Intellectual Property

  • OTW Fannews: Global Rights

    By thatwasjustadream on Domenica, 12 April 2015 - 4:25pm
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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: Building and Re-Building

    By thatwasjustadream on Giovedì, 2 April 2015 - 9:39pm
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    OTW Fannews Building and Rebuilding graphic by Rachel G with an image of the YouTube logo being broken apart

    • The Prince Albert Daily Herald wrote about a fanfiction author whose path to publication involved plagiarism. "Another series she’s working on centres on the fictional Red Rebels motorcycle club, which was inspired by the television series Sons of Anarchy. It started off as a Sons of Anarchy fan fiction novel she wrote and was stolen by someone online who stripped it of the television references and tried to pass it off as an original novel of their own. The rip-off garnered some positive reviews, so Breadner decided to give motorcycle club fiction a try."
    • Rosalyn Hunter wrote about her experience with fan video takedowns. "I posted the work on You Tube and others were able to find it. They gave me comments and encouragement to go on and try again. I had begun the learning process. I was pleased, but this positive experience was not to continue. My next videos were found to have content matching commercial works, and so they were either blocked worldwide, or removed entirely...I created a video and posted it as a private work. This work too received a content warning. Others were not able to view and comment on the work...I was told in one case that I could erase the music and pick a piece from their music library, but the images were integrated with the music. To remove the music would upset the unity of the work so that it would make no sense."
    • The Asian Age reported on expected takedowns. "[A] massive crackdown by Google on Blogger, its popular global blogging community, will effectively ban all ‘mature’ creative content from the site." As of 2012, Google made it easier to censor Blogger content by country. "Adult fanfiction writer Khyati Gupta, who has been writing an ongoing work-in-progess of erotica for almost six months now, shares...'To me, a blog always meant a space where I could be myself, express myself freely and share my creative musings with a host of people who don’t personally know me and are therefore better placed to give me completely objective feedback. It was that one space where I didn’t have to restrain my imagination. Erotica is a fairly marginalised genre in India as far as paperbacks go.”
    • By comparison the Apocalypse Weird franchise centers on collaboration. "The creative collaboration on Apocalypse Weird is scheduled to include 20 authors, with two new titles releasing each month. There are also plans for a fan-fiction thread, in which readers will be able to expand on the stories of their favourite characters with the chance of their contributions becoming canon in the Apocalypse Weird universe. There’s an impressive level of creativity and ambition in this indie publishing collaboration, something too often missing from mainstream publishing today."

    What examples of takedowns or collaboration have you experienced? 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.

  • 10 Fair Use Misconceptions

    By Kiri Van Santen on Mercoledì, 25 February 2015 - 7:29pm
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    This is Fair Use Week 2015 in the U.S. which takes place from February 23-27. The event is held to raise public awareness of the importance the rights of individuals, nonprofits like schools and libraries, and even corporations like Google and The New York Times have when it comes to copyright. Today we're following up on yesterday's post which explained how Fair Use works in the U.S. - and we're looking at some misconceptions about Fair Use.

    Fair Use is a kind of infringement, right?

    Nope! Fair Use is a lawful use of copyright. That's what the law says, and it's also what the Northern District of California said in the case of Lenz v. Universal Music back in 2008. If your new work is a Fair Use of someone's copyrighted work, you're not infringing on that work. Also, fair use isn't a license; the whole point is that you don't need the copyright owner's permission. (Just imagine if a copyright owner had to grant permission every time someone created a parody that was critical of the original - they probably wouldn't!)

    If a site has ads, nothing I put on there can be Fair Use, right?

    Nope! For two reasons. First, while many hosting sites are moneymaking ventures, that doesn't mean that the people posting their works there are engaged in commercial use. People who post their fanworks on YouTube aren't making money from those works - if anyone is, it's YouTube or their advertisers. (But as a reminder, the AO3 is entirely nonprofit and noncommercial, and is dedicated to providing a platform for fanworks with no ads.)

    Second, even if someone is engaged in a moneymaking venture, they still might be engaged in Fair Use. While the commercial aspects of a project are one of the factors a court looks at when determining if a use is Fair Use, it's not the only factor. So while the Organization for Transformative Works is a nonprofit, and our legal advocacy team focuses on noncommercial works, we do want to note that commercial works can also be noninfringing because of Fair Use.

    As noted copyright expert Judge Pierre Leval of the Second Circuit stated last year in arguments regarding whether Google Books' scans of entire books was a Fair Use, “The classic fair use cases are commercial. I would be surprised if [one is] going to win by pleading that Google, like the New York Times, is a profit-making enterprise.” In fact, US courts have found many commercial uses to be fair. One example of a commercial work found to be fair use is the (commercially published) book The Wind Done Gone, which retold the story of Gone with the Wind from the perspective of the slave characters. A more recent example was addressed in 2013 in the case of Cariou v. Prince; in that case, artist Richard Prince purchased a book of photos by Patrick Cariou, and painted over the photographs, selling his "appropriative" art at prices in the many thousands of dollars. (In fact, some sold for two million dollars or more.) The court found that most of Prince's works were Fair Use.

    Fair Use only covers uses that criticize or comment on the original copyrighted work, right?

    Nope! Although criticism and commentary are among the types of fair use described by the statute, U.S. courts have held that a work need not comment on the original in order to be transformative. In Cariou v. Prince, the court said that "a secondary work may constitute a fair use even if it serves some purpose other than ... criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research." In other words, Prince's art was so transformative of Cariou's photographs that Prince's follow-on works were noninfringing because of the Fair Use doctrine. Cases about mass digitization projects like Google Book Search have found transformativeness even when copyrighted works are copied into a database without any commentary or criticism. In the case of Author's Guild v. Google, for example, the court explained that Google Book Search was transformative because it transformed the purpose of the digitized books--for example, by allowing large-scale data searching, preserving out-of-print books, and making books available for print-disabled users--even without transforming their meaning.

    So Fair Use only applies to transformative works, right?

    Nope! Fair Use allows newspapers to quote books, films, and yes, fanworks, for purposes of news reporting, commentary and criticism. Fair Use also covers certain uses for educational purposes, like when teachers assign little kids to write their own ending to a tv show or film, or show clips from a film in a media analysis class, or make copies of a page or two of a book for classroom use. Fair Use is one reason why the backgrounds of films and tv shows can include book covers, and why songs on the radio can mention copyrighted comic book characters. It doesn't cover a university tv station showing films over its network during finals, though.

    My use will be Fair Use if I use a disclaimer identifying the original creator and saying I don't own it, right?

    Not necessarily! In fact, attribution isn't part of the Fair Use analysis. So something that's Fair Use will be Fair Use regardless of whether it has a disclaimer - and a disclaimer won't help a copy that isn't Fair Use (like uploading an entire copyrighted movie for others to share and watch, see below). That doesn't mean that fans should stop putting disclaimers on their fanworks - it's a good ethical practice, and it honors those who created the original works that fans love so much - but it isn't something courts are likely to consider in determining whether something is Fair Use. Also, though you definitely don't need to add a note to your work about it being Fair Use (remember, it's not a license!), it never hurts to explain ahead of time why you think it might be.

    If a site that's not as enlightened as AO3 takes my fanworks down, there's nothing I can do, right?

    Nope! Most sites that operate in the US have what's called a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy - the AO3 has one, too. Generally, they require a copyright claimant who wants someone else's work to be taken down to submit a pledge that they own the copyright in a specific work, and their copyright in that work has been infringed. Some courts have held that copyright owners are supposed to conduct a Fair Use analysis before issuing a takedown notice, but oftentimes, they don't bother, or they use a rigid matrix. And sometimes sites don't conduct that Fair Use analysis either--they just take the content down. So the Copyright Act also provides for a counter-notice process (17 U.S.C. § 512(g)) where the person whose work was taken down has a chance to demonstrate to the site that the work is noninfringing - usually because it's Fair Use. At that point, the claimant can argue to the site that Fair Use doesn't apply, or realize that huh, it does! In reality, the final decision usually rests with the site or server company hosting the content, but the counternotice process at least provides for an opportunity to respond to someone else's copyright claim. And if you get a takedown notice for a noncommercial transformative work and want help understanding the counter-notice process, you can get in touch with OTW's legal team.

    Fair Use means I can upload films and tv shows and songs and entire books for others to download in their entirety, right?

    Nope! Or, at least, most of the time, nope. There are some exceptions, such as where the content is in the public domain (see below), or is the subject of a Creative Commons license or another license for a specific use like the kind we have here on AO3 that allows readers to download stories onto their e-readers, accessible via a password-and-license process for educational or other specific purposes. (Or if you're Google, creating Google Book Search, as we've described above--but you're probably not!) If you've done something transformative with it before you share your follow-on work, it may be Fair Use, but putting someone else's film or album or novel or webisode onto a torrent or server usually doesn't qualify. (But you're not the only one with this question; Mark Ruffalo wondered about it last year, too.)

    Fair Use is some newfangled thing made up by fandom lawyers and fanfic writers who want to play with someone else's characters and stories, right?

    Nope! Fair use has been part of the U.S. Copyright statute for many decades, and existed in the common law long before that. In a case called Folsom v. Marsh in 1841, Justice Story set out a summary that's been quoted, cited, paraphrased and made the subject of follow-on works for over 170 years: "We must often . . . look to the nature and objects of the selections made, the quantity and value of the materials used, and the degree in which the use may prejudice the sale, or diminish the profits, or supersede the objects, of the original work."

    Fair Use is why I can use things in the public domain, right?

    Nope. Works that were originally published in the U.S. before 1923 and works created by the U.S. Government (and a few more categories, but those two are the most common) are in what's known as the "public domain," which means that they aren't protected by copyright law at all. Films, songs, stories, plays, poems, essays, art, books and other works in the public domain can be used by anyone for any purpose because they're not protected by copyright. It's fair to use them, but follow-on works inspired by things in the public domain aren't literally Fair Use situations. As the Seventh Circuit said last summer in Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, "When a story falls into the public domain, story elements—including characters covered by the expired copyright—become fair game for follow-on authors."

    Fair Use is a worldwide concept, right?

    Alas, nope. Fair Use is a U.S. doctrine, although a number of other countries have similar laws. If you're outside the U.S., the law that applies to you may be significantly different than what we've described here. Regardless, no matter where you are, Fair Use law matters to you if you're posting your works on U.S. sites or if you're using source material owned by U.S. copyright holders.

    We're here to help! If you have questions about fair use and fanworks, feel free to contact our legal team.

  • OTW Supports Fair Use Week

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 24 February 2015 - 5:50pm
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    This is Fair Use Week 2015 in the U.S. which takes place from February 23-27. The event is held to raise public awareness of the importance of maintaining their rights when it comes to copyright. Many law schools, the Association of College and Research Libraries, as well as organizations involved in fair use activism are taking part. Some campuses will have live panels, webcasts or other special events and organizations will be releasing their own blog posts as well as contributing to a Fair Use Week Tumblr blog.

    We at the OTW talk a lot about how fanworks are legal under U.S. copyright law. The OTW FAQ explains that this is because U.S. copyright law is limited by the doctrine of “fair use,” which protects free expression by giving people the right to use copyrighted material in certain ways without getting permission or paying. But what does “fair use” actually mean, and why does the OTW believe that fanworks are fair use?

    Knowing the Facts

    Fair use is defined by section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act. The law provides an exception to the rule that copyright holders have an exclusive right to make and authorize derivative works—that is, works that are based upon their copyrighted works.

    The law explains that it may be fair to use copyrighted material for certain uses, such as criticizing or commenting on the original, and provides a list of four factors to consider in determining whether a particular use is allowed: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. Courts generally balance all four factors in deciding whether something is fair use--no single factor determines the answer.

    The Four Factors

    Fanworks generally fit well within these four factors. Here’s how:

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

    This factor incorporates two important traits of fanworks. First, fanworks are noncommercial—that is, the fans making them aren’t selling them or otherwise making money from them. Although some transformative works are sold (and the media has recently given more attention to the commercialization of fanworks through services like Kindle Worlds), that isn’t what most fanwork creators are looking to do. Most fans want to share their creative work with their fan communities without thinking about commercial gain.

    Second, fanworks are transformative. In the case of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, the U.S. Supreme Court explained that this first factor asks whether the new work “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning or message; it asks, in other words, whether and to what extent the new work is ‘transformative.’” Transformative uses are favored in the fair use analysis. The Supreme Court explained that transformative works “lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine’s guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright,” and “the more transformative the new work,” the more likely it is to be fair. For this reason, courts usually find that when a work is transformative, it is not infringing.

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work.

    This factor doesn’t have much to do with fanworks either way. It deals with whether the original work was published rather than secret, and whether the original work was factual rather than fictional. Fair use is more likely to be found when the original work was public and/or factual than when it was unpublished and/or fictional. Since most fanworks are made from published works rather than unpublished or secret ones, this factor generally weighs in favor of fair use, but the fictional nature of many fanworks' source material weighs in the other direction. Regardless, it is usually not a factor that courts tend to place heavy weight on unless the original copyrighted work was unpublished or factual. As the Supreme Court poetically put it in the Campbell case: the factor "is not...ever likely to help much in separating the fair use sheep from the infringing goats in a parody case, since parodies almost invariably copy publicly known, expressive works." This is as true for fanworks as it is for parodies.

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

    How this factor applies will vary widely from fanwork to fanwork, but most fanworks only take parts of the original work, and relatively small parts at that. Fan fiction, for example often just uses characters, settings, or moments from a work, and recasts them into something new. (This factor, by the way, is one reason why the AO3 does not allow reproductions of entire copyrighted works without the consent of the copyright owner.) Sometimes fanworks rely on important parts—key characters or moments in a work—but courts have found fair use even when someone has used a “qualitatively important” part of a work.

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    This factor focuses on whether the derivative work serves as a market replacement: will people use it instead of buying the original copyrighted work? Here again, fanworks are favored. Not only do they not harm the market for the original—they often help it. Fans tend to spend a lot of money on on the original work and associated merchandise, and encourage others to buy also. They are not competing with the original creator's work, and if anything help to promote it.

    The OTW's Role

    The OTW is committed to advocating for fans and preserving the principle that fanworks are fair use. In 2012, the Copyright Office, relying partly on material that the OTW submitted, cited fan videos as examples of fair use that the law should permit. More recently, the OTW used stories submitted by fans to explain to the U.S. government why any change in copyright law should favor the freedom to make transformative works.

    We’re here for you! If you have questions about fair use and fanworks, feel free to contact our legal team.

  • OTW Fannews: Asking for Fan Rights

    By Janita Burgess on Giovedì, 12 February 2015 - 5:30pm
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    OTW Fannews Banner featuring a picture of a gavel and text that reads 'OTW Fannews: Asking for Fan Rights'

    • A Tech Dirt post directed attention to the Internet Archive's release of over 2,000 MS-DOS video games, playable in the browser. "What I found truly amazing was that with every excited Twitter or Facebook comment I saw, it was about a different game...Each person seemed to latch onto their own moment in history." But the "Internet Archive is allowed to do this kind of thing...because it was lucky enough to get one of the semi-arbitrary DMCA triennial review exemptions that lets them break old DRM for the purpose of archiving vintage software. But, even then, it's not entirely clear that what the Internet Archive is doing is fully protected today."
    • Slate interviewed Lacey Noonan, the author of a humor RPF story about a U.S. football player. She was asked, "You’ve also written a story that features an encounter between Flo from Progressive, Wendy from Wendy’s, and Jan from Toyota... Are you drawn to characters that aren’t typically seen as particularly sexual?" Noonan: "Definitely. I believe all three of those women are talented actors, but yeah ... not your normal fare. I think it's a writer's responsibility to throw light on the dark corners. It's also a kind of reaction to the blunt ubiquity of American culture. Like, if it's going to be in my face 24/7, then I'm going to have a reaction to it, and I should."
    • The Boston Globe later wrote about Noonan's book being pulled from Amazon for trademark violations. The reason was "the book jacket, specifically the photo of Gronkowski that features the 'MHK' patch on his uniform" though whether it was a demand by the National Football League or his team, the New England Patriots, wasn't clear.
    • Meanwhile the Patriots' opponents in the Superbowl were attempting a number of trademark grabs. "The Seahawks’ aggressive quest for new revenue has led both the NBA and the NHL to try to slow one of the trademark applications. And while Seattle’s owners were once sued over the use of '12th Man,' the team is now trying to seize control of many other variations of the term. In the process, the Seahawks organization has battled fans, local businesses and even a former player... 'They’ve always been a little aggressive about securing intellectual property for themselves,' said Andresen, who has worked with other professional franchises. 'They’ve really taken the position that the more intellectual property, the better.'"

    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 Reports On Davis v. Electronic Arts & Asks for Fans' Help

    By Janita Burgess on Lunedì, 2 February 2015 - 5:30pm
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    Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

    OTW Legal, together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), filed an amicus brief (available in PDF) on Friday seeking a rehearing in the case of Davis v. Electronic Arts.

    The case concerns the relationship between the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free expression, and states’ right of publicity laws, which limit how people's names, likenesses, and personas can be used. The brief argued that the U.S. Ninth Circuit should rehear the case because its decision in the case struck the wrong balance, favoring rights of publicity in a way that harms creators who want to make expressive works about real people.

    Under the existing decision, the brief argued, “an artist creating a work about a real person has little idea how a court might evaluate liability for the use of that person’s likeness, particularly if she cannot be certain which jurisdiction’s rules might govern the analysis.” The brief asked that the court re-hear the case in order to protect artists who want to create realistic portrayals of real people, and to shield creative expression from overreaching publicity rights.

    We will keep fans informed on future developments in this case.

    Talk Back to the U.S. Copyright Office

    In the meantime, we could use help from fans!

    A number of organizations have created a public comment form to make it easier for users to join the discussion about U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) reform. As stated on the page: "For an exemption to be granted, we need to demonstrate an 'overwhelming market need.' That's where you come in: Let's show them what thousands of people demanding their rights looks like."

    The OTW has petitioned for a renewal of a DMCA exemption for fan video makers. We would like fans to add their voices and tell the Copyright Office that they have a right to remix multimedia.

    The key exemption for the OTW is the third item on the comment list: "Remix your media (videos)". We're asking that fans write in about their need for high quality source from DVDs or Blu-Rays; 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.

    Comments are due by February 6, and will be published on the Copyright Office website.

  • OTW Fannews: Commercial Exploits

    By Kiri Van Santen on Venerdì, 23 January 2015 - 5:27pm
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    banner by caitie of a monopoly hundred with the OTW logo and the title of this post

    • Many fans of Fall Out Boy launched a petition to protest a proposed event by podcaster Jensen Karp which would revolve around reading "the most ridiculous REAL fanfiction about them on the web." The event was later cancelled though it remained unclear how much participation the band itself had had in the plans.
    • The use of fans' work by third parties was less clear in an announcement by YouTube gamer PewDiePie who launched a fanfic contest with himself as the subject, noting that "The contest will be sponsored by Mountain Dew." Three finalists would have their story submission turned into an animated video. The Terms and Conditions of the contest noted that aside from transferring the rights to all entries (whether they were winners or not) to "Sponsor, Administrator and their agents along with PewDiePie" that the fanworks "must not denegrate the subject, Mountain Dew brand, product and/or trademark."
    • At the American Library Association's District Dispatch, Carrie Russell bemoaned the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act process that also forces OTW Legal to repeatedly defend the exemptions it won for fan video makers in 2009 and 2012. "Here’s the problem: Sometimes DRM gets in the way of actions that are not infringements of copyright. Let’s say you have lawful access to an e-book (you bought the book, fair and square), but you are a person with a print disability, and you need to circumvent to enable text-to-speech (TTS) functionality which has been disabled by DRM. This is a violation of the circumvention provision. One would think that this kind of circumvention is reasonable, because it simply entails making a book accessible to the person that purchased it." Russell called for the exemptions to be made permanent and eliminate the months of time spent by petitioners and government alike.
    • An article in The Guardian highlighted the various benefits of new technology in expanding what producers and consumers are able to exchange (even if fans had long been there first). "The rise of these electronic devices built only for reading has been a boon to the books sector. The transition to digital reading brought with it a new kind of publishing that was distinctly more experimental, energetic and (nakedly) commercial than that which preceded it. Just this week the publisher Little, Brown began publishing ebook shorts based on the hugely successful Broadchurch TV series that are made available to download in the hours after each show."

    How have you seen fans' work adopted and co-opted? 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: Retelling Copyright

    By Janita Burgess on Venerdì, 28 November 2014 - 5:32pm
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    OTW Fannews Banner Retelling Copyright

    • At The Washington Post, Jessica Contrera looked at publishing and fanfiction. "'Fan fiction has absolutely become part of the fiber of what we publish,' said Jennifer Bergstrom, vice president and publisher of Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. 'This is changing at a time when traditional publishing needs it most.'” Established authors are getting on the bandwagon. "English crime writer P.D. James’s Austen-inspired­ book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' became a BBC TV movie...Scottish crime writer Val McDermid’s take on 'Northanger Abbey' was published in April. These books don’t typically market themselves as fan fiction. Instead, they’re 'inspired by' or 'a retelling.'"
    • While Contrera's article speculated about how to make FPF legally acceptable, another article in the Post discussed new developments regarding the right of publicity which affects RPF. "The problem, of course, is that people use others’ names and likenesses in 'products' or 'goods' all the time...An unauthorized biography, which is probably not 'news' or 'public affairs' as such, is a commercial product or good, and uses the name or likeness. So are fiction movies and books that revolve around real events...So are songs that refer to cultural items, such as in Paul Simon’s 'Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?' line."
    • In an NPR interview, Cory Doctorow proposed changes to copyright so that it would apply to industries rather than individuals. "What you would say is that it's against the law to break a digital lock if you're violating copyright. And if you're not violating copyright, it's not against the law to break a digital lock. And that would - that would solve the problem pretty handily because then we could make tools that let people do things that are illegal, but that the manufacturer doesn't want them to do, which is a time-honored tradition...The point is that if you have to care about copyright in order to just walk around in the world or use the Internet, then something is deeply wrong."

    What role has copyright had in your fandom's history? 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: Social Media for Fans

    By Kiri Van Santen on Sabato, 15 November 2014 - 5:36pm
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    • The Wall Street Journal wrote about different fandom activities on different social media platforms. "[T]he CW is trying just about everything in social media. Interestingly, once its fans tell the network which platform they want to use to interact with their favorite shows, the network leans in hard. 'We attack all the social media,' said Rick Haskins, the CW’s executive vice president of marketing and digital programs. 'Very, very quickly, the consumer says ‘this is the social platform we like [this particular show] on.’ When we see upticks, that’s when we move in quickly.'"
    • At The Daily Dot, S.E. Smith pointed out that not all fandoms embrace social media. "It seems to run counterintuitive to the idea that tech determines the pulse of popular culture. The NCIS website is crude and clunky, the show's Twitter is an anemic promotions vehicle, and the Internet doesn’t exactly come alive with fans livetweeting NCIS on Tuesday nights. The Internet isn’t interested in it for all the reasons that it appeals to vast numbers of viewers, illustrating that what the Internet wants from television is not necessarily what the Nielsen viewer wants."
    • The Asahi Shimbun discussed the importance of the decision to go royalty-free with vocaloid Hatsune Miku. "Developer Crypton Future Media Inc. released guidelines that acknowledge the creation of fan fictions for noncommercial purposes. To encourage collaborations between users, the company also set up Piapro, a social networking website where fans can post their songs and illustrations. 'It's meant to make creative efforts widespread without making users feel intimidated,' said Hiroyuki Ito, Crypton Future Media president."
    • Wattpad continues to pursue amateur authors and to focus on readers. In a discussion with The International Business Times, the inline commenting feature is mentioned. "This adds another dimension to the social interactions on Wattpad. With Inline Commenting, readers can comment on specific words, sentences and paragraphs of a story...Not only does Inline Commenting provide valuable and in-context feedback to writers, but it creates a new social experience for readers. It’s almost like they're reading alongside their friends and they can exclaim, commiserate, and react as the story unfolds."

    How have you seen companies developing content and features for fans? 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: IP From New to Old

    By Claudia Rebaza on Domenica, 9 November 2014 - 5:01pm
    Message type:

    • A post at JD Supra focused on the way fair use is being seen in U.S. courts following a decision in Fox News Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc. "More broadly, decisions like TVEyes suggest that courts are moving away from viewing fair use as a narrowly-drawn exception to copyright holders’ exclusive rights in their works, to the view that fair use promotes the creation of transformative works and thus serves one of the goals of copyright law itself. The TVEyes opinion, which essentially presumed transformativeness of the work at the outset of the fair use analysis, suggests that the trend toward this broader view of the role of fair use continues to gain traction in the federal courts."
    • OTW legal staffer Heidi Tandy reported on a lawsuit against LiveJournal (LJ) that was thrown out of court. The company Marvix claimed copyright infringement when its photos were posted on the LJ community OhNoTheyDidnt. But Marvix failed to first file a DMCA takedown request, moving immediately to a lawsuit. "LiveJournal has done other sites, platforms, communities, fandomers, news sites and forums a great service by seeing this lawsuit through. Mavrix has a pattern of using a threat that sites owe it hundreds of thousands in damages if one of their users - or even they - post a single photograph owned by one of Mavrix's paparazzi."
    • In a column on intellectual property in India, Zoya Nafis wrote about trademark and fanfiction. "Intellectual Property Rights are granted with an objective that they shall promote innovation and encourage creators to create more. They act as an incentive to create the work. They should never be used to impede innovation. Fan Fictions are creations by amateur creators who if given opportunity might create something great in future; therefore a lenient and balanced approach must be taken towards them."
    • The copyright education project CopyMe released a third episode, focusing on the history of how copyright came to be. "On the one hand, history shows us that copyright was designed for control more than anything else and that the state got away with this for over two centuries. On the other hand, businesses always feared new technology and lobbied for state protection, with arguments about authors’ safety. These two sides have always lurked in copyright’s underbelly and, over the course of three more centuries, managed to erode all the public good that copyright was primarily designed to promote." (Subtitles available).

    What cases involving copyright and fandom have you seen? 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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