Announcement

  • Fanlore Celebration Reminder

    By .Veronica Pole on Friday, 14 June 2013 - 7:52pm
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    The OTW would like to remind everyone that its fandom wiki project, Fanlore, will be passing a new milestone in the next week. To celebrate, we will be holding a trivia contest that begins in 48 hours and are inviting everyone to participate!

    Starting on June 16th at 1800 UTC (what time is that in my timezone) and ending on June 20th at 0200 UTC, we will be posting 10 questions each day at our Fanlore Dreamwidth community, whose answers can be found on Fanlore. All comments to these posts will be screened and you do not need an account to post comments at the site. If you are posting anonymously, however, you will need to include a name in your comment so that we can identify you if you are a winner.

    The first individual to submit correct answers to all questions at that post will win an OTW magnet, usually available only to those making donations. (This offer is void where prohibited.) There will be a total of three winners, one for each post. The posts will be made at different times each day to allow participants in different timezones plenty of time to respond.

    You may want to subscribe to Fanlore's twitter account for updates during the event.

    If you have any questions please leave them here!

  • OTW Board announces the resignation of Maia Bobrowicz

    By Julia Allis on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 - 6:05pm
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    Tags:

    The OTW Board of Directors regrets to announce the resignation of Board member Maia Bobrowicz, effective immediately, for personal reasons. She first joined the OTW staff in 2008 and served as Chair of the AD&T committee in 2009 before being appointed to the Board in December 2012. The Board is deeply grateful for Maia's years of dedicated service, which she will continue with our Accessibility, Design & Technology Committee.

    Maia's term was slated to end in 2014, and her resignation means that her seat may be filled by appointment, or that up to four Board seats will potentially be up for election in 2013. The Board has a range of options for restoring the elections timetable, and the Board is currently discussing how and when to fill Maia's seat. That decision will be announced, at the latest, in time for the 2013 election.

    The Board has taken the opportunity provided by Maia's resignation to reshuffle its officer slate with an eye towards organizational sustainability. Board President Kristen Murphy, who was elected to the Board in 2010 and whose seat is up for election this year, has decided to step down as President to take on the role of Secretary for the remainder of her term. Kristen previously served as Secretary for the 2011 term and has served as President since 2012.

    At this time, the Board is finalizing its decision as to who will serve as its next President, and will make that announcement shortly.

    This post has been edited to clarify that Maia is continuing work within the OTW.

  • What Fans Should Know About Amazon's Kindle Worlds Program

    By Curtis Jefferson on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 - 5:39pm
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    There's been a lot of talk about Kindle Worlds lately, and the OTW has received some questions about its legal implications. The OTW has long maintained that noncommercial fan fiction is fair use, and Amazon's new program does not change that in any way. It also doesn't change anything about the AO3's continued mission to provide a permanent platform for noncommercial fan fiction. (And don't forget, works on the AO3 are readable on the Kindle and other handheld platforms.)

    So should fan writers put their works on Kindle Worlds? That is, of course, up to you. We believe that every author should make up their own mind about whether they want to publish their work on a particular platform. However, we also believe that every person should have a full understanding of the terms they are agreeing to by doing so. We've reviewed the information Amazon has made available to date, and have tried to explain the practical implications in this post.

    In the professional publishing world, the terms of the contracts (agreements) between authors and publishers are heavily negotiated by the authors' agents. It appears that Amazon expects to use a "one size fits all" contract for Kindle Worlds. They haven't yet made that full contract available for potential submitters to read. But here are some terms of the Kindle Worlds contract that are mentioned on their page of which you should be aware:

    • "Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to the rights holder for the World (we call them World Licensors) and to you."

      This means that whoever holds the copyright to the underlying work will be making money off your stories, as well. How much? We don't know.

    • "Your standard royalty rate for works of at least 10,000 words will be 35% of net revenue."

      The key phrase to be aware of here is "net revenue." This means that your royalty will not be calculated on the price of the book (so, for a $1 book, 35 cents a copy), but rather on whatever's left after all of Amazon's costs, which are undefined, are accounted for. Depending on how aggressively Amazon defines its costs—and Hollywood, for example, is famous for calculating them very aggressively—that could mean you get little to nothing.

    • "Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright."

      This appears to be intended to be an exclusive license on all forms of the story.

      What does "exclusive license" mean in this context? It means that no one else can make any other use of the story—including, quite possibly, you yourself. For that reason, it likely means that Amazon wouldn't let you include your story in both Kindle Worlds and a fandom site.

      Why does "all rights" matter? Well, what if Amazon likes the story and wants to commission a graphic novel adaptation of it? This language implies that they can do so…without any additional payments to you.

      Also, "for the term of copyright" means that Amazon claims the right to your work until many years after you've died--so for all practical purposes, forever. (Although you may, because of U.S. copyright law, be able to terminate this agreement after 35 years, but even that is a long time.) If, in the end, you decide you don't like the deal you're getting from Amazon, you may well not be able to withdraw your stories from Kindle Worlds, even if you are willing to give up any further royalty payments.

    • "When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story. This means that your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World. […] We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you."

      So, not just Amazon, but the copyright holder to the underlying work, as well, has rights to what you create. Write the story that the underlying copyright holder wants to use as the basis for the summer blockbuster version of the story? You've donated it.

      Also, "your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World" implies that, if you happen to create a popular OC or other idea, you can't use it in other stories not published with Kindle Worlds.

    Finally, there are a number of contract terms that are important in publishing but not yet discussed on the Kindle Worlds page. For instance, editorial control—Amazon has provided "Content Guidelines" for works, but there's a lot about them that's unclear. They include prohibitions on crossovers, on "offensive content," and on "offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts." It's hard to know exactly what these mean, and whose standards will apply. We cannot predict how consistently these restrictions will be enforced or how fan-friendly the enforcement process will be. It's also not clear whether Amazon will claim the right to do anything more than reject a work for failing to meet those guidelines (like edit it against your will). And the terms may change depending on what happens next and whether the program expands. There is also mention of a Cover Creator, but no mention of whether it will cost you anything to use it, or whether you will have permission to use images from the show in question. Presumably, more of these will become clear when Amazon publishes the actual contract.

    As we said at the beginning, whether you want to participate in Kindle Worlds is up to you. If it meets your needs, great! We hope this post has helped you make up your mind in an informed fashion. Regardless, the OTW will continue to provide a platform and advocacy for noncommercial fanfiction.

  • Fanlore to Reach 25,000 Articles Milestone

    By Curtis Jefferson on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 - 11:32pm
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    The OTW is pleased to announce that its fandom wiki project, Fanlore, will be passing a new milestone in the next few weeks. Launched on September 29, 2008, the site, which is open to contributions by all fans, will be reaching 25,000 articles. To celebrate, we are planning a trivia contest and are inviting everyone to participate!

    Starting on June 16th and ending on the 18th we will be posting 10 questions a day, at the Fanlore Dreamwidth community, whose answers can be found on Fanlore. All comments to these posts will be screened and you do not need an account to post comments at the site. The first individual to submit correct answers to all questions at that post will win an OTW magnet, usually available only to those making donations. (This offer is void where prohibited.)

    There will be a total of three winners, one for each post. The posts will be made at different times each day to allow participants in different timezones plenty of time to respond.

    If you have any questions please leave them here. If you'd like to contribute your own content to Fanlore, take a look at their tutorial to get you started. And even if you aren't planning to take part in the contest, we invite you to stop by Fanlore and check out the great content that's been assembled there in the last five years.

  • 852 Prospect - AO3 Supports our Sentinel*

    By .C. Ryan Smith on Sunday, 12 May 2013 - 8:17pm
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    The OTW is delighted to welcome 852 Prospect -- the Sentinel Adult Fiction Archive -- to its new home within the Archive of Our Own. The Archivists of 852 Prospect (most recently alicettlg) have worked hard in conjunction with ADT and Open Doors to make this move a reality.

    There's some special history associated with this move. 852 Prospect was the first automated fiction archive on the web. Back in 1997, astolat wrote the first version of the Automated Archive software for 852 Prospect, which made it possible for authors to post their stories simultaneously to a mailing list and to an archive, and which also made it possible for archivists to maintain fic archives without hand-coding every post. The automated archive software is now old and creaky and no longer maintained; we're delighted to be able to offer 852 Prospect a new home as an integrated collection within the AO3.

    Our coders have set up a redirect from the original domain to the stories' new URLs, to help preserve the validity of old links, rec lists, bookmarks, etc. Because the redirects will be set up to go to the version of each work imported with 852 Prospect, if you have a duplicate on the Archive which has comments / kudos you want to keep, we suggest you keep both versions for now (if you delete the one imported with 852 Prospect, then the redirect will break). Down the line, we’re planning to implement a way of merging two copies of the same work, so you'll be able to keep the redirects and the comments and kudos.

    If you don't care to keep the comments/kudos of both works, you can ask Open Doors to reset the redirect to point toward the pre-existing copy on AO3, and then delete the imported copy. To do so, please contact Open Doors with your AO3 account name, your account name on 852 Prospect, and links to both the 852 Prospect URL, and the AO3 URL of the fanwork designated for the redirect.

    Most of the newly imported works are not yet visible to people who aren't logged in with an AO3 account. If you're looking for The Sentinel fic on AO3 that was newly imported as part of 852 Prospect, please search for it while logged into AO3. You can also request an AO3 account by contacting Open Doors or using this page.

    If you're the author of newly imported stories, you can use the ‘edit works’ function to set them all to 'unrestricted' at once (if you wish) after you've claimed them. For help editing your works, please contact Support. For more information about what happens with imported works, click here for Open Doors' tutorial on automated imports, or here to contact Open Doors. Please note: If you choose to orphan your works, you will want to check them over first and edit out any remaining identifying data.

    And if you want to post new stories to the 852 Prospect collection, you are welcome to do so! The collection will remain open to new entries, but will be moderated according to 852 Prospect’s guidelines.

    Several of the OTW founders are Sentinel fans, and many org volunteers count The Sentinel among their beloved fandoms. We're thrilled to be able to continue preserving and protecting fanworks which are otherwise at risk of disappearing from the internet, and we're doubly thrilled to be rescuing an archive to which many of us have a longstanding personal connection! Hooray for Jim and Blair, Carolyn, Simon and Rafe and Henri, Megan, Naomi, and the whole city of Cascade finding a safe new home.

    *Support Our Sentinel was a 1997 effort by fans to keep the show on the air when it was facing cancellation. The effort succeeded, garnering fans an 8-episode season four which brought fan favorite Blair Sandburg back to life!

    Mirrored from an original post on AO3 News.

  • Join Support for a Chat!

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 1 May 2013 - 5:09pm
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    Hi! Support here, again! In fact, Support is always here--when you submit a ticket through the Support and Feedback form we'll respond as soon as possible to register your feature suggestion, pass your bug report on to our coders, or do our best to help you out with a problem. However, when it comes to explaining how to do things or why something doesn't seem to be working right, the formal back-and-forth emails of a Support request aren't always ideal.

    After receiving positive reviews of our previous chats in November and February, we're continuing on with Open Chat sessions with the Support Staff in our public chat room (the link will be made available on the day of the chat). We will be there this coming Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 16:00:00 UTC lasting through this Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 04:00:00 UTC. Members of Support will be available to interact with you one-on-one in live chat. See what time that is where you live. We are going to try to have future sessions at different times to make sure we eventually cover all time zones. If you can't make it to this one, keep an eye out for the next!

    If you're having a problem using the Archive, want help trying something new, or would like an explanation of one of our features, please drop in and talk to us in person!

    Some guidelines, just to keep things running smoothly

    We don't have a fancy presentation or material prepared--there are plenty of FAQs, tutorials, and admin posts for that. The point of live chat is to talk with you, not at you. We're happy for you to drop in and say "hi", but it's even better if you drop in and say, "Hi, what's up with my work that won't show as complete even though it is?!"

    As Support, our function is to help users with bugs and issues, and pass reports on to our Coders and Systems team, who actually keep the place running. This means that policy questions are way over our pay grade. (Just kidding--none of us get paid!) So, if you have questions or comments about AO3 or OTW policies, good or bad, Support Chat isn't the right place for them. If you do want to talk to someone about policy issues (meta on the Archive, philosophical issues with the tagging system, category change, etc.) we can direct you to the appropriate admin post or contact address so you can leave feedback directly for the people dealing with the area of your concern.

    Additionally, if a question looks like it might violate a user's privacy to answer (if it needs an email address or other personal information, for example) we may not be willing to work with it in chat. In those cases, we'll redirect a user to the Support Form so we can communicate via email.

    So, now that that's out of the way, what kind of things are we going to talk about?

    Live chat is best for questions of a "How do I...?" or "Why does it...?" nature.

    For example, you might have been wondering:

    • How do I use the new search and browse system to find a certain type of work?
    • I'd like to run a challenge, but I'm not sure how to do what I want.
    • For that matter, where did my work submitted to an anonymous challenge go?!
    • I want to post using formatting the Rich Text Editor won't give me. How do I do it using a work skin?

    We'd be happy to help you with any of these questions, and anything else you're having trouble doing or would like to try doing with the Archive.

    Mirrored from an original post on AO3 News. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.

  • April Membership Drive: Thank you for your support!

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 - 5:10pm
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    The OTW’s April membership drive has officially concluded, and it was a wild success! Between April 3 and 9, we received 2,054 individual donations totaling US$53,243.99 — numbers that will grow once we’ve had a chance to count the donations sent via postal mail. That’s a nearly 39% increase over the amount raised in the April 2012 drive, which previously held the record for being our most successful drive ever.

    Even though the drive is over, the pace of incoming donations has barely slowed down. The total raised during the month of April is US$57,526 and still climbing.

    Thank you to all our members, donors, and to everyone who helped spread the word to make this drive such a spectacular success. We’re very grateful for your support. We’d like to extend a special thanks to the 1,266 people who became new OTW members by donating for the first time during this drive — welcome!

    We’d also like to thank all the OTW staffers and volunteers who supported the drive by writing and beta reading, posting and tweeting, responding to donor inquiries, designing graphics, sending e-mail blasts, monitoring donation receipts, and myriad other tasks. Thank you for making the drive possible.

    Like many other things in fandom, the OTW is a labor of love. It’s thanks to the support and dedication of fans like you that the OTW exists, and it’s your ongoing support that will enable us to continue serving fandom for years to come. On behalf of everyone at the OTW, and on behalf of all the fans who use our projects, thank you.

  • April Membership Drive: Final Day!

    By Curtis Jefferson on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 - 3:19pm
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    Today is the final day of the OTW's April 2013 membership drive, and we're thrilled to announce that it's already a record-breaking success!

    Since April 3, the first day of the drive, we've received more than 1,879 donations totaling more than US$48,508. That blows the record from the April 2012 drive (when we received 1,276 donations totaling US$38,379.50) out of the water.

    We're immensely grateful to everyone who has supported the drive so far. Thank you for sharing testimonials, reblogging and retweeting, and, of course, for your generous donations. This success is thanks to you.

    If you haven't participated in the drive yet, there's still time to show your support! The drive will continue through the end of the day on April 9 so please donate today to be part of the drive. However, if this time isn't a good one for you financially, you can also donate throughout the year to keep the OTW and its projects thriving into the future.

     Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9
    <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>

    Help share the love! Please repost this graphic by copying the code from the text box and pasting it into your blog or website.

  • Fandom is Love: OTW April Membership Drive

    By Curtis Jefferson on Wednesday, 3 April 2013 - 3:52pm
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    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.

     Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9

    <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>

    Help share the love! Please repost this graphic by copying the code from the text box and pasting it into your blog or website.

  • April Showers at the AO3 and Fanlore!

    By Curtis Jefferson on Monday, 1 April 2013 - 3:45pm
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    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!

    We're really pleased and proud to see so much fannish representation. However, we know that there are many, many wonderful fanworks out in the world which haven't found their way to the AO3 - for example the classic television show M*A*S*H has only 264 works on the AO3 while Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman sits at 83. There are even more fannish stories left untold on Fanlore - we'd love to see the fannish activity over the Veronica Mars movie documented as it unfolds! Last year, we welcomed in lots more edits to Fanlore and works to the AO3 with our April Showers promotion. This year, we're hoping to do the same! This month, bring us fannish April showers by digging out those old zines, memories of past cons, archived personal webpages, tales of shipwars and fannish events, works on slowly-decaying archives, new works you've been putting off creating, and more! Upload your old (and new) works to the AO3 and tell your tales on Fanlore.

    We'll be highlighting a different fandom for each day of the month on our Tumblr ao3org, to help jog your memories about fannish loves of the past and highlight some currently active fandom activity. When uploading to the AO3, you can tag your uploaded works April Showers 2013 - at the end of the month we'll round up all the works with this tag and post stats on how many were uploaded for each fandom. However, don't feel you have to stick to these fandoms - we hope people will reach into their personal fannish histories to preserve what's important to them!

    We kick off today by hearing the people sing with the 2012 film version of Les Misérables. Bring your works beyond the barricade into the AO3 and share all of the dreams you dreamed on Fanlore!

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