Here’s a roundup of stories on legal actions that might be of interest to fans:
- Many fans who were not already aware of the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills in the U.S. legislature became aware of them along with much of the rest of the online community after last week’s blackout day of protest in which numerous sites, including those of the OTW, either went dark or sported banners in opposition to the bills. Individual fans also blacked out their own sites or, like blogger Serena Wilken at the Huffington Post, wrote about how fandom might suffer if this legislation was enacted.
- Some fans have already been affected by anti-piracy efforts. The Wall Street Journal reported that “The Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down Thursday one of the world’s most popular file-sharing websites, MegaUpload.com, and announced the arrest of four of the people behind it in a global crackdown against the suspected online pirates.” Online locker services are heavily used by fans engaged in transformative works such as podfic recordings, music videos, collections of artwork, or even single story fan fiction downloads intended for eReaders. The sites targeted by local law enforcement were located in various countries, a demonstration of the international scope of U.S. enforcement efforts.
- Unfortunately, government actions against “piracy” are only part of how fandom may be impacted by legal activity. In a disappointing ruling on January 18, the same day as the Internet blackouts, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that works in the public domain could be put back under copyright. While the change is intended in part to standardize international copyrights, and thus equalize the standing of foreign creators under U.S. law, this change will also affect numerous artists, musicians and other creators utilizing works previously in the public domain.
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 — on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. 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.