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Copyright Week and Good News About Article 13

On the last day of Copyright Week, the EU nations’ Councils have voted on their positions on Article 13, and the majority have decided not to support it in its current form. This is good news for fans!

Article 13, as it was drafted, would have held many websites liable for user-created content, and in many cases would have required the use of filters that could have limited the availability of fanworks and other legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted material. Although the proposal would not have affected nonprofits like the OTW–that is, AO3 would not have been affected–it still could have had a significant impact on other popular fan sites.

This result is powerful. It means that you can still continue to create fanworks and share them not only on AO3, but also on sites that would have been affected by Article 13, such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. (more…)

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Copyright Week and Public Domain

It’s Copyright Week, and in honour of this event, OTW Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt is answering some questions about the public domain.


What is Copyright Week and why is it important?

Copyright Week is a time for websites, libraries, and advocacy groups to bring attention to copyright law and policy–to get people excited about copyright law and keep people aware of legal developments. It takes place in the third week of January to commemorate the 2012 victory of Internet users over proposed laws called SOPA and PIPA. By speaking out, contacting Congress, and engaging in website blackouts, Internet users stopped overreaching copyright laws that would have put a lot of popular sites at risk. This year, we’re celebrating, because for the first time in many years, some works are entering the public domain in the United States! (more…)

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Tumblr’s TOS Changes, AO3, and You

Recently, Tumblr announced that it would be changing its terms of service to exclude adult content. OTW Legal has gotten some questions about that change, and we’re here to help answer them!

Will Tumblr’s change in TOS change anything about the Archive Of Our Own?

No–neither the AO3 nor the OTW (the nonprofit that operates the AO3) has any relationship at all with Tumblr. Tumblr made this decision on its own, not because of any particular change in the law that would have any impact on the AO3. The AO3 was founded on principles of “maximum inclusiveness” and those principles remain true.

Can we stop Tumblr from doing this? What about free speech?

When users sign up, they agree that Tumblr can make changes to its terms of service, and because Tumblr is a private company, it doesn’t have any obligation to protect free speech. So Tumblr is legally allowed to make this change, and there is nothing that OTW Legal can do about it. As for what users can do to stop Tumblr from changing its terms of service, the unfortunate answer is probably not much. The OTW’s This Week In Fandom post from December 4 discusses some user plans that may send a message to Tumblr. That said, Tumblr surely knows it will lose many users, and it has undoubtedly made a cost-benefit calculation that the lost users won’t be too harmful to its bottom line. (more…)