OTW Fannews: Numbers of fanworks

Banner by Erin of a close up of Harry Potter with his lightning scar turned into a rising line on a graph

  • A study of primarily gaming-related fanworks was posted on Gamasutra. The study “used empirical methods to investigate how contemporary user-generated content (‘UGC’) platforms and practices related to United States copyright law. The motivation for the project was the relative absence of data about the copyright status of most UGC and competing claims about UGC’s predominant nature.”
  • The researchers interviewed both fans and game creators and found that “There is, apparently, not very much ‘groupthink’ among our industry respondents about questions of IP, fair use, and user-generated content.” Many also really enjoyed User Generated Content. However, industry pros creating fanworks prior to becoming paid assumed that most game players are not like them. “25% agreed that ‘UGC is appealing only to a minority of gamers.'” In fact, when gamers were asked “if they had ever created new content related to video games…70% stated that they had. They reported that they spent, on average, about 5 hours per week creating content related to video games.”
  • The researchers compared activity by gamers to that of fans of other mediums, specifically Harry Potter story activity on Mugglenet and Fanfiction.net. “Though we were tempted to code for works that were parodies or that somehow altered the meaning of Harry Potter, we doubted that there would or should be a clear dividing line between infringing and non-infringing fan fiction practices.”
  • Researchers also “asked respondents about the fair use doctrine in the United States. 91% were aware of the doctrine. We asked those respondents if they thought fair use rights should be broaden[sic], narrowed, or if they should remain the same…64% thought it should be broadened, 26% said it should be narrowed, and 10% had no opinion.”
  • Wattpad also released numbers about fan activity. “The Wattpad community spent 87 million minutes each day reading and sharing stories from their phones and tablets last year. Readers also created more than 4.4 million story covers and YouTube trailers to support their favorite stories and writers on Wattpad.” The site considers mobile access vital to their success, as “85 percent of time spent on Wattpad is via a phone or tablet. Half of the writers on Wattpad have written a story from a phone or tablet.”

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

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