Board Meeting Minutes: 07 January 2023

Organization for Transformative Works – Board of Directors

Minutes of the meeting: 07 January 2023, 19:00 UTC

Present

  • Alex Tischer
  • Antonius Melisse
  • Heather McGuire
  • Kari Dayton
  • Michelle Schroeder
  • Natalia Gruber
  • Yuechiang Luo

Guests

  • A. Poire
  • Anne-Li
  • capi
  • Cathy
  • C-chan
  • cinnamon
  • cirelle
  • darhein
  • Dasha
  • Derpinaz
  • EchoEkhi
  • Egg
  • Enigel
  • Eskici
  • Gabe || Игорь
  • herothief
  • hookedonthesky
  • Irina
  • Jay_q
  • julia-sets
  • Kaysa
  • ladydragona
  • lydia-theda
  • Marion McG
  • Midnight Fragments
  • Moro
  • MsEerie
  • mumble
  • musika
  • PAULA ꓯꓶꓵꓯꓒ
  • punk
  • roissy
  • soundofsnow
  • Steffi
  • The Violet Howler
  • TheLaure
  • Yellow
  • ZG

Open Session

Decisions taken since last Meeting

  • approved minutes of last meeting
  • dealt with a couple of domain name registration issues
  • approved Annual Report 2021 for publication
  • approved sign-on for civil society WIPO broadcast treaty letter
  • approved insurance payments
  • approved payment of project management tools for committees
  • ongoing communications/answering questions from users, members, and volunteers

Questions asked and answered

A guest asked for more details about the Open Letter to WIPO.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has proposed a broadcast treaty last year which would create additional rights to broadcast companies, with the intention of preventing ‘signal piracy’ (that is, the unauthorized interception of TV signals for private or commercial benefit).

This treaty’s scope was very broad, and would likely impact not only piracy, but also other uses of media, such as transformative use and private broadcasting. Additionally, most signal piracy is generally already covered by existing legislation.

Because this treaty has a potential of negatively impacting fans, the OTW has partnered with other civil organizations to sign an open letter to WIPO, outlining the issues the treaty would cause, and aiming to get it amended.

Financial update

A preliminary unaudited financial report for 2022 was provided by the OTW’s treasurer, Yuechiang Luo.

Operating expenses for 2022 are around $410k, with an additional $206k in fixed assets from purchasing new servers. This excludes the in-kind revenue/expenses recorded from the services provided by the legal committee of roughly $245k. As always the majority of expenses are spent on AO3 especially server hosting costs, and about 75% of total costs are spent on the various OTW programs, with the remaining going to management and fundraising. Overall costs have increased due to a pivot towards more paid online tools rather than using free versions which are less secure and provide less functionality.

Additionally, the final 2021 audit report has been issued and there were no findings as usual. It should be published on the “Reports and Governing Documents” page on the OTW website shortly.

Bidding farewell to Jess

The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank Jess White for her service in our organization.

Jess has resigned from her role on the Board and her other roles in the OTW on the 5th of November, 2022, for personal reasons. We’re sad to see her go, and wish her all the best! ❤️

AOB

A guest asked about future updates and new AO3 features that might be currently being worked on. james_ and EchoEkhi, who are AO3 developers, were present and provided updates.

james_:

I can do a micro answer, we have several things being worked on, in the short term I can say the following could be merged fairly quickly https://github.com/otwcode/otwarchive/pulls?q=is%3Apr+is%3Aopen+label%3A%22Reviewed%3A+Ready+to+Merge%22 . For example, we are currently updating ruby which is the language the Archive is written in. There is a considerable amount of work that has no visible effect apart from keeping everything running stably. For example, updating the framework the Archive uses. Updating elasticsearch to a more recent version. If you look at https://otwarchive.atlassian.net/jira/software/c/projects/AO3/boards/5 you can see the set of work we are currently working on. ). We have not forgotten there is more work to do with Blocking and Muting ( https://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/18864).

EchoEkhi:

Hi! I’m one of the developers who worked on the upcoming muting feature, which will allow you to hide works, series, comments and bookmarks from an account. Most of the work on the code is complete since December, and it is currently awaiting transfer to the QA team for testing. You can track the development progress here: https://otwarchive.atlassian.net/browse/AO3-6365

Another guest asked the Board whether there were any plans to address the fact that the AO3 was at the time of the meeting blocked from appearing in Google search results.

At the time of the meeting, the OTW had not been contacted by any authorities and therefore there wasn’t much information about why AO3 was delisted from Google search results – evidence seemed to indicate this was the result of AO3 getting reported to a German youth protection agency for containing illegal material that is harmful to children. As far as the Board is aware, these claims are unfounded, and the OTW Legal team was consulted for advice on how we might appeal this decision.

For the time being, the best solution for users located in Germany was to navigate to AO3 directly (the website itself was never blocked, only removed from Google results) or to use a different search engine.

There was a request for an update on the work of the OTW’s Diversity Consultant Research Officer, who is in charge of looking into potential external Diversity Consultants for the OTW, and whether a second Officer had been appointed to help with the project.

The research is still in its early stages. Our officer has shared their ideas with the Board and was then in the process of coming up with a roadmap for the project. No second officer had been appointed yet, but the work had been started in the meantime.

A guest asked whether there was any general timeline in which the OTW expected to conclude this project.

Because the research relies on volunteer work, providing a timeline for a project this size is difficult, but it is expected to require less than 5 years, if no meaningful difficulties arise.

The last question came from a member of the audience that had concerns about the possibility of someone being elected to the OTW Board of Directors in the future whose personal beliefs were antithetical to the OTW’s mission and goals of maximum inclusivity of content. They asked whether any measures would be taken to prevent such candidates from running in the future, and mentioned a specific candidate from the 2022 OTW election as an example.

The OTW Board of Directors truly understands and appreciates the concern and engagement of our users and members in the election process, especially when they believe any candidate poses a threat to our organization. We encourage members to stay up to date and discuss candidates as needed during the election season. However, the Board does not condone the racist abuse suffered by one of the volunteers who stood up for election to the Board in 2022.

Any and all persons who are elected to the Board of Directors are expected to serve their terms in accordance with the OTW’s mission, bylaws, and Delaware corporate law, where our organization is incorporated, regardless of candidates’ personal beliefs. We believe that we are protected enough by the existing structures against this type of situation.

Closed Session

  • no items

 

The meeting was adjourned at 20:15 UTC
Minutes approved by the Board on ’01/02/2023′

 

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