Naomi Novik at House Judiciary Hearing

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At 2 PM EST on January 28, former OTW board member Naomi Novik will be one of the witnesses in a hearing on The Scope of Fair Use. This hearing is being convened by the U.S. Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (a Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary).

The purpose of her appearance is to inform members of Congress about what fan creators do, and the importance and significance of fandom -- including culturally, educationally, and creatively. As the comments compiled by our Legal Committee for the NTIA/PTO demonstrated, remixes and fanworks are made by everyday people with things they have to say. The OTW wants to ensure that legislators understand this and also have an idea of the size of the fannish community and the value of its activities.

This appearance follows the OTW's participation earlier this month in raising awareness about copyright issues and is part of the OTW's Legal Advocacy project to represent fans' interests in legal and government discussions about copyright's effects.

Edited 28 January to add: Prepared statement by Naomi Novik

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Comments

Fandom is emerging as a product of our hyper-connected world, not entirely a new form of communicaiton but one enhanced and made easier and faster by our interconnectedness. The passion of fans has always been with us -- just look at sports events or pop star concerts where devotees gather in real time -- but the internet gives us the ability to organize worldwide.
I'm a painter of traditional landscapes, a 15th century technology. As a young student I was a passionate fan of John Constable, JMW Turner and Claude Monet. I had to buy books, travel to museums to practise my fandom, but those painters were my teachers, mentors and guiding lights. I never had the opportunity to meet others like me, not the way I do today as a fan of Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Breaking Bad or other media. But I have 'remixed' the work of Monet, Constable and Turner on my canvases for 40 years. My appropriating their technique, style and imagery, I learned to be a landscape painter. Todays vidders, writers and fan artists are developing their own body of creative work and honoring their teachers, the creators of the work they remix.

What a wonderfully succinct explanation of how important fandom is to culture. Widening the discussion to art, especially traditional art, removes the popular image of teenagers writing about the TV shows they love and makes people think about how the appropriation of techniques and subject matter can extend and deepen cultural practices. Not that teenagers shouldn't write about shows - they should - but the media tend to be dismissive about such things. A comment like Ven's should make them think harder!

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