Annual Report 2008




  • 2008 in review
    • “Spreading our wings; making our voices heard”
  • Finances
    • Statement of Financial Position
    • Statement of Activities
    • Statement of Functional Expenses
    • Notes to Financial Statements
  • About the OTW
    • Mission
    • Who we are
      • Board
      • OTW Committees


Welcome to the Organization for Transformative Works’ second annual report. We are pleased to report to you that we ended another year with our projects flourishing and – through the generosity of our members – financially secure as we head into the new year.

Last year was a year of tremendous growth and activity for the organization. We discovered that the more we opened our imagination to new ideas, the more we could achieve, and the more we opened our doors to members, volunteers, and allies, the stronger our organization became.

We made significant progress on our starship project – the Archive of Our Own – which we hope to make available for open beta by the end of 2009. In the meantime, we also launched a journal, a wiki, a blog, an updated and multi-lingual web site, helped capture the history of vidding in collaboration with MIT’s New Media Literacy project, and strengthened our alliances with other organizations challenging the restrictions that have a chilling effect on transformative works. On the following pages you will find more information about our activities over the past year, as well as a copy of our financial statements for 2008.

It has been an exciting and productive year for the organization, and we hope you will join us in our excitement. We congratulate all of you – our members, staff, and volunteers – who helped make all of this possible.

Rachel Barenblat
Kellyann Bessa
Francesca Coppa
Susan Gibel
Sheila Lane
Naomi Novik
Rebecca Tushnet


We are pleased to report that the OTW met all of the goals we set in our previous annual report.

Our journal, Transformative Works and Cultures ( launched on schedule. We held two membership drives in 2008, one in March and one in October, and raised over $19,000 in the course of the year. Preliminary testing of the Archive of Our Own (currently in closed beta) commenced in 2008, and work began and was completed on series of short documentaries on fan vidding (available at our Vidding History page at Our wiki, Fanlore ( was launched in the summer of 2008. In November 2008, after an uncontested election, we welcomed two new board members, Rachel Barenblat (also Chair of the Development and Membership Committee) and Sheila Lane, and said farewell to two of our “original seven” – Cathy Cupitt and Michelle Tepper.

None of these achievements would have been possible without the active support of our committees and volunteers.
As of December 31, 2008, we had over seventy-five committee members working on seventeen different committees, and over one hundred active volunteers.


Community Relations launched the OTW Newsletter, providing twice-monthly updates on all ongoing OTW projects via LiveJournal, Insane Journal, Journal Fen, and Greatest Journal. Later, the newsletter was expanded to include our web site blog,, and Twitter, with various feeds available.

The OTW-sponsored academic journal project, Transformative Works and Cultures, launched right on schedule, issuing their first call for papers on February 1st.

Development launched our first OTW membership drive, offering one-year memberships for $10. During the first week of the membership drive, OTW gained 423 members hailing from fifteen countries, and by May 2008 had surpassed $12,000 in fundraising. Those funds, and funds raised throughout the year, provided the OTW with the resources it needed to continue development work on the archive and the journal, and support the administrative costs of the organization.

To help communicate with and welcome our diverse membership, the Translation Committee was formed and immediately began translating OTW materials into German, French, Italian and Spanish, with additional languages being added throughout the year.

The eagerly-awaited Archive of Our Own got underway in March, with the Accessibility, Design and Technology Committee developing the first road map for building the software. Coding on the archive software officially began in April.

We celebrated our first birthday by hosting our first online convention! Events included “Blast from your Fannish Past,” icons, personal fannish history stories, and Drunken Bar Conversation Topics. Fans just want to have fun!

The website for the Open Doors Committee premiered. The Open Doors project seeks to preserve the rich history of fandom by protecting and hosting endangered fanworks. More information about Open Doors is available at

Board Member Rebecca Tushnet worked on the Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video, released in July by the Center for Social Media.

The vidding documentary produced in collaboration with Henry Jenkins and MIT’s New Media Literacy project was unveiled at Vividcon.

The first issue of Transformative Works and Cultures was published to great acclaim! The OTW was officially granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status!

October was a busy month for the organization, featuring the highly-anticipated announcement that the read-only beta version of the Archive of Our Own was open to the public as of October 3rd. October also featured the launch of the new OTW website ( , as well as the premiere of the Fanlore wiki (, which was soon populated by hundreds of articles on a wide range of fannish topics.

Our first election was held, with the two candidates elected by acclamation for the two available board seats. Welcome Rachel and Sheila!

We ended the year by filing a comment in support of the EFF’s proposed DMCA exemption for video creators (like vidders) who rip DVDs in order to use clips in fair use remixes, and working on our co-sponsorship of the 6th Annual IP/Gender: Mapping the Connections Symposium held at the American University Washington College of Law on April 24, 2009.

Throughout the year, OTW Board and commitee members represented the OTW at a wide range of events:

  • Board member Francesca Coppa and vidder Laura Shapiro participated in the 27/7 DIY Summit at USC.
  • Board member Rebecca Tushnet represented OTW at the Columbia Fair Use Conference.
  • Francesca Coppa and members of the TWC editorial team represented OTW at Slashday at De Montfort University, England.
  • OTW staffers bethbethbeth and the_shoshanna moderated a panel on the OTW at Escapade, the longest running slash convention.
  • OTW staffers represented the OTW at Wiscon, the World’s Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention (May) and con_text (June).
  • Rebecca Tushnet appeared on National Public Radio in an interview about fanfiction and the OTW.


2008 was an exciting and busy year for the OTW, and we look forward to continuing to grow and change, finishing current projects and
undertaking new ones throughout 2009. Some of our anticipated milestones for 2009 are:

  • Commencing open beta of the Archive of Our Own
  • Completing translation efforts on the OTW web site and the archive
  • Transitioning the archive to a new server at a colocation facility
  • Creating a Fan Culture Preservation Project in partnership with a major research university
  • Bringing the Fanlore wiki out of beta
  • Releasing two more issues of our academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures


Organization for Transformative Works
Assets 2007 2008
Cash and cash equivalents 6,636 18,890
Total current assets 6,636 18,890
Total Assets 6,636 18,890
Liabilities and Net Assets
Accounts payable and accrued expenses
Unrestricted net assets
Total unrestricted net assets 6,637 18,890
Temporarily restricted net assets
Total net assets
Total Liabilities and Net Assets 6,637 18,890


Organization for Transformative Works
For the Year Ended December 31, 2008
Unrestricted Temporarily Restricted Total
Support and Revenue
Contributions and membership dues 19,135 19,135
Foundation grants
Special events
In-kind donations 279 279
Total Support and Revenue 19,414 19,414
Program services 2,865 2,865
Administrative and general 3,352 3,352
Fundraising 943 943
Total Expenses 7,160 7,160
Change in Net Assets 12,254 12,254
Net Assets, beginning of year 6,636 6,636
Net Assets, end of year 18,890 18,890


Organization for Transformative Works
For the Year Ended December 31, 2008
Program Administrative and General Fundraising Total
Paypal fees 700 700
Project management 1,235 1,235
Accounting 117 117
Archive development/Web site 2,545 2,545
Journal 435 435
Fundraising expenses 128 128
Insurance 2,000 2,000
Total expenses 2,980 3,352 828 7,160


Organization for Transformative Works
December 31, 2008

1. Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Organization: The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware. The OTW was established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. The OTW is a collaborative effort initiated and driven by fans for fans.

Basis of Presentation: The accompanying financial statements are presented using the cash method of accounting.

Financial Statement Presentation: Information regarding the financial position and activities are classified into the applicable classes of net assets: unrestricted net assets, temporarily restricted net assets, and permanently restricted net assets. Currently, all assets are categorized as unrestricted. Furthermore, expenses are classified into program service expenses (currently, the creation of the fanworks archive, maintenance of the organization’s Web sie, publication of the on-line journal Transformative Works and Cultures, and maintenance of the organizations’s wiki, Fanlore) and support expenses. Support expenses are administrative and general, and fundraising expenses.

Cash and cash equivalents: The OTW maintains cash balances within federally insured limits. No cash equivalents are held by the organization.

Use of Estimates: The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Contributions: The OTW recognizes all unconditional contributions received as income in the period received. Contributions received are recorded as unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted support depending on the existence and/or nature of any donor restrictions. All contributions are considered to be available for unrestricted use unless specifically restricted by the donor.

Donated Services: The OTW does not assign a value to volunteer activities in the statement of activities. The in-kind donations included here included the payment of program and support costs.

Membership Dues — Membership dues are recognized as revenue based on the membership period covered by the member dues.

Functional Allocation of Expenses — The costs of providing the various programs and other activities have been summarized on a functional basis in the statement of activities. Accordingly, certain costs have been allocated among the programs and supporting services benefited.

Income Taxes — The OTW is a 501(c)(3) organization exempt from Federal income and State franchise taxes under provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and Section 1902(b)(6), Title 30 of the Delaware State Taxation Code respectively. As such, no provision for income taxes has been provided in these financial statements.

Concentration of Credit Risk — The OTW maintains its cash balances at one bank. Accounts at the bank are insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $100,000.



The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.

The OTW represents a practice of transformative fanwork historically rooted in a primarily female culture. The OTW will preserve the record of that history as we pursue our mission while encouraging new and non-mainstream expressions of cultural identity within fandom.

We have met all of our milestone goals for the first two years: establishing the OTW as an IRS-recognized nonprofit; creating infrastructure through board, committees, volunteers, and membership; beta-launching the Archive of Our Own; establishing a legal defense project and forming alliances; launching a refereed academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, and creating a fan wiki, Fanlore.

As we enter our third year, we will concentrate on developing long-term plans for the organization.


The Organization for Transformative Works is run for fans by fans. The directors of OTW’s board are all active in fandom, as are the more than 75 other people serving on seventeen committees.


NAOMI NOVIK, Board chair, is the New York Times-bestselling author of the award-winning Temeraire historical fantasy series, which has been translated into twenty-three languages and optioned as a film by director Peter Jackson. She has been active in online fandom since 1994, publishing stories and vids in more than forty-two fandoms and founding several fan-run institutions including a vidding convention and a cross-fandom story exchange. She created the open-source Automated Archive software.

RACHEL BARENBLAT is co-founder of Inkberry, a literary arts nonprfit organization whose mission is to help every writer find his or her own voice. She has also served on the boards of two other nonprofit organizatons. The six years she spent running Inkberry gave her expertise in nonprofit management, grantwriting, and building membership – skills she’s psyched to bring to the OTW board. A poet who blogs about issues of faith as “The Velveteen Rabbi” as well as an enthusiastic participant in online fandom since 1999, Rachel has a long commitment both to transformative works and to writing as a mode of personal transformation.

KELLYANN BESSA has a BS in Management from Cardinal Stritch University, and currently works as a human resources consultant for an investment firm. She has been in fandom for nearly ten years as a writer, mailing list owner, community moderator, and webmaster. In addition to running several archives, she hosts and maintains websites for a number of fanfiction writers. She also works several hours a week at her local comic book store, and participates in the online feminist comic fan community.

FRANCESCA COPPA, PhD is director of film studies and associate professor of English at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches courses in dramatic literature, popular fiction, and mass media storytelling. Her writings on media fandom have been included in Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet and presented at MIT’s Media in Transition conference. Coppa has been involved in online fandom since the mid-1990s as a writer, list administrator, vidder, archivist, and community moderator.

SUSAN GIBEL, JD is a senior manager with the nonprofit Center for Effective Public Policy, Inc., where she focuses on national training and technical assistance initiatives related to domestic violence and offender reentry. She has worked with antiviolence organizations on issues of domestic violence and queer rights and holds a law degree from the University of Minnesota. Gibel has been involved in fandom since the mid-1970s,and currently writes in a handful of fandoms, primarily Due South.

SHEILA LANE has a master’s degree in business management and is a licensed certified public accountant. She works as a corporate accountant for a worldwide brokerage company and has expertise in both individual and small business taxation. She has been involved in online fandom since 1994, going from a telnet BBS and ‘zines to mailing lists and Livejournal. She has written in more than thirty fandoms, from Alias to Witchblade, and has moderated multiple mailing lists, communities, and challenges.

REBECCA TUSHNET, JD is a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. A graduate of Yale Law School, she clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia and Associate Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court. She practiced intellectual property law at Debevoise & Plimpton before joining the NYU faculty, then moving to Georgetown. She has advised and represented several fanfiction sites in disputes with copyright and trademark owners and maintains a blog on intellectual property law at Tushnet has been active in online fandom since 1996.


CATHY CUPITT, DCA (2007-2008) teaches writing and Shakespeare at the University of Western Australia and has a doctorate in creative arts from Curtin University of Technology. Her fiction has appeared in Australian magazines such as Westerly and Borderlands, and in 1997 she won the US$20,000 first prize in Hyundai’s 20th Anniversary World-wide Essay Contest. Since discovering fandom in 1988, Cupitt has written in nine fandoms, and she runs an active recommendations site. She has served on numerous fannish committees, including Australia’s 2001 national SF convention, for which she was a co-convenor.

MICHELLE TEPPER, PhD (2007-2008) is an interaction designer and usability expert who helps companies create memorable and successful software, Web sites, and digital devices. She has published influential essays about online community and social software, and she is the former Web producer for Lingua Franca magazine. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. Tepper was one of the creators and designers of, a fan-built, fan-maintained site centered on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The site has more than a thousand members and has been active for five years.


Accessibility, Design and Technology
Development and Membership
Open Doors
Vidding History


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