OTW Fannews: Copyright threats and benefits

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  • The Asahi Shimbum detailed fan concerns about the TPP. “Usami and other creators of fan fiction, however, could face the possibility of legal prosecution as copyright violators in the future, depending on the outcome of TPP negotiations. Some countries are apparently demanding that Japan clamp down on knock-off and pirated works in the intellectual property arena, even if the copyright holder does not object to it. Under current Japanese copyright law, authorities take action only after the copyright holder, such as the artist of the original work or publisher, lodges a formal complaint.”
  • India’s Business Standard wrote about book piracy and its turn to crossover fiction. “By the 2000s, piracy had changed across all kinds of language publishing in India. In 2003, Harry Potter’s publishers successfully sued Uttam Ghosh, preventing him from introducing a character called Jhontu in a sub-series where Harry Potter goes to Calcutta, a work of fan fiction if there ever was one…Book pirates in China had stayed ahead of the curve, by passing off a weird little book called Harry Potter and Bao Zoulong as a new Potter sequel. In this version, Harry Potter became a leading character in a translation of The Hobbit, with an explanatory paragraph to tell the reader how Harry Potter was turned into a hobbit one day while taking a bath.”
  • The Wire explored the origin of The Office Time Machine. Creator Joe Sabia “wasn’t really a fan of the show” but created it to “advocate for copyright reform and highlight the importance of fair use in protecting creators and their art.”
  • Yet fair uses of content can be beneficial to creators. The Toronto Star discussed how music companies made more money from fan videos than official videos. “A lot of that is due to consumers putting more and more repertoire and new versions up there, but also it’s YouTube getting better at advertising” as now more than 50 countries are part of video ad monetization. “‘It’s a massive growth area. We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos,’ said Francis Keeling, the global head of digital business for Universal Music Group.”

What copyright developments have you seen relating to fandom? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.