Maria in Novela Land which features a bodyswapping heroine. "Ana Maria [is] an under-achieving twentysomething who spends far too much time focused on the soap. Between live-tweeting the telenovela while it airs, writing fan fiction featuring its lead characters, and spending almost every waking moment mulling over new plot developments, Ana Maria has little time for anything else." They conclude that the show's "sporadic tweaking of telenovelas and the fans who love them is often quite clever."
    • Caped Crusades featured the fan art of Brazilian artist Rick Celis involving Batman and DC villains. Included were Gotham’s female villains as the Powerpuff Girls, and an Abbey Road take on the Joker.
    • The Hollywood Reporter was one of many sources linking to a Harry Potter parody video with original footage set to the song "Uptown Funk." Created by a group of university students, its quick success may stem in part from J.K. Rowling tweeting that she'd enjoyed it.
    • Dork Side of the Force featured the anime style fanfilm 'TIE Fighter'. "Seriously, the amount of detail in this video is astounding. Some of this stuff, like the detailed interiors of the Star Destroyer and TIE fighters, we’ve never even seen in the films before. And it all looks seamless, even in anime style."
    • A project called OTP The Show has dubbed itself "A new web series about friendship - and smutty Hobbit fan fiction." A trailer is currently available and the first of three episodes will be debuting in April.

    What are your favorite fanworks or works about fans? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: For the Benjamins

    By Claudia Rebaza on Úterý, 28 April 2015 - 4:50 odpoledne
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    Banner by Sidhrat of U.S. $100 bills floating in the air with the title 'OTW Fannews: For the Benjamins'

    • PC Gamer discussed a Half-Life fan's job offer after releasing a popular mod. "Transmissions: Element 120 is a "short single-player" Half-life 2 mod that equips players with a new kind of gravity gun that enables them to leap over buildings and fall from great distances without suffering damage. Taking place after the events of Half-Life 2: Episode 2, it challenges players to figure out where they are and why they've been sent there. On the technical side, it boasts custom levels, code, models, sounds, and a number of upgrades to the Source Engine, including enhanced dynamic lighting, improved support for complex structures, and better AI. And it was all created by one guy."
    • Los Angeles magazine instead suggested that fan films could be personal vehicles. "Fantasy author and captain’s hat aficionado, George R.R. Martin, famously hates fan-fiction based on his Game of Thrones universe, but it’s an uphill battle for Martin, judging by the popularity of his characters amongst online amateur writers with a penchant for sword fights, dragons, and magic. And it’s not just the literary kind Martin has to worry about. Now, fan made videos that either recreate scenes from certain episodes (“The Red Wedding” is a favorite) or spin-offs that feature new characters and plot lines but are still set in the world of Westeros are popping up on YouTube. Some are predictably terrible and a lot like Jack Black and Mos Def’s attempts at recreating their favorite movies in Be Kind Rewind but others are downright genius."
    • There are certainly more commercial projects that are creating spaces for readers to join in with their own contributions. But publishers are also on the lookout for anything that's getting popular. Kidscreen reported on HarperCollins offering a contract to a fanfic writer for his Minecraft series "that’s been making the rounds in middle schools across the US. Wolfe wrote at the first part of the trilogy at age 16 and then self-published it on Amazon.com in January, 2014."
    • Meanwhile Supernatural actors Rob Benedict and Richard Speight, Jr. are creating a show based on their convention appearances. The "crowd-funded show called Kings Of Con — a fictional series that follows an exaggerated version of Rob and Richard...will follow their experiences during their 15 annual international cons, in which the fans aren't the only crazy ones — but the cast is as well."

    Whether projects about fans or projects by fans, is everyone going commercial? Write about those events in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: It's Tough Being a Fan

    By Janita Burgess on Neděle, 26 April 2015 - 5:11 odpoledne
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    OTWFannews banner depicting several blank trophies and medals, with the words It's Tough Being a Fan

    • Esquire said a few words about the influence of Twin Peaks on current fandom. "Of course, binge-viewing with a second screen handy for reviewing fan-generated metatextual analysis is pretty much how people watch puzzle shows like Lost, Game of Thrones, True Detective, and Orphan Black these days. What they show you is fascinating, but the creators know that it's what they cunningly refuse to show you that turns normal viewers into lunatics who'll spend hours reading differing theories about Jon Snow's parentage. They understand that as with Twin Peaks, some of the most pleasurable parts about following the series involve what happens off the screen and in the mind of the viewer."
    • An article in Do Savannah revealed how different those minds could be, however. Asked about their Bob Dylan fandom, various fans in the Georgia city disagreed as to what they found most difficult about it. Responses ranged from other fans, people who didn't like Dylan, to the performer's own behavior. However one summed up with a poignant observation. "No one really wants their heroes to die. You hope they never will. Forever linked familiar strangers on parallel railroad tracks. It’s hard watching him get older, because he’s always been with me spiritually. But then, I guess he always will be."
    • Various articles about the latest fights over the Hugo Award nominations would agree with the 'other fans' complaint. As stated by Rob Salkowitz at ICv2: "Of course, the backlash movement can’t legitimately embrace its actual objectives: the maintenance of in-group power and privilege. Instead it justifies itself according to broader principles such as the defense of traditional standards, ethics and "objective" considerations of quality divorced from the grubby political goals of opponents. Unfortunately for the high-minded ideological ring-leaders, plenty of the rank and file followers don’t get that particular memo and see the whole uprising as an opportunity to give voice to every manner of pent-up grievance, resentment and personal hang-up that they can lay at the feet of "social justice warriors" or whoever is the enemy du jour."
    • Meanwhile Wired explored the reimagining of problematic canon content in The Radicalization of Jar Jar Binks. "Granted, it’s a little jarring to insert a contemporary political allegory into the most reviled science-fiction prequel ever committed to film. In fact, Lucas came under fire for engaging in political criticism of George W. Bush...rather than tightening up the story. But Doescher has a Ph.D in ethics, and wrote his thesis on racial justice issues. And Shakespeare’s history plays—the best genre corollary for what’s going on in Phantom Of Menace—often feel intensely prescient. From that vantage point, it’s a bold but calculated risk to choose Jar Jar as the vessel for such an ideologically charged message."

    What are the difficult parts of fandom for you? Write about those issues in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Judging Women's Fandoms

    By Kelly Ribeiro on Pátek, 24 April 2015 - 5:15 odpoledne
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    Womens Fandoms

    • The Global Times of China speculated about the appeal of Mary Sue stories. One reader responded "The reason I like reading and watching Mary Sue stories is because I can be swept away by the beautiful romantic relationships...The heroine doesn't stick to one man, and no one blames her." Her first experience with Mary Sues was in "a piece of fan fiction set in the world of Slam Dunk, a popular Japanese manga comic about a high school basketball team that was adapted into an animation series in 1993. 'The Mary Sue character was the same age as me, and had a similar mentality to life as me, so I was able to perfectly identify with her...[Reading it] was as if I was in the cartoon world myself, and having these romantic relationships with the handsome basketball players.'"
    • At The New Statesman Elizabeth Minkel pointed out that the very same behavior lacked commentary when it was by men but not when it was by teenage girls, or indeed women in general. "Drop into any Top Gear thread online right now and...there’s a genuine outpouring of emotion for the Top Gear that was: these fans, mostly (grown) men, are offering up their vulnerabilities, talking about how the show was always there for them - a comfort, something to look forward to every week...Drop into any 1D thread right now and you’ll notice that even though the language is different, maybe even incomprehensible to you, the sentiment is the same: these fans, mostly (underage) teenage girls, have flooded social media with that same outpouring of emotion, for Malik’s departure or for the end of the group as it’s always existed. It should be easy to have compassion for people who love something and lose it."
    • At The Conversation the focus was on female fans of Australian football. "Our research debunks a couple of persistent myths about women sport fans. These myths concern women’s motivation for attending football, which is commonly explained in terms of their duties as mothers (women support football because it is a 'family' game), or dismissed as something that women do mainly because the men in their life are into footy. These assumptions about why women follow football reinforce some particularly stubborn gender stereotypes." Instead, the study "reveals that while family features significantly in the way women become fans – overwhelmingly women are socialised into following a team through their parents – they develop a connection with and enjoyment of AFL that prevails independently of family."

    Where has the line been drawn between men and women in fan reaction and support? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Improving on the Original

    By Kiri Van Santen on Středa, 22 April 2015 - 4:36 odpoledne
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    banner by Robyn of the title of the post

    • Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat had positive words for fanfiction in a recent interview. Asked for "the best or funniest piece of Sherlock fan fiction or fan art you’ve seen" he replied, "A load of it has been superb. There’s a tendency to disparage it. I don’t agree. Even the slash fiction, that’s a great way to learn to work. No one really does three-act structure, but just trying to put words that make somebody else turned on, that’s going to teach you more about writing than any writing college you can go to. It’s creative and exciting. I refuse to mock it—because I’m a man who writes Sherlock Holmes fan fiction for a living!" He added that "[EL James] turned her fandom of something into something that’s an industry in itself. Why are we not applauding until our hands bleed? No, we mock her. We say, 'Oh, it’s not very good.' Except she managed to write something that everybody wants to read...By what standard is it not good if loads and loads of people love it?'"
    • Fans of The Inheritance Cycle novels were offered fanfiction while they waited for the next edition. The books' official fansite posted "We are excited to announce the launch of Shur’tugal Fan Fiction, the ultimate archive of Inheritance Cycle fan fiction stories! Aspiring writers and Inheritance fans now have an outlet to read, write, and enjoy stories by fans, set within Eragon’s universe."
    • At Grantland, Steven Hyden discussed the afterlife of Smash, as an effort to stage its play within a TV show "raised more than $300,000, making it the most successful Kickstarter for a theater show ever." Hyden concluded, "The line between fiction and fan fiction has been eradicated. The web-enabled afterlives of Community and Arrested Development have proven that long-struggling network shows can subsist solely on the passion of diehards elsewhere. With the Bombshell Kickstarter campaign, fans have found a way to actually improve what they’ve resurrected — a Smash without Leo, Ellis, Uma, smoothies, and all other remnants of the badly managed TV version."

    What fannish version of canon would you like to see resurrected? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Skewing the Process

    By Claudia Rebaza on Neděle, 19 April 2015 - 5:23 odpoledne
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    Banner by Kat of a scale with 'OTW Fannews' on one side and 'Skewing the process' on the other

    • Matt Binder wrote in Salon that right-wing conservatives in the U.S. were trying to exploit the activities of misogynistic fans for personal gain and political capital. "A common tactic used by right-wingers is the call to 'stop politicizing everything' — while at the same time trying to push forth their own political agenda in the culture wars, of course. Keeping politics out of any art form is laughable, but there is a certain extra level of hilarity in attempting to do so with one that already has a long history of social justice...these are actual panels from an actual Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow comic from April 1970 addressing racial justice head-on."
    • At Medium is the Message, Rex Sorgatz discussed changing habits regarding spoilers. "Back in the aughts, we survived a similar crisis, when two cultural events coincided:The quality of television programming suddenly got much better [and] The conversations around television exploded on social media. The collision of these trends triggered a nuclear reaction — a pop culture fission, spewing immense heat. People got very, very serious about The Spoiler Alert. The burgeoning recap society, in particular, was put under immense scrutiny."
    • Japan Times talked about how marketing tricks meant fans were skewing the music sales charts. "The problem is that music purchases by idol fans aren’t really music purchases at all: They are a sort of abstract currency by which the fans make extravagant expressions of love for the group — the more you buy, the greater your love. They’re a completely different class of consumer from someone who simply buys a song in order to listen to it, and trying to force them to behave like traditional music fans misses the point."
    • The Millions featured a long piece from Elizabeth Minkel on academic courses on fanfiction. "The cynical side of me expected to hear that a fanfiction class in an Ivy League English department would’ve been met with criticism from the old guard...But [Jamison] hasn’t encountered professional backlash at Princeton or back home in Utah. 'I’m sure there are people who think that but they haven’t told me about it — not my colleagues...I get more pushback on YA and, frankly, on Victorian women’s poetry than I do on fanfic. Nothing can match the snideness with which male scholars of modernism tend to regard Victorian poetry by women.'”

    Where have you seen fans changing cultural practices? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Coming Together

    By Kelly Ribeiro on Čtvrtek, 16 April 2015 - 5:59 odpoledne
    Message type:

    Jared Padalecki

    • Bustle's Emma Lord focused on the successful protest of a fanfiction 'comedy' act at WonderCon as part of discussing misconceptions about fanfic writers that she's tired of. "WonderCon recently had to pull Chris Gore’s 'Fan Fic Theater' panel, in which he was going to read out loud actual fan fiction and make fun of it for sport. Like many fellow authors, I took to Twitter to question what the panel was for, and within thirty seconds of my incredibly civil tweet asking what was up, I’d been blocked by Chris Gore himself...It didn’t take long for the convention to cancel the whole thing, because duh, WonderCon, you can’t make fun of the very audience for your event and expect them to not get defensive about it."
    • The Age reported on fans' reactions to the murder of a cosplayer in Australia with a display of numerous pieces of fan art. "[A] global group of cosplay fans...are expressing their grief through art. Masa Vukotic was a well-regarded member of the cosplay - or costume play - community...Many members of Melbourne's cosplay community have paid tribute to the teen with sketches and paintings of Masa dressed in her signature 'lolita' style. Some admitted they had never met Masa, but felt compelled to draw images of her or post photos of themselves wearing pink in her honour, her favourite colour."
    • Comic Book Resources wrote about a discussion on The Nightly Show about fandom and diversity. Marvel’s director of content and character development, Phil Jimenez, said "It feels strange to me that we would partition race, gender and nerd as if they were distinct things...All human beings are this combination of experiences and ideologies. […] Everybody’s get some nerd in them. But the idea that, somehow, being a nerd is separate from one’s religious or moral or political beliefs is strange to me. We all bring everything to our decision-making on a daily basis.”
    • Fusion.net reported on the success of various actor-led charity campaigns. "Padalecki’s campaign is the latest example of a burgeoning form of celebrity activism—one inextricably intertwined with social media and the nerdiest brand of superfandom. The new activism is kicked off by a star—in this case, the lead of a show that has a massive following on Tumblr—but powered by his admirers. (Incidentally, all examples involve male stars and their largely female fan bases.) The star, in turn, interacts with fans about the campaign, energizing the cause. Everyone feels good knowing they’re fighting for the same thing."

    What cases have you seen of fans coming together? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Global Rights

    By thatwasjustadream on Neděle, 12 April 2015 - 4:25 odpoledne
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    image of a seated person with arms on a table, one hand holding a small globe with the words OTW Fannews Global Rights over the image

    • The EFF reported on Japanese fans and organizations protesting the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). "In addition to opposing lengthy copyright terms, the anime and fan-art community are also concerned about the TPP's criminal enforcement provisions. There is a particular section that says that 'competent authorities may act upon their own initiative to initiate a legal action without the need for a formal complaint' by the copyright holder. The fear is that this would lead to a major crackdown on derivative works, including written or drawn fan fiction, recorded music covers of songs, or cosplayers, who may upload photos of themselves dressed as characters."
    • Le Devoir.com wrote about the origins of fanfiction. "To understand the phenomenon of fanfiction...begin by remixing the famous list of Daniel Pennac's "The Rights of the Reader," which will become those of "the consumer." Literature becomes just a commodity, and it's permissible to do whatever we want. From one chapter to another, the reader is free to react, to have equal exchanges with the author, to make special demands, or even to write his own fanfiction." (Article in French).
    • lesen.net focused more on legal issues than the rights of the author. "The law is also problematic when it comes to the inventions of fanfic writers. There are stories where, in addition to well-known people, original characters occur in crossover stories which combine different book universes. Behind the new characters and the stories themselves are original, but unprotected, ideas. Original characters outside of the accepted world in principle belong to the rights-holders of the (story's) world. Meanwhile, within the fanfiction community virtually all characters and plots can be easily transferred and plagiarized." (Article in German).
    • The Washington Post also discussed appropriation in art using a variety of different examples. "There are no perfect, lawyerly answers to this. But general rules apply: The artist must add something — an idea, a nuance, a criticism — to the work he or she appropriates; it mustn’t be done simply to deceive; and no one should prosper by borrowing if it comes at the expense of another artist."

    Where have you seen fans standing up for their rights? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: The Mirror Writers

    By Claudia Rebaza on Pátek, 10 April 2015 - 5:32 odpoledne
    Message type:

    Banner by Alice of a fountain tip pen dragging away from a mirror

    • A number of media articles have recently mentioned fanfiction in relation with the pro side of writing. One was in TIME where Rhys Griffiths discusses the continuation novel. Describing various works not written by the original authors, Rhys calls them an attempt "to obscure the act of literary ventriloquism that is occurring. The continuation novel differs from fan fiction (also enjoying a purple patch, which is unlikely to be a coincidence) chiefly in its ‘official’ nature. The books are commissioned by the deceased author’s estate, written with its approval, and marketed using both author’s brand associations."
    • A more direct example of 'literary ventriloquism' appeared in Flavorwire, which posted about fiction ghostwriting. "In this respect, both the YouTube megastar and the self-effacing ghostwriter are weirdly analogous to the writer of fanfiction and the self-published author, both of whom publishing has gone to great lengths to exploit in recent years. The now competing self-publishing models of Apple and Amazon point to an automated future...of a 'consumer' driven model that relies on upvoting." The article concludes that "The fact that the reader gets to choose 'precisely what she wants to read before any work goes to press,' neutralizes the dream of fiction...to alter what we think is possible. It becomes nothing but a magic mirror that reaffirms our prejudices."
    • It is writers' prejudices that concern Jordan West, who gives advice on diversifying characters in fanfiction. "As much diversity as there is in fan communities, it shouldn’t be difficult for people to find reflections of themselves in fic. Fan works aren’t restrained by the same conventions as mainstream media, so we can’t blame editors or producers for telling us what we’re allowed to write. The go-to feeling for reading a fic should be based on whether you like it, not gratitude that it even exists."
    • Games Radar profiled tie-in novelist Karen Traviss, who discussed both the freedoms and restrictions of being paid to write for a gaming franchise. "One guy told me he'd proudly showed the first novel to his family to demonstrate that the game that had kept him working almost 24/7 for the last couple of years was something that had an existence beyond gameplay, and that a novelist, an 'independent' arbiter of its worth in a way, had seen the same magic in it that he had. I thought that was very touching, and I don't use the word touching about the industry very often."

    Where are the lines you see between fanworks and their pro counterparts? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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