OTW Signal, November 2022

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

A post at JSTOR about The Feminist Art Roots of Fan-Made Videos featured Transformative Works and Cultures staffer and author of Vidding: A History, Francesca Coppa, discussing the community nature of early vids.

While no one knows who made the first fan video, Coppa points to Kendra Hunter and Diana Barbour’s Starsky and Hutch vids dating to 1980. These videos were also a sign of rising technology. The new availability of VCRs marked an exciting change for vid makers, who used “two VCRs, one for playing footage and one for recording it.” And though the technology might have made it easier, it didn’t make it easy. The process was a long one, requiring “a lot of planning, measuring, and mathematics to compensate for the imprecision of the technology,” Coppa writes. Because of the difficulty and expense of the process, vidders often formed collectives, including Bunnies From Hell, the Media Cannibals, and GloRo Productions, to lighten the load.

In keeping with that collective spirit, Coppa’s book is available either in print or freely available in a digital Open Access version (visit the link above).


The Learn About Podcast recently featured an episode on fanfiction history which included the role of OTW and the Archive of Our Own.

Some creators argue that [fanfiction is] illegal and can compromise their rights. This backlash led to the creation of The Organisation for Transformative Works (OTW) in 2007, a nonprofit organisation by and for fanfic writers, with thousands of members and hundreds of volunteers devoted to protecting, preserving, and defending fanworks and their legal right to exist. It all came down to a group of fans — mostly women — deciding to take the fates of their fanworks into their own hands.

As with vidding, the OTW was developed by a predominantly female community. In early 2009, the OTW celebrated Ada Lovelace Day with a post reflecting the number of women in our committees at the time.

OTW Tips

For logged in users at AO3, there is a Find Your Favorites section on the AO3 front page. This space can be used to save particular tags that are frequently searched on, so that users can check updates to those tags with a single click. In order to place a tag in this section, click on the tag when you see it in order to reach the Works page. For example this is the Works page for Reviews. On the far right near the top of the page is a button saying “Favorite Tag.” If you click on it you will get a message saying “You have successfully added Reviews to your favorite tags” and you will get a link to the homepage.

As always, if you have questions about how to use AO3 features you can either check the FAQ page or contact Support.


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
  1. Kathy commented: Plz Plz let me in! I love the stories here!
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