Scans_Daily TOSed off Livejournal: If Only Someone Owned The Goddamned Servers

We are saddened by the fact that yet another female fannish community has been disrupted by being TOSed off a commercial social networking site. In its original conception and use, scans_daily was about highlighting and discussing the slashy and other elements in mainstream comics most interesting to female fans, who are often a voice shut out of discussion of comics elsewhere. The community frequently hosted important review and interpretation of mainstream media, even if it did use excerpts of copyrighted work. To destroy this kind of discussion in the name of preventing piracy is exactly the kind of act that ISPs and social networking services like Livejournal protest when, for instance, copyright holders demand that they be shut down because some fraction of their users are using their infrastructure to share pirated content. Regardless of what you think about the ethics and efficacy of scanning, something really valuable has been (hopefully only temporarily) lost.

We also agree with Lisa Fortuner that gender’s got something to do with it. In her article, Just Past the Horizon: The male space is just better hidden Fortuner notes, “if Scans_Daily were a male dominated community it would have not been suspended like this. Why? Because I don’t think it would have been on a site like Livejournal.” She continues:

“In my experience, that’s where the male-female distinction seems to be. Female fans populate social network sites run by panicky male-dominated corporations who want to make money from selling advertising to women, but don’t really have the brass ovaries to deal with hosting female interaction on the internet. It’s like they expect feathered sugar with a hint of spice and are shocked to discover girls have locker room talk and smoke in the bathroom. Male fan communities seem to be owned and operated by like-minded males, the male-dominated comic company itself, the comic creator who gathers his own fans to his side, or the self-style Pirate King who set up the torrent site specifically for illegal activities and searched around for an ISP that wouldn’t check on him too closely. Livejournal’s jumpy about their fanbase. They know they need them to keep the traffic up, but they are scared to death to be held liable for what goes on on their site. There’ve been a few instances with this in the past with fanart and fanfiction, and it was only a matter of time before they freaked out about scans. I don’t think male fans are completely safe from legal repercussions for the various degrees of piracy, but they seem to hide better from people who find them unacceptable. They find more sympathetic hosts. Actual pirate sites have their own servers so jumpy ISPs won’t slam down on them. Why female fans are so tied to a corporate-run social site that doesn’t share their interests I can’t say for certain, but that dependency is what leaves female communities more vulnerable to being shut down than male communities.”

Here’s a round-up of links for those who want to read more:

LiveJournal Shuts Down Scans_Daily
The untimely death (and speedy resurrection) of scans_daily
On Scans_Daily
Scans_Daily Shut Down: Another Free Comic Site Gone
Scans_Daily is dead. Fuck ‘em.
If People Must Argue About Scans_Daily
Scans_Daily shut down; Internet reacts…and reacts
A little more on the shutdown of Scans Daily

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!