OTW Fannews: Interpreting Transformation

Graphic by Bremo of a gavel

  • While many identify fanworks as derivative creations, at Sequential Tart, Olwyn Supeene considered that same issue in regards to One Direction’s music. “My interpretation of this, which I admit may be overly charitable, is that this is the next step on their way toward genuine and original artistic expression. They seem to be trying on different styles to see what best suits them… Like a collage or a mashup, Better Than Words repurposes existing material, compiling it to create meaning in a new context. The derivative becomes transformative.”
  • A recent court case about transformative works had U.S. Circuit Courts in disagreement, although they agreed on the end result. “The court said it was ‘skeptical’ of the fair use approach that its sister circuit took in a 2013 copyright infringement case, Cariou v. Prince…The problem with focusing only on whether a work is transformative, the Seventh Circuit said, is that derivative works to some extent will always transform an original work…The Seventh Circuit instead focused on the four fair use factors set forth in Section 107 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §107, saying, ‘the most important [factor] usually is the fourth (market effect)’…’I don’t think there is a circuit conflict,’ Professor Shubha Ghosh of the University of Wisconsin Law School told Bloomberg BNA. ‘Easterbrook just balances the four factors differently than what the 2nd Circuit would do.’
  • The Velveteen Rabbi looked at transformation and regeneration in relation to Dr. Who. “I doubt highly that the folks at the BBC had any notion, in 1963 when Doctor Who began, that they were creating a text which might evoke the journey of teshuvah for Jewish viewers for half a century to come. But I believe that it’s our task as readers of any text (whether written or televisual) to find our own meaning in it, and that the finding of meaning is an essentially creative act. In coming to our own interpretations of what we’re given, we become in a way co-creators of the text we’re reading.”

What examples of transformative works are your favorites? 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.