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Happy Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week!

When you create or enjoy a fanwork, whether you know it or not, you are usually relying on the laws of fair use and fair dealing. These laws–known as fair use in some countries (including the U.S.) and fair dealing in others (including Canada and the U.K.)–are what allow fans to make and post fanworks based on pre-existing copyrighted work without being copyright infringers. Every year, organizations across the Internet celebrate this set of laws and all of the wonderful creativity they promote. Read More

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Copyright Week and Good News About Article 13

On the last day of Copyright Week, the EU nations’ Councils have voted on their positions on Article 13, and the majority have decided not to support it in its current form. This is good news for fans!

Article 13, as it was drafted, would have held many websites liable for user-created content, and in many cases would have required the use of filters that could have limited the availability of fanworks and other legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted material. Although the proposal would not have affected nonprofits like the OTW–that is, AO3 would not have been affected–it still could have had a significant impact on other popular fan sites.

This result is powerful. It means that you can still continue to create fanworks and share them not only on AO3, but also on sites that would have been affected by Article 13, such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Read More

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Copyright Week and Public Domain

It’s Copyright Week, and in honour of this event, OTW Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt is answering some questions about the public domain.


What is Copyright Week and why is it important?

Copyright Week is a time for websites, libraries, and advocacy groups to bring attention to copyright law and policy–to get people excited about copyright law and keep people aware of legal developments. It takes place in the third week of January to commemorate the 2012 victory of Internet users over proposed laws called SOPA and PIPA. By speaking out, contacting Congress, and engaging in website blackouts, Internet users stopped overreaching copyright laws that would have put a lot of popular sites at risk. This year, we’re celebrating, because for the first time in many years, some works are entering the public domain in the United States! Read More