OTW Fannews: Technology and Legal Notes

  • New business models and tech applications continue to roll out new possibilities for fans, whether it’s the FanFictionDownLoader plug-in for Calibre or Humble Bundle. “Humble Bundle operates on the idea of packaging products into a ‘humble bundle’ for which fans can pay whatever amount they want for music and games, then allowing them to portion their payment out between artists and charities—plus a ‘tip’ for Humble Bundle itself.” The first Humble Ebook Bundle has turned out to be a big success. “The average price that customers are choosing to pay for this bundle is unprecedented at over $14. This is, by far, the highest average we have ever experienced for a pay-what-you-want promotion, and we believe it is a great indication for the future of ebooks and Humble Bundle.”
  • While Humble Bundle’s Ebook success was boosted by the buy-in of various celebrity authors, The Learned Fangirl takes a more skeptical view of the power of celebrity versus personal interest. “Recently Justin Timberlake decided to invest in MySpace.com with the promise to revamp it and make it bigger and better than it ever was. The plan is to re-brand it as an ‘online community for artists to connect with their fans.'” But celebrity power may not be enough to power a social network. “Take a look at Oprah, for example. She is undeniably one of the most influential people on this planet..She could make or break people’s careers by her recommendations. When she decided to buy her own network, conveniently named ‘OWN,’ you didn’t see the massive flock to her channel the way we all predicted.”
  • One reason that music fans may prefer their own spaces is due to legal restrictions on their activities at creator sponsored sites. The RIAA has long been notorious for its pursuit of music fans through legislation and the courts. Now “[t]he independent consulting firm responsible for making sure you don’t get unfairly punished for downloading copyrighted content this fall has actually functioned for years as a paid lobbyist for the Recording Industry Association of America.” It’s still unclear how CAS “[a]lso known as the ‘six strikes’ system” will function but its purpose is to force “the five most popular Internet service providers (ISPs) in the U.S. to issue up to six graduated warnings and punishments to those who use peer-to-peer file sharing software.”
  • Another litigation-happy entity, Disney, recently raised concerns among fans in regards to the future of Star Wars fan films now that it will own Lucasfilms. It will likely remain in their best interest to accommodate fanworks in a future where even business publication Forbes decides to offer legal advice about publishing fanfiction.

Have you made Star Wars fan films? Are you a music fan concerned about legal restrictions on your fandom? Why not discuss it in at Fanlore? Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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