OTW Sightings

  • OTW Fannews: Shining a Light

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 2 July 2014 - 4:03pm
    Message type:

    Banner by James of a foggy view of trees

    • OTW Fan Video & Multimedia Committee Chair Tisha Turk gave an interview on "the past, present and potential future of vidding and remix culture, and the murky status of fair use – at least when it comes to monetized remixes on YouTube" as well as her own start as a vidder. Discussing copyright claims on fanwork, she said "One possible analogy would be, if I were making a quilt out of various bolts of fabric I purchased, and I cut these pieces, and I piece them together, and add the backing, and I make this lovely quilt, and the people who made the fabrics show up and say: 'I want a cut.' Or: 'You can’t have the profit, I made the fabric, so hand it over.’"
    • The Fandom Post discussed activism around female characters in Star Wars fandom. "Were we wrong to point out our concerns about the first cast photos? Wrong to express dissatisfaction over the lack of Leia in the first wave from the Disney Store? Wrong to share our disappointment that the Star Wars Rebels announcements included the women last and their action figures won’t happen until the second wave? Perhaps if only one of those things had happened, downplaying the outbreak of concern would make sense. It’s never just one thing, though...Staying silent and hoping for the best isn’t the way to create or support change. We need to speak up each and every time."
    • A post at Teleread expressed concern at how site changes can affect writer and reader interaction. "Nobody should have to deal with that kind of abuse, thick skin or not. And it’s sad that it seems to be coming more and more common. It’s in the same vein as the writer who received rape threats for criticizing a comic book cover. How obnoxious our culture has become. We’ve seen time and again that some people use anonymity as a license to be as nasty as they possibly can. It would be great if Fanfiction.net could restore the ability for authors to block anonymous reviews altogether if they wanted. At the very least, the default for reviews after 36 hours should be rejection, not acceptance."
    • A New York Times interview with showrunner Damon Lindelof explored the long-term effects of fan reaction. "Initially, for Lindelof, this kind of fame was very attractive — he interacted eagerly with the fan base of 'Lost,' stoking their expectations and ruminations about the show’s labyrinthine plot...'The longer you tell a story, the larger the stakes have to be,' he says. 'It’s no longer satisfying to say: Are these people who crashed in this plane going to make it out O.K.? Are they going to fall in love? Are they going to live? Are they going to die? It’s like no, are they going to save the world?' In the end, they did save the world, but the way they did it left some faithful viewers unhappy. Cuse has made his peace with this; Lindelof still hasn’t."

    What aspects of fandom do you want to shine a light on? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Tech and legal developments

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 4:52pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Bremo of webpages that are mentioned in this article

    • The New York Times Bits blog was one of several places highlighting the work of OTW legal staffer Casey Fiesler, who examined Terms of Service at popular websites. Among them was DeviantArt, Fanfiction.net and "Asianfanfics, a small fan fiction site, whose terms of service provisions, the researchers wrote, allowed 'for the site to essentially do whatever they like with whatever is posted there without any notice or attribution to the creator.'" The report included a handy infographic. A future part of Casey's study will involve the AO3.
    • The Mary Sue posted about using Storium. "As I quickly figured out, Storium is essentially an elegant framework for simming, with the added kick of card game-ish mechanics. For the uninitiated, a play-by-post game (also called a sim) traditionally takes place on a message board or through an email list. There’s a basic premise, and a host who wrangles the players. Depending on the game, players either create whatever characters they fancy, or are given clearly defined roles...The players then take turns writing chapters or scenes, typically tagging other characters to pick up where they left off."
    • Perhaps relatedly, Brie Hiramine asked at Flavorwire if the fansite is dead? "I can’t remember the last time I visited a fan site to read news or discuss anything. And that’s simply because our ever-flowing stream of content means that fan culture is more integrated into our everyday lives (and therefore, our Internet lives) than ever before. People consume fan-specific news on more mainstream platforms, without needing to go to a dedicated site to do so. Thank you, Facebook feed! Thank you, Twitter debates! Thank you, Reddit! And inevitably, the distance between consumer and producer grows ever-smaller."

    What legal and tech developments have you seen that are fandom-related? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fan activism

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 - 4:57pm
    Message type:

    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of a black and white photo of protesters holdings signs along with images of peace sign, a heart, and an open book.

    • Indiewire hosted a post about a petition to the MTV Awards. The "Heroes" category overlooked an obvious candidate. "[I]t's still noteworthy that among MTV's 16 categories, the only other group without any female nominees is Best Male Performance. Katniss' exclusion, then, doesn't make sense from either a commercial point of view -- The Hunger Games was the highest-grossing film of 2013 -- or from a J. Law one, since the Oscar winner is nominated in four other categories...The character of Katniss is enough of a cultural touchstone that she appeared in one of the 'Heroes' montages at this year's Oscars, so MTV definitely done goofed."
    • A planned webseries on artists' rights seeks to educate viewers about copyright, the internet and creativity. "CopyMe is "an infographic-style animated webseries that deals with our modern attitude to copying. It assembles the most relevant information and makes it accessible to everyone" so that it "will appeal both to copyright literates, as well as to those with no previous knowledge on these topics. Our biggest goal is to raise awareness and highlight our concerns regarding the copyright realities of today."
    • A Wall Street Journal article about L.J. Smith quoted current and former OTW staffers, Heidi Tandy and Francesca Coppa. "'It feels like a land grab,' said Francesca Coppa...'Big companies are trying to insert themselves explicitly to get people who don't know any better to sign away rights to things that might be profitable.'" Indeed, the article notes that "Ms. Smith says that when she began publishing her Vampire Diaries fan fiction on Amazon this past January, she wasn't aware that she was giving up the copyright to those stories, too. Nor did she realize she'd be giving Alloy a cut of earnings from the new stories."
    • One of our favorite pieces of activism this week is a little biased. White Collar Vids created a vidlet for the OTW's October membership drive in 2012 -- take a look!

    What examples of fan activism have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Discussing fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 21 March 2014 - 1:29am
    Message type:

    Banner by Erin of a message form with the OTW logo on a megaphone and a form saying 'You:Discussing Fan: Fandom' with a send button next to 'OTWFannews'

    • Not Another Teen Wolf podcast posted about their interview with OTW legal staffer Heidi Tandy. Among other things "We learn about the Organisation for Transformative Works and the basic legality behind being a fan creator. We also reminisce about the early days of the internet, when there was a lot of scaremongering surrounding fanfiction in terms of copyright. Why was AO3 started – what was the initial gameplan? Why did a resource like AO3 become necessary?”
    • Although the NATW podcast chat spent only a bit of time on copyright, Copyrightuser.org posted the video ‘Copyright & Creativity’ to make "copyright compelling to creators and average Internet users, trying to demonstrate that it is not just a set of rules but an interesting world worth exploring. To this end, we approached leading copyright experts and sent them a short questionnaire about the relationship between copyright, creativity and technology, with the idea of writing an accessible script based on their answers." The site is "an independent online resource aimed at making UK Copyright Law accessible to creators and members of the public. The goal is to provide answers to the most pressing concerns creators have about copyright, helping them understand their rights."
    • Heidi Tandy and recent OTW academic chat panelist, Anne Jamison, were at South by Southwest discussing fanworks. The importance of internet platforms in allowing non-celebrities to develop their own fandom took a different tack on creativity. When asked, "What is the secret sauce to creating good content?" BuzzFeed’s EVP of Video, Ze Frank replied that content "must represent a part of your individual identity better than you can talk about it. Second, your content needs to be an emotional gift, and should make your audience feel a certain way. And third, your content should provide a social role of information. Frank continued by explaining that your content should prove an argument that people have been having all along or play a part in real world conversation."
    • Joystick ran an article exploring the fandom of Twitch Plays Pokemon. "Taylor started doing Internet research in the 1990s, and turned to video games in 1999. Her studies resulted in books such as Play Between Worlds and Raising the Stakes, which explore virtual worlds, MMOs and e-sports. Those examinations bear relevance to Twitch Plays Pokemon, as the same elements of extended narratives and player curation could be found in the earlier days of EverQuest."

    What stories have you come across about storytelling platforms? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom milestones

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 14 March 2014 - 12:26am
    Message type:

    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of a black & white highway with the OTW logo and ribbons across the post title of Fandom Milestones

    • On March 1, Three Patch Podcast released an episode with Development & Membership Chair, Kristen Murphy, as a guest. They discussed the formation of the OTW and the AO3's million fanwork milestone. Asked about the AO3's popularity she replied, "I think there are a lot of different factors that have helped it become popular. One is that a lot of people just like the features of the Archive, which is awesome! I think another factor is the way fandom has spread out to new platforms, some of which are not very conducive to posting fanworks. Like, if you mostly interact with other fans through Twitter, but you’re a fic writer, you’re going to need someplace other than Twitter to post your fic. There’s something really cool about the fact that fans are spread out in all these different places — Twitter and Tumblr and journals and forums — but there’s this place in the middle where so many of us come together to share our work." (No transcript available).
    • The OTW wasn't the only one celebrating a big milestone in February as Japan's online art community Pixiv passed 10,000,000 registered users. Crunchyroll reported on their celebration activities and listed the top tagged fandoms on the site.
    • RocketNews24 looked at how artists were responding to the gold medal won by figure skater Hanyū. "[F]ans are having fun making their own Photoshop creations including “Hyōjō no Prince-sama”(Prince-sama on Ice)."
    • The music group Emblem got some attention for promoting a fan's story about them on their Wattpad account which Just Jared dubbed 'official fan fiction.' "The guys – Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, and Drew Chadwick – each have their own stories written about them and will be updating it every week!"
    • As Vintage Books was announcing that Fifty Shades had passed the 100 million sales mark, Wired asked if a new publishing model was at hand when it comes to fanfic. "For decades, it was understood that fanzines and amateur press associations were where writers—particularly in genre fiction and comics—got their chops...It’s easy to argue 50 Shades of Grey is an outlier, that its success isn’t indicative of a larger trend. However, since its publication in 2011, the lines between literary and fan publishing have continued to blur."

    What fandom milestones have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Restricting fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 27 February 2014 - 8:06pm
    Message type:

    Banner by dogtagsandsmut with a gavel resting across an open book with a pair of handcuffs nearby

    • OTW legal staffer Casey Fiesler has written a paper on “Remixers’ Understandings of Fair Use Online" which found that fans' understanding of fair use is often incorrect. “What the community typically believes and does can actually affect what is judged legal,” says Amy Bruckman, professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and researcher on the study. “So it’s in their interests to have cohesion to craft codes of best practice.”
    • The Australian government has released a report on Copyright and the Digital Economy that supports the development of fair use, and specifically mentions fan fiction as a reason to adopt it. "Fair use in relation to quotation may provide more room for some artistic practices, including the sampling, mashup and remixing of copyright material in musical compositions, new films, art works and fan fiction. More broadly, some artistic practices based on appropriation, including collage, where images or objects are ‘borrowed’ and re-contextualised might be covered by fair use." (p.212)
    • When commercial entities get sold, or decide that a particular project isn't sufficiently profitable, fans can lose both the product and the work they put into it when it's shut down. "An enormous fan outcry began as the remaining [YoVille]players were the most dedicated the game had, and they didn’t want to lose everything they’d invested in their virtual lives. They threatened Zynga boycotts and made heartfelt YouTube videos pleading their case. Their response got the attention of the original creators of the game, Big Viking, and now there’s a new push to buy back the title from Zynga, rather than having it be killed outright."
    • Another problem is when businesses fight to restrict new technology that can help consumers influence those decisions. "Studios and broadcasters argued then that [recording] technology would end civilization as we know it. Instead, it opened up a universe of new opportunities. Just last week, my colleague Ryan Faughnder reported that the Fox comedy Enlisted may be saved from low-ratings death by a surprising surge in DVR and on-demand viewing."

    What legal and business stories have you come across that involve fandom? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom accomplishments

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 24 February 2014 - 6:22pm
    Message type:

    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of an iPad with a blue ribbon displayed saying 'You rock!' and the post title over a half logo

    • Transformative Works and Cultures editor, Karen Hellekson, will be delivering one of the Academic keynote presentations at the 72nd meeting of WorldCon in London. She will discuss a range of Doctor Who fan videos, including those that recreate missing episodes and re-frame post-2005 episodes.
    • Legal staffer Heidi Tandy will be presenting at South by Southwest on Tuesday, March 11 at 10 AM at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Together with professor Anne Jamison, she will be discussing Why Fanfic Is Taking Over the World
    • The 5th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, themed “Connecting Practices,” calls for learning organizations and institutions to pursue “extreme collaborating" and will be attracting hundreds of technologists, educators, activists and researchers to the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, Massacussets on March 6-8. Among the projects being highlighted is an "online fan fiction community that brings together readers and writers to create, read and review fiction works, fostering mentoring relationships that advance writing and intergenerational learning."
    • The speedrunning site Speed Demos Archive has been holding an annual winter livestreamed speedrunning marathon called Awesome Games Done Quick which has been raising money for cancer research. This year, they raised over a million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. As LibertyVoice noted "The non-stop game-fest continued for seven days straight and then kept going for bonus games."

    What fan accomplishments do you think should be remembered? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

  • Watch OTW Legal Representing Fans in Washington

    By Claudia Rebaza on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 - 5:14pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

    • The OTW recently submitted comments to the NTIA/PTO with the help of fan contributions. Rebecca Tushnet, an OTW Legal Committee staffer will speak in person on December 12 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A webcast will be available. Rebecca is part of a panel on Legal Framework for Remixes which will speak at 1700 UTC.
    • Rebecca also posted a summary of comments from other organizations to the NTIA/PTO on her blog. The groups include Deviant Art, Creative Commons, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Consumer Electronics Association.
    • The always busy Rebecca also took questions from users at io9 about fanfiction and mashups. One of the first questions regarded the legality of RPF. Rebecca's answer? "[T]hat doesn't implicate copyright at all. The possible issues involve defamation—but defamation requires that the audience believe that it's getting a statement of fact, and that's unlikely to happen with RPF...The other possibility is what's known as a right of publicity claim. But noncommercial fiction is outside the scope of the right of publicity, and even commercial fiction—the kind Joyce Carol Oates writes with her romans a clef—should be. There are some troubling cases finding that video games violate football players' right of publicity, but nobody thinks that a novel could do so, even one sold for profit."
  • OTW Fannews: Working for a better playing field

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 - 5:01pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Natasha of a man's side profile done as a doodle

    • Michelle Dean wrote in Flavorwire about why Kurt Vonnegut should not be part of Kindle Worlds. "The fights about identity politics in the fan-fiction community make those in good, old real world politics child’s play — which mostly tells you how crucially important those debates are to a great many people. There is, I am saying, in the better bits of fan-fiction a desire for a truly 'transformative' use. And it’s one we might do well to respect — even if we are in charge of some of the most prestigious literary estates in the country."
    • Fans are becoming more active in demanding their rights to fair use of their entertainment. But fans can also be confused about what steps they should take to protect themselves and which rights to assert. Business 2 Community published a set of legal myths about fanfiction, though the author noted she was not an attorney. The myths included believing that disclaimers protect you, and believing that fanfiction can't be plagiarized.
    • HuffPost Live hosted a discussion about the legality of fanfiction with various authors including Naomi Novik. In response to a discussion about how permissiveness varies from author to author, she pointed out "I'm one of the founders of The Organization for Tranformative Works, which is a non-profit that works to protect the rights of fan creators. And the Archive of Our Own is based on the principle that people do have the right under fair use protection in the U.S. to write transformative, non-commercial works of fanfiction, whether or not the author consents." Comparing fanfiction to the right of readers to review a work of fiction, she said "We generally recognize that people have the right to respond as they want." (No transcript available)
    • While hosting content digitally has made sharing fanworks easier and broadened the possibilities of who can take part, when a site used by fans closes or is sold, very often content posted there gets lost as was the case for Bebo users. In the end, the right to create needs to go hand-in-hand with the ability to share and preserve.

    What discussion have you seen about legal aspects of fanworks? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfic and publishing models

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 - 6:07pm
    Message type:

    Banner by Natasha of ink and quill pen

    • Digital Book World examined the motivations for including Kurt Vonnegut in the Kindle Worlds program and concluded that fanfiction = marketing. "The backlist works of iconic authors fundamentally need exposure and marketing. That’s how fans of one book choose to read others by the author, and how new readers discover the work. The marketing budgets of large, traditional publishers are overwhelmingly focused on their frontlist offerings, so the backlist is forced to 'sell itself.' This is not the practice of the movie, music or textbook business, but it is the practice of trade publishers."
    • OTW legal staffer Rebecca Tushnet also addressed Kindle Worlds in an article on Airship Daily. “Amazon’s doing an experiment, and the good thing about not paying advances is there's not a huge amount of overheads,” she explains. Groups like OTW are pushing back at Amazon’s exploitation of their genre. “It’s just another business model representing another way of Mechanical Turk-ization the world of literature."
    • Fast Company had an interview with Philip Patrick, director of business development and publisher of Kindle Worlds, who claimed Amazon wanted fanfic of properties that were already selling well on its site. Asked what "makes one author’s work more 'fan fic-able' than another?" he replied "Really it comes down to great storytelling, compelling characters, and vibrant geographies that writers are excited to explore. Some Worlds are more current or popular than others, of course, but there are many iconographic works and characters that Kindle Worlds writers are going to love, like Billy Pilgrim."
    • A writer at the Huffington Post described what may be the new reader pattern: Finished Your Favorite Book/Show? Try Fan Fiction. "Despite stereotypes to the contrary, fan fictions can be quite entertaining and of very high quality. It is not uncommon for fan fictions to be better than their source material. Continuity and fluctuations in tone are less of an issue with fan fiction than you might imagine. Consider that your favorite TV Shows are written by a large, revolving group of writers. The multiwriter nature of TV Shows makes many works of fan fiction seem perfectly at home within the rest of a series. In many cases, the only difference between a fan fiction and a canonical manifestation of a fictional universe lies in its creators' willingness to pay for official rights to the brand."

    What stories about fanfic and publishing do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! 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.

Pages

Subscribe to OTW Sightings