OTW’s Legal Committee Comments to the NTIA/PTO

Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

In October 2013, the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) sought public comments on copyright policy issues, including the legal framework for the creation of remixes. Our Legal Committee used many stories submitted by fans to explain to these agencies, which are likely to propose new legislation about copyright, why any change in copyright law should favor freedom to make transformative works.

The document they submitted is now available for viewing on the OTW website (PDF format) and it contains many striking fandom experiences.

The OTW’s Legal Committee argued that fair use remains central to remix cultures. Fandom builds communities and enables joys that can’t be found in commercialized spaces. For example, Amazon’s Kindle Worlds is a commercial innovation that uses the language of remix, but fails to provide its benefits.

The OTW concluded that “However the copyright reform project proceeds, it is vital that it not ignore the legitimate interests of the remixers who are working in every form of media. They are the future of our culture. Artists, not lawyers, should determine the shape of works to come.”

The process of soliciting comments was very moving and meaningful for the Legal Committee. The stories Legal received reinforced the OTW’s knowledge that the opportunity to create and consume fanworks has made an incalculable difference in people’s lives, something which we presented in the above document. Our Legal Committee appreciates the contributions of everyone who sent in a story and thanks you for your help!

Legal Advocacy, Spotlight
  1. Pslasher commented:

    This is utterly amazing, and made me so happy to be in fandom. I am so impressed with the way the stories were presented, the way the whole thing was presented professionally but in language that didn’t alienate the average reader, and the scope of the document which truly covered every reason for making fanworks I could think of.