OTW Signal, September 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

The ‘Uncovering Publishing’ podcast focuses on interviews in the publishing industry. Their season finale featured OTW co-founder and current Fanhackers volunteer, Francesca Coppa. In it she discussed “the meaning of fandom, the value of the fanfiction space, the success of the OTW, and the transition from fanfiction to traditional publishing.”

A song that is not sung is a dead song. A book that is not read is a dead book…Shakespeare’s a good writer but Shakespeare is 400 years old. And we don’t do Shakespeare because he’s Shakespeare, we do Shakespeare because he is free to use and attracts the most talented collaborators on Earth…and because of it keeps Shakespeare going…it’s the person of the now, it’s the artist of the now, who makes the whole thing worth doing…Publishers should think about the ways in which opening up copyright to derivative and transformative works…can actually prolong the long tail of their book…and you would also give the opportunity to, like in fandom, two people could launch a fandom out of a property that people think is nothing.

Someone suddenly writes an amazing story in that fandom and everybody goes “What’s that? I have to watch this terrible movie from 30 years ago because this story was so great.” (42:00).


Last year, Hong Kong sought input as it undertook revisions of its copyright law. In response, OTW Legal asked Hong Kong fans to send us their own experiences creating and sharing transformative works, so their voices could be heard during the government’s deliberative process.

The OTW submitted suggestions to the government that incorporated these fan experiences. Hong Kong’s new copyright law recently went into effect, and while it does not include all of the changes we advocated for, it does significantly expand fair dealing protections in ways that should benefit fans engaging in non-commercial transformative uses.

Among other things, the new copyright law now explicitly encompasses parody, satire, caricature, and pastiche as non-infringing uses. The pastiche category in particular may cover many fanworks even if outsiders don’t necessarily see critical commentary in them.

Thank you so much to all those who answered our call for contributions!

OTW Tips

Quite a lot of fan events are run at AO3. Organizers who need multiple invitations for challenge or prompt meme participants can contact Support with the challenge name, the dates sign-ups will open and close, the challenge owner account to send the invites to, and the number of invitations needed.

Support will reply to your request once the invitations have been added to your account. You’ll then be able to send them to participants by following the instructions in the I already have an account FAQ section.

OTW Signal
  1. Danny Tran commented:

    Hi!! I’m interested in leaning more about the OTW?

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hi Danny — Are there particular questions you have? — Claudia Rebaza, OTW Communications