Annual Report 2014

2014 Annual Report, The Organization for Transformative Works

Annual Report 2014

Table of Contents

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS – 3
PROJECTS – 6

  • Archive of Our Own
  • Fanlore
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Open Doors
  • Transformative Works and Cultures
  • Fundraising and Outreach
  • Communication and Public Relations
  • People and Planning

TIMELINE 2014 – 13
CONTINUING TO SERVE FANS: Stepping Stones for 2015 – 22
FINANCES – 23

  • Balance Sheet
  • Profit and Loss
  • Notes to Financial Statements

THE OTW / MISSION, VISION, VALUES – 29

  • Our Mission
  • Our Vision
  • Values

ABOUT THE OTW / WHO WE ARE – 30

  • Board of Directors
  • Emerita Board Members
  • Committees
  • Workgroups

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dear friends and supporters,

It’s been seven years and counting that the Organization for Transformative Works has been working to support and protect fanworks in a variety of fields, and we’re thrilled to say that overall 2014 was another very successful year in that ongoing effort. Not only did our fundraising efforts in October 2014 raise more money than the previous three fundraising drives combined, but we also made significant progress in terms of investment in infrastructure for the Archive of Our Own, held the second annual meeting of the Board of Directors outside Washington, D.C., and made important strides towards meeting standards for organizational best practices such as compiling an annual budget for the first time in the OTW’s history.

Any account of 2014 must begin with our raising over US$173,000 in the October 2014 fundraising drive. We were humbled and thrilled by the success of this fundraising drive, particularly since it came in the midst of technical difficulties which we had initially feared would make it difficult to meet our goal of $70,000. The OTW staff and volunteers rose to the occasion magnificently, however, and our fans and supporters’ generosity matched their dedication. We would like to thank each of our donors and all of the staff and volunteers who worked on the drive once again: without you, our success simply would not be possible.

The annual retreat in 2014 included attendees besides the Board of Directors for the first time. The entire Strategic Planning Committee as well as representatives from the Legal and Volunteers & Recruiting committees were present to assist in long-term plans for our organization. We made important strides at the retreat towards drafting a three-year strategic plan for the OTW, and being able to meet face-to-face over the course of a weekend was essential to making such rapid progress. We would like to thank everyone who attended the annual retreat for their dedication, insight, and patience, as well as their taking the time out of their schedules to join us.

We would like to thank as well Franzeska Dickson, Anna Genoese, and Nikisha Sanders, each of whom served on the Board of Directors in 2014. Nikisha Sanders continues to serve as the Treasurer of the OTW now that she has completed her term on the Board, and we would like to thank her again for her continuing service.

2014 saw additional investment in infrastructure—hardware, code, and human—to support the Archive of Our Own and its associated technical committees, as well as Fanlore, our growing fandom wiki. It also saw further notable efforts by our Legal Committee including filing amicus briefs in support of fair use and fan activity at multiple levels of the U.S. court system including the Supreme Court, as well as preparations to renew and expand the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions we’ve previously won before the U.S. Copyright Office. The Open Doors project imported two more at-risk fanfiction archives into the Archive of Our Own, including at long last the Yuletide Treasure archive. Its parlous state was among the factors contributing to the establishment of the AO3 project. The other accomplishments of our individual projects and committees will be covered in further detail within this report, so at this point we simply wish to express our gratitude again towards our hardworking staff and volunteers, who span the globe but who are united in their belief in the OTW’s mission.

Looking ahead to 2015, we anticipate another year of hard work towards carrying out our mission. In particular, given the Archive of Our Own’s rapidly growing popularity, we anticipate at least $100,000 in additional expenditures to maintain and expand its hardware, and we also are looking into ways to jump-start its development process this year. The overwhelming success of the October 2014 fundraising drive not only filled us with confidence in our supporters’ continued faith in us; it also exposed areas in our fundraising process which were no longer adequate for our needs, and the Development & Membership Committee is currently working to revise those processes to put the OTW in an even stronger fundraising position. Most of all, we anticipate continued work on our part to document the Board’s processes and roles to bring the OTW into better compliance with nonprofit best practices, and we very much look forward to assessing the beginning of the strategic plan’s implementation at our next annual meeting.

Again, none of this would be possible without the hard work of our staff and volunteers and the generosity of our donors and supporters. We thank each and every one of you for your continued support; with you, we anticipate 2015 being the OTW’s best year yet.

In fannish fellowship,

The 2015 OTW Board of Directors
Eylul Dogruel, President
Andrea Horbinski, Secretary
Soledad Griffin
Margaret J. MacRae
Cat Meier
Jessica Steiner

PROJECTS

Now in its 7th year, the Organization for Transformative Works is seeing changes in terms of user support and word-of-mouth publicity, as well as a marked increase in contributions from fans to its projects.

ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN

The Archive of Our Own (AO3) continued its trend of significant growth, reaching 1 million fanworks on the 15th of February and surpassing 400,000 user accounts and 17,000 different fandoms by the end of the year. The Archive had 7.5 million unique visitors in December, a dramatic increase from the 4.9 million unique visitors recorded 11 months prior in January. Weekly page views for the Archive averaged 49 million in January and increased throughout the year, reaching 75.9 million views in the final week of December.

Throughout the year, AO3 performed well in terms of stability. Accessibility, Design & Technology (AD&T) rolled out 41 code deploys in 2014, including a batch-wrangling tool for tag wranglers and an improvement to the FAQ system in order to make the Archive’s extensive help section accessible to more users.

Translation began to work on making AO3’s FAQs available in several languages, and AO3 Documentation and Content Policy continued to make improvements to the FAQs, particularly by updating outdated information and adding a new Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy drafted by Content Policy.

Abuse handled 2750 tickets in 2014, and Support handled almost 6000 tickets from January 1 to December 31, 2014. Throughout the year, Support held five chats to assist AO3 users in multiple languages with the assistance of Translation.

Due to server constraints, Tag Wrangling began the year with very limiting rules for what changes wranglers could make to tags. These limits included a ban on new generic freeform canonical tags unrelated to specific fandoms and a ban on renaming or subtagging medium-sized and large tags. While these restrictions were in place, Tag Wrangling took the time to update their Assigned Fandoms Policy (finished in February), create a new Communication Policy (finished in June), move to Trello for staff task tracking (September), improve their documentation, and run three recruitment rounds. In May, AD&T created a new mass wrangling tool that wranglers could use from within their fandoms, dramatically improving wrangler efficiency. AD&T and Quality Assurance & Testing also improved the wrangling experience by testing and fixing some older bugs. In October, wrangling restrictions on medium-sized tags were slightly relaxed, as the server situation improved due to AD&T’s efforts.

FANLORE

In February, Fanlore passed 500,000 edits on the same day in which AO3 reached 1 million fanworks, making for an incredible day of milestones. Fanlore later reached the 30,000-article milestone in April with a post by Sparcicle on the subject of Nox et Lumos.

Stub September, a month-long event encouraging users to expand stub articles on Fanlore into full entries and raise awareness about the site, was particularly successful in 2014. The Wiki Committee reported a number of new accounts and entries.

LEGAL ADVOCACY

Legal had a busy and very successful year. In January, founding board member Naomi Novik gave testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, with assistance from the Legal Committee.

Legal worked with the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge to craft and file an amicus brief in the case of DISH Network v. ABC, currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case concerns the recording of television programs for later viewing and has implications for fan video makers as well as any fans who rely on third-party tools to create fanworks.

Legal also filed an amicus brief in support of Google’s request that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals re-hear the the case of Garcia v. Google, which dealt with the internet “safe harbor” provisions that protect intermediaries (like YouTube and the AO3) from liability for user-created content. The amicus brief helped Google win the request. Therefore, Legal then filed another brief for the new hearing, explaining why the previous result would promote online censorship and harm free speech.

Legal continued the OTW’s participation in the United States Patent and Trademark Office/National Telecommunications and Information Administration (USPTO/NTIA) “Green Paper” process regarding U.S. copyright law, participating in a multi-stakeholder meeting regarding standardization of DMCA “notice and takedown” procedures, with Legal chair Betsy Rosenblatt presenting at meeting. Legal also took part in the USPTO Green Paper Roundtable in Los Angeles.

As in previous years, the Fan Video & Multimedia Committee worked with Legal as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to petition for a DMCA exemption granting the right to break copy protection on media files to fan video makers, anime music video (AMV) makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video. This time around, they’re seeking to expand the exemption granted in 2009 and 2012 to include Blu-ray. Legal filed petitions with the U.S. Copyright Office to renew the DMCA exemption that the OTW helped win in 2009 and 2012.

Jointly with Creative Commons Australia, Legal submitted comments to the Australian government in association with Australia’s Discussion Paper on Online Copyright.

In direct service of fans, Legal responded to several legal queries from fans and an alleged rights holder, and advised fans worried about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The committee drafted posts on “The Case Against Licensing Fanworks,” fair use, copyright in China, and the “Free Sherlock” case. Legal staffers Betsy and Heidi, together with Josh Wattles of DeviantArt, gave a well-attended presentation at San Diego Comic Con entitled “Fans, Love, and the Law.”

None of the OTW’s services have received requests for information under section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The Archive of Our Own has a notice-and-takedown policy under 17 U.S. Code section 512, posted at http://archiveofourown.org/dmca. In 2014, the Archive received no takedown requests that complied with this policy regarding works hosted on its servers.

OPEN DOORS

Open Doors imported two archives to the AO3 in 2014 and announced two more upcoming imports. In March, Open Doors announced the pending import for the original Yuletide archive to the AO3 and subsequently held two open house chats about the import. The original Yuletide Archive (of around 7,500 works) was imported to the AO3 in May by Accessibility, Design & Technology, with all tags handled by Tag Wrangling. Open Doors handled over 300 tickets over the course of the import.

Open Doors and Bettina, the mod of the German Speaking Slashers United archive, completed the import of over 700 works to the AO3 in April.

As the year ended, Open Doors announced the pending import for the Boys in Chains archive and the Ink Stained Fingers archive to the AO3.

TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS AND CULTURES

The Journal Committee has continued to promote and provide access to scholarship on fanworks and practices with one unthemed issue and two special issues of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC). In February, University of Iowa Press released The Fan Fiction Studies Reader, edited by TWC founding editors Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse and including essays by OTW founding board member Francesca Coppa and others.

Issue 15, which featured articles on a variety of fandoms, was titled “Fandom and/as labor” and guest edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis. Topics included fandom’s “gift economy” and issues of fan labor. Issue 16, “Materiality and object-oriented fandom,” was guest edited by Bob Rehak and discussed elements of material fandom, such as merchandise and collecting. 2014’s final issue was not themed and featured a case study of Sherlock gender swap fan fiction as well as an interview with actor Orlando Jones on fandom, social media, and “producer/fandom interactions.”

FUNDRAISING AND OUTREACH

Development & Membership reported record donations during our April membership drive. Translation produced over 100 translated posts for the drive, and Communications released the OTW video, which introduces viewers to the OTW and its projects, at the end of the membership drive.

The October membership drive was a huge success: the final total for the drive was US$174,570.34, but by the end of October we had received US$182,930.34 in donations from 8,211 people. This far exceeded the totals from any previous drive and more than doubled the drive’s initial target, making 2014 a record year for donations. At the same time, information released during the drive informed users and supporters of the need for increasing revenue to support the rapid growth of OTW projects.

Development & Membership had to handle many last-minute workarounds due to technical issues and changes during the drive, including major outages on transformativeworks.org which required a donation page to be hosted on the Archive of Our Own for the first time. Development & Membership also responded to hundreds of fan questions and comments during the drive itself, with help from Communications staffer Janita. Translation prepared over 120 translated posts for this drive — including two infographics and lots of tweets.

In November, Development & Membership announced that the OTW is taking part in the AmazonSmile program, allowing shoppers in the US to instruct Amazon to donate 0.5% of the purchase price from eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the OTW.

COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

All of Communications’ active social media outlets showed gains in followers, though these were generally modest. The outlier was Tumblr, which gained over 3000 followers during and following the October drive period. The fanlore_news Twitter account also made significant gains in viewers.

Communications drafted and released 193 posts in 2014. Communications also assisted in the drafting or beta of posts for committees and distributed posts for them, including 4 for Open Doors, 18 for Development & Membership, 12 for Volunteers & Recruiting, 8 for the Board, 5 for Elections, 3 for Strategic Planning, 3 for Wiki, 6 for Support, and 28 for Legal.

The OTW promotional video project, Introduction to the OTW, a hugely collaborative effort, was completed and released in April 2014. Translation later created 16 additional subtitled versions for the video. . Introduction to the OTW is hosted at three sites in addition to the OTW website, including YouTube where it has over 1,700 views to date.

Translation added four new language teams in 2014: Russian, Catalan, Czech, and Hebrew. The committee was extremely busy year-round, ensuring that the regular chats that Support holds would be available in multiple languages, translating important announcements and updates for Communications, Open Doors, Legal, Accessibility, Design & Technology, and others, and generating material for the two annual drives.

Web Strategy, Design & Development had its hands full with various ongoing problems with the OTW website during the year. In July, Web Strategy, Design & Development temporarily halted anonymous commenting on the OTW website due to a major spam wave. At year’s end problems were identified with the website’s Drupal management framework and the CiviCRM software used by Development & Membership to process memberships and donations. The software was disconnected in November and the two committees began investigating other options for the site and CiviCRM hosting.

PEOPLE AND PLANNING

The Volunteers & Recruiting Committee recruited for 20 unique roles in 14 committees in 2014, inducting 109 new staff and 265 new volunteers.

Volunteers & Recruiting began the decommissioning of the Grants Committee in March. The Elections workgroup became a full committee in September, following approval from the Board.

Strategic Planning continued their process of surveying each committee, seeking input from chairs as well as committee members. Strategic Planning presented their findings to the Board and representatives from Volunteers & Recruiting and Legal at the annual Board retreat in October. From the retreat was developed a list of overall strategic goals to be accomplished in six-month intervals over the next three years, which Strategic Planning expanded into an initial plan and presented to all staff and volunteers for review.

Since Elections transitioned from a temporary workgroup to a fully-staffed committee, they have been working on adopting new tools in order to facilitate scaling up the election. They successfully ran an uncontested election in November, organizing the posting of candidate information and scheduling candidate interaction with the public through Q&A and chat sessions. Elections has also improved documentation for all aspects of the election process and addressed potential policy changes. Some of these changes were implemented in 2014, and the rest are scheduled for review in 2015.

Board director Anna Genoese stepped down in October, and director Nikisha Sanders completed her term in December. Jessica Steiner, M. J. MacRae, and Soledad Griffin were inducted in December.

TIMELINE 2014

January

  • Abuse had roughly 120 tickets come in.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology posted “Site Stats: A Look at 2013 and Beyond, Part 1” and an accompanying spreadsheet about AO3.
  • Communications began posting news to the OTW’s LinkedIn account.
  • Communications and Legal Committees created several posts for Copyright Week.
  • Legal worked with the EFF and Public Knowledge to craft and file an amicus brief in the case of DISH Network v. ABC, currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Founding board member Naomi Novik gave testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, with assistance from the Legal Committee.
  • Support received 445 tickets.
  • Systems did work on the upgraded Archive machines and on transitioning internal OTW systems off of our remaining Linode server onto our own virtual machines.

February

  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed Release 0.9.13 on AO3.
  • AO3 passed 1 million fanworks.
  • Communications announced an International Fanworks Day to be held annually on February 15th to continue the focus on fanworks through coming years.
  • Fanlore passed 500,000 edits.
  • Development & Membership chair, Kristen Murphy, was interviewed by Three Patch Podcast about the OTW’s growth and milestones.
  • Journal Committee founding editors Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse published the book ’The Fan Fiction Studies Reader’ with the University of Iowa Press. The book includes essays by OTW founding board member Francesca Coppa and others.
  • Open Doors worked with Accessibility, Design & Technology and Quality Assurance & Testing to update importing documentation with the fixes and features in the last deploy.
  • Strategic Planning wrapped up surveys of Abuse, Communications, Development & Membership, Internationalization & Outreach, and Web Strategy, Design & Development and moved into the data analysis and report-writing stages.
  • Support received 461 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling coordinated with Accessibility, Design & Technology and Systems to get some large re-wranglings done without disrupting the servers.
  • Translation started a new Turkish language team.

March

  • Abuse had 160+ tickets come in, most popularly about plagiarism and non-fanwork content.
  • Accessibility, Design and Technology had two more deploys in their current release cycle (Release 0.9.14).
  • Communications planned and carried out a series of events in March to celebrate the milestones achieved in February.
  • Journal released issue number 15 of Transformative Works and Cultures, which featured articles on a variety of fandoms.
  • Legal advised fans worried about SOPA about the Trans–Pacific Partnership.
  • Legal worked with Communications staffer John to release a post on copyright in China.
  • Open Doors announced the pending import for the original Yuletide archive to the AO3.
  • Support held a chat to assist AO3 users.
  • Support received 459 tickets.
  • Systems continued to split functions out onto the virtual servers.
  • Volunteers & Recruiting began the decommissioning of the Grants Committee.
  • Volunteers & Recruiting resolved over 80 internal tickets.

April

  • Abuse received over 200 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design and Technology continued their rolling releases with five updates.
  • Accessibility, Design and Technology announced changes coming to the Archive FAQ System.
  • Communications released the Introduction to the OTW video at the end of the membership drive.
  • Communications’ liaisons to Accessibility, Design & Technology and Wiki created and distributed tweets and posts for April Showers.
  • Development & Membership reported record donations during our April membership drive.
  • Development & Membership announced plans for an OTW merchandise store.
  • Legal filed an amicus brief in the case of Garcia v. Google.
  • Open Doors held the first of two open house chats for the Yuletide Archive import.
  • Open Doors and Bettina, the mod of the German Speaking Slashers United archive, completed the import of over 700 works to the AO3.
  • Strategic Planning started a new round of surveys, reaching out to Translation, Finance, and Fan Video & Multimedia.
  • Support received 435 tickets.
  • Translation produced over 100 translated posts this month for the membership drive.
  • Translation started a new Catalan language team.
  • Volunteers & Recruiting answered over 20 non-induction/removal requests.

May

  • Abuse received almost 200 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology released a batch-wrangling tool for tag wranglers, enabling them to do mass-wrangling from individual fandom pages.
  • Board began planning for a retreat in October.
  • Communications published the OTW’s Annual Report for 2013.
  • Content Policy had an AO3 Terms of Service/FAQ update and new DMCA policy approved for inclusion, which Accessibility, Design & Technology posted to the Archive.
  • Legal filed a Notice of Protest with the U.S. Trademark Office against a registrant seeking trademark rights in the term “FANDOM.”
  • Legal continued the OTW’s participation in the USPTO/NTIA “Green Paper” process regarding U.S. copyright law, this time participating in a multi-stakeholder meeting regarding standardization of DMCA “notice and takedown” procedures, with Legal chair Betsy Rosenblatt presenting at that meeting.
  • Open Doors held the second of two open house chats for the Yuletide Archive import. The original Yuletide Archive (of around 7,500 works) was imported to the AO3 shortly after by Accessibility, Design & Technology, with all tags handled by Tag Wrangling. Open Doors handled over 300 tickets over the course of the import.
  • Support received 534 tickets.
  • Translation started collaborating with Communications on the OTW’s monthly external newsletter.
  • Translation started a new Russian language team.

June

  • Abuse successfully closed over 150 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology made five deploys, which closed 52 issues from their bug tracker.
  • Content Policy edited the FAQ to address some common questions.
  • Development & Membership began working with other committees to start up the Visual Identity Group, which will focus on the OTW’s visual branding.
  • Fanlore reached the 30,000 article milestone with a post on Nox et Lumos.
  • Journal released issue No. 16, a guest-edited issue on material fan culture.
  • Legal continued to represent the OTW in the USPTO and NTIA’s multi-stakeholder process for improving the DMCA notice and takedown procedure.
  • Legal created two posts about legal issues of interest to fans, one on fair use and the other on the U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling in the “Free Sherlock” case.
  • Strategic Planning continued their survey work, surveying Legal, Finance, Category Change, Translation, Fan Video & Multimedia, Journal, and Fanhackers.
  • Support held a chat to assist AO3 users in multiple languages with the assistance of Translation.
  • Support received 505 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling Staff hosted some staff-led training sessions for new and current wranglers.
  • Translation released the OTW video with subtitles in 16 languages.

July

  • Abuse dealt with about 200 tickets of abuse from AO3 users.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology made three more code deploys for Release 0.9.15.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology closed 110 issues in the bugtracker.
  • AO3 Documentation wrapped up some major internal workflow restructuring.
  • Board Presidnent Cat Meier began regular office hours on Wednesday/Thursdays from 23:59–02:00 UTC.
  • Elections restarted as a workgroup and recruited new members for the 2014 season.
  • Fanhackers chair Nele Noppe wrote a well-received post about the censorship problems faced by anime and manga fans.
  • Legal staffers Betsy and Heidi, together with Josh Wattles of DeviantArt, gave a well-attended presentation at San Diego Comic Con entitled “Fans, Love, and the Law.”
  • Legal took part in the USPTO Green Paper Roundtable in Los Angeles.
  • Legal responded to several queries from individual fans, and they helped an individual fan who received a cease & desist request regarding fanworks.
  • Strategic Planning began planning Non-Profit 101 discussions.
  • Support received 516 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling made arrangements with Translation to request their services for tags or works that wranglers need help with, to help streamline non-English wrangling.
  • Translation and Accessibility, Design & Technology began testing PhraseApp, a potential tool for Archive interface translation.
  • Web Strategy, Design & Development temporarily halted anonymous commenting on the OTW website due to a major spam wave.
  • Wiki successfully closed several identity protection cases.

August

  • Abuse received 198 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology made three more deploys.
  • AO3 recorded the first day (Sunday, August 10) with over 10 million page views, an average of roughly 7,000 page views per minute.
  • As in previous years, Fan Video & Multimedia worked with our Legal Committee as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files.
  • Legal responded to several legal queries from fans and an alleged rights holder.
  • Support held another chat to assist AO3 users in multiple languages with the assistance of Translation.
  • Support received 541 tickets.
  • Systems moved the OTW’s Vault platform to a different virtual machine.
  • Tag Wrangling passed 210 active wranglers this month.

September

    • Abuse received 420 tickets.
    • Accessibility, Design & Technology successfully completed four substantial code deploys.
    • Elections became an official committee.
    • Elections worked with the Board to clarify the eligibility requirements and successfully sent out a call for candidates.
    • Journal published issue 17 of Transformative Works and Cultures.
    • Legal, jointly with Creative Commons Australia, submitted comments to the Australian government in association with Australia’s Discussion Paper on Online Copyright.
    • OTW celebrated its 7th anniversary with a guest post from Flourish Klink.
    • OTW took part in the Battle for the Net Internet Slowdown on September 10th by displaying banners to inform users about the attack on net neutrality.
    • The OTW website experienced outages.
    • Strategic Planning completed two more internal Non-Profit 101 sessions.
    • Support received 474 tickets.
    • Systems built a new Elasticsearch cluster for better AO3 indexing.
    • Translation started working on making AO3’s FAQ available in several languages.
    • Translation started a new Czech language team.
    • Wiki’s event on Fanlore, Stub September, was a great success.
    • Wiki held an editing chat on September 14th and later posted a summary of issues discussed that day.

October

      • Abuse handled over 180 tickets.
      • Accessibility, Design & Technology made a series of tiny code updates (Releases 0.9.26, 0.9.27–.29, and 0.9.30–.32).
      • Board and Strategic Planning were joined by representatives from Volunteers & Recruiting and Legal for a planning session to map out future plans for the OTW.
      • Board, Strategic Planning, Volunteers & Recruiting, and Legal developed a list from the retreat of overall strategic goals to be accomplished in six-month intervals over the next three years.
      • Board director Anna Genoese stepped down from the OTW Board.
      • Communications released a second guest post, this one interviewing fandom blogger Jamie Broadnax.
      • Development & Membership’s October membership drive was a huge success: the final total for the drive was US$173,760.34, but by the end of October we had received US$182,930.34 in donations from 8,211 people.
      • Development & Membership responded to hundreds of fan questions and comments during the membership drive.
      • Development & Membership; Accessibility, Design & Technology; and other committees had to handle many last-minute workarounds due to tech issues and changes during the membership drive.
      • Elections announced the names of three OTW Board candidates and that the election would be uncontested. The candidates were Soledad Griffin, Margaret J. MacRae, and Jessica Steiner.
      • Elections posted candidate manifestos and bios for the public to peruse, then reached out to the public for question submissions, which led to the posting of a Candidate Q&A covering many issues relating to OTW Board work.
      • Internationalization & Outreach held a series of internal meetings to help develop a more thorough understanding of the needs and ideas of the OTW.
      • Journal worked on redoing their coding documentation.
      • Legal responded to several queries from fans with legal questions and requests for help.
      • Strategic Planning presented the data they had collected from surveys and interviews of current and retired staff and volunteers.
      • Strategic Planning held three follow-up meetings, open to observers throughout the OTW, to review the goals brainstormed during the Board retreat.
      • Support held a chat to assist AO3 users in multiple languages with the assistance of Translation.
      • Support received 519 tickets.
      • Translation produced 180 translated posts this month for the membership drive — including two infographics and lots of tweets.
      • Translation started a new Hebrew language team.
      • Tag Wrangling moved to Trello for internal task management.

November

      • Abuse handled roughly 270 tickets.
      • Accessibility, Design and Technology had two code deploys (Releases 0.9.33 and 0.9.34).
      • Accessibility, Design and Technology handled a security concern related to our development data by upgrading our encryption method and asking users to change their passwords (via AO3 News post and targeted emails).
      • AO3 Documentation sent the first five new FAQs to other committees for revision.
      • Development & Membership worked with Board to create a post on the OTW’s financial future following our record-breaking October membership drive.
      • Development & Membership announced that the OTW is taking part in the AmazonSmile program.
      • Elections wrapped up the 2014 elections period with a final OTW news post containing transcripts of the three public chats with candidates.
      • Legal filed petitions with the U.S. Copyright Office to renew the DMCA exemption that the OTW helped win in 2009 and 2012.
      • Legal’s brief helped Google win re-hearing in the case of Garcia v. Google in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Legal filed a new brief in the re-hearing.
      • Legal made a post on “The Case Against Licensing Fanworks.”
      • Open Doors announced the pending import for the Boys in Chains archive.
      • Strategic Planning drafted an initial plan from the list of strategic goals that was brainstormed October Board retreat and presented it to all staff and volunteers for review.
      • Strategic Planning hosted two organization-wide chats to review the goals from the October Board retreat with any personnel who wished to attend.
      • Systems made some changes to the OTW’s internal email architecture to better handle future OTW membership drive emails so that they won’t affect the delivery of internal emails.
      • Support received 510 tickets.
      • Web Strategy, Design & Development resolved the problem with the OTW website that had been causing frequent downtimes.

December

      • Accessibility, Design & Technology had three code deploys (Releases 0.9.35, 0.9.36, and 0.9.37 — 0.9.39)
      • Abuse handled roughly 260 tickets, bringing the total handled for 2014 to 2750.
      • Accessibility, Design & Technology, Abuse, and Tag Wrangling encountered a situation of numerous spam accounts and an overtaxing number of downloads on AO3.
      • Communications made the first teaser post for International Fanworks Day.
      • Elections finalized their 2014 Feedback request and review and completed their upcoming 2015 Roadmap.
      • Open Doors announced the pending import for the Ink Stained Fingers archive to the AO3.
      • Support held a chat to assist AO3 users in multiple languages with the assistance of Translation.
      • Support received 541 tickets, bringing the total handled for 2014 to nearly 6000.
      • Tag Wrangling handled the tags for the many holiday exchanges, including a large number of new fandoms added to the Archive for the first time.
      • Translation surveyed their translators regarding their thoughts and suggestions on the committee, its procedures, and plans for the future.

CONTINUING TO SERVE FANS: Stepping Stones for 2015

The Board of Directors revisited its 2014 goals as part of the strategic planning process for 2015 and beyond at the annual retreat. The goals for 2015 reflect those conversations as well as feedback received from members and participants in various OTW projects.

      1. Continue implementation of nonprofit and open source best practices to support recruitment of new volunteer staff and management of current personnel;
      2. Continue to scale up organizational policies and practices in order to better match the reality of continuing expansion in personnel and in project needs;
      3. Increase fundraising proceeds in order to fully support all aspects of the OTW’s work, including increasing the pace of development on the Archive and providing needed support for volunteers through the short-term use of paid contractors;
      4. Explore ways in which to increase organizational support for multimedia fanworks;
      5. Support the academic journal Transformative Works and Cultures in releasing two new issues;
      6. Continue work on DMCA exemptions, and continue providing education and legal support concerning the issues facing fanwork creators of all kinds through the work of the Legal Committee;
      7. Strengthen relationships with ally organizations and with fandom-friendly individuals in the entertainment, academic, media, nonprofit, open source, and legal communities, partly through increased outreach and representation at conferences and events.

FINANCES

Organization for Transformative Works
STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
For the Year Ended December 31, 2014

BALANCE SHEET

 Total

As of Dec 31 2014 As of Dec 31 2013
ASSETS
  Current Assets
    Bank Accounts
      Checking 278,383.23 141,842.73
      Paypal 12,671.34 21,842.79
      Paypal 2 11,300.51
    Total Bank Accounts 302,355.08 163,685.52
    Accounts Receivable
      Accounts Receivable 0.00 0.00
    Total Accounts Receivable 0.00 0.00
    Other Current Assets
      Other Current Assets 300.00 300.00
    Total Other Current Assets 300.00 300.00
  Total Current Assets 302,655.08 163,985.52
  Fixed Assets
    Machinery and Equipment 127,804.54 74,973.71
      Depreciation 3,791.68 3,791.68
    Total Machinery and Equipment 131,596.22 78,765.39
  Total Fixed Assets 131,596.22 78,765.39
  Other Assets
    Other Long–Term Assets 10,131.93 10,113.75
  Total Other Assets 10,131.93 10,113.75
TOTAL ASSETS 444,383.23 252,864.66
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
  Liabilities
  Total Liabilities
  Equity
    Opening Balance Equity 0.00 0.00
    Retained Earnings 252,864.66 140,099.26
    Net Income 191,518.57 112,765.40
  Total Equity 444,383.23 252,864.66
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY 444,383.23 252,864.66

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

PROFIT AND LOSS

 Total

Jan – Dec 2014 Jan – Dec 2013 (PY)
Income
  Non Profit Income 298,543.92 167,323.84
Total Income 298,543.92 167,323.84
Expenses
  ADT Expenses 4,721.35
  Bank Charges 508.00 505.00
  Fundraising 16,884.77 11,011.30
  Insurance 2,433.24 2,000.00
  Media Studies Reader 814.72
  Office Expenses 27.79
  Office/General Administrative Expenses 9,577.35 3,015.04
  Project Management 6,965.27 2,200.59
  Systems Expenses 47,377.66 27,797.49
  Taxes & Licenses 60.00 25.00
  Travel 18,355.21 6,861.90
  Travel Meals 160.68 340.00
Total Expenses 107,043.53 54,598.83
Net Operating Income 191,500.39 112,725.01
Other Income
  Interest Earned 18.18 40.39
Total Other Income 18.18 40.39
Net Other Income 18.18 40.39
Net Income 191,518.57 112,765.40

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
December 31, 2014
Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Organization: The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware. The OTW was established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. The OTW is a collaborative effort initiated and driven by fans for fans.

Basis of Presentation: The accompanying financial statements are presented using a modified cash method of accounting.

Financial Statement Presentation: Information regarding the financial position and activities are classified into the applicable classes of net assets: unrestricted net assets, temporarily restricted net assets, and permanently restricted net assets. Currently, all assets are categorized as unrestricted. Additionally, expenses are classified into program service expenses and support expenses.

Cash and cash equivalents: The OTW maintains cash balances within federally insured limits. No cash equivalents are held by the organization.

Use of Estimates: The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Contributions: The OTW recognizes all unconditional contributions received as income in the period received. Contributions received are recorded as unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted support depending on the existence and/or nature of any donor restrictions. All contributions are considered to be available for unrestricted use unless specifically restricted by the donor.

Donated Services: The OTW does not assign a value to volunteer activities in the statement of activities.

Membership Dues: Membership dues are recognized as revenue based on the membership period covered by the member dues.

Functional Allocation of Expenses: The costs of providing the various programs and other activities of the organization have been summarized on a functional basis in the statement of activities. Accordingly, certain costs may have been allocated among the programs and supporting services benefited.

Income Taxes: The OTW is a 501c3 organization exempt from Federal income and State franchise taxes under provisions of Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code and Section 1902(b)(6), Title 30 of the Delaware State Taxation Code respectively. As such, no provision for income taxes has been provided in these financial statements.

Concentration of Credit Risk: The OTW maintains its cash balances at one bank. Accounts at the bank are insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000.

ABOUT THE OTW / MISSION, VISION, VALUES

OUR MISSION

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.

The OTW represents a practice of transformative fanwork historically rooted in a primarily female culture. The OTW will preserve the record of that history as we pursue our mission while encouraging new and non-mainstream expressions of cultural identity within fandom.

OUR VISION

We envision a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal and transformative and are accepted as a legitimate creative activity. We are proactive and innovative in protecting and defending our work from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. We preserve our fannish economy, values, and creative expression by protecting and nurturing our fellow fans, our work, our commentary, our history, and our identity while providing the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans.

OUR VALUES

      • We value transformative fanworks and the innovative communities from which they have arisen, including media, real person fiction, anime, comics, music, and vidding.
      • We value our identity as a predominantly female community with a rich history of creativity and commentary.
      • We value our volunteer-based infrastructure and the fannish gift economy that recognizes and celebrates worth in myriad and diverse activities.
      • We value making fannish activities as accessible as possible to all those who wish to participate.
      • We value infinite diversity in infinite combinations. We value all fans engaged in transformative work: fans of any race, gender, culture, sexual identity, or ability. We value the unhindered cross-pollination and exchange of fannish ideas and cultures while seeking to avoid the homogenization or centralization of fandom.

ABOUT THE OTW / WHO WE ARE

The Organization for Transformative Works is run for fans by fans. The directors of OTW’s Board are all active in fandom, as are the more than 100 other staffers serving on our committees, and our many volunteers.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Eylul Dogruel (President) is an artist and an MFA candidate at Marmara University, Istanbul. She has an eclectic background combining computer sciences and art. Her knowledge and interests cover a range of topics including new media, sci-fi, customer support, web technologies, and usability. Eylul is a lifelong fan and has moved through various media and gaming fandoms. She is a fanfic reader, fanart appreciator, an MMO roleplayer and, occasionally, a meta writer. Her current fandoms include Warcraft, Doctor Who and The Longest Journey/Dreamfall.

Andrea Horbinski (Secretary) is a Ph.D. candidate in modern Japanese history with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to the OTW Board, she also serves on the advisory board of the Ada Initiative, which is dedicated to increasing the participation of women in open technology and culture. She was previously a Fulbright Fellow to Japan, studying hypernationalist manga in Kyoto, and was a founding member of the OTW’s Internationalization & Outreach Committee in 2010. She joined online fandom in 1999 after writing her middle school graduation speech on her love of Star Wars, and soon became involved in anime and manga fandom as an AMV editor and later a fan translator. She has discussed fandom, anime, manga, and Japanese history and folklore at conventions and conferences on five continents, including Otakon, Sirens, WisCon, AnimeExpo, and HASTAC, and her articles and reviews have appeared in The WisCon Chronicles vol. 6, Mechademia, and Transformative Works and Cultures.

Soledad Griffin is currently an advanced Letras student at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina. She is now working for a governmental educational plan for Argentinian youth called Jóvenes y Memoria, after an extensive period as a volunteer. She has been in fandom for more than half her life, starting out in the Spanish-speaking anime fandom in the late 90s and later participating in a wide variety of fandoms.

Margaret J. MacRae graduated from Smith College with a degree in History. After college MJ spent three years as the general manager of a small nonprofit community theater. When it was time to move on, she decided to become a lawyer because nobody was hiring knights errant. She attended Lewis and Clark Law School, where she served as an editor of the Environmental Law Journal. MJ intended to return to nonprofit management, but the courtroom seduced her away and now she spends her days in a suit (not made out of armor sadly). Since she learned to read she has consumed books at a staggering pace, and found online fandom as a teenager when she was too impatient to wait for the next Tamora Pierce novel. Her current fandoms include MCU, Arrow, Star Trek, and GoT.

Cat Meier studied International Relations at American University and has since worked in a variety of completely unrelated fields including financial administration, marketing and political canvassing. She is currently co-chair of the OTW Finance Committee, which she has served on since its inception. A science fiction and fantasy reader all her life, she has been a member of online fandom since 1999 as a reader, reccer, beta reader and meta writer in fandoms ranging from historical movies to superhero comics. From 2005–2011 she served as one of the compilers of the popular fannish newsletter Metafandom.

Jessica Steiner began her fanfiction career by writing her first Star Trek novel in middle school. By the late 90s, she discovered that she wasn’t the only one doing this kind of thing, and entered fandom, primarily writing in Gundam Wing and Weiß Kreuz and moving on from there. She’s always been a fandom wanderer, and has written in over 30 fandoms just since finding a home at the AO3. Currently her primary fandoms are Homestuck and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to writing fanfiction, she spends her days practicing law, and working on her professional writing career. She joined the OTW in 2012 and served on the Strategic Planning Committee before joining the Board of Directors.

Officers

Nikisha Sanders (Treasurer) holds a BA in sociology and anthropology from Earlham College, where she authored a senior thesis on gender representation among queer women. She has worked as an activist for AIDS awareness and education, lobbied for LGBT rights at the local and state level as staff for the Fairness Campaign, and served as member of the board of the Kentucky coalition of Jobs with Justice. She brings experience in nonprofit management and accounting to the board, and has a personal interest in outreach to fannish communities of color. She is relatively new to online fandom, joining in 2000 as an avid reader of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic; and has been writing in various television and film fandoms, including NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Harry Potter, since 2006.

EMERITA BOARD MEMBERS

For more information about our former Board members, see: https://transformativeworks.org/about/emeritus

Rachel Barenblat (2009–2011)
Julia Beck (2011–2013)
KellyAnn Bessa (2007–2009)
Maia Bobrowicz (2013)
Hele Braunstein (2011)
Francesca Coppa, PhD (2007–2012)
Cathy Cupitt, DCA (2007–2008)
Franzeska Dickson (2012–2014)
Anna Genoese (2014)
Susan Gibel, JD (2007–2009)
Ira Gladkova (2010–2013)
Sheila Lane (2009–2011)
Allison Morris (2010–2011)
Kristen Murphy (2010–2013
Naomi Novik (2007–2010, 2012)
Nikisha Sanders (2011–2014)
Jenny Scott–Thompson, MA (Cantab) (2012)
Michele Tepper, PhD (2007–2008)
Rebecca Tushnet, JD (2007–2010)
Elizabeth Yalkut (2010)

COMMITTEES

Abuse
Accessibility, Design, & Technology
Communications
Development & Membership
Fan Video & Multimedia
Financial
Grants
Internationalization & Outreach
Journal
Legal
Open Doors
Strategic Planning
Support
Systems
Tag Wrangling
Translation
Volunteers & Recruiting
Web Strategy, Design & Development
Wiki

WORKGROUPS

AO3 Documentation
Category Change
Content Policy
Elections