In July, the OTW joined with The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) and fans from around the world to promote their Fan Works Are Fair Use (FWAFU) campaign. Part of the OTW’s mission since its founding has been to support transformative works that manifest as fanfiction, fanart, fan films, discussion communities, cosplay and other forms of fannish creativity. With the HPA, we are working to build a community of 5,000 fans and fan creators interested in protecting all types of fan-made works.
The campaign has launched with a celebration of fanworks on social media. Using #FanWorksTaughtMe, fans are discussing the different skills, perspectives, and communities they have gained from fanworks that they love. Contributions span from tweets to videos and are shedding light on how fans use fanworks to build their confidence, refine their skills, explore issues like race and gender, understand the perspectives of others, and more.
Several artists and fan creators are already celebrating fanworks through the campaign. Sleepy Hollow’s Orlando Jones has signed on as a spokesperson for the campaign, along with FictionAlley co-founder/original OTW Legal Committee member Heidi Tandy, wizard rockers Harry and the Potters, YouTubers Kristina Horner and Lauren Fairweather, and novelist Naomi Novik, one of the OTW’s founders.
Fandom is not a passive experience. Today, fan creators actively help to bring in new fans and add to new energy that benefits the source material and its creators. The FWAFU coalition believes that this culture is worth celebrating and protecting. If you’ve ever enjoyed a piece of fan work, you probably do, too. Visit fanworksarefairuse.org to join the community and add your voice to the celebration using the hashtag #FanWorksTaughtMe.
Fan Works Are Fair Use grew from the fact that, under US copyright law, it is fair to use copyrighted material for certain uses, including commenting on the original, which is usually the purpose or inspiration behind fanworks. Fan Works Are Fair Use and the #FanworksTaughtMe hashtag inform fans of their right to be creative, and support changes to US copyright law that protect original content creators as well as fan creators who produce beloved parodies, homages, and works of art honoring the source material.