The OTW believes that fanworks are creative and transformative, core fair uses, and will therefore be proactive in protecting and defending fanworks from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. This help will not be limited to those fans or projects directly connected with OTW.
The OTW Legal Committee’s mission includes education, assistance, and advocacy.
- We create and post educational materials about developments in fandom-related law on transformativeworks.org and on archiveofourown.org.
- We assist individual fans when their fanworks are challenged, we answer fans’ questions about law relevant to fanworks, and we help fans find legal representation.
- We partner with other advocacy organizations and coalitions in the U.S. and around the world.
- We advocate for laws and policies that promote balance and protect fanworks and fandom. (Our policy comments and letters can be accessed here.)
- And much more!
Our legal advocacy work includes:
Obtaining an exemption to the U.S. DMCA that permits makers of noncommercial remix to circumvent copy protection on Blu-Rays, DVDs, and material distributed online
- 2020-2021 Petition to the Copyright Office in favor of a DMCA exemption for makers of noncommercial remix
- July 2020 Comments
- 2017-2018 Petition to the Copyright Office in favor of a DMCA exemption for makers of noncommercial remix
- March 2018 Comments
- December 2017 Comments
- July 2017 Petition
- 2014-2015 Petition to the Copyright Office in favor of a DMCA exemption for makers of noncommercial remix
- June 2015 Response
- May 2015 Reply
- February 2015 Comments
- November 2014 Petitions
- 2011-2012 Petition to the Copyright Office in favor of a DMCA exemption for makers of noncommercial remix
- August 2012 Reply and second image gallery
- Test Suite of Fair Use Vids
- Image Gallery
- March 2012 Reply Comments
- December 2011 Comment
- 2008-2009 Petition material
- February 2009 Reply Comment
- December 2008 Comment
The actual letters and comments plus more information can be found under Obtaining exemptions to the U.S. DMCA.
Submitting policy comments and letters to the U.S. government and governments around the world
- June 2020 Comments to U.S. Senate re: Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- February 2020 testimony to U.S. Senate re: Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- July 2019 Coalition Letter to U.S. Senate re: CASE Act
- July 2019 Joint Statement of Principles Regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
- April 2019 testimony to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- April 2019 Comments to the New Zealand Parliament as part of New Zealand’s regular review of its Copyright Act
- March 2019 Comments to the US Copyright Office regarding the Music Modernization Act
- June 2018 Comments to the Canadian Parliament as part of Canada’s regular review of its Copyright Act
- June 2017 Comments to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement
- March 2017 Comments to Copyright Office Regarding Moral Rights of Attribution and Integrity
- February 2017 Follow-Up Comments to Copyright Office Regarding DMCA Section 512
- October 2016 Comments to Singapore in Response to Proposed Changes to Singapore’s Copyright Regime
- June 2016 Comments to Copyright Office re: DMCA Agent Renewal
- April 2016 Comments to the European Commission Regarding the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights
- March 2016 Comments to the U.S. Copyright Office Regarding DMCA Section 512
- February 2016 Comments to the U.S. Copyright Office Regarding DMCA Section 1201
- December 2015 Comments to the European Commission
- October 2015 Comments to the U.S. IPEC
- September 2015 Comments to the South African Government
- March 2015 Letter to U.S. Congress
- September 2014 Australian Government submission
- February 2014 Comments to the European Commission
- October 2013 Comments to the PTO/NTIA
The actual letters and comments plus more information can be found under Policy comments and Letters.
Filing Amicus Curiae briefs in cases regarding U.S. copyright law, fair use, and online freedom of expression
- Dr. Seuss v. ComicMix
- October 2019 Amicus Brief
- Smith v. Drake
- July 2019 Amicus Brief
- Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands
- July 2016 Amicus Brief
- Lenz v. Universal
- September 2016 Amicus Brief
- October 2015 Amicus Brief
- December 2013 Amicus Brief
- Capitol Records v. Vimeo
- July 2014 Amicus Brief
- Cindy Lee Garcia v. Google et al
- November 2014 Amicus Brief
- April 2014 Amicus Brief
- Fox v. Dish & Dish v. ABC
- January 2014 Amicus Brief
- January 2013 Amicus Brief
- Salinger v. Colting
- August 2009 Amicus Brief
The actual briefs plus more information can be found under Amicus Curiae briefs in cases regarding U.S. copyright law, fair use, and online freedom of expression.
Filing Amicus Curiae briefs in cases regarding U.S. right of publicity laws
- De Havilland v. FX
- January 2018 Amicus Brief
- Cross v. Facebook
- January 2017 Amicus Brief
- Davis v. Electronic Arts
- November 2015 Amicus Brief
- January 2015 Amicus brief
- Hart v. Electronic Arts
- May 2012 Amicus Brief
The actual briefs plus more information can be found under Amicus Curiae briefs in cases regarding U.S. right of publicity laws.
Opposing trademark registrations that would claim private ownership of fandom
- Petition to cancel FANDOM mark
The actual letters and comments plus more information can be found under Opposing trademark registrations.
To contact OTW’s Legal Committee, send an e-mail.
(The Legal Committee welcomes your comments and questions. Be aware that communicating with Legal will not create an attorney-client relationship unless Legal explicitly says otherwise in writing. But we’re happy to provide information!)