Mother Jones wrote about Jennie Lamere, who recently won the "best in show" award at the national TVnext Hack event by helping fans avoid spoilers on Twitter. She did it by writing "Twivo, a new program that allows Twitter users to censor their feeds from mentioning a certain TV show (and its characters) for a set time period." She was the only solo woman participating. "Hackathons (which have nothing to do with illegal hacking) bring together programmers, developers, and designers, who compete to code an innovative new program in a limited amount of time." Lamere has already been approached by a company to market her creation. "She came up with the idea for Twivo the night before the competition, and it took her 10 hours and 150 lines of code to complete."
Fans and the general public are becoming less tolerant of corporate overreaches in copyright claims. A crackdown on Etsy vendors marketing Firefly-related hats caused sufficient outrage that one outlet selling the licensed hats decided to donate its profits to a Firefly charity. Yet as The Mary Sue pointed out, at least part of the anger was because now that "Fox has actually decided to license merchandise based on the ten year old television series" they're "taking shots at the smaller, unlicensed retailers that have been serving the market niche they’ve been ignoring."
It's not only communication between entertainment creators and fans that's becoming common, but also a creative dialogue. Anna Pinkert at Spinoff Online wrote about the benefits of embracing slash and other fan creations. "At a recent event, a reporter showed The Avengers star Mark Ruffalo a series of drawings of his character snuggling with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He began giggling, and then even made up captions for one of the cartoons, “Would you like a gummy worm?” Better yet, he told the reporter, “I endorse [this art] 100 percent. You know what it is? It’s open-source creativity.” She suggests that "[h]omoerotic fan art might be a new signal that you’ve arrived in Hollywood. People know your face (and your abs) well enough to do 30 sketches of you embracing another star." At least some actors are ready to invite fans to play.
Given media representations apparently a lot of people continue to think that female fandom projects are rare, although this may have to do with how gender segregated fandom projects often are. In a feature on the "Hello Sweetie" podcast, its founder discusses why it came into being. "She and others were listening...to 'Geek Show Podcast,' the popular online show started by X96’s 'Radio From Hell' host Kerry Jackson, local movie critics Jeff Vice and Jimmy Martin, and Tribune TV critic Scott D. Pierce. "'They never have any female panelists, rarely had female guests, and a lot of people were complaining about that,'"...On one episode of 'Geek Show Podcast,' one of the hosts said, 'If you [women] want to have a podcast, you should start one.'"
While in some places fanfic writers are getting arrested, in others the concern is instead about how fans could be ruining pop culture. "Mr. Rushfield laments that fan culture is set in its ways and does not want to be challenged. I think this is an oversimplification...Yes of course, some fans will never be happy. Some fans say and do things I find shocking and disrespectful, but I think that this is a very small minority...To think that this subset of fans is the driving force behind any artistic decisions, is not giving enough credit to writers and producers in entertainment."
NYU's student newspaper decided to feature fanfiction with a particularly local angle -- fanfiction set on its campus. "Remember when you were waiting for your acceptance letter? Whether NYU was your dream school or just your safety, you’d catch yourself longing for the city, dreaming of the day when you’d leave your home for the magic of New York...You weren’t the only one dreaming. In fact, some would-be students have dedicated hundreds of pages to their NYU-centric fantasies. So focused are these writers’ efforts that NYU Fanfiction has swelled into its own thriving—if slightly inaccurate—genre."
Television is increasingly turning to fandom to find viewers. The Los Angeles Times put a spotlight on AMC's The Talking Dead. "Broadcast directly after the phenomenally successful 'The Walking Dead,' 'The Talking Dead' has taken on a life of its own, evolving from a half-hour companion show into a full-fledged, hour-long monster mash whose ratings in the coveted 18-49 demographic surpass a host of prime-time shows on the major networks." It seems likely this recipe will be copied since "Even more significantly, 'The Talking Dead' is one of the least expensive series on AMC's prime-time slate — the set is spare, there's no band and the production is low-frills. While declining to say how much the show costs, Stillerman said 'it's a good business model. We get a nice return on our investment.'"
Slate wrote about how badly the DMCA affects accessibility of technology from ebooks to online videos. "[P]ublishers, video programmers, and other copyright owners lock down digital content with digital rights management technology designed to limit users’ ability to access, copy, and adapt copyrighted works to specific circumstances. And copyright owners frequently fail to account for the need to adapt DRM-encumbered works to make them accessible to people with disabilities.
College newspapers are a constant source of stories on fanfiction, but The Varsity tried to take a more comprehensive look at the practice, noting that "fan fiction predates the Internet. In fact, amateur press associations, which first flourished in the early decades of the 20th century, provided a way for aspiring writers to put together and share their own magazines and works of fiction. A distribution manager or official editor would collect the magazines and letter publications and send them to other members of the association. In the 1930s, fans of science fiction magazines printed their own mimeographed or hectographed works which contained their own reviews, printed fiction, and even art."
Spectacle: The Music Video is "the first museum exhibition to celebrate the art and history of the music video...the exhibition reveals the enormous influence music videos have had on contemporary culture over the past 35 years." Included in the exhibition are fan videos -- Killa and T. Jonesy's vid "Closer" and Luminosity's vid "Vogue". The exhibit opened on April 2 at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC and continues until June 16.