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.

OTW Fannews: OTW Sightings

OTW Fannews banner by Ania Kopertowska with a picture of a viewfinder overlooking a river with the words OTW Sightings

  • Members of OTW’s Legal Committee have proposed panels for next year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) conference on fair use and fandom. They are asking for fans to support the inclusion of these panels by either logging in to the SXSW official website and upvoting a session on its info page, or by commenting via Disqus on that session’s info page. The panels are Copyright & Creators: 2026 and FYeahCopyright and Fanworks.
  • MediaPost discussed when and how creators should try to target fans in order to help promote a project. “The first thing entertainment marketers should do when looking to harness the power of fandoms is to understand what makes them tick…Go beyond the obvious appeal of a TV show – the characters, plot lines and themes – and dig into the details and nuances such as vernacular, recurring motifs and magical moments that empower fans and make them feel like part of something bigger.”
  • Gizmodo provided a lengthy look at AO3 features as part of offering a guide to the “best fanfiction” available. One thing not mentioned were bookmark searches and the rec feature. However the post did mention how “[u]sers on Tumblr, Livejournal and other networks will often curate ‘recs’ pages of what they consider the best stories. So if the sorting options on AO3 aren’t enough, do a web search for a pairing or fandom and related recommendations, like ‘harry potter fic recs.’ Individual, dedicated archives in the older style still exist as well.”

What OTW sightings have you seen around the web? 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.