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Fan Creation & Copyright Survey: Preliminary Results

Last month, OTW Legal conducted a survey about fan experience with and knowledge of copyright. We had such a great response! Nearly 3,000 people participated. Because of this amazing response rate, we have a LOT of data – especially since so many gave us great, detailed answers to free response questions. So we still have more analysis work to do! But as part of fair use week, we wanted to provide some preliminary results, and give some thoughts about trends we’re seeing – especially around issues related to fair use. And the best part about our results is that we’re learning a lot about how we think we can help you as a legal advocacy team!

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Events Calendar for April

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Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of April! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

  • Eastercon: Dysprosium. Held every Easter weekend since 1955, Eastercon is also known as the British National Science Fiction Convention. This year’s event is April 3-6 in London, England. Guests of honor are Jim Butcher (Dresden Files author), author and filker Seanan McGuire, steampunk artist Herr Döktor (Ian Crichton), and longtime fandom contributor Caroline Mullan. The event also includes the Dalekdrome, in which competitors first making over a remote-controlled Dalek and then running it through an obstacle course.
  • It’s the second run of the Hobbit Big Bang, with artist claims opening April 4. Crossovers and AUs are allowed, but stories should focus on The Hobbit (books, films, or RPF). Posting runs from May 10-24. (Share your experience with big bangs on Fanlore.)
  • Nullus Anxietas V, April 10-12 in Sydney, Australia, is a fan-run convention for fans of the Discworld novels and other works by Sir Terry Pratchett. The program has several events that appear each time such as the Gala Dinner, “Maskerade,” Charity Auction, Guest of Honour Interview, and “Terry’s Bedtime Stories.” The conventions regularly feature large attendee-run groups that have been known variously as Guilds and Sects. There are also smaller events such as interviews, games and competitions, guest klatches, and other activities.
  • Star Wars Celebration is an event for all ages. The celebrations began in 1999 and have been held all over the world! The con, April 16-19 in Anaheim, California, contains exhibits, an interactive show floor, screenings, merchandise, celebrity guests, panels, and autograph sessions. Costuming workshops, academic discussions, behind-the-scenes insights, fan films, and sneak peeks at the future of Star Wars are all elements of Celebration as well. (Find fan experiences with Star Wars Celebration on Fanlore.)
  • For 30 years, Studio Ghibli has produced some of Japan’s most popular and profitable films, and yet, beyond the work of famous film director Hayao Miyazaki, many of Studio Ghibli’s achievements remain unknown outside of Japan. Spirited Discussions: Exploring 30 Years of Studio Ghibli is a one-day conference, the first of its kind, and aims to investigate the meanings of Studio Ghibli, and its significance to Japanese and global culture. It is April 18 in Cardiff, Wales.
  • There are several roles to play in After Camlann: A Big Bang Challenge for BBC’s Merlin, and all signups are open now–for writers, artists, betas, and “cheerleaders.” The writer signup deadline is April 20, artists should sign up by May 30, and posting will take place in August.
  • Figments & Filaments, April 24-26 in Kansas City, Kansas, is a celebration of “costuming & cosplay in all of its various genres and applications.”
  • Interested in historical RPF? History Fest, a first-ever prompt fest for “fanworks about historical figures,” is accepting prompt fills through April 30. Fills can be fanfic, fanart, or mixes, and there is no required minimum level of historical significance. (Learn more about RPF on Fanlore.)
  • Free Comic Book Day 2015 will take place Saturday, May 2. This is expected to be the largest FCBD ever, with over 5.6 million comics given away to visitors at 2,100 participating comic shops.
  • Shatterdome Seattle, May 3 in Seattle, Washington, is the only Pacific Rim fan convention on the Pacific Rim. It is a one-day event featuring a private showing of the movie, cosplay and trivia contests, and panel discussions. The convention is for fans by fans. Go Pacific Rim on the Pacific Rim! (Discover more about Pacific Rim fandom on Fanlore.)

Calls for Papers this month come from:

  • The Third Annual Fandom and Neomedia Studies (FANS) Conference, in Dallas, Texas, in June, is issuing a call for papers on all aspects of being a fan. Abstracts are due April 30.
  • The Fans, Videogames, and History anthology’s editors invite proposals for chapters addressing historicising game fandom; fan contributions to game history; and methodological reflections on studying historic game fandom. The deadline is April 30.
  • Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media invites papers that will interrogate the film adaptation of the 50 Shades of Grey novel series from “a plethora of new perspectives including industry, text, and reception analysis.” Topics may include fans and fanfiction; kink, BDSM and sexual politics; and social networking and the blogosphere. Papers are due April 30.

Help out a researcher!

This month we have received a request for research participation from Jean Drzyzgula at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. As part of her thesis for an undergraduate degree, she is conducting research on *fandom and identity exploration* under the oversight of Dr. Iris Ford.

The purpose of this research study is threefold: to understand the role participation in media fandoms has on the development of personal identities for young MOGAI (LGBT, Queer) people; to understand the extent to which participation in media fandoms has impacted participants’ identities; and to understand how these trends impact individuals participating in them.

Note that survey participants must be at least 18 years of age. You can find the survey online; a consent agreement is included on the main page.

Contact information is jadrzyzgula [at] smcm [dot] edu and Icford [at] smcm [dot] edu.

The final paper and any future works will be shared with the community, and some limited portions of the data set collected may be available depending on if it is judged to not impact confidentiality (and with advisor approval).

If you have requests for research participation, please view our policy for inclusion at our website.


The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that’s not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

OTW Fannews: Profiles in Marketing

Banner by Erin of Barbie working at a computer with the OTW logo on it, with two adults looking on in the background. The banner reads 'OTW Fannews: Profiles in Marketing'.

  • An increasing number of companies are marketing toward girls and women in tech, but not every attempt to capitalise on the trend is well-executed. NPR covered widespread criticism of Mattel’s Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer. “‘It starts so promising; Barbie is designing a game to show kids how computers work,’ said Ribon. […] Brian and Steven take over — and, at the end of the day, Barbie takes credit for the boys’ work.” OTW Legal staffer Casey Fiesler, whose feminist remix went viral and was featured in the NPR story, took to her own blog to explain why non-commercial remix is allowed under US copyright law. “It is so amazing how many people care about representation of women in computing, and I’m thrilled and humbled that something I created helped to expand this conversation. I wrote a piece for Slate about the process and the ideas behind Barbie, Remixed, but something I wanted to discuss in more detail was the act of remix itself rather than the critique behind it.”
  • TribLIVE reported on a new TV network focused on fandom. “When Pop, a cable network most people probably refer to as TVGN, launches Jan. 14, it will do so with programs that celebrate the continuing ability of such, well, institutions, as New Kids On the Block and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ to cut a swath through popular culture.”
  • UK site YouGov researches audiences to determine the characteristics of people with particular interests or fandoms. By using their profiler you could discover that Good Omens fans are more likely to be 40-59 year old males who work in IT, are left leading when it comes to politics, and also are fans of John Barrowman, Stephen Fry, James May, Nathan Fillion and Patrick Moore.
  • The publishing industry is among those wanting to target fans, and a recent conference on the children’s book trade included a panel on fanfiction. Meanwhile Wikia is declaring itself “the ultimate source for powerful and relevant pop culture, entertainment and game expertise” and is producing a video series on fandom in 2014 along with Disney’s Maker Studios. The idea is to create amateur/professional partnerships. “The partnership has already resulted in some quirky combinations, including one pairing of a devotee of the AMC period drama Mad Men with the creator of the Drinks Made Easy YouTube channel. ‘We hope to continue to define projects that allow for creators and super fans to come together and be in the spotlight.'”

What marketing efforts utilizing fans have you spotted? Write about them 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.