OTW Fannews: Legal and Technology

  • Publishers Weekly reported on a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair that focused on technology and fanfiction. Publisher Anna von Veh discussed various aspects of fan fiction including”‘beta readers,’ those that offer feedback and response on writing placed online ‘to be commented on by others and improved.’ She particularly noted the disclaimers placed on fan fiction by its creators to make sure the derivation of the properties is acknowledged and she likened it to ‘a performance, an art more like theater, where you take a script and do other things to it; these properties are a starting point.'” Representatives from Wattpad also discussed the popularity of fanfic on their site. “Wattpad has released new online tools that allow its members to write on their phones, ‘for a generation that lives online, through their phones, writing is part of their entertainment, it’s a hobby and with fragmented times, when the inspiration comes you can write, right on the spot.’ Now 30% of Wattpad’s uploads come from iOS devices.”
  • Although it’s not clear that fanfic content was discussed in Frankfurt, those at the Ada Initiative were concerned about what can occur at technology conferences when discussions of porn take place. “A brief explanation of why pornography and sex are off-putting to women and LGBTQ people of any gender: Most pornography shown in this situation assumes that the audience is male and heterosexual, and sends the message that everyone who is not a heterosexual man is not the intended audience. Also, shifting people’s minds towards sex often triggers people to view women as sexual objects, in a context in which women want to be treated as humans with a shared interest. But showing pornography and talking about sex in public are not necessarily a “women not wanted” sign. Women are using open tech/culture to create erotica by and for women, and to have open discussions about sexuality in general.” The post cited the OTW’s Archive of Our Own as “designed and created by a majority women community, and hosts erotic fan fiction written by women among many other fan works.”
  • Speaking of the archive, in a post about fanfiction, blogger A. Nolen makes three mistaken assertions about the A03. In the first Nolen lumps together the OTW with Wikipedia as co-creators of the AO3, and secondly proposes that the invite system was instituted to create exclusivity for the site (rather than to maintain the site’s stability during unpredictable surges in use). The most troubling assertion suggests that the OTW’s purpose for the archive is to create marketable works from its content. The Archive is noncommercial, as are the fanworks posted thereon, and the Archive doesn’t claim any “development” rights, whatever those are. As our Terms of Service explain, “The OTW does not claim any ownership or copyright in your Content. Repeat: we do not own your content. Nothing in this agreement changes that in any way. Running the Archive, however, requires us to make copies, and backup copies, on servers that may be located anywhere around the world.”

If you’re a fanfiction writer, or have your own conference experiences to share, why not do 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

News of Note
  1. nrem commented:

    I find it sad that still today many bloggers outside of fandoms cannot seem to learn the most simple tenets about them. Though on the blogger’s page above, s/he also says, “I don’t read much fan fiction; I’m prejudiced against it. The whole idea of writing your own installments of favorite books seems, well, like dressing up as a hobbit and going to a Renaissance fair.” Which seems to indicate to me that this person, whoever they are, is less interested in facts and more interested in creating a self-reinforcing & lie-filled narrative that deprecates fandoms and those in them. All too common, unfortunately. (Also, what’s wrong with dressing up like a hobbit? Though I doubt you’d find many at a Renaissance fair….)

  2. Lydia commented:

    That blog post is awesome. As is the followup, where the blogger asserts that AO3 must feel threatened by them. I like how they post a section of the TOS in an effort to support their conspiracy about the AO3 keeping control of fanworks to cash in on them, and the very first sentence of that section reads: “As noted in section e., control over individual fanworks contained within a collection always rests with their creators.”

    Wikipedia is one of the creators of the AO3? [themoreyouknow.gif]