Links roundup for 21 July 2012

Here’s a roundup of troubling issues that might be of interest to fans:

  • Last week, the OTW posted a news alert to fanfic writers and podfic makers about a contest for fanfic recordings being held at ComicCon. Our post pointed out troubling aspects of the contract fans would be required to sign, which led to additional discussion of the terms and contest by other fans. One was semaphore-drivethru on Tumblr who concluded “This, guys, is why you should always, always read a contract/release before signing. There is no length of contract on this, so I’m assuming it’s in perpetuity. There’s no language at all to protect you, either. Just an agreement for you to give them everything for a chance at a twenty minute recording. If you feel it’s a worthwhile trade, an opportunity with[sic] taking, then go for it. But be aware that in no reputable publishing circles would a contract like this be considered reasonable.” Since then, it’s been announced that Random House will be extending the contest to the upcoming Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando next month. We urge those fans to also do a careful read through if they’re considering entering their material.
  • Fanwork contests in general have proliferated wildly through many fandoms and media properties. In many cases the contests are just a form of spotlight on fan work and there is an absence of contracts or, for that matter, prizes. However the fact that legal rights and financial rewards are now on offer in many places sheds a particularly troubling light on the longstanding problem of fanworks plagiarism. Many fans have at some time found their fanworks reposted with credit to them removed or left unclear, or have had their fanworks slightly altered and presented as someone else’s work. The rise of frequent contests has now also led to fans having their work entered in those contests without their knowledge. Given that professional publications of all kinds have had plagiarism scandals of their own makes it seem unlikely that the plagiarists will come to light due to careful research by the contest hosts.
  • Also on a front closer to home, a recent complaint was circulating on Tumblr involving an ad being shown to an AO3 user who was reading at the archive. The reader assumed that the ads were coming from the Archive of Our Own. We want to clarify that this is not the case, as the AO3 does not host ads. Rather the problem likely stemmed from the user’s own browser, which may have been infected with malware to produce the ad content. If users encounter a problem like this, please report it to the AO3’s Support team. We would appreciate it if fans could signal boost this information.

If you’ve experienced plagiarism or have perspectives to share about fans and fandom, why not write about it in Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.