News Media

  • OTW Fannews: What fanfic does for writers

    By Claudia Rebaza on Lunedì, 10 February 2014 - 5:00pm
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    • Two articles examined the value of Amazon's Kindle Worlds. Slate featured author Hugh Howey. "I had read Slaughterhouse-Five in high school and didn’t really get it. And then a few years ago, I studied the work again, and the story had not just meaning but special meaning...Vonnegut’s didactic work helped me through a similar trauma. With my first work of fan fiction, I chose to use his example of writing about the bombing of Dresden in order to confront my 9/11 experiences—an event I’ve long avoided discussing directly. And what I discovered surprised me. Fan fiction is difficult. More difficult than the dozen or so novels I’d previously written."
    • Over at MainStreet, Craig Donofrio questioned what Kindle Worlds does for authors. "Another Kindle Worlds author, C.L. Marlene, began writing Vampire Diaries fan fiction for Kindle Worlds last June. It was her first venture into any kind of publishing, and she has written two novels, a novella and a short story since then. While sales have only allowed her 'a few extra nice dates' with her husband and gave her 'a minute bump or two' for her savings account, her overall experience with Worlds has been positive and she would recommend it to other authors—with the caveat to stay realistic. 'I'm not expecting this to pay my bills or launch me into a best-selling author list.'"
    • Certainly one way of getting paid for fanfic is writing a fanfic article, as Cora Frazier did at The New Yorker with her Scandal fanfiction where "Olivia Pope Fixes Chris Christie."
    • The Charleston, South Carolina Post & Courier included fan fiction in the bio of the youngest college student in their area. "Amber went on to skip third, fifth and seventh grades. Fourth-grade was her last full year in a traditional school setting, and after that year, Amber was helping high school students with algebra concepts." Her writing skills were quickly noted. "Rachel Walker, an associate professor of psychology, taught Amber in a writing and psychology class last semester, and she said Amber was 'exceptional.' The class was meant to teach students scientific writing, and Amber grasped concepts that many students find to be challenging, Walker said."

    What has fanfiction done for you? Write about it on 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanworks going public

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 10 January 2014 - 9:26pm
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    • Over the last ten years as fanworks have spread to more and more online sites, it's become a daily occurrence to find a media story pointing to one or more of them. Often these stories profess a sense of astonishment that they exist but don't do any research or provide any useful information. More recently, an even less informative but more unpleasant stunt has become common, as interviewers use fanworks to provoke a celebrity reaction. The fanwork creators are generally no more pleased at the outcome than the celebrities.
    • While such incidents have occurred repeatedly in connection to various fandoms, one has finally brought the fan point-of-view into the media coverage. As reported in various outlets, at a special screening for Sherlock fans its panel moderator insisted on the lead actors reading excerpts from a NSFW fanfic. What was different were the number of writers focusing on fans' reactions. "There has been an outpouring of support for ‘mildredandbobbin’ from Tumblr Sherlockians, with one slash fiction writer even outing herself and declared that she was proud of what she wrote. Another supporter has written an open letter, attacking Moran and saying that she has helped perpetuate a misogynistic misrepresentation of the fangirls."
    • Chris Meadows at Teleread prompted a discussion about the issue. "So, both Cumberbatch and Freeman seem to be more or less cool with the whole slash fan art thing. Yet various personalities seem to think it’s funny to confront them with this stuff over and over, as if this time they’ll manage to get a rise out of them."
    • Author Angela Highland expressed concern at the message being sent by such incidents. "I’m a fan of not pointing and laughing at people. There’s way too much of that in the world. And not enough encouragement of people to make some goddamn art."
    • Zap2It recounted the incident with many excerpts of the fic, but concluded "There may be two important lessons here: 1) Fan fiction has its place and this was not it. 2) Never mess with a fandom. They do not appreciate those who mock."
    • Queerty called the stunt a disaster. "According to audience reports, as is often the case when mainstream tastes detect even a hint of kink, Moran presented the fanfic as mocking and silly and campy and lame. Because gosh, how stupid of people to be passionate about something."
    • The Telegraph went beyond the incident to mention fanfiction traditions and explain what went wrong. "Some of the people writing fanfic - including the author of the piece Moran supplied to Cumberbatch and Freeman - are grown women and mums finding an enjoyable and productive outlet for having fun. They don't want to see the fourth wall broken any more than the actors want to do it."
    • Blogger Sarah Siegel took a contrary view, in part because of the lack of visible reaction to previous events. "And nobody’s ever really made a fuss about it. The author or artist chose to share their work publicly, and at worst it makes for an uncomfortable interview — which is the interviewer’s prerogative. The one caveat I’d add is that there is a difference between a TV interview intended to promote a project which will be screened to thousands (or millions) of people, and a very intimate Q&A intended for a small audience of die-hard fans. So if Moran made one gaffe, it was in not really understanding her audience." If so, then presumably the next time such an incident occurs, no one will be able to suggest that it's never mattered to anyone.

    What fanwork ambushes have you seen happening? Write about them 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Criticizing Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sabato, 26 October 2013 - 5:52pm
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    • Entertainment Weekly kicked off a new pop-culture-related column with a look at TV show finales and cited former OTW board member Francesca Coppa. "Mentally, it is difficult to imagine someone from the 50s declaring themselves a 'fan' of a TV show the way someone self-identifies as a 'Fan' of Walking Dead or Vampire Diaries or Firefly or, hell, NCIS: LA. This is partly because we inaccurately agree that TV wasn’t as good in the ’50s and partly because we assume people in the ’50s had better things to do...But modern fandom has roots in that time period. Francesca Coppa’s fascinating essay 'A Brief History of Media Fandom' (available in the Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet) traces our contemporary idea of media fandom — fan clubs, fanfiction, fan conventions — to a pair of TV shows from the 1960s: Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
    • As a possible example of the fan complaints cited in the EW piece, Hypable jumped on the criticism by Once Upon a Time fandom about poor marketing efforts by its network. "ABC has had to pull back the Once Upon a Time season 3 cast photos due to unexpected fandom backlash. Once Upon a Time fans love their show and its characters, and have reportedly responded so negatively to the season 3 cast photoset that ABC has pulled the photographs from their press site."
    • The EW piece was not flattering to fandom, but writing in Flavor Wire Jason Diamond dismisses Jillian Cantor’s Margot as fanfiction, as if that were equivalent with poor taste. "Shalom Auslander, in 2012′s Hope: A Tragedy, wrote a book that I consider in even poorer taste, placing a still-alive Anne Frank in the modern-day attic of somebody’s house, trying to squeeze humor from this Philip Rothian plot device. Like Cantor, and unlike Mangum’s album or Quentin Tarantino’s fictional Jewish revenge film Inglourious Basterds, his book upset me because it trivialized, rather than made moving art in tribute to, the real lives of Holocaust victims."
    • Perhaps this negativity explains why, in this ABC piece Cafe Tacvba Fans Downplay Their Fandom, though the reporter concludes otherwise. "Eager to collect fandom statements on what makes a Cafeta fan a real, super, ultimate fan, I flew into New York City from Miami to attend its Monday night concert. Being a fan for the past 15 years and this probably being my 25th time going to a Cafe Tacvba show, I thought I was a super fan. But after talking to folks, I wonder if I'm committed enough to call myself one. There, I was not able to find anyone who would even self-identify as a "super fan"...Turns out Cafe Tacvba fans are so devoted to them, they believe they are not worthy of their fandom. They downplay their devotion, because proclaiming they are Cafe Tacvba super fans would entail great responsibility."

    What fandom criticisms have you seen? Write about it on 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Not so surprising sports fandoms

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mercoledì, 23 October 2013 - 6:10pm
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    Banner by Lisa of a green field with huddled soccer players & a team scarf being raised in the stands

    • Although they're among the most visible fandoms in many cultures, sports fandoms are also often gendered in the media. Forbes took note of better-late-than-never marketing to women, while Yahoo's Breakout blog listed five "surprising" stats about fantasy sports leading with the fact that players are both younger and more female than generally portrayed.
    • At Sports on Earth writer Colin McGowan wrote about learning to be a soccer fan. "In Alex Pappademas' 'I Suck at Football' column that ran last season at Grantland, he wrote about how his daughter understood the sport as 'the show where the men try to get the ball and then they fall down,' which is about as apt a description of football as you're going to find...It's not much more complicated than that, though it's as rich as any other sport. Being a fan isn't so much about understanding how the game works as much as it's telling yourself stories about the machinery. We assign meaning to teams and players, favor some styles over others, delight in or are crushed by swings of luck. The men kick the ball toward the goal and then fall down, and we have a lot to say about that."
    • Writing about baseball, Richard Peterson speculates how being a fan of specific teams shapes a fan's personality. "I could tell what team they rooted for by observing their demeanor. The Cubs fans in the audience were easy to pick out because they were the ones who looked like they needed a hug. It was also easy to find the Cardinals fans because they were the ones sitting next to Cubs fans. They weren’t about to hug the fans of Chicago’s lovable losers, but they did want to make sure that Cubs fans knew what the fans of a winning team looked like."
    • The Philadelphia CityPaper decided to investigate fanfiction about its hometown Flyers. "There are hundreds of stories and millions of words dedicated to imagined romances and trysts with the Flyers available for your perusal on Mibba, a creative-writing website boasting well over 10,000 stories." Yet even within this slice of fandom, writer Dan McQuade seemed to find it surprising that women were involved: "Most authors of Flyers fanfic identify themselves as young women, and this may be the one place on the Internet where this is actually true." He also might want to wander beyond Mibba before claiming that "this phenomenon doesn’t happen for baseball, basketball or football."

    What sports fandom stories do you have to tell? Write about them on 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Documenting Fandom

    By Julia Allis on Sabato, 28 September 2013 - 6:58pm
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    • The Hollywood Reporter wrote about Japan smashing the tweets per second world record. The reason? The word "balus" was tweeted "during a television broadcast of Hayao Miyazaki's anime classic Castle in the Sky (Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta)."
    • Retired English teacher Bill Kraft published a book about his 13-year campaign to honor Star Trek on a U.S. postage stamp. "The 72-year-old became a Trekkie in 1979 as he watched the last 10 minutes of 'Trek: The Motion Picture,' which ended with the creation — instead of the destruction — of a new life form..." His book contains "more than 140 letters endorsing the idea, including supporting words from Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, NASA, Arthur C. Clarke and then- U.S. Sen. John Kerry. 'I had these beautiful, eloquent letters in my crawlspace for 15, 20 years, and I thought, "What a terrible shame. This should be part of the public record in some way,"' Kraft said."
    • The Central Florida Future wrote about in-person fandom clubs on college campuses. The Harry Potter club, "[I]n addition to visiting Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the group would love to attend LeakyCon, a Harry Potter convention that is coming to Orlando in 2014. Already boasting a group of about 90, the club expects a spike in enrollment following the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando." Also mentioning the Doctor Who and My Little Pony groups, the article concludes that college life "might just be the perfect place to cultivate friendships and a fandom."
    • Meanwhile professors are studying fandom at Dragon Con. "Dunn and Herrmann's quantitative survey will look mostly at cosplay but will also encompass fandom in general and what specifically draws these people to Dragon Con." Students of cosplay courses might also be a good group to talk with. "ETSU offers a unique thespian course over the summer semester that teaches cosplay with a focus on 'acting for the convention goer.'"

    What fandom documentation have you seen in the mass media? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: The visibility of gender

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sabato, 21 September 2013 - 4:34am
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    • The rise in fandom visibility seems to be leading to an increasing media backlash about fans expressing themselves but women fare differently in these discussions. A particularly visible example was a BBC documentary on One Direction fandom which, despite hype focusing on fandom extremism failed to do well in the ratings. Writing about the coverage in The Conversation, academic Andy Ruddock stated "Far from being a story about poor deluded adolescents, the One Direction incident confirms that girls are major players in global media industries." Focusing on both their insight and their dismissal, he explains "Audiences use boy bands to create their own entertainment. The English group are just raw materials that teenagers fashion into cultures of emotion, identity and friendship. This is probably why Directioners are upset over the documentary: the world is poking fun at their work."
    • There has also been much discussion about fans rejecting casting choices across multiple franchises. But the tone of those discussions varies depending on who the fans might be. For example, an academic who was interviewed about fan influences doesn't discuss why there was a backlash against Ben Affleck other than to say "People who are into Batman don’t want the movies to be bad...They have a lot of emotional investment. They don’t want the character or story to be mistreated." He also concluded that to be recognized for one's fannishness by being brought aboard to market a franchise is "what every fan fantasizes about becoming."
    • Yet the arguments over Doctor Who casting involved claims that those who were upset about the choice weren't "true fans". "Undoubtedly, someone will argue that we are not the type of 'fangirl' they meant when discussing the 'inferior' fans that they’re happy to be rid of. We don’t, for instance, maintain a Tumblr of David Tennant or Matt Smith photos. But that shouldn’t matter. Everyone’s expression of enthusiasm about the thing they love should be accepted in geek culture. The Tumblr of photos is just as valid a way to express love of fandom as recitation of fandom trivia. After all, there are bound to be male fans out there who would be equally as drawn to the casting of a particularly pretty companion. And yet, their status as a 'fan' would not be similarly diminished or questioned. Enthusiasm is what makes a 'real' fan (if there is such a thing), not the particular way in which that enthusiasm is expressed."
    • Rejection of particular characters in shows has gained less attention, but at least one actor felt that the character's gender was critical. "I finally realized that most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable ideal of the archetypical female, she had become a kind of Rorschach test for society, a measure of our attitudes toward gender. I can’t say that I have enjoyed being the center of the storm of Skyler hate. But in the end, I’m glad that this discussion has happened, that it has taken place in public and that it has illuminated some of the dark and murky corners that we often ignore or pretend aren’t still there in our everyday lives."

    How do you see female fandoms addressed in the media? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Cultural objects

    By .Cynthia on Domenica, 23 June 2013 - 6:32pm
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    • The Barnard Center for Research on Women's blog proposed feminist remixes as the next step to combating negative media representations. "Through our studies, work, and activism, many of us have learned to be critical of these images, to deconstruct them in order to understand the assumptions and messages behind them." Remixes can then create something new out of the deconstructed work. Emeritus OTW Board member Francesca Coppa teamed with Elisa Kreisenger to present at this year’s Utopia conference. "Kreisinger encouraged Utopia attendees to try their own hand at remixing as a way to take back their identities from corporate commoditization and depict women in ways that do not revolve around heteronormative relationships and procreation. Her mantra and advice to fellow feminists: 'Don’t blame the media, become the media.'"
    • The U.S. Department of Defense site Armed With Science wrote about how fandom objects are also historical markers. "From the swirls and statues of the ancient world, to the banners of the mid-evil armies, to the crests of colleges and sports teams, to iconic superhero emblems, to even the branding of large companies, humanity is filled with identifiable signs that mark the trail through our history." Discussing the impact of Star Trek in culture, the post cites how its creations "are often seen as agents of scientific and social change."
    • While some fandoms like Bronies don't lack for people willing to step forward and declare their allegiance, many in furry fandom reacted poorly to media presence at Furlandia. "Attendees started to wonder what was going on when production teams and cameras began to show up. It didn’t take long for someone to announce that MTV had arrived. According to the PR director, an announcement had been made at opening ceremonies; no written notification had been given." In comments to the post, one reader pointed out "From a television producer's point of view, furries really are a nightmare scenario" because "you have a producer who's expected to get exciting footage trying to get said exciting footage from a group of hard-to-find, reluctant, camera-shy people who may only agree under very specific and limiting conditions (which almost ensure that nothing crazy will happen), all the while letting you know that they will be scrutinizing your every movement and most likely hate anything you say about them." The poster concluded that "if a good documentary about furries is going to come from somewhere, it's going to come from within the fandom, and it's probably going to be targeted toward furries (it just won't have the appeal or the resources to make it to the mass public)."

    What fandom objects do you think will have an impact on general culture? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: OTW and the Press

    By John Bayard on Martedì, 18 June 2013 - 4:15pm
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    • The Kindle Worlds story didn't just result in hundreds of media outlets running pieces on the story, but also quite a few requests to the OTW for comment. While some have been previously linked to and some have yet to be published, several more have made an appearance. The Verge talked with OTW Communications staffer Nistasha Perez about the Amazon's new move as well as similar efforts to commercialize fanfiction in the past. "In 2007, former Yahoo executive Chris Williams decided it was time to make money off fan fiction. 'I work for a brand-new fan fiction website called FanLib.com and my colleagues and I want it to be the ultimate place for talented writers like you,' read an email sent to hundreds of authors." But "[a]fter barely over a year, FanLib's infrastructure was bought by Disney, and the fan fiction archive was quietly shut down. Six years later, media powerhouse Amazon is giving the idea another try."
    • In "Kindle Worlds: Do fan fiction writers want to make money?", the BBC spoke to Jen West, Naomi Novik and Francesca Coppa about fanfiction writing and the potential impact of Kindle Worlds. "The thing that people don't get about fandom, especially now that it seems to be an internet phenomeom is [the idea] that fans are very isolated and are having these relationships with consumer products. But that's not true, they're having relationships with other people. There are fans they might have known for 20 years." (No transcript available)
    • Naomi Alderman interviewed Francesca Coppa last year for Radio 4 about how fanfiction is a huge chunk of the literary iceberg, with fiction published by large commercial publishers being only a small fraction of this. A small part of the interview was run again in the BBC Arts Hour. In discussing the crossover, Coppa stressed what a natural impulse this would be for writers yet due to copyright restrictions, characters need to stay in separate boxes. Alderman then did a brief reading of a Lord of the Flies crossover with The Walking Dead noting how the juxtaposition of characters and storyline revealed similarities in those tales. (0:33 to 0:38 minutes - No transcript available)
    • The CBC Radio show Q with Jian Ghomeshi interviewed OTW staffer Naomi Novik about Kindle Worlds and fanfiction's role in culture. Speaking of Kindle Worlds' vague content guidelines, Novik said "The problem with those restrictions is that it lends itself so easily to unpredictable enforcement...When you post your story, do you know if it's going to be "all right" or not? If they take it down, do you now have the rights back to it?...And part of the wonderful aspect of fanfiction is that fanfiction is about having all the tools in the box, and being able to write anything and follow a story anywhere, even if it's not the thing that's going to sell the most copies, even if it's not the story that whoever owns it wants told." (0:54 - 1:09 minutes - No transcript available)

    What other discussions have you seen about Kindle Worlds? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Pushback on Kindle Worlds

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sabato, 8 June 2013 - 5:53pm
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    • The first wave of Kindle Worlds press coverage mostly quoted from Amazon's press release with a few reaction links. Follow-up articles proved to be more critical and more aware of fannish perspective. The Millions asked Will Kindle Worlds Commodify Fan Fiction?. "It is fitting, perhaps, that the same week as the Yahoo/Tumblr acquisition, Amazon announced a project entitled 'Kindle Worlds.' It feels like more of a broader trend than a coincidence, because the Kindle Worlds endeavor is about an organization inserting itself from the top down. 'Worlds,' we learn, are Amazon-ese for fandoms."

      By contrast "There is an enormously freeing diversity in the world of fan fiction. I don’t mean that the writers are diverse — they are mostly female, and surely there must be socioeconomic implications in the ability to sustain such a hobby...The possibilities spin off into exponentially increasing permutations, spurring weird stuff and beautiful stuff, quite often fiction that’s better written than the source material that inspired it, creating fandoms that are so broad and varied and encompassing that a person can usually find whatever they’re seeking within. If not, well, that person may as well just write it herself. If that’s not the most accurate reflection of the rest of the internet — the organic, cultivated internet, grown from the bottom up, with no contracts, no exchanges of cash — then I don’t know what is."

    • The Guardian again tackled the topic, this time declaring How Kindle Worlds aims to colonise fan fiction The "colonization" term seemed deliberately chosen. "Fan fiction writers are, first and foremost, fans: passionate ones, sophisticated ones, and knowledgable about the culture they're writing for and about. And while Amazon's not-very-exciting payment terms might entice a few into the professional fold, many more will continue to write whatever they like online for the joy and social prestige of the thing itself. Nevertheless, the attempted legalisation and professionalisation of one of the weirder and most enjoyable subcultures of the internet marks a significant moment in the history of networked literature."
    • Publishers Melville House decided to tackle the announcement in fanfiction form. "Jeff looked up from his arm screen to find that Damon had leaned in close enough that he could smell the cool death on his breath. 'Glad to see you’re up to your usual business, Jeff—taking a happy and vibrant community and doling out a pittance to exploit and corrupt it.' He placed his long-fingered hand on Jeff’s chest. Jeff heard himself whimper quietly from somewhere beyond his control. 'And what about content, Jeff? I assume there are restrictions? You have to take the fun out of it somehow.'"
    • Geek Empire noted Amazon's true target, professional writers. "In that regard, Kindle Worlds resembles nothing so much as another Amazon service, Mechanical Turk. There, business and developers commission small, iterative tasks that users can perform, often for remuneration as low as a penny. As Amazon would have it, Mechanical Turk gives businesses a “scalable workforce”—to which one might add, a workforce that is cheap and inherently disposable . That’s what Warner Bros. has gotten in exchange for the license to use its characters: a virtually free and disposable workforce."
    • Investing site Motley Fool hosted a post which noted that the move was a way to create a longer revenue stream for content owners. "Partnering with Amazon in its fan fiction program would not only help media companies, which are looking for ways to promote their television shows and movies, but it would also help laggard book publishers such as Scholastic, which need new ways to profit from concluded franchises."
    • An article in Chicago Grid reminded people that books aren't all Amazon may be after. "And do remember that Amazon also has a TV production studio. The language on the Kindle Worlds page that describes the relationship between a Kindle Worlds author and Amazon is conversational; I’m certain that authors will be required to click through something more obtuse and comprehensive when the program goes live next month. But as-is, we can’t dismiss the possibility that Amazon (and its first-look production partner…yes, Warner Studios) is buying worldwide rights to exploit the author’s work across all media for the life of the copyright, for nothing more than the possibility of royalties for the ebook."
    • A post at Tosche Station poked at all the problematic possibilities in Amazon's announcement -- such as rights granted upon submission, not acceptance, no legal protection if there's infringement of non-partner brands, and "The net revenue is based off the customer sales price, not the wholesale price, which tends to be less. That seems okay, doesn’t it? It does until you read this: 'Amazon Publishing will set the price for Kindle Worlds stories.' Hm. So that means that your royalties and revenue could change in an instant, depending on how Amazon decides to price your story–and keep in mind, Amazon could decide to price it at zero, depending on how your contract is written."
    • Another fannish blogger noted the problem with shared universes among fans -- who really owns fanon? "Lastly, what about plagiarism between Fan Fictions? Fan Fiction writers inside of fandoms can and will borrow from each other. Sometimes an idea is so great that one person reads it in a Fan Fiction, thinks it’s actually canon that they missed, and puts it in their story. I’m guilty of that because the idea that Tycho Celchu was talking to his fiance when Alderaan was destroyed was a beautiful idea and I honestly thought it was canon. When I asked the writer, they also had thought it was canon then realized it wasn’t and unfortunately I was never able to trace back to the person with the original idea. But at least in Fan Fiction, it’s free and we can call enough other out on it without needing legal recourse. Now that we start making money off of the ideas? Oh boy…"
    • The UK's Metro covered the bases with the pros and cons of fanfic as well as where best to publish it. "Tastes may be changing – Justin Bieber and The Hunger Games have made way for One Direction and Star Trek in the past year or so – but demand remains high – fanfic story uploads to the site [Wattpad] have increased by 60 per cent from 2012 to 2013, and this year is only five months old...The other issue is control –- [novelist Sheenagh] Pugh suspects that better writers will opt out to preserve theirs, particularly as Amazon would take ownership of their ideas. ‘I don’t think the best of fic will find its way on to Kindle Worlds,’ she said. ‘If the standard does prove to be low, that in itself will put off writers who care about their work, in the same way that they often won’t put their work on the FanFiction.net website because of its reputation for hosting acres of rubbish.’"
    • The Daily Dot also took note of the varied volume of content among fandom sites. "However, there is also the possibility that Kindle Worlds is aimed at a new generation of fans—ones who are growing up with the assumption that it’s completely reasonable to want payment for your fanfic. While popular Tumblr-based fandoms range from crime shows to young adult novels, and participants range in in age from 12 to 60, many are simply unaware of the seething underbelly of Wattpad-style fanfiction. On Wattpad, a One Direction fic written by a middle-schooler can receive upwards of a million hits. The fiction on traditional sites like Archive of our Own may be more tightly written, but the most popular story there only boasts a measly 360,000 hits. The question is, will the mostly teenage Wattpad audience have enough interest to pay for fanfic when you can already read ten stories on your smartphone every day, for free?"
    • At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky uses comic fandom to suggest that there's little difference between official tie-in works and fanworks. He asks "In terms of creative process and in terms of audience, does it really matter all that much if you're writing about Kirk and Spock's new adventures for free or for profit?" Then he dismisses one obvious difference with "Admittedly there's not a whole lot of gay sex in super-hero comics... but that seems more like a genre distinction than an existential one." Instead he suggests "If "fan fic" was the name of a genre and a community, it can now be the name of a marketing campaign and a marketing demographic. You could even say that Amazon is turning the term "fan fiction" into fan fiction itself, lifting it from its original context and giving it a new purpose and a new narrative, related to the original but not beholden to it. Dreams come out of the corporation and go back to the corporation, fungibly circulating. Your brain is just another medium of exchange."

    What other discussions have you seen about Kindle Worlds? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfiction everywhere

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 25 January 2013 - 8:29pm
    Message type:
    • Bob Tarantino at JD Supra Law updated a 2010 discussion about fanfic in light of recent developments in Canada. "A discussion of the legal implications of fan fiction would not be complete without mentioning two relevant matters which are not affected by the UGC exception introduced by the CMA: moral rights and trade-mark (or passing off) claims." Although the UGC exception pertains to copyright infringement, it "has no effect on an author's potential moral rights claims. And because fan fiction may make use of elements of an author's creation such as titles, character and location names to which some form of trade-mark protection applies (e.g., Star Wars fan fiction that makes use of character names like Luke Skywaylker (a registered mark in Canada), ...there remains the possibility that some form of trade-mark based action could be commenced by the relevant rights-owner."
    • Regardless of what's being discussed in legal circles, fanfic is moving to being both acknowledged and appreciated by perfomers, and seen as a matter worth discussing by the press. A news story on the TCA session for new series The Following began "Shippers, start your engines. Ready your Tumblrs. Start combing the works of Edgar Allen Poe for excellent fan fiction titles." The reason? "FOX’s new drama “The Following,”from “Scream” scribe Kevin Williamson, is a violent, provocative drama about a serial killer and the man hunting him. But, surprisingly, it’s constructed more like a romance." And it contains a canon M-M-F threesome. A reporter "confessed that, having seen the first four episodes of the show, she’s rooting for Hardy and Carroll to kiss. Ever the crowd pleaser, Bacon happily grabbed Purefoy’s face and laid a smooch on him."
    • Zakia Uddin wrote in The Society Pages about fanfic role playing on Omegle. "We perform identities on social networks, using filters and images, and timelines, and real-time updates – but those identities are never too far removed from those we perform in real-world frames. Roleplaying on Omegle offers a way of getting closer to other writers’ characters in ways which are paradoxically more personal and more immersed in the author’s creation than ever before. While fans wait for their favourite TV series or book series to start up again, they create narratives in collaboration with others which run parallel to their ‘real’ lives. What happens to the division between the fiction and nonfiction when we can experience being someone entirely different every day, within the frames of social networks like Tumblr and Facebook?"

    Do you role play? Will you be watching The Following? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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