OTW Fannews: Founded on Fanworks

image by Robyn of James Madison, fourth president of the US

  • Jennifer Parsons wrote at Tech Dirt about fanfic written by one of the U.S. founding fathers. “Why fanfic? What made Madison decide to use existing characters to make his point rather than inventing his own characters like John Arbuthnot did for his own political allegory?…The easiest way to tackle these questions is to tell you an allegorical story. There once was a comic artist, ‘Jim M.,’ who wanted to comment upon the important issue of CIA torture. To make his point, he drew a three panel comic strip. In the first panel, Captain America is taking down a fanatical Nazi commander who tortured prisoners of war for the good of the Fatherland…In the second panel, Jim M. draws Captain America standing next to President Obama, who is casually observing that although the CIA did ‘torture some folks,’ the lapse can be excused because the torturers were patriots who loved their country. In the third panel we see Captain America’s shadowed face as he walks away from a burning American flag.”
  • Although some are very pleased with the offerings on Kindle Worlds, various sites posted a story by Jeff John Robertson at GigaOm about Kindle Worlds’ success in light of a presentation by OTW legal staffer, Rebecca Tushnet. “For Amazon and its partners, it will be difficult to overcome such perceptions since the underlying problem is not just about licensing terms, but something more fundamental: the impossibility of having it both ways, of fostering maximum creativity while wielding maximum legal control. As Tushnet notes, Kindle Worlds is hardly the first time that a licensed model of creativity has come up short: the music industry’s imposition of sampling licenses smothered hip-hop in the 1990’s, while commercial controls eroded the popularity of the early fan fiction universe, Darkover.”
  • The Fandom Post reported on Dynamite Entertainment being one of the latest companies to go DRM-free. “There will be a slow, focused roll-out over time that will grow the available titles to reflect the vast majority of Dynamite’s library. Throughout its first month of operation, Dynamite will donate ten percent of all sales to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers.”

How far back have you seen fanworks go? Write about them 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.