OTW Fannews: Changing how things are done

  • PBS’s Idea Channel did a piece on “The Future of Fandom” and featured discussion about fans’ effects on copyright, including the stance of the OTW and the work of OTW legal staffer, Rebecca Tushnet. “In ‘I’m a Lawyer, Not an Ethnographer, Jim’: Textual Poachers and Fair Use, Rebecca Tushnet explains Henry Jenkins’ sense that ‘fans usually enjoy [an original work], but also see its flaws and gaps, which their work attempts to address and, sometimes, redress.’ Fan works like Fanfic, fanvids and remixes celebrate, critique and extend beloved media, but they also exist in uncertain legal territory. They’re necessarily built on copyrighted material, the owners of which are occasionally super hostile to any co-option, even loving co-option.” (Transcript available)
  • While not directly connected to fandom, a recent court ruling raised concerns about what can be published about people online. NPR’s All Things Considered discussed the potential changes. “Usually, the content that we talk about with the right to be forgotten is much more salacious. This guy wanted an old debt to be removed from his Google search results. He took his complaint to the Spanish Data Protection Agency, who determined that he did have a case for the right to be forgotten. And the agency ordered Google to remove links to that content. It moved through the courts as Google appealed it and the case that came down was shocking, I think, for most people.”
  • Another court ruling included discussion about fan sites and works more specifically. The Supreme Court ruled on the case of Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a case in which the owner of a screenplay alleged copyright infringement. In her opinion, Justice Ginsburg stated the following: “[T]here is nothing untoward about waiting to see whether an infringer’s exploitation undercuts the value of the copyrighted work, has no effect on the original work, or even complements it. Fan sites prompted by a book or film, for example, may benefit the copyright owner. See Wu, Tolerated Use, 31 Colum. J. L. & Arts 617, 619–620 (2008). Even if an infringement is harmful, the harm may be too small to justify the cost of litigation.”
  • While some think that fanfiction should be licensed in the future, the Deseret News wrote about Lucasfilm’s decision to wipe out earlier canon, turning it into licensed fanfic. “Lucasfilm announced the Star Wars Story Group in January, which was created specifically to sift through the plethora of Expanded Universe content and decide what was and wasn’t canon, according to BleedingCool.com. The answer? Apparently none of it was. But it’s not all bad news for Expanded Universe fans…Instead, it will be rebranded as ‘Star Wars Legends’ and continue to be published and made available to fans.”

What examples of fans’ changing things have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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