Financial Support, Open Doors, Spotlight
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.
Financial Support, Legal Advocacy, Legal Committee, Spotlight
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 Legal committee is also happy to assist fans who have questions regarding non-commercial fanworks. You can contact the Legal committee here.
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.
Archive of Our Own, Financial Support, Spotlight
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.
Financial Support, Journal Committee, Spotlight
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!
Development & Membership Committee, Announcement
Why do you participate in fandom?
For many of us, the answer to that question is love — love of a favorite TV show, video game, or band; love of fannish communities and the friends we make there; or love of the creative process involved in transforming canon to create something new. Fans put in long hours making and consuming fanworks, traveling to conventions, moderating communities, and chatting about their latest fannish passions — not out of obligation, not for pay, but because it brings us joy.
Like so many other fannish endeavors, the Organization for Transformative Works is a labor of love. We’re a nonprofit organization run entirely by fans, for fans, which relies on the generous support of donors and volunteers. During our membership drive from now through April 9, we invite you to become an OTW member by making a donation of US$10 or more. Your donation will help to sustain Fanlore, the Archive of Our Own, Transformative Works and Cultures, Open Doors, and our legal advocacy work. If you donate US$50 or more, you can opt to receive a thank-you gift to proudly show off your support.
Donations to OTW are tax deductible in the United States. If you have questions about donating, please visit our membership FAQ (located at the bottom of the donation page) or contact the Development & Membership committee.
The OTW and its projects depend on the support of fans like you. Be a part of this ongoing labor of love — please donate today.
<div style="text-align:center"><a href="http://transformativeworks.org/how-you-can-help/support"><img src="http://transformativeworks.org/sites/default/files/otwdrive042013.jpg" alt="Fandom Is Love: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9" /></a></div>
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Newsletter, OTW Sections
I. COMPLETING PROJECTS
The Survey workgroup, together with Communications, compiled and released the OTW's 2012 Community Survey Report. The 183 page report contained information from all 89 survey questions and cross-tabulated results. There were 5,895 people who provided feedback about their use of our projects and awareness of our activities. The OTW wants to thank everyone who gave their time and feedback!
Accessibility, Design, & Technology, Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Wiki Committee, Announcement
Here at the OTW, preserving fannish history is a central part of our mission! We're proud to be able to offer fans a place to archive their works on the Archive of Our Own, and tell their own fannish histories on Fanlore. As of March 29, 2013, Fanlore has 24,423 articles which have undergone 439,529 edits, while the Archive of Our Own recently passed 143,000 users, and more than 640,100 works have been posted on the AO3, across over 11,600 fandoms!
OTW Sections, Survey Research, News of Note
Last year the OTW ran a large survey to collect information from its user community about their use of our projects and awareness of our activities. There were 5,895 people who answered. Some early results were reported in the Survey Sunday posts on OTW News.
A report of all the survey results is now complete and is available as a single report (5.65 MB PDF). Given that the survey contained 89 questions and all questions have one or more graphs, this is a long document (183 pages in all). However, it is broken down into sections for the various projects and also includes a cross-tabulated section. We hope it will make for an interesting read!
For those who are interested, here is a look at the table of contents:
Volunteers & Recruiting, Announcement
In April of last year, the Volunteers & Recruiting committee closed active recruiting of volunteers for the OTW and all of its projects. We did not make this decision lightly; we know the organization is entirely reliant on volunteers' generosity with their time. As we are now at a point where we hope to reopen recruiting in the near future, we wanted to take some time to explain the reasons for closing and the work that has been undertaken to improve our volunteer program in the interim in more detail.
Going into 2012, the organization had a system for recruiting that had worked very well in the past. Prospective volunteers completed a form that indicated their willingness to serve and areas of the organization that piqued their interest. The Volunteers & Recruiting committee would then work with committee chairs in an attempt to match those interests up with open places in the organization. As the organization grew in size and scope, so did the number of interested volunteers; the existing recruiting method became time consuming for Volunteers & Recruiting staff and chairs, and resulted in several instances of individuals volunteering for roles that were not accepting new volunteers at the time. These issues became increasingly apparent during the membership drive last April, when we saw a major influx of volunteer interest and had had to turn away skilled and interested potential volunteers due to a lack of available positions.
Volunteers & Recruiting closed external recruiting at that point, with a plan to revise the committee's internal procedures and then investigate and develop a new system of recruiting. Our goal in completing these tasks is to ensure the committee's procedures are up-to-date for each role while putting in place a recruiting system that provides more support to new volunteers while also ensuring chairs and leads can easily recruit for positions they need.
Fanfiction, Fannish Histories, Gaming, News of Note
The past months have produced a rash of discussions on fanfic ranging from the critical to the deeply personal. The Telegraph kicked this off with a complaint about derivative works. "To take entirely against fan fiction is pointless, not least because it’s clearly here to stay...Nor is being derivative necessarily a sin – after all, the writer who tries to create work from inside an influence-free vacuum would probably never type a single word." However, using someone else's building blocks and using only those blocks are "the difference between writing that pays homage to another’s work, and writing that robs that work wholesale of plot, theme and characters."