Fan Video Diversity Showcase

Fan videos have been of interest to the Organization for Transformative Works for a long time, and last year various video and multimedia projects came to fruition. We have revamped the Fan Video and Multimedia project pages on the official OTW website and expanded our scope beyond the media fandom vidding tradition, to make it clearer that we aim to be inclusive of diverse traditions, and to be useful to a wide range of fan artists, be they vidders or AMV editors or fan film directors or remixers or any other involved creators.

2012 has already been an exciting year for the Fan Video & Multimedia project, with the release of Transformative Works and Cultures’ Fan/Remix Video issue on March 15th. In the wake of this release, we wanted to raise awareness about the embedding option of the Archive of Our Own that allows users to embed videos from a variety of streaming platforms. This option is particularly useful to fan video makers who may be worried about their work being taken down. Embedding your work on the Archive of Our Own means that, regardless of where your video is hosted, you will have a stable URL for your work as well as stable comments and hit counts. A different embed code can be swapped into the AO3 page for your work in case you decide to switch platforms, or face site closures or takedowns.

Initiated by the Fan Video & Multimedia group, this project benefited from the International & Outreach Committee’s collaboration. We have invited fan video makers to our Fan Video Diversity Showcase to declare, loudly and passionately, that all forms of fan video are welcome at the AO3. The OTW is committed to representing and protecting the history and creations of fan video makers from all traditions and nationalities.

This Fan Video Diversity Showcase is but an ‘appetizer’, a ‘trailer’, and we invite others to embed their videos on Archive of Our Own. Other video-related projects will follow as time and technology allow, but we believe that this is an important declaration of our commitment to fan video makers and viewers.

Natacha Guyot
OTW’s Vidding and International & Outreach Committees

Extending the DMCA Exemption for Noncommercial Remixers

Legal and vidding committee members Rebecca Tushnet, Rachael Vaughn and Francesca Coppa have collaborated with the EFF on a proposal (download the .pdf) to the Library of Congress to renew and extend the DMCA exemption for Noncommercial Remixers. The current exemption gives noncommercial remix artists – like fan video artists and political remixers – the right to rip DVDs, breaking their encryption, for the purpose of making a fair use video, and the request covers that as well as using sources like Amazon Unbox where material isn’t available on DVD.

The papers were filed December 1, 2011 and contain statements from and interviews with a number of fans – so thank you everyone who told us their stories!

The OTW will be sending representatives to Washington in the early part of next year to testify in favor of these exemptions, so stay tuned for more news.

Lastly, those of you interested in fan vidding might be interested in this documentary by Abigail Christensen.

DMCA Exemption Proposal – Video Makers, We Need YOU!

The OTW’s Legal and Vidding Committees have started working on the renewal of our hard-won exemption to the US DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act)’s provisions on digital rights management for noncommercial remixers–and we need your help! If you vid or make other forms of fan video by ripping DVDs or Blueray discs; if you rip footage from a streaming service like Hulu, Itunes Streaming, or Amazon Unbox, please get in touch! You don’t have to use your real name: Depending on your choice, we can describe you using your pseudonym or as “a vidder” or “a fan filmmaker.” We are trying to compile stories of how fans work and what they need to make their fanworks.

We are seeking your own words about:
(1) Why vidding is a transformative and creative act;
(2) Why you need to circumvent (rip) DVDs or other sources such as Blu-Ray, Amazon Unbox, Hulu, or YouTube–we are particularly interested in cases where you were only able to find a copy of the source at one of the online services because the source wasn’t available on DVD;
(3) Whether you’ve tried screen capture software and how it worked for you;
(4) Whether you could make use of the “alternative” proposed by the MPAA, which is that you set up a separate camera to record your screen as it plays the source;
(5) Why high-quality source is important to you, whether your reasons are technical or aesthetic or something else;
(6) Anything else you think we ought to know as we work with the EFF to put together our request!

So please contact Francesca Coppa directly (fcoppa at transformativeworks dot org) or use the Vidding committee webform.

The OTW works hard to engage with and influence the US laws regarding fair use not only to help fans in the US or who use US-based services, but because we are aware that these laws have a ripple effect all over the world. For example, in South Korea, there was a huge crackdown on online copyrighted content as a result of a fair trade agreement with the U.S., and US policymakers are pushing these other countries to enact laws that are even harsher and don’t provide for exemptions the way that the US’s own domestic law does. Strong DMCA exemptions help send the message that such a system doesn’t work for the US and wouldn’t be a good idea elsewhere either. (We are interested in hearing from non-US vidders with answers to the questions above too!)