Fans have always known that they can do amazing things, working together. An individual fan may have creativity and talent, but we have so much more power as a group. But traditional fan strategies like letter-writing campaigns, taking out ads, and sending creative messages to The Powers That Be don’t always work nowadays. We still need to band together, but sometimes we also need some specialized help.
This past year, the OTW’s Legal Advocacy project worked to defend our rights to fair use in various ways, big and small. A lot of this work is out of the spotlight — helping individual fans who might otherwise be intimidated into silence, or stopped from doing the things fans love to do. But most of OTW’s advocacy work is visible, and is about amplifying our voice — about helping us be seen and heard when people in power are making or considering decisions that affect us and our work as fans.
In 2009, the OTW helped Glockgal formulate and direct a counternotice against Viacom following an unfair takedown of her Zazzle store ; we explained the creative work of vidders and other remix artists at DMCA Anticircumvention hearings before the US Library of Congress; we participated in filing an amicus brief to support the position that a really restrictive court decision defining transformativeness as parody and nothing else should be reversed on appeal.
Support for the OTW is support for fans’ right to be fans. To think and discuss critically. To transform, reflect, react, create, and reshape the world around us. To participate and take part in the culture around us. We can’t lose that. We have to stand our ground. It’s ours.