News of Note

  • OTW Fannews: Finding the Spark

    By Jennifer Rose Hale on Monday, 22 September 2014 - 5:12pm
    Message type:

    Silhouette of person with arms raised looking into sunset. Text reads Finding the Spark
    • The Sydney Morning-Herald, in Oz Comic-Con puts the power of the geeks on show, reports on "the obsessive, every-so-slightly bonkers and very influential world of 21st-century pop-culture geekery," including one fan who identifies as a Disney geek and has been to Disneyland 27 times. "You just revel in what you love," says Carissa Avenhouse. "You shop, you meet the fans, you hang out, you watch things, you enjoy the panels, you dress up in your favourite costume or you just wear the T-shirt from your favourite TV show or movie or comic. You're just at one with your people."
    • A podcast on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Discussing Fandom from Down Under, features a conversation between the host and an Australian fan over the fun of fandom (including being bitten on the neck by James Marsters!). Guest Nikki says, "I've never met a fandom I haven't liked. I love that whole concept of … that you can find your tribe of something so obscure, and just be you, and love what you love, and be okay." About people who don't understand her fandom, she adds, "They don't get it, and it's really sad not to be passionate about something for you, like, you can be passionate about your kids, but you still need something for you." They also cover the lure of fanfiction and book recommendations for young readers. (No transcript available.)
    • City A.M. reports on Amazon's purchase of Twitch, a platform that allows users to create their own content, as part the new age of "creative consumption," noting that "the plummeting cost of making and distributing your own work means amateur has started to regain its original meaning: not a second-rate imitation of professional work, but the mark of passionate involvement." The article goes on to cover fanfiction, including Archive of Our Own's inclusion of a million works, a recent achievement. While this shift "challenges traditional business models," the article continues, "[p]latforms win out when they build and nurture communities that blend writing and reading."

    What parts of fandom have sparked your imagination? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Spotting Fanworks

    By Jennifer Rose Hale on Sunday, 21 September 2014 - 5:11pm
    Message type:

    Graphic of digital music play screen with text Spotting Fanworks
    • Business 2 Community featured fan video work in a recent post and looked at some stats. "In the past 30 days, Doctor Who has garnered 7.9 million views on YouTube with 355 videos uploaded about the show. Doctor Who also had its series 8 premiere in this window of time...By comparison, BBC’s Merlin (which has been off the air for nearly three years) had around 33 thousand views across 140 videos in the past 30 days. It is apparent that new official content drives views, but fandom still makes videos even without any new footage available. If we compare Doctor Who with smash hit Harry Potter for the past 30 days, Doctor Who still wins. But Harry Potter still has a healthy 2.8 million views across 89 videos."
    • The Asian Age looked at audio works. "In an emerging musical microtrend, fans of many such literary and cinematic fictional franchises have taken to creating and downloading 'ambient mixes' in a bid to recreate their favourite spaces and sequences from the narrative...Vasudev Rathore sees in ambient mixes a way to give your life a background score and make routine or even tedious things feel more exciting. Add to this an association with your favourite books or movies and the outcome is unparalleled. 'You can make a novel come alive by recreating its environment using ambient sounds. I have started reading Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter again with these new sound mixes in the background. It is a whole new experience.'"
    • The Hollywood Reporter's feature on the future of films included the role of fans, though it was perhaps a little behind the times in not acknowledging that fan films were already here. "The accessibility of tech makes it all possible for us to produce — and own. The intellectual property of our own tales will be ours to use and repurpose in new innovative ways. We’ll see them screened and voted upon (like The Voice), with the winners getting widespread release. It will be an entirely new business model. You've heard about Fan Fiction? Get ready for Fan Film, in which self becomes film studio."

    What fanwork features 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Business

    By Janita Burgess on Saturday, 20 September 2014 - 5:07pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Robyn of the post title with $ signs as S's laid over a photo of world currency

    • OTW's ally organization, Public Knowledge, is sponsoring a contest for remixers. In an effort to highlight the problem of consolidation in the U.S. cable industry, they are asking remixers to "[t]ake one or more of the recent highly publicized customer service calls with Comcast (or go to town with one of your own experiences) and let your imagination go to work. We want to see remixes, mashups, autotunes, interpretive dances -- whatever you think of to broadcast these real customer service calls with Comcast." If you win, "Public Knowledge will pay your last Comcast bill, up to $200, and spread the word about your creation." Visit their post for more details.
    • OTW's Legal Committee recently submitted comments to the Australian government, opposing a copyright proposal, which has now been withdrawn. "'Unanimous' opposition to the federal government's proposed copyright law changes will force it back to the drawing board to tackle online piracy, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says. Representatives from both sides of the online piracy debate - including the telecommunications companies and rights holders - have warned the changes to copyright law outlined in the government's discussion paper on online piracy are too broad and could have negative unintended consequences."
    • A Viacom study of U.S. TV viewers was reported in numerous places. "The most interesting part of the research is what Viacom calls the 'Funnels to Fandom' – the process of becoming a fan, Viacom has found, takes place in five steps: Discovery, Research, Selection, Fandom, and Sharing." Fans have a strong influence since "in-person word of mouth is the #1 source for show discovery at 90%, closely followed by TV promos at 85% and word of mouth online or via social media at 78%." What's more, "[a]mong fans, marathoning is popular across all age groups: 83% of Millennials say this is one of their favorite ways to watch, followed by 72% of Gen Xers and 65% of Digital Natives."
    • Yahoo! Finance reported on the rapid aging of U.S. television viewers and what this could mean for programming. "Programmers will be increasingly willing to experiment with alternative distribution platforms for their content. With less risk of cannibalizing one’s core younger audience by offering shows on Netflix Inc., networks will try to cut deals to reach the mobile, 'time-shifting' viewer, wherever he or she can be found...we might see even more formulaic dramas and sitcoms, more pharmaceutical commercials and more older leading men and women in primetime, to better reflect the core viewing audience, rather than the sleeker, younger people who aren’t paying attention now anyway."

    What business stories have you seen that relate to fandom? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Personal Connections

    By Jennifer Rose Hale on Thursday, 18 September 2014 - 4:53pm
    Message type:

    Room with lots of Elvis paraphernalia. Text reads Personal Connections

    • NPR profiled the legacy of Elvis fan, Paul MacLeod. His tribute to Elvis's home, dubbed Graceland 2, has become his town's biggest visitor draw. "In 1990, he opened his house to visitors to show off his enormous hoard of Elvis memorabilia. But it soon became clear that the real attraction was MacLeod. YouTube videos give an idea why: MacLeod guided visitors through his house like a deranged carnival barker. He never stopped talking...MacLeod's devotion to 'the king' drove away his second wife and alienated his son. But it also transformed him from mere fan into what Elvis scholar Vernon Chadwick calls an outsider artist."
    • At Zap2It, Boob Tube Dude took note of the 10th anniversary of Lost. "The content of television shows, so this viewpoint goes, is designed to satisfy the cravings of its fans and reward them for viewing loyalty. This viewpoint gets things backwards, however. Television shows are created from a central point of view, and the best ones follow their own muse. The fact that anyone relates to that point of view is something of a miracle, especially in a day and age in which entertainment options are more diffuse and appeal to more distinct demographics than ever. But make no mistake: The idea that any show is creating something specifically for you is an illusion...In the best cases, it creates a symbiosis between audience and show that makes it feel as if the former were made for the latter."
    • New York's Daily News cited a study of Fifty Shades of Grey readers to suggest that their health problems might be interconnected with their choice of books -- at least if they were young. "Amy Bonomi, chairwoman of human development at Michigan State, led the study of 655 women ages 18 to 24. Despite the book's popularity with older women, Bonomi told the News that she studied younger women because their brains are at a critical developmental stage and they are exploring their sexuality more. 'Studies like this have been done before,' she said, noting analyses linking violent television to violent behavior and magazines to body image. '(But) nobody's really done it for fiction.'"

    What sorts of personal connections have you seen in your fandoms? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Founded on Fanworks

    By Kiri Van Santen on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 - 4:46pm
    Message type:

    image by Robyn of James Madison, fourth president of the US

    • Jennifer Parsons wrote at Tech Dirt about fanfic written by one of the U.S. founding fathers. "Why fanfic? What made Madison decide to use existing characters to make his point rather than inventing his own characters like John Arbuthnot did for his own political allegory?...The easiest way to tackle these questions is to tell you an allegorical story. There once was a comic artist, 'Jim M.,' who wanted to comment upon the important issue of CIA torture. To make his point, he drew a three panel comic strip. In the first panel, Captain America is taking down a fanatical Nazi commander who tortured prisoners of war for the good of the Fatherland...In the second panel, Jim M. draws Captain America standing next to President Obama, who is casually observing that although the CIA did 'torture some folks,' the lapse can be excused because the torturers were patriots who loved their country. In the third panel we see Captain America's shadowed face as he walks away from a burning American flag."
    • Although some are very pleased with the offerings on Kindle Worlds, various sites posted a story by Jeff John Robertson at GigaOm about Kindle Worlds' success in light of a presentation by OTW legal staffer, Rebecca Tushnet. "For Amazon and its partners, it will be difficult to overcome such perceptions since the underlying problem is not just about licensing terms, but something more fundamental: the impossibility of having it both ways, of fostering maximum creativity while wielding maximum legal control. As Tushnet notes, Kindle Worlds is hardly the first time that a licensed model of creativity has come up short: the music industry’s imposition of sampling licenses smothered hip-hop in the 1990’s, while commercial controls eroded the popularity of the early fan fiction universe, Darkover."
    • The Fandom Post reported on Dynamite Entertainment being one of the latest companies to go DRM-free. "There will be a slow, focused roll-out over time that will grow the available titles to reflect the vast majority of Dynamite’s library. Throughout its first month of operation, Dynamite will donate ten percent of all sales to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers."

    How far back have you seen fanworks go? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Knowing the Audience

    By Janita Burgess on Monday, 15 September 2014 - 4:27pm
    Message type:

    OTW Fannews Knowing the Audience

    • Lydia Laurenson wrote for The Atlantic about online anonymity, spurred by the change in Google+'s policy on real names. "I was finding myself on the Internet, but I was also learning skills that would be useful both as a professional and a human offline. My ability to be an effective creator was hugely shaped by writing popular fan fiction and running side-project businesses in virtual worlds. Researchers have also found pseudonymous games to be great environments for training leadership skills...Nowadays, we’re often told that The Future lies in entrepreneurship. I believe that elastic selfhood is crucial for people’s personal development, but it’s important for broader innovation, too. We need space to experiment and risk-tolerant environments where people can learn."
    • Many female fans have hidden their gender in online spaces for some of the reasons that Jen Mac Ramos describes as appearing in hockey fandom. "Plain and simple: being a hockey fan online isn't a safe space for women. In fact, it's downright frightening at times. It's no secret that hockey is notoriously a white bro sport, white as the ice they play on. The boys' club that watches and writes about it is what it is: a boys' club. It's men of all spades who get to dictate what the culture is like. While understandable on the ice (because, well, it is a boys' club in the locker room), why should it extend to how fandom should be? Why should it be around to isolate women?"
    • The media does little to value women as an audience. While suggesting that public conversations on diversity can make a difference, and reporting on problems with representation, the Hollywood Reporter nonetheless wrote about the success of female driven films as a failure of men to go to the movies.
    • At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax questioned terms and whether or not they can encompass an entire audience of fans. "A nerd can look like anyone. They look like you or me. However, for women and people of color, are we nerds or anti-nerds? I’m not suggesting we reject the term nerd because I like being called a nerd and I have no qualms about adopting all of what is considered to be a part of nerd culture. However, as a blerd, if I choose to embrace my blerdniess as opposed to generic nerdiness than what does that mean exactly? The blerd community is a place of solidarity for nerds of color. It’s a safe place where we are free to embrace and express our unique sense of self. There is a no-judgment zone within the blerd community and we welcome blerds to cosplay as non-Black characters and for women to have a prolific voice in our community."

    What parts of fandom have you been involved in? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Wearing the Mask

    By Jennifer Rose Hale on Sunday, 14 September 2014 - 4:02pm
    Message type:

    Vintage photograph of people, primarily children, in costume
    • A feature on LonCon in The Guardian discussed various fanworks including filk and cosplay. "While most attendees save dressing up until Saturday night's masquerade, Jonathan Hall, 21, who studies physics at Oxford, spent Friday of the convention fully clad in a homemade Thor costume. For him, while comics breaking out in the mainstream was 'only a good thing,' he said the big comic book and fantasy films made by Hollywood had a lot of catching up to do in terms of representing minority groups in the way the fiction and fan fiction did. 'I'm quite into queer fandom,' Hall added. 'I watched Doctor Who and Torchwood when it came back on television and being 14 at the time and starting to realise I was bisexual, having Captain Jack as a figure on television who become a role model in many ways was a huge help to me. So I think representation is really important and in many ways these big budget movies don't do it as well as books have been doing for a while.'"
    • SyFy interviewed designers who took part in San Diego Comic Con's Her Universe Fashion Show. Asked about whether geek couture is becoming a movement in fashion, one designer replied "Geek culture right now is coming into a really strong time because people are being themselves, they are embracing what they like and embracing who they are...and saying if you don't like it, that's ok because I like myself." (No transcript available).
    • While some fans are creating cosplay for animals, The Inlander profiled cosplay as animals in a piece on Spokane’s First Night. "Escapism is nothing new to the human experience. Ask the guy who drops his paycheck on Zags season tickets, or the people waiting in line for a movie on a Friday night. Ask comic book fans, artists, musicians, gamers, woodworkers, distance runners, Civil War re-enactors, avid fans of Game of Thrones. Odds are they'll all tell you they're just looking for a vacation from the norm, a few minutes when they can forget the bills to pay, the obligations to meet, the 9-to-5, the problems they don't want to address. 'When we fantasize, we experience the same emotions we would feel if we were in reality. Think of the fear you feel with a nightmare. Happy fantasies make us feel good,' says Norman Holland, author of Literature and the Brain and a researcher of psychoanalytic psychology...'Fantasies — escapism — give our emotions a workout. That's why the imaginative arts are good for you.'"

    Have you taken part in cosplay or attended cosplay events? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfiction For the Win

    By Janita Burgess on Thursday, 11 September 2014 - 4:54pm
    Message type:

    OTW Fannews Fanfiction for the Win

    • At Crushable Jill O’Rourke discussed how much entertainment is fanfic. "Fanfiction is also present on TV. I’ll give you one flawless example: the entire Once Upon a Time series. It’s practically a show about fanfiction, as it deals with literal alternate universes, multiple versions of characters within the same story, original characters, and crossovers between countless fairy tales, shipping included (and I mean that in the 'They should kiss' way, not in the 'buying something on Amazon' way). People have then gone a step further and written fanfiction around Once Upon a Time. Fanfic-ception!"
    • Blogger Alan Verill wrote about Fan Fiction, Writing, and the Learning Process. "Anyway, all of this to say that perhaps our first reaction to reading someone's lousy fan fiction should not be to mock them. Perhaps we, as a community of writers and readers, should actually be encouraging people to learn and try and grow, as opposed to crushing them under the heel of our Internet mockery. And yeah, I know that's pretty much what the Internet has become these days -- a giant room where everyone takes meth and grabs megaphones and screams at each other without pause. I just think it would be better if we all endeavored to change that, even if only in some kind of small and subtle way."
    • Fictorians posted about trying to become a writer. "If I had it to do over, I’m tempted to say that I’d push myself to start submitting my work sooner. I’m not sure, though, how to pinpoint the time in my life where I was mature enough to not interpret a rejection as a portent of doom, personal insult, or sign of my complete and incurable ineptitude. I’m also grateful for the epic saga I wrote that taught me yes, I do have the ability to write a book’s worth of material. So instead, I’d tell myself to keep in mind that fandom is not a career."
    • At The Mary Sue Emmy Ellis defended badfic. "I’m going to stand up for 'terrible' fanfiction, in all its bizarrities and failures. I’m going to stand up for smut and slash, for utterly pointless fluff, for high school and college alternate universes, for crossovers of either characters or entire worlds, and – I’ll try – for crackfic. You know, the kinds of fanfiction that are brought up when folks try to tar and feather the whole medium with a broad brush. If you bear with me, I might even go so far as to mount a defense for badly-written and ill-conceived fanfiction. And, for your convenience, I’ll do so in that order."

    What fanfiction has made a difference to you? 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: Every Kind of Fan

    By Janita Burgess on Tuesday, 2 September 2014 - 4:22pm
    Message type:

    OTW Fannews Every Kind of Fan

    • NPR reported on a K-Pop con in Los Angeles. "[T]alking demographics, Killoren says that most of the 40,000 KCON-goers are girls. Now, you might expect that most of the fans are Korean. 'Most every single person will think that. In fact, most Koreans think that. And they come and they realize we have - less than 10 percent of our audience is Korean.' And Killoren says, that's kind of the point. KCON is a way to give American K-pop fans a taste of something they usually only see on YouTube and to get them caught up in that Hallyu wave." (Transcript available).
    • Portugal News Online reported on an international Cliff Richard con. "Sandra Nicholson, from Newcastle, flew in purposely from the UK for the fundraising event, as did 57-year-old life-long fan Margrit, from Austria. Most of the fans were already well-acquainted, having bumped into each other several times before at a number of the many concerts and events that have been held over the past half a century, since Cliff Richard rocked onto the scene in the late 1950s. Dutch fan Petra de Nie, who runs the Sir Cliff Video Clips website, was also on the cruise, as was Karen Campbell, who possibly had the longest trip of all fans, having travelled with her husband from Brisbane, Australia."
    • Essential Pittsburgh hosted a discussion on "Why Pittsburgh is Geek City, USA" to explain "the start of the Comic Con cultural movement." Comics museum director Joe Wos explained that geek culture was also critical for the growth of cities. "Geek is driving the economy...so I think it's really important for a city to have the attractions, the resources, the sort of things that geeks look for when they move to a city." A caller noted that "Pittsburgh has now had three generations of science fiction clubs all started by women" and Wos added "There was just this huge movement of women who wanted to take comics to the next level." (No transcript available).
    • The Los Angeles Times discussed Outlander's appeal. "The series arrives at a time when Hollywood is acutely aware of the value of female audiences, thanks to 'The Hunger Games,' 'Twilight' and the upcoming 'Fifty Shades of Grey' — projects with passionate, built-in fan bases that have forced the industry to rethink its attitude toward so-called 'chick lit.' And even though while television is thought to be a more female-friendly medium than film, prestige drama remains a realm dominated by male antiheroes. Starz, which last year broadcast 'The White Queen,' another sexy period piece featuring a strong heroine and adapted from a popular historical novel, is specifically trying to reach out to this 'underserved audience' of female subscribers."

    What fandoms have you seen that reach around the globe? 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Reconsidering Fans & Fanworks

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 30 August 2014 - 4:09pm
    Message type:

    Robot fans at a Korean baseball game

    • It's not unusual to find media articles or online posts with dubious declarations about fanworks' legal status, but it's less common to find posts that reconsider the topic. One writer for Business2Community took advice from OTW Legal staffer Heidi Tandy to better explore relevant legal cases and events. "One of the hallmarks of fan fiction is that it must be non-commercial. Yet many of the sites have ads on them – so aren’t they commercial? Not necessarily, says Tandy. 'Since 2002, there’s been a pretty clear distinction about what constitutes commercial vs. non-commercial publishing. I did a panel with Warner Brothers, and posed the question, ‘What if we put Google Ads or become an Amazon affiliate on our fan fiction site as a way to pay our server and hosting bills?’ And they said, ‘We have no problem with self-funding. What we have is a problem is with people selling things as if they are authorized or created by us or the original author.’'”
    • The Los Angeles Times posted about another recent legal case on Sherlock Holmes' public domain status which made clear the judge's views. "'The Doyle estate's business strategy is plain: charge a modest license fee for which there is no legal basis, in the hope that the 'rational' writer or publisher asked for the fee will pay it rather than incur a greater cost, in legal expenses, in challenging the legality of the demand. The strategy had worked ... only Klinger (so far as we know) resisted,' Posner wrote in his opinion. 'In effect he was a private attorney general, combating a disreputable business practice — a form of extortion — and he is seeking by the present motion not to obtain a reward but merely to avoid a loss.'"
    • TIME posted about robots replacing fans at Korean baseball games. "Hanwha’s robot fans will work as stand-ins for human fans who can’t attend a game. Remote fans will be able to control some of the robots’ movements — presumably certain hand gestures in the direction of umpires — and can even upload an image of their face to be shown on the machine’s screen. The robots will also let fans watch the game from afar, giving more fans the opportunity to join in the action and cheer on their team." Whether the robot fans will have the same legal rights as human fans remains to be seen but legal developments are sure to keep evolving!

    What tech and legal developments about fandom have caught your attention? 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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