OTW Fannews: Commercial Exploits

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  • Many fans of Fall Out Boy launched a petition to protest a proposed event by podcaster Jensen Karp which would revolve around reading “the most ridiculous REAL fanfiction about them on the web.” The event was later cancelled though it remained unclear how much participation the band itself had had in the plans.
  • The use of fans’ work by third parties was less clear in an announcement by YouTube gamer PewDiePie who launched a fanfic contest with himself as the subject, noting that “The contest will be sponsored by Mountain Dew.” Three finalists would have their story submission turned into an animated video. The Terms and Conditions of the contest noted that aside from transferring the rights to all entries (whether they were winners or not) to “Sponsor, Administrator and their agents along with PewDiePie” that the fanworks “must not denegrate the subject, Mountain Dew brand, product and/or trademark.”
  • At the American Library Association’s District Dispatch, Carrie Russell bemoaned the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act process that also forces OTW Legal to repeatedly defend the exemptions it won for fan video makers in 2009 and 2012. “Here’s the problem: Sometimes DRM gets in the way of actions that are not infringements of copyright. Let’s say you have lawful access to an e-book (you bought the book, fair and square), but you are a person with a print disability, and you need to circumvent to enable text-to-speech (TTS) functionality which has been disabled by DRM. This is a violation of the circumvention provision. One would think that this kind of circumvention is reasonable, because it simply entails making a book accessible to the person that purchased it.” Russell called for the exemptions to be made permanent and eliminate the months of time spent by petitioners and government alike.
  • An article in The Guardian highlighted the various benefits of new technology in expanding what producers and consumers are able to exchange (even if fans had long been there first). “The rise of these electronic devices built only for reading has been a boon to the books sector. The transition to digital reading brought with it a new kind of publishing that was distinctly more experimental, energetic and (nakedly) commercial than that which preceded it. Just this week the publisher Little, Brown began publishing ebook shorts based on the hugely successful Broadchurch TV series that are made available to download in the hours after each show.”

How have you seen fans’ work adopted and co-opted? Write about it in 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.