• OTW Fannews: Coming Attractions

    Von Claudia Rebaza am Dienstag, 12 Januar 2016 - 5:18pm

    A female figure dancing against a blue and pink sky 'OTW Fannews Coming Attractions'

    • Both the Wall Street Journal and The Global Times wrote about China's approach to fanworks and intellectual property. The Journal reported on Alibaba Pictures' plans to "no longer hire professional screenwriters. Instead it would gather material from online forums and fan fiction writers to compete with each other over screenwriting credit." Although screenwriters protested, others felt this was the wave of the future. "The rising demand for quality content with a built-in fanbase has driven up the price of such ideas in general, especially popular online fiction that is well-embraced by the country’s young generation."
    • The Times gave some background on the culture Alibaba planned to exploit. "An increasing number of Chinese IP owners are realizing the value of tongren authors - they are creative, enthusiastic and inexpensive. This year's hit TV series The Journey of Flower and The Legend of Langya were promoted using fan-made music. Journey to the West: Hero is Back produced official derivatives based on ideas submitted by fan designers. Many games, movies and TV series have also begun encouraging fans to create tongren works, even going so far as to hold competitions so they can discover talented authors and painters as well."
    • The Disruptive Competition Project hosted a post about what the Internet should look like in coming years. "Let’s start with Fandoms: they wouldn’t exist without platforms, and show why competing platforms give geeks what they want. Users naturally flock to the platform which best suits their particular fascination, and what the internet helps do is enable an level of intensity that simply couldn’t exist before." The EU wants to know more about users' needs. "They’ve launched a consultation — you have until the end of the year to respond — to 'better understand the social and economic role of platforms, market trends, the dynamics of platform-development and the various business models underpinning platforms.'”
    • Slate wrote about the stars of YouNow, dubbing it "the social network you’ve probably never heard of" and discussing the engagement of fans with its broadcasters. "'His supporters are on another level. I can’t even explain it'... Alex From Target, for instance, has seven times as many Twitter followers as Zach does. But when it comes to fan engagement—the number of RTs, likes, and comments the guys rack up, tweet for tweet—Zach’s metrics blow Alex out of the water. Zach’s fans are simply more obsessed. 'All these kids are getting crazy impressions,' Dooney says, and when they work together, 'it’s like the Power Rangers combining to become Megazord.'”

    Do you know about the next big thing in fandom? 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.

  • Save the Link Needs Your Voice

    Von Janita Burgess am Freitag, 20 November 2015 - 5:50pm

    Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

    As we announced in July, the OTW has partnered with the Save the Link coalition in an effort to prevent countries around the world from creating laws that would punish online services for linking to disfavored material or otherwise harm people’s right to use hyperlinks online.

    Using Copyright Law to Kill Hyperlinks?

    Recently, a draft communication on copyright reform in the European Union was leaked. This document reveals that the European Commission is considering new copyright rules that could restrict the ability of online platform (like the AO3, Tumblr, and other fan favorite sites) to contain links to copyrighted material, or could even make those platforms legally liable for content posted by their users. Earlier this year, the European Parliament firmly rejected a proposal that could have resulted in a new EU-wide ‘Link Tax’, and this leaked document appears to be an attempt to raise the issue once more.

    In addition to raising the issue of "ancillary copyright" (that is, extending the concept of copyright infringement beyond copying, to include mere linking to copyrighted material), the leaked document also suggests adopting stronger laws regarding "intermediary liability"--that is, laws that would make online platforms legally liable for content posted by their users.

    "If these proposals proceed unchanged, it would effectively change the Internet beyond all recognition,” said Meghan Sali, digital rights specialist for OpenMedia. “Without links to lead us around the Web, the content we want to see would be locked away. Even giant websites like Facebook and Twitter may end up censoring content if they think they’ll be liable for everything their users link to. That’s why it’s crucial for users across the globe to speak directly to the Commission and tell them to reject this reckless plan.”

    These proposals come on the heels of some worrying new laws and rulings in Germany, Spain, Russia, and Canada, and at the same time that similar efforts are being made in the US.

    What You Can Do

    Save the Link has recently launched an Internet Voice Tool to collect feedback on this issue. The European Commission has requested input from internet users, and Save the Link's Internet Voice Tool allows you to easily submit information about your own opinions and online experiences. The more feedback they receive, the more evidence they have that copyrighting links would drastically change the internet for the worse. Share your voice today!

    banner with a silhouette of a world map with various locations connected by dotted lines and the text Censoring Links Breaks the Internet Speak Out at

  • OTW Fannews: OTW Sightings

    Von Janita Burgess am Dienstag, 8 September 2015 - 4:31pm

    OTW Fannews banner by Ania Kopertowska with a picture of a viewfinder overlooking a river with the words OTW Sightings

    • Members of OTW's Legal Committee have proposed panels for next year's South By Southwest (SXSW) conference on fair use and fandom. They are asking for fans to support the inclusion of these panels by either logging in to the SXSW official website and upvoting a session on its info page, or by commenting via Disqus on that session’s info page. The panels are Copyright & Creators: 2026 and FYeahCopyright and Fanworks.
    • MediaPost discussed when and how creators should try to target fans in order to help promote a project. "The first thing entertainment marketers should do when looking to harness the power of fandoms is to understand what makes them tick...Go beyond the obvious appeal of a TV show – the characters, plot lines and themes – and dig into the details and nuances such as vernacular, recurring motifs and magical moments that empower fans and make them feel like part of something bigger."
    • Gizmodo provided a lengthy look at AO3 features as part of offering a guide to the "best fanfiction" available. One thing not mentioned were bookmark searches and the rec feature. However the post did mention how "[u]sers on Tumblr, Livejournal and other networks will often curate 'recs' pages of what they consider the best stories. So if the sorting options on AO3 aren’t enough, do a web search for a pairing or fandom and related recommendations, like 'harry potter fic recs.' Individual, dedicated archives in the older style still exist as well."

    What OTW sightings have you seen around the web? 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: Staying Vigilant

    Von .EliseThrasher am Sonntag, 30 August 2015 - 7:04pm

    Text backgound overlayed with a Batman Mask alongside the article title OTW Fannews: Staying Vigilant

    • The Japan News posted a story about how a Trans-Pacific Partnership crackdown could affect fanfiction publishing. "[T]he 12 nations engaged in the TPP negotiations are building a consensus that would allow for prosecution of copyright infringement without the need for a formal complaint, but instead based on reports from third parties or an independent judgement by an investigative authority." This contrasts with Japan's current system, "copyright infringement can only be investigated after a formal complaint from the creator of the original work or its rights holder."
    • Changes to their system would also allow for many false claims to result in takedowns. Kotaku reported on the widespread action against videos that had no connection to copyrighted content. "Last week, the anti-piracy firm Entura International, which frequently works with Pixels distributor Columbia Pictures, filed a big old DMCA complaint—as first reported by TorrentFreak—that goes after a bunch of videos not for pirating or violating copyright in any way, but for using the word “Pixels,” which it turns out was invented in 2015 by Adam Sandler."
    • The Daily Dot reported on an alarming development connected to Windows 10's End User License Agreement. "Microsoft won't hesitate to make sure the programs and games you have installed on your computer are legitimate, and if not, it has the right to disable them." The agreement includes preventing "unauthorized hardware peripheral devices" but who determines legitimate use could be a problem.

    What areas do you think fans should remain vigilant about? 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.

  • Happy SysAdmin Day!

    Von Kiri Van Santen am Freitag, 31 Juli 2015 - 4:12pm

    Graphic by Aga of the OTW logo and the logos for AO3, TWC, Open Doors and Fanlore

    In honour of this year's SysAdmin Day, the OTW would like to salute system administrators everywhere for their hard work! We'd especially like to thank our own staff for the work they do to support the OTW and our projects.

    Our Systems Committee maintains the infrastructure that runs the Archive of Our Own, the site for Open Doors, and the platforms that host both Transformative Works & Cultures and the Fanhackers blog. They’re also the committee that makes sure Fanlore's servers are running properly.

    Internally, Systems is responsible for the servers that host our email, internal documents, and volunteer records, and they research what our tech needs will likely be in the coming years.

    Systems is hard at work 365 days a year, keeping the OTW running. They even get out of bed in the middle of the night to fix unexpected issues!

    Systems—thank you for everything you do! <3

  • OTW Joins Save The Link

    Von Kiri Van Santen am Mittwoch, 29 Juli 2015 - 3:56pm

    Banner by Diane with the outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement'

    The OTW is proud to join the Save The Link campaign. The campaign, led by Open Media International, stands for the proposition that linking is the foundation of the Web and is essential to freedom of expression online. The OTW, together with the other Save the Link members, believe it is wrong to censor links to content or otherwise penalize services for utilizing hyperlinks.

    The Save the Link campaign is a global response to attempts in various places around the world to block sites, block links, and limit the way people can link to news sites. Of particular relevance to to fans and fan culture are recent attempts in the European Union and Australia to make websites liable for the content on the other end of every single link posted using their platform, and to legally block websites that even do as little as linking to infringing content. We are glad to be part of a group of vigilant watchers who will help us inform the public about such reactionary policies.

    To find out more, visit the Save the Link Campaign at and watch its video on YouTube.

  • OTW Guest Post: Donna Davies

    Von Janita Burgess am Montag, 27 Juli 2015 - 4:27pm

    Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    Today's post is an interview with Donna Davies, the writer, director and producer behind the documentary Fanarchy. The documentary explores how new affordable technology is allowing fans to threaten the Hollywood system by producing the films they want to see in quantities Hollywood can't keep up with. It premiered July 9 on Epix Drive-in.

    What inspired you to make this documentary?

    I made a documentary about the Hollywood film industry that featured some pretty high profile directors and discovered that several had made their own homemade tributes to the stories and movies they loved when they were kids. I was intrigued by the fact that these individuals were all inspired by the TV shows, books and movies they loved as children and were really still fans at heart. I wanted to look deeper into the idea of fandom as artistic inspiration.

    What is your personal history with fandom?

    I'm a fan of the old Hammer horror films, like The Curse of the Werewolf, Horror of Dracula, etc. I'm also a huge fan of Dylan Thomas. Not really a fan of superhero movies, although I did love the Super Chicken and Underdog cartoon superheroes.

    What was the biggest revelation when you were making Fanarchy?

    I was amazed by how powerful fans have become. As a result on fans and their desire to be part of the world they love, the entertainment industry has completely changed. It's become less passive than in has been in the past. It's become more of a participatory sport.

    What has the reaction to Fanarchy been, and what surprised you about that?

    I had imagined the San Diego Comic-Con crowd would relate to the film, but I didn't expect to have so much interest from the those who aren't involved in the fan community. The idea of ownership of story and copyright is clearly more relevant now then ever before in history.

    How do the philosophies of the OTW (such as that fanworks are fair use, female spaces and representations should be encouraged) fit with what you found?

    Early on in the process of making the film, I interviewed [OTW Legal Staffer] Rebecca Tushnet. Rebecca provided insight into the legal implications from the fan's perspective. I also interviewed media expert Jeff Ulin, a lawyer who had worked for Disney and Lucasfilm, where he managed worldwide distribution including the franchise sales for Star Wars. These two experts gave me insight into of the vast divide that often exists between the fans and the copyright holders.

    I was worried at the start of making the film, because, although I had dealt with fair use in previous docs, I had never pushed things this far before. Although the fan films featured in the doc have been available on the Internet, until now they haven't been broadcast on traditional television. Here's hoping I don't end up in jail.

    In all seriousness, I think we're making huge progress in the area of fair use in documentary film. I can do things today that were not possible just 10 years ago.

    As for female spaces, while fan culture is absolutely rooted in female culture, I think that has primarily been the "story" side. The "film" production side has traditionally tended to bias towards males. However with accessible distribution methods and affordable technology that is changing.

    My film is really looking primarily at fan films and TV shows, not literature or vidding. I'm totally fascinated by that side though, so maybe that's my next film!

    The main character of Fanarchy is Maya Glick, a black woman from Texas who, through the making of my doc ends up achieving her goal of making her own fan-film tribute to [Marvel character] Storm. I also feature several other female characters, including Brea Grant who, after much success acting in Hollywood films and TV shows like Friday Night Lights, Heroes, and Dexter, went on to write her own comic book, then engaged with her fans to eventually make her own feature film.

    There's also Stephanie Thorpe, who, along with her producing partner Paula Rhodes, made a loving fan tribute to their favourite childhood comic book series, Elfquest, and then used that fan film to convince the copyright holders to give them the rights to make the Elfquest TV series.

    In addition to Rebecca Tushnet, the film features other female experts such as film critic Maitland McDonagh and journalist Heidi Honeycutt.

    What are your thoughts on the monetization of fanworks?

    This is a tricky area to navigate. Some fans just want to play with the stories and characters they love. I believe that these fans should be able to do so freely. And I think that this has become more and more acceptable.

    Copyright holders are beginning to understand that these fans are not harming their franchises. It's very difficult to prove that these homages take away money from the original works. However fans still have to be careful. They have to walk a very fine line between freedom to express their fandom and directly profiting monetarily from that fandom. The fans who want to use their fan works to build a fan base can easily do so. Doing a fan film about Batman enables the filmmaker of that fan film to reach out to other fans, and gain an audience for an original film that they can legally profit from.

    Things are evolving very quickly. Some fan films are becoming so professional it is impossible to tell them from the original. Fan filmmakers who are doing these super pro films are hoping that they can eventually make a deal with original copyright holders to share in any profits that could be made from the fan works.

    They are always going to be fans who just want to do this for themselves as a labour of love on the one hand and on the other hand those who want to use the fan work as a calling card to break into a career.

    Finally, how can fans who've missed the previous airings watch Fanarchy?

    The film will be broadcast on Epix Drive-in throughout the summer. It will be available on Netflix in October.

    We're also doing the film festival circuit now and broadcasting in Canada in the fall.

  • OTW Fannews: Balance of Power

    Von Kiri Van Santen am Dienstag, 14 Juli 2015 - 5:43pm

    banner by Tea Berry-Blue of a balance scale

    • Gamasutra hosted a post about the preservation of gaming history. "The second event – the most relevant and sadly the one that got less coverage – was that EFF made a petition to the U.S. Copyright Office, requesting an exemption to allow for games abandoned by their companies – such as MMOs that no longer have servers online – to be legally maintained by the fans. That is a fantastic thing both for consumers and for the preservation of our history – either companies keep their servers up, or they are giving permission for others to do so. So it doesn't come as a surprise that the Electronic Software Association also contacted the U.S. Copyright Office, pressuring them to deny EFF's request, supported by their buddies, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America – yes, those two also contacted the Copyright Office to pressure against the preservation of video games."
    • A post at Fansided suggested that it's not only the entertainment industries that don't have the best interests of fans at heart: technology companies also have an effect on fannish practices. "Look, if you’re watching the game at home by yourself...split your attention between your TV and your tablet/smartphone/laptop/whatever...But if you’re out in a public space that’s clearly meant to encourage a communal viewing experience, then put your phone away and be present in the damn moment." Exploring the pluses and minuses of tech use, writer Stu White adds "[Y]ou are told that by not participating in this second-screen culture, you run the risk of isolating yourself, of becoming an outsider, of becoming somehow deficient. Fears regarding outsiderness run deep, thus they are easy for brands to capitalize on. Are you worried about being isolated from the world? Then buy our product! We are the only viable path to connectedness and community."
    • On the other side, fans' loyalties may lie in interpretation. Writing about the new novel in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, The New York Times focused on how much 50 Shades fanfic is out there, as well as how much more satisfying readers might find it. "At this point, Ms. Fougner, who has published the equivalent of five novels totaling some 3,500 pages, has written far more about Christian and Anastasia than their creator has. 'I prefer her writing to E. L. James’s writing,' Ms. Brueggemann said...Another one of Ms. Fougner’s devoted readers...said that she read 'Grey' when it came out on Thursday and found it lacking compared with Ms. Fougner’s version. 'I know ‘Grey’s’ going to be a letdown for me...I’ve already read it through Emine’s eyes, and I honestly don’t think E. L. James can touch her version of Christian.'"
    • Trek Movie was among those who interviewed a fan who pitched their TV series idea to Paramount. "Michael Gummelt, owner of (formerly and creator of the fan concept of the same name has been invited by Paramount to pitch his idea for a new Star Trek television series to the network, an unprecedented opportunity rarely (if ever) afforded to non-industry professionals. The concept, now titled Star Trek Uncharted, has been in the works for 20 years and takes place several decades after the time of Captain Kirk and the original Enterprise."

    What cases of fan and entertainment industry interaction have you observed? 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: Fanficcers for Hire

    Von Claudia Rebaza am Sonntag, 29 März 2015 - 4:51pm

    Banner by Erin of a series of graph bars and the OTW logo

    • Westword featured a story on another app targeted to fandom for content aggregation. It allows users to create separate collections, or 'nests', for different fandom content. Its creator "examined how many people watch certain shows, what percentage are female, the number of fan fictions posted online, and how many hits those fictions garner. As a result, she can now confidently estimate that there are about 10 million fangirls" in the US.
    • The Verge was among several sites discussing the new Wattpad app which promises to curate content for users. "The app is curated, breaking its mature-rated stories up by content-specific channels such as 'southern romance,' 'urban,' and 'panty droppers.' As on Wattpad itself, users can comment and vote through the app, which for now, is only available on the App Store. The app will also feature regular romance stories alongside its fan fiction, but Melissa Shapiro, Wattpad's head of marketing, says it's the celeb-focused stories that drove the app's creation. 'On the heels of the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, interest in mature stories has spiked,' Shapiro said."
    • Apparently erotica is in such demand that some are hiring fanficcers to write it. Seven Days interviewed a Vermont-based ghostwriter. "After she left her corporate job because of childcare issues, Croteau relates, she searched for freelance writing work on the networking platform oDesk. She "found that there were a number of people looking to have someone write an erotica story or a romance story for them. I thought, 'I used to write it for fanfic [fan fiction]; might as well,' she recalls, "and found that there's something really fun about writing about sex.'"
    • While nothing's stopping fanficcers from finding a platform to sell from, The Globe and Mail looked at the After Dark app as part of Wattpad's reader battle with Amazon. "Instead of major publishing houses deciding who gets printed, it’s readers themselves who choose, McIlroy said. 'The most radical thing is the passionate interaction between the writer and reader that’s not intermediated by a bunch of pompous fools who say, ‘We know better than any of you.’' Other players are sure to appear. "[D]igital authors are attracting crowdfunding, online readers have become editors and stories are being turned into games by companies such as Google Inc.’s Niantic Labs."

    Where have you seen fanficcers hired to write for pay? 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: Fandom Advice

    Von Janita Burgess am Donnerstag, 19 Februar 2015 - 5:51pm

    OTW Fannews Banner Fandom Advice by Bremo

    • One fanfiction reader turned writer based on his wife's advice as reported by Houma Today. "Nearly 15 years ago, Caldwell discovered online discussion boards and began reading fan fiction... Barbara, his wife of 16 years, inquired about his reading material. 'He said it was Jane Austen fan fiction, and he explained it to me... He told me about the stories out there, and he would critique them. As we were reading them, he kept saying ‘They missed it.' or ‘They left this hole here.' Finally, I had enough of that, and I said ‘Prove it. Prove that you can write better.'"
    • One mother tried to advise her daughter to abandon the stalking aspects of her fannishness. "'You know being a fan girl is a little bit like being a stalker,' I explained gently. 'But me and my friends like being stalkers,' laughed my teen. 'I just wish they would stalk me back!' Weeks later my daughter's phone was cut off and when I rang the phone company to enquire why they said she'd overrun her call limit with texts and calls to America. Knowing my child didn't know anyone Stateside I guessed her 'fangirling' was behind it... I confiscated my teen's phone and banned her from all fangirling for a week. Monitoring my child's ability to stalk wasn't something I'd have added to the list of 'mothering skills' but it's on there today."
    • The Ask Weezy advice column for teens gave advice more directly when it received a question from a user. The writer was worried about a friend he met there visiting him because his parents didn't know he regularly visited the site.
    • Blogger Jenny Cee posted advice about software and apps that would make fannish life easier. "Are you freaking tired of seeing that one ship come up over and over again as you trying to find a good fic read? Is there that one trope you can not stand, and if you see it one more time you will just lose it? Then yeah, then go ahead and install the greasemonkey (firefox) or tampermonkey (chrome), and scoot your butt over to the Greasy Fork and install the A03 savior. It’s has a bit of learning curve, but they are some helpful tutorials on how to set it up."

    What advice have you seen fans giving eachother? 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.


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