This is the last in a series of Q&A posts with Graham Reynolds, a Canadian copyright scholar from Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Q&A focuses on Bill C-11, which went into effect near the end of 2012 and made some significant changes to Canada's Copyright Act, some of which influence the way fanworks are treated under Canadian law. The first post, in which Graham answered questions about the general contours of the law and about the law of "fair dealing", is available here. The second post, in which Graham answered questions about the probable effect of the law on fanfiction, fanart, and fanvids, is available here.
Today, Graham addresses Canadian "moral rights," trade-mark rights, and rights of personality; and what the new law means for fanwork creators outside of Canada. Graham explains that creators of noncommercial fanworks may face challenges under Canada's moral rights law, which encompasses rights to integrity and attribution. Creators of non-commercial fanworks are less likely to face problems from Canadian trade-mark laws, but the answer regarding rights of personality is more complicated. Graham also explains that the law may have some impact on fans who are located outside Canada, because the law applies to some Internet activities.
Having completed our most successful drive in OTW history, we'd like to spotlight the work of our Development & Membership Committee ("DevMem"). Among its many accomplishments in 2012, DevMem held two successful membership drives in April and October. The success of these drives, coupled with recurring donations, brought the total raised in 2012 to $90,600. Without the dedication and talent of the DevMem committee members, 2012 would not have been a record-setting year in fundraising. We were able to do a Q+A with two members of DevMem, Aja and Lesann, in the weeks before this drive despite their busy schedules!
This is the second in a series of Q&A posts with Graham Reynolds, a Canadian copyright scholar from Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Q&A focuses on Bill C-11, which went into effect near the end of 2012 and made some significant changes to Canada's Copyright Act, some of which influence the way fanworks are treated under Canadian law. The first post, in which Graham answered questions about the general contours of the law and about the law of "fair dealing", is available here.
Near the end of 2012, a law called Bill C-11 made some significant changes to Canada's Copyright Act, some of which influence the way fanworks are treated under Canadian law. With that in mind, we're bringing you a series of Q&A posts written by Graham Reynolds, an Assistant Professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Graham teaches and researches in the areas of copyright law, intellectual property law, property law, and the intersection of intellectual property and human rights, so he's the perfect person to explain how the changes are likely to influence the law of fanworks in Canada.
We posed a series of questions to Graham, and will be posting his answers in this space over the next couple of weeks. These answers aren't legal advice, and if you need specific legal advice Graham (and we) advise you to consult with a lawyer and/or send a query to the OTW Legal Committee.
Today, Graham answers two questions: first about the general contours of the law, and second about the law of "fair dealing" (which is a like the U.S. concept of "fair use," but as explained below, is somewhat different) In the latter, Graham walks through the requirements of what it takes for a fanwork to be considered "fair dealing" under the law.
A quick search for the term "love" on Fanlore brings up nearly 7,000 results. In comparison, the term "write" brings up just under 5,000 results, there are just over 2,000 uses of "vid," and "art" is mentioned roughly 6,500 times. This seems appropriate, as the heart of fandom is about loving something. We are fans because we pour our passion into something we love, whether it be a band, a video game, or a novel.
In the age of the internet, one great way to say you love something — aside from 'i <3 u,' that is — is to create a wiki about it. Fanlore, OTW's wiki, is a living record of all things fannish, dynamic and regularly changing. The "stories" that reside on Fanlore are ones told by fans whose love for a genre, work, fandom activity, or moment in fan history led them to create an entry and tell the story in their own words. Fanlore itself is the story beneath the story: it is the fan-run support structure that allows these stories to be stored and accessed by other fans.
The fan community deserves to see our tale told and to have somewhere we can use our own voice to tell the tale. Fanlore provides a place to do so, one cared for and maintained by fans themselves in yet another show of — you guessed it — love.
When people talk about OTW's Open Doors committee, it's often about their efforts to sustain and preserve fansites. These can be put at risk by any number of things. Open Doors does the slow, careful work of importing other fan archives onto AO3 so the works they hold will not be lost to future fans.
But Open Doors has another project which people may not know about: the Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP). FCPP is a joint venture with the University of Iowa to archive physical items from fan history such as 'zines, flyers, fanvids, t-shirts and other fan-made ephemera.
Although part of the University's Special Collections, the FCPP is open to the public. Any fan who visits the library can view the collections without needing special permission. All you need is a desire to learn more about the history of fan culture, a willingness to follow the library's rules, and some time to spend curled up in the library.
The OTW is committed to defending the right to create and distribute fanworks, and our Legal Advocacy project is at the forefront of these efforts.
We're particularly proud of our work on Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions for makers of noncommercial remix videos such as fan vids, AMVs, and political remix videos. OTW staffers testified before the US Copyright Office in 2009 and 2012 to help win these exemptions, in partnership with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other like-minded organizations, and we were victorious both times. The noncommercial remix exemption takes away the threat that vidders' works — though transformative, fair uses — would still be considered unlawful under US law because of the way in which they may have acquired their source footage.
We're also gaining a valuable network of allies in the larger free-expression, pro-fair-use activist world. As well as working closely with EFF, we've had positive interactions with groups such as the Documentary Filmmakers' Association and USC-Annenberg's Norman Lear Center.
Volunteers from Legal have also worked on contributing to the Wikipedia page on legal issues in fanfiction to provide a more law-based discussion of fans' rights; advising fans who have received DMCA takedown notifications; and filing amicus briefs in three cases with implications for fans and fanworks.
The OTW is a dedicated champion of fans' rights, with an established track record of success — but there are many battles, large and small, still to be fought. Help us fight those battles — please donate today.
The Archive of Our Own is growing rapidly! We now have over 145,000 registered users, and about 275,000 unique visitors a day. All these visitors rack up roughly 4.3 million pageviews a day (that's almost 3,000 a minute on average). It cost more than US$52,000 to keep the Archive up and running in 2012. Our costs will only increase as the Archive continues to grow, and we anticipate spending at least US$70,000 in 2013.
The Archive is funded entirely by donations to the Organization for Transformative Works. As part of the OTW's membership drive, we'd like to share some details of what we have to pay for and how much it all costs.
The OTW launched the Symposium blog in 2010 to give fans and academics a place to publish meta together, and to signal-boost great ideas and info on fans that weren't finding an audience. This year, we've revamped the blog into the shiny Fanhackers.
More insightful and relevant academic, fannish and other meta is being created now than ever before, but a lot of these useful ideas never get beyond the borders of wherever they were published. Academic meta on fans remains hard to access — it's often locked in expensive books and journals, or written in needlessly complicated and inaccessible language. Fannish meta is scattered all around the internet. Activists working on topics like copyright and open culture often publish ideas that are incredibly relevant to fans, but many of those ideas never reach fannish spaces. We have so much info, and yet so much of it goes to waste.
Fanhackers is a small project with big dreams. We want to experiment with new ways to get info on fans from wherever it is to whoever needs it, in a way that really makes a difference. That means sharing the good ideas in formats that people are actually likely to read, like short quotes with the key parts from long books or articles. It also means sharing the good ideas in places where people are actually likely to stumble across them — like Tumblr, Twitter, Pinboard, LiveJournal or Dreamwidth — instead of locking them up on separate websites. It also means making sure that people who need help finding an inaccessible resource like an expensive academic paper have a place to get help. Because Fanhackers is very much an experimental project, we can try things out at will to see what works and what doesn't, which is a pretty liberating way to work.
Fanhackers started out small, but it's already been a far busier first month than we expected. And there's so much around the corner: expanding onto Twitter, translating quotes and short posts from meta in Japanese (and hopefully other languages), publishing a tagged and sorted bibliography of academic works on fans to make those even easier to find, and exploring all the great things in the newest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, to name just a few.
Fanhackers and Transformative Works and Cultures proudly honour the OTW's commitment to encourage and share fannish and academic analysis of fan culture. We love fandom, and everything it stands for — to help us continue Fanhackers and other labours of love, please donate today!
The OTW's Systems teams work behind the scenes to support, manage, and maintain all the technical systems needed to run the OTW and its projects, such as the Archive of Our Own and Fanlore.
Systems' work mostly happens behind the scenes, but they are BUSY, fielding requests from all parts of the organization and working hard to keep all our sites up and responsive. Systems team members have to be 'on call' in order to deal with emergencies at any time of the day or night: if the Archive of Our Own goes down, it's Systems who fly to the rescue (while over 130 thousand users wait impatiently!).
2012 was a particularly demanding year for Systems because of the speed with which the OTW and its projects grew. Over 2,970,103 people now access the Archive of Our Own in the course of a month, up from 808,000 a year ago. Meanwhile, Fanlore has also grown, passing 400,000 edits in 2012, and other projects have continued to develop. Managing these projects and their volunteers also requires technical resources, and Systems have helped the OTW to transition to some more effective tools over the past year.