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May 2016 Newsletter, Volume 102

I. IMPROVEMENTS TO SUPPORT AND ABUSE PROCEDURES

This month saw some improvements to the way Support and Abuse work. Five new Support staffers have finished their training and are now taking tickets, which will improve turnaround times. Support has also switched ticket trackers, streamlining their processes significantly.

In a similar vein, Abuse has proposed changes to the AO3 abuse reporting system which would require anyone submitting a complaint to provide contact details. The Abuse team says that these changes will reduce duplicate reports, allow staffers to contact people to discuss complaint outcomes, and follow up for more information when necessary.

II. LEGAL HARD AT WORK

In May, Legal continued its work at the U.S. Copyright Office, helping shape U.S. Copyright policy. In recent months, we have submitted comments as part of the Copyright Office’s inquiry into various elements of the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This month, we followed up on those comments in person. Rebecca Tushnet participated on behalf of the OTW in two Copyright Office roundtables. The first took place in New York, and explored the notice-and-takedown framework in section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We reported on it at transformativeworks.org. The second took place in Washington, D.C., and explored the process for obtaining exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions, like the “vidder’s exemption” that allows vidders to rip video from DVDs and Blu-Rays to make fanvids. Rebecca reported on the second roundtable on her blog.

At the very end of April, Legal filed a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel a trademark registration for the word “Fandom”, citing scores of examples that the word is a generic description of fans and fan activities and should not be owned exclusively by any single corporation or other entity.

Also in May, Legal Chair Betsy gave a presentation at Whedonopolis in Southern California about the OTW, fanworks, and law. And as usual, Legal responded to several queries for help and legal information from fans.

III. GOVERNANCE

This month, Board has continued to work on improving the financial set up, as well as meeting with committees to discuss their progress and any setbacks they might be facing. Board also approved a Terms of Service change proposed by the Abuse team, collaborated with Communications on a news post, approved new staff for Elections, and discussed an external proposal they received.

IV. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

New Committee Staff: Amy Shepard (Elections), Laura Brooks (Elections), Jessica Mosley (Elections), nellscarlet123 (Elections), and 1 other Election staff.
New Coder Volunteers: Jing
Departing Committee Staff: OutToGarden (AO3 Documentation), 1 AO3 Documentation staff, Seamus Johnston (Strategic Planning), 1 Communications staff, 1 Translation staff, 2 Abuse staff, 1 Legal staff, ShotaSammy (Support), Vanderloo (Support), Genie Este (Support), carolinux (Systems)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Myrifique, 2 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Jáchym, Evalangui, 4 others