OTW Joins Fanworks Are Fair Use

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

Our friends at the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) have launched a new project, one that goes to the core of our mission here at the OTW and the Archive of Our Own. Fanworks Are Fair Use is a community of fan creators, readers, artists, and enthusiasts who are committed to the protection and preservation of fair use law. The HPA’s goal is in line with ours here at the OTW; since 2007 we have worked to eliminate negative stigmas about fanfiction, fan art, and other fan creations and support those works and their creators in the eyes of mainstream media.

We are pleased to come onboard and work with the HPA on this important issue.

One of the principles of the OTW is that fanworks are legal under U.S. copyright law; earlier this year, we focused on fair use as part of Fair Use Week– the OTW FAQ explains how fair use is a lawful use of a third party’s copyright, and how it protects free expression by giving people the legal right to use copyrighted material in certain ways without getting permission or paying.

As the HPA writes, “fan works add value to the source materials on which they’re based” and “help shape and energize the culture that surrounds popular narratives.”

Join us in supporting the HPA’s Fan Works Are Fair Use community – they’ll be sharing information and resources throughout the year on how all of us can make sure that fair use continues to be a lawful use of copyrights. On Twitter, tumblr, Facebook and other social media sites, you can share your own #FanworksTaughtMe story with that hashtag for the project to reblog, retweet or showcase. And if you’re attending San Diego Comic Con, join the Legal Committee’s Betsy and Heidi on Thursday at Fandom Is Our Fandom, and Heidi and the HPA’s Jack Bird on Sunday at the Potterverse Fandom Panel to learn more about #FanworksAreFairUse.