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This Week in Fandom, Volume 24

September got off to a pretty spiffy start for us here at the OTW with an article from Inverse that talked about why people make fanworks and what the OTW does in fandom. (While the OTW gives many interviews, most resulting publications don’t actually talk about our mission, so this was exciting for us.) “Very often, fans come into [creating] fanwork because they’re not finding what they’re looking for, either from the show itself or from existing fan works,” the article says, adding that “what many creators have in common is the desire to shape their preferred narratives.” The article focuses on LGBTQ+ elements as a primary trait of many fanworks, and includes testimonials from fanworks creators about how “there’s just not a lot of mass culture that’s made for [LGBTQ+ people] and [their] tastes.” Is that why you create fanworks? Let us know in the comments!


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.