This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom, Volume 38

Welcome back to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, did you know that it’s Copyright Week? Our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have lined up a series of copyright-related topics for discussion throughout the week. Watch for the OTW’s Legal team posting about some of them!

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OTW Fannews: Improve Your Life

banner by SoyAlex of a bicycle with the OTW logo as the wheels

  • The American Library’s Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries has a mission which involves identifying “emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve.” Included in their trends is an entry on fandom. In the “Why It Matters” section, they write “As cultural institutions that preserve and provide access to books, video, music, and an increasing array of media, fandoms may be obvious partners in promoting literacy, engagement with culture, and media creation. Fandom increasingly assumes active creation – writing, recording, drawing, remixing, role-playing – rather than just passive consumption of media. This could make it an important space for libraries to design programming and instruction around, especially in ways that promote Connected Learning that is highly social, interest-driven, hands-on, and production oriented.”
  • Two different sites promoted fandom involvement as a way to stay healthy. The University of Utah’s Health Feed focused on sports fandom while Inverse expanded it to include media fandom. The fandom benefits cited were a sense of belonging, greater happiness, and an increase in critical thinking.
  • Bringing your fandom into the workplace can be problematic, though, depending on your profession. Gawker was among those criticizing a BuzzFeed reporter for a lack of objectivity. “[T]he Buzzfeed Brand is built in large part on explicit and outspoken fandom. But the News side at BuzzFeed works as seriously as as traditional newsroom, and has put into place ethical guidelines to cement that… It’s hard to imagine how these guidelines jibe with teary-eyed fandom for the Pope, an elected political entity with a broad swath of deeply political views that include (a longstanding opposition to) women’s rights and LGBT equality.” They concluded by noting that “pure, uncritical adoration goes beyond the usual biases, and makes a reporter seem incapable of grappling with the complexity of her subject… This isn’t a Foo Fighters fan interviewing Dave Grohl.”
  • Death and Taxes revealed that Dave Grohl is equally likely to have his fandom on display if Jonathan Davis is any example. “Probably the biggest thing Davis and I have in common is an all-consuming love for Duran Duran. The big difference being that Davis got to actually connect with his musical idol Simon Le Bon… ‘I was shaking, because I’m the hugest fan. He was like, ‘How old are you? Name some songs.’ And I was like ‘”The Chauffeur” is my shit. I love that song.’ We just hit it off and started hanging out that night. And then a couple years later my agent brought him out. He came to the Korn show, and then we went out to this pizza place in London, and we hung out all night and it was the greatest night of my life.'”

What was the greatest fandom day of your life? 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

OTW Fannews: Costs and Benefits

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  • Fan creators continue being confused about the legality of their work and clearly many don’t know where to turn for answers. Luckily OTW’s legal team keeps trying to get the word out. Two of our staffers appeared on the Fansplaining podcast and talked about “listener responses to the Wattpad episode, the purpose and projects of the Organization for Transformative Works, plagiarism vs. copyright infringement, and #FanworksAreFairUse.” Legal Committee Chair Betsy Rosenblatt said, “[T]here’s a sort of personal autonomy element to fandom that I think is a really important thing to preserve. Maybe not the only important thing to preserve, but a thing that matters, and I think that’s part of what mattered to the [Organization for Transformative Works].” (No transcript available).
  • While copyright claims scale new heights of absurdity, TechDirt pointed out that other companies are reaching out to fandom. “When Rockstar released its own video editor for Grand Theft Auto 5, the move in and of itself received only mild applause. People have been using video games to make entirely transformative works for some time now. More important was the signal that Rockstar was sending: use our game to make fan films. This is smart for any number of reasons, but allowing fans to use games as they see fit makes those games more valuable to the market, and those transformative works ultimately only serve to advertise the original game in the first place.”
  • Less often discussed in relation to fans’ activities are how beneficial they can be. EdSurge hosted a post on the difficulty of getting kids engaged with schoolwork compared to how they excelled in their own hobbies and interests. “Finally, Annika is a video editor. She uploads twice a week to her Vocaloid Chorus channel. She started by wasting time watching anime. She began drawing manga, then started creating Vocaloid ‘choruses’ mashing up others’ work, and now creates her own Vocaloid ‘covers’ and participates in fan fiction. The adults in her life barely know what any of this is. Her learning environment is made up of online interest groups with individuals that challenge each other and share knowledge and skills. Too hard? Nope.”
  • The Daily Dot took a look at the business end of things from a fan’s point of view, detailing the expenses that go into being an anime fan. “Previously we’ve looked at the cost of YouTube fandom and what it would take financially to attend all the marquee events in the space for one year. With anime having a wider berth of events and a longer history, there’s a lot of ways to slice your fiscal fandom, but we decided to grab the biggest names in the community for our imaginary fan, to see how they stack up against the YouTubers.”

Do you have your own stories about what fanworks have done for you? Start a page 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.