Links Roundup for 17 August 2011

Here’s a roundup of stories about literary and creative fandom that might be of interest to fans:

  • A first-person write-up of a woman’s entry into online fandom and fan fiction writing was published in The Cultural Gutter this past month, and likely echoes the experience of many a fan, particularly those who take part in fan activities around LiveJournal and Dreamwidth.
  • An interesting discussion took place earlier this year on Language Log about the Tolkien estate’s effort to censor use of the word “Tolkien”, highlighting the problems fans may run into when creating fandom-related works. The fanartist on Zazzle who received the cease and desist order in the cited case countered the attack creatively, adding new items to their store which commented on the censorship effort.
  • Many discussions about copyright and trademark infringement revolve around the issue of intellectual theft. However, some professional artists are of the opinion that “theft” can never be left out of the creative process. In a post about his own creative history, artist and writer Austin Kleon suggests that the “genealogy of ideas” is a complex thing and will always reveal ties to other ideas and works — that’s an idea close to the heart of fannish creativity, and we appreciate seeing it proclaimed from the professional side of the fence.

If you have experienced events such as the case of the Tolkien fan discussed above, why not post them on Fanlore? These conflicts are a part of our history — help preserve it. Fanlore is open to contributions by all fans for any and all fandoms.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about you can submit it in three easy ways: comment on the most recent Links Roundup on, LJ or DW, or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

This update was contributed by OTW Staff member Claudia Rebaza.

Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

Is YouTube Blocking Your Vids? Exercise Your Right To Fair Use!

We’ve heard from a number of people that YouTube has recently blocked a number of fanvids due to alleged music rights violations. But YouTube also provides a mechanism for vidders to assert their right to fair use: a quick and easy dispute process.

YouTube recognizes that there are legitimate artistic and critical reasons to use copyrighted material, and the online form gives, as a potential reason for dispute: “This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder. It is a fair use under copyright law.” The form also asks you to explain further.

Fair use is a muscle: it gets stronger when you exercise it, so if you believe that your vid is fair use, that it transforms copyrighted material for a new critical or creative purpose, you should dispute the claim.

Here are some resources you might consult to explain why your vid is fair use:

1) The Best Practices in User-Generated Content released by the American University Center for Social Media. (Their main site on fair use is here.)

2) The EFF’s Test Suite of Fair Use Examples for Service Providers and Content Owners; the test suite features a vid.

3) The Q&A with Fan Vidder Luminosity in New York Magazine.

4) Michael Wesch’s Anthropological Introduction to YouTube presented to the Library of Congress on June 23, 2008 (features Lim’s vid “Us” among other videos).

5) Other academic and legal articles about vidding include:

Remixing Television: Francesca Coppa on the vidding underground. Reason Magazine, August/September 2008

Francesca Coppa, Women, Star Trek, and the Development of Fannish Vidding in Transformative Works and Cultures (2008)

Henry Jenkins, How to Watch a Fan Vid (2006)

Sarah Trombley, Visions and Revisions: Fanvids and Fair Use (.pdf), 25 Cardozo Arts & Ent. J. 647 (2008)

Rebecca Tushnet, User-Generated Discontent: Transformation in Practice (.pdf), 31 COLUM. J.L. & ARTS 110 (2008)

And don’t forget Fanlore: one stop shopping for trying to explain to people what fannish things mean!