Here’s a roundup of legal and technology audio stories that might be of interest to fans:
- The Baker Street Babes Podcast spoke with OTW Legal Committee member Betsy Rosenblatt about legal issues surrounding fanworks, what the OTW’s Legal Advocacy project does, and what makes the AO3 different from other online spaces for fanfic (starting 13 minutes in). The podcast also includes more general musings on the nature of fandoms and the reasons fans want to create fanworks. (No transcript available).
- Various segments relating to intellectual property have been airing on On the Media. Key among these were their interview with the author of Year Zero, a science fiction novel which revolved around how U.S. copyright laws would result in the annihilation of the planet (transcript available), and their segment on how advertising agencies support a musical fanfic industry to avoid paying copyright on the originals (transcript available). They also pointed out the alarming lengths to which corporate entities are going to control brand visibility: “Olympic copyright cops stood ready to enforce the sponsors’ marketing deals” in sporting venues and “London organizers gave businesses a list of key words to avoid” in any advertising. “[W]hat’s interesting about this law is it goes beyond [any] kind of copyright law. This actually introduces a criminal offense, so you could technically be criminally prosecuted. It’s really been described as some of the most draconian legislation in this area that’s ever been introduced.” (Transcript available at the link.)
- The measure of draconian lengths may have to keep being revised upwards though. In the past month the Scripps News Service instigated a YouTube takedown against NASA for its video of the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars. (The video was later restored with an apology). But the effort to control Olympics discussion was less effective against Olympic fans online. The effort by fans at circumventing both broadcast network restrictions as well as national viewing restrictions was the subject of an NPR segment on proxy servers. As Electronic Frontier Foundation representative Mike Stoltz explained, this is the “technology that people use to bypass censorship of the Internet in countries like China and Iran. And it’s used by people both in the U.S. and in other countries to watch TV on the Internet that they can’t get where they are.” Asked if the practice was ethical, Stoltz replied “I think doing something like this in order to avoid paying for something is unethical. Doing something like this to get content that you as a person in the U.S. cannot get any other way is not necessarily unethical, it’s more practical.” (Transcript available at the link.)
Do you have a fannish technology or legal story to tell? Why not contribute it to Fanlore? Contributions are welcome from all fans.
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