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Phishing and Domain Names

A few months ago, we learned that someone had registered the domain name archiveofourowno.com and copied the front page of Archive Of Our Own at that url; they even included a login screen that mimicked the AO3 login.

We immediately went to GoDaddy–the registrar of the domain name–and asked them to remove the website, because it violated their bar on phishing (that is, tricking someone into giving away login or other personal information). GoDaddy’s Terms state that they will not allow a site to impersonate “a legitimate, trustworthy site” by tricking “visitors into providing them sensitive information like logins.” However, GoDaddy never responded and did not take the site down.

Therefore, in January, the OTW Legal Committee initiated a proceeding with the World Intellectual Property Office with the goal of stripping the domain name from the infringers. In April, after the infringers had failed to respond, the WIPO Panel ruled in our favor. The panel held that Bradley Binkley of Chicago, who had registered the domain name, had “in all likelihood… registered the disputed domain name with the aim of exploiting and profiting from the Complainant’s mark, through the impersonation of the Complainant in furtherance of a fraudulent phishing scheme.” As a result, the panel voided Binkley’s registration of the name, and the OTW is currently in the process of setting up the domain name to point to the main Archive of Our Own page. (more…)

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

FOSTA/SESTA and Fans

Lately, OTW Legal has received many queries and concerns about recent U.S. legislation known as FOSTA/SESTA. We want to reassure you that the law as it currently stands does not apply to fiction, and therefore should have no impact on the Archive of Our Own.

The term “FOSTA/SESTA” refers to legislation that has been passed by U.S. Congress and the Senate, purporting to combat what it describes as “sex trafficking.” The legislation would make it a crime to operate an interactive computer service “with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.” (That is, the exchange of sex for money.) Under the law, sites that “knowingly assist[], support[], or facilitate[]” prostitution can be held liable for user-posted material. (more…)

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Ioana Pelehatăi & Alex Lungu

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Ioana Pelehatăi is a culture vulture for an online magazine in Romania. She writes, bakes, and drinks coffee. Sometimes, she also sleeps. Alex Lungu is a freelance video editor. He works mainly in advertising, but he likes to fool around with memes and remixes. Today as part of Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, Ioana and Alex talk with us about their Copy Me project.

How did you first learn about fandom and fanworks?

Ioana: It was so long ago that I’m not even sure. I think I must’ve been a pre-teen, crushing on all things Addams Family related. At the same time, in school we were being encouraged to have penpals in Western European countries. You could pick a penpal based on their interests and many professed their fandom for one artist or another. Fanworks were a later discovery, linked to the era during which I discovered the Internet — so around the time I was 14-15. I found fanfic forums and realized that the universe of a book or movie is not strictly confined to the initial author’s creation.

Alex: When I was 19, me and a couple of my friends started doing small movies in our dorm room, drawing themes from Kung-Fu and Star Wars movies. One was picked up by the Star Wars community in Romania. They were all geared up, with good looking costumes and lightsabers, unlike our brooms we used to mock-fight with! That’s the first time I learned about fandom and I was quite impressed with their devotion.

(more…)