October Membership Drive: Five Years of Legal Advocacy

The Organization for Transformative Works is committed to defending the right to create and distribute fanworks. Legal Advocacy has always been one of the OTW’s core projects, and we’ve faced several challenges over the past five years.

We’re particularly proud of our work on Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions in 2009. The noncommercial remix exemption the OTW helped secure takes away the threat that vidders’ works — though transformative, fair uses — would still be considered unlawful because of the way in which they may have acquired their source footage.

DMCA exemptions expire every three years, and we’ve had to make our case again this year. Our testimony at the 2012 hearings featured Francesca Coppa, Tisha Turk, and Rebecca Tushnet, and we think it went well, but we are still waiting for a decision from the Copyright Office.

We have also filed amicus briefs in several cases related to transformative works. We’re assembling a wide network of allies in the pro-fair-use activist world, and we plan to continue making sure that your voices are represented in legal discussions. If you have any questions, you can contact our Legal Advocacy volunteers here.

In the future, the OTW hopes to expand its international capacity. As a US-based organization relying on fair use (when most other countries use a related but narrower concept called “fair dealing”) we expect to be dealing with US law most of the time, but as other nations begin to question more and more whether they should have broader, US-style limits on copyright, we believe it’s important that the OTW should try to expand its reach to support transformative users throughout the world.

Help keep the OTW and its projects going strong for the next five years and beyond — please donate today.

If you have questions about donating, check out our membership FAQ or drop us a line.