OTW Signal, February 2023

Every month in OTW Signal we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.

In the News

While the OTW strives to preserve fandom content through various projects, fans have organized many efforts for individual sites and types of content over the years. One recent example is how fans banded together to address the closure of V Live.

South Korean live streaming app V Live notified users that it’d be shutting down on Dec. 31, 2022. The closure isn’t a surprise — in March, HYBE, owner of the competing app Weverse, announced it had acquired V Live and intended to close the app — but it is a bummer for artists and fans. V Live is the largest-ever archive of live-streamed K-pop content. Where will that content live on when the app goes dark?

The answer is that fans banded together to move that content to the Internet Archive. The problem was that non-Weverse artists with hundreds of hours of streams who did not decide to move to the new app would have their content deleted. The affected artists were identified by fans and then the process of downloading their content for later rehosting began. By December 31 the process was completed. A list of vlive archive projects can be found on Dreamwidth.

German fans noticed in the past months that they were unable to get to AO3 via Google searches. The reason was that the country’s Federal Center for Child and Youth Media Protection (BzKJ) had put the Archive of Our Own on a block list that Google was using. A German site wrote about the situation in January and OTW’s Legal Committee offered the following statement:

Neither the AO3 nor the Organization for Transformative Works was contacted by the German Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors, and therefore we do not have information regarding what particular content is at issue or what would be demanded of the AO3 to reverse the action.

We are very disappointed by this action. As you may know, the AO3 hosts user-posted fanworks. The AO3 does not allow minors to make accounts, and strictly prohibits users from posting or embedding CSEM (Child Sexual Exploitation Material, as defined by U.S. federal law). We take reports of CSEM very seriously. When CSEM is reported to us, we remove the material, take action against the posters, and notify relevant national authorities.

We are exploring our options for appealing, because the AO3 is a place for creative expression that contains millions of non-objectionable fanworks posted by fans from around the world. Deindexing the entire site is, at best, a serious overreaction.

Since then the BzKJ stated they had made an error in their process by not notifying the OTW of their decision and thus they revoked the placement of AO3 on their block list in January.

OTW Tips

As an archive, AO3 does not use an algorithm or track user behavior across the site. Instead, the tagging functions as a way to tell people what they can find within posts, and the author’s notes field can provide additional information on warnings or what the focus of the story will be. AO3 is designed for users to search for and discover content on their own.

Sharing things you find is also made easy via the Bookmarking feature which includes a ticky box at the end of the form allowing you to mark it as a recommendation. Bookmarks can be made individually public or private, so let others know what you’ve enjoyed!

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or news story you think we should know about, send us a link. We are looking for content in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in an OTW post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

OTW Signal

Comments are closed.