Annual Report 2010




  • Annual Report from the Board
  • 2010 in review:
    • “Setting Our Roots Deep, Spreading Our Branches Wide”
  • 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’ fourth annual report. 2010 was a year characterized by tremendous growth and increased stability; as a result, we have been able to take on more challenges, literally and figuratively. We are an increasingly global organization, and we’re seeing concrete positive results from our fan advocacy work. We are hosting more fanworks on our Archive, and preserving more of our history. All our projects are flourishing and – through the generosity of our members – we remain a financially secure organization.

We celebrated our first year of owning the servers that host our flagship project – the Archive of Our Own – and then raised the money to buy four more! The Archive of Our Own (AO3) continues to grow rapidly: we have more than doubled our users (6,000 last year at this time; 13,603 now) and the number of works we host (60,000 last year, more than 145,000 now). The OTW has also published another year’s worth of our academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures. The Fan Culture Preservation Project has saved literally tens of thousands of analog fanworks. Our wiki, Fanlore, came out of beta at the end of the year. Fanlore has also doubled its userbase (1,700 users last year at this time; 3,129 now) and now contains over 14,000 articles. We have added a dedicated International Outreach team to help us continue to think globally about fan needs, practices, and problems.

Lastly, we are proud to have helped obtain a DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixers – like fan vidders – from the Library of Congress. Our goal is to create a positive climate for the creation of fan works and an understanding of their value both as speech and as art.

On the following pages you will find more information about our work over the past year, as well as a copy of our financial statements for 2010. A big thank you to all our members, staff, donors, and volunteers!

Rachel Barenblat
Hele Braunstein
Francesca Coppa
Ira Gladkova
Sheila Lane
Allison Morris
Kristen Murphy



All the organizational goals outlined in last year’s annual report were designed to make our projects better, stronger, and more sustainable, and we are pleased to report that we have already met most of them!

As planned, we redesigned the Archive of Our Own’s front end, allowing our users to customize their interface with skins, icons, banners, custom fonts, and other features. Our Accessibility, Design, and Technology Committee (ADT) completed the AO3’s challenge interface, so we were not only able to host the annual Yuletide fan fiction exchange (a rare fandoms exchange that draws almost 2,000 participants) but also hundreds of smaller challenges. The AO3 now allows image and video embeds, and we raised the funds for an additional four servers, which were needed earlier than anticipated due to the high volume of users and works.

The OTW published another two new issues of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), and is planning forthcoming issues on such topics as Fan/Remix Video, Fan Activism, and Race and Ethnicity in Fandom. As expected, Fanlore finalized its policies and came out of beta. In partial fulfilment of our goal to serve international fans better, we added a dedicated International Outreach team. We also recruited a social networking specialist to help us reach fans wherever they are!

We also held two membership drives and raised in excess of $43,000 over the course of the year, which enabled us to purchase our shiny new servers. In addition to hosting drives, our development team has been identifying and applying for grants and other sources of funding; this is something we wish to continue and expand this year.

In November the OTW held its first contested election. Founding board member Francesca Coppa was elected to another three-year term, and two new board members – Kristen Murphy, our current Webmasters chair, and Ira Gladkova, former Support chair – were elected to the board. Elizabeth Yalkut stepped down from the board for personal reasons, and Translation member Hele Braunstein was asked to step in. We said – not goodbye, but au revoir – to founding board members Naomi Novik and Rebecca Tushnet (Naomi continues to serve on ADT, and Rebecca still chairs our Legal team.)



The OTW restaffs and launches its fourth year! Systems finishes moving OTW services onto our two new servers, bought at the end of last year. New committees include International Outreach and Support. OTW staff attend World’s Fair Use Day.

ADT begins a front-end redesign of the AO3 and improves collections and challenges code. Our deadline? The “We Invented the Remix” challenge to be hosted on the AO3 in March. OTW staff participate in the Digital Media and Learning conference in San Diego. Fanlore installs Sphinx, an improved search engine, and launches monthly challenges to spur participation, in addition to continuing work on various wiki policies.

Development launches OTW’s first membership drive of 2010, which raises over $8,000. Transformative Works and Cultures releases Issue 4, a special issue on Supernatural guest edited by Catherine Tosenberger. The AO3 tests some of its new challenge signup code by hosting signups for “We Invented The Remix.” The AO3 also launches user icons.

Our Vidding committee launches their Roadmap, which includes plans for a Vidding Resource site and a Torrent of Our Own. The AO3 launches a plain text skin, a new “light” style, and more features for related works and translations. Our Financial team files our taxes. Open Doors drafts new policies for the Fan Culture Preservation project to better serve international members.

AO3 Support creates mockups for Support and Feature Request boards. Development and Webmasters update the OTW’s donations software. OTW sponsors a table at the RE/Mixed Festival in NYC.

Vidding committee recruits a digital librarian and a torrent specialist to consult with us on our multimedia plans. Journal committee launches The Symposium Blog, which hosts short essays and time-sensitive commentary by fans and academics.

The Library of Congress grants noncommercial remixers (like fan vidders) an exemption to the DMCA, the result of legal advocacy by the OTW’s Legal and Vidding committees in partnership with the EFF and a coalition of media studies professors and filmmakers. The AO3 begins the upgrade to Rails 3. Tag Wranglers become their own committee. Communications launches a Press page. OTW staff attend Otakon.

The AO3 launches an array of new download features – including .mobi files for Kindles, iPhones, and other portable devices.

Our legal team begins preliminary work on a Fair Use Curriculum project. TWC launches its fifth issue. OTW staff speak at the Open Source Video conference in NYC. Naomi Novik interviewed about fanworks by io9.

ADT finishes the Rails 3 upgrade, which necessitates a rewrite of all the extant code. The new release of Archive software allows video embeds for the first time. OTW launches its second membership drive, which nets almost $18,000. OTW staff help curate USC’s DIY:2010.

The Archive of Our Own completes the collections and challenges code and successfully runs sign ups for Yuletide. ADT also implements a new HTML sanitizer and parser. The OTW holds its first contested election and welcomes Ira Gladkova and Kristen Murphy to the board. Our Translation committee adds Chinese to the languages supported on the OTW website. Web launches a public events calendar.

We end the year by successfully hosting Yuletide – the popular holiday rare fandom fanfic exchange – on the Archive of Our Own for the second time: 1,972 people participate and produce 2,618 stories. Fanlore comes out of beta. Hele Braunstein joins the board to fill in for Elizabeth Yalkut, who had to step down for personal reasons.



Diagram showing server setup, with two database servers, two Rails servers, a static server, and a NAS server for backups, file hosting, etc. The servers communicate via a switch.
  • Upgrade to Rails 3
  • Video embeds and a custom importer for DeviantART
  • Redesigned front end and works blurb
  • Skins, banners, user icons, and all new archive CSS
  • Downloadable formats for Kindle and other portables (.mobi, .pdf, .html. etc.)
  • Kudos feature – you can leave quick feedback at the touch of a button
  • History feature: a list of works you want to read later
  • Metatags for a more flexible and organized folksonomy
  • Sharing code – create a link with just a click
  • …and last but not least, four new servers and a switch! (see diagram)



We’re not done yet! Our goals for 2011 include:

  • Continuing to identify and apply for resource grants and outside funding
  • Implementation of the AO3’s Advanced Search functionality
  • Design and coding of the AO3’s Subscriptions feature
  • Laying the groundwork for an interface to facilitate importing large fanfiction archives into the AO3
  • Redesign of the AO3’s “works” form and underlying infrastructure to better work with images, video embeds, and multimedia art
  • Launch of the Vidding Resource Site, and laying the groundwork for the Dark Archive and the Torrent of Our Own
  • Formal launch of the Open Doors subsite
  • Continuing translation of the OTW’s main web site and the AO3 while developing additional international outreach
  • Launch of an education subsite, including the Fair Use Curriculum project
  • Releasing two more issues of our academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures
  • Working on the next stage of DMCA exemptions



Organization for Transformative Works

Assets 2009 2010
Bank accounts
Checking 26,110.00 USD 49,997.47 USD
Paypal 2,166.44 USD 3,210.30 USD
Total Bank Accounts 28,276.44 USD 53,207.77 USD
Accounts Receivable 41.00 USD – USD
Total CURRENT ASSETS 28,317.44 USD 53,207.77 USD
Machinery and Equipment 8,209.51 USD 8,209.51 USD
Total FIXED ASSETS 8,209.51 USD 8,209.51 USD
Other Long-Term Assets 10,017.46 USD 10,060.05 USD
Total OTHER ASSETS 10,017.46 USD 10,060.05 USD
TOTAL ASSETS 46,544.41 USD 71,477.33 USD
Liabilities and Equity
Total Liabilities – USD – USD
Retained Earnings 18,592.69 USD 46,544.41 USD
Net Income 27,951.71 USD 24,932.92 USD
Total EQUITY 46,544.41 USD 71,477.33 USD


Organization for Transformative Works
For the Year Ended December 31, 2010

Unrestricted Temporarily Restricted Total
Support and Revenue
Contributions and membership dues 46,569 USD 0 USD 46,569 USD
Foundation grants 0 USD 0 USD 0 USD
Special events 0 USD 0 USD 0 USD
In-kind donations 0 USD 0 USD 0 USD
Total Support and Revenue 46,569 USD 0 USD 46,569 USD
Bank Charges (30) USD 0 USD -30 USD
Fundraising 6,902 USD 0 USD 6,902 USD
Insurance 2,000 USD 0 USD 2,000 USD
Office/General Admin Expenses 1,565 USD 0 USD 1,565 USD
Other Miscellaneous Cost 275 USD 0 USD 275 USD
Project Management 1,270 USD 0 USD 1,270 USD
Systems Expenses 9,697 USD 0 USD 9,697 USD
Total Expenses 21,679 USD 0 USD 21,679 USD
Net Operating Income 24,890 USD 0 USD 24,890 USD
Other Income Interest Earned 43 USD 0 USD 43 USD
Net Income 24,933 USD 0 USD 24,933 USD
Change In Net Assets 24,933 USD 0 USD 24,933 USD
Net Assets, beginning of year 46,544 USD 0 USD 46,544 USD
Net Assets, end of year 71,477 USD 0 USD 71,477 USD


Organization for Transformative Works
For the Year Ended December 31, 2010

Accounting Administrative ADT Fundraising Journal Systems Total
Bank Charges (30) USD – USD – USD – USD – USD – USD (30) USD
Fundraising – USD – USD – USD 6,902 USD – USD – USD 6,902 USD
Insurance – USD 2,000 USD – USD – USD – USD – USD 2,000 USD
Office/General Admin 489 USD 820 USD – USD – USD – USD – USD 1,310 USD
Other Misc Service Cost – USD – USD 255 USD – USD 275 USD – USD 530 USD
Project Management – USD 957 USD 156 USD – USD – USD 157 USD 1,270 USD
Systems Expenses – USD – USD – USD – USD – USD 9,697 USD 9,697 USD
Total expenses 459 USD 3,777 USD 411 USD 6,902 USD 275 USD 9,854 USD 21,679 USD


Organization for Transformative Works
December 31, 2010

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 site, publication of the on-line journal Transformative Works and Cultures, and maintenance of the organization’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 of the organization have been summarized on a functional basis in the statement of activities. Accordingly, certain costs may 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.

Having established the OTW as an IRS-recognized nonprofit and created a sustainable infrastructure through board, committees, volunteers, and membership, we are now invested in strengthening and sustaining our core products. First and foremost, we continue to build the Archive of Our Own. While we have currently achieved open beta, many additional features in the roadmap have yet to be built. We must also continue to build Fanlore, our wiki of fannish culture, by growing and supporting its editorial community. We are immensely proud of the editors of our journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, who have put out five peer-reviewed issues on schedule, an achievement we must sustain. Last, we will continue our passionate advocacy as fans for fans, and to reach out to fans who make and enjoy fanworks all around the world.


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 90 other people serving on our committees.


RACHEL BARENBLAT is co-founder of Inkberry, a literary arts nonprofit 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 and a rabbi 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.

HELE BRAUNSTEIN is a student at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and a latinoamerican, Spanish-as-mother-tongue fan who is active in diverse online platforms and fannish cultures. An advocate for international and pan fandom accessibility, her focus is on non-English-speaking fandom and those who use English as a fannish lingua franca. Braunstein volunteers with Perfect Imagination, the Jane Austen Fanfiction index, and the Regency encyclopedia.

FRANCESCA COPPA, PhD, is co-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. She has published widely on media fandom, and has presented at such venues as MIT, USC, Bard, and Cooper Union. She has recently been writing about vidding as feminist art and fair use.

IRA GLADKOVA is a Web designer and developer who focuses on user interfaces, usability, accessibility, and Web standards. A lifelong fan and media omnivore, she has a particular interest in fan projects that bring together diverse communities and media. Gladkova is a community moderator and staff of two fandom newsletters, and co-mods an annual multifandom gift exchange.

SHEILA LANE, Treasurer, 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.

ALLISON MORRIS, Board chair, works in a public library as a public services supervisor and is passionate about fair use. A lifelong fan, she is particularly interested in fanworks that honor and transform other fanworks, including remixes, podfic, and recs. She is a prolific creator and advocate of podfic; she built and maintains the Audiofic Archive, which provides a stable home for a constantly growing collection of audio fanworks. She also moderates several ongoing challenges and communities, and goes to conventions when she can.

KRISTEN MURPHY, Secretary, is on the staff of the Individualized Major Progam at Indiana University and is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs. She has worked on a professional Web development team and as a writer and editor for print and online media. Murphy joined online fandom in 1996, and is an avid writer, beta reader, and podficcer.


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.

KELLYANN BESSA (2007-2009) 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.

SUSAN GIBEL, JD, (2007-2009) 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.

NAOMI NOVIK (2007-2010) 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.

REBECCA TUSHNET, JD (2007-2010), 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.

ELIZABETH YALKUT (2010) is a student at Columbia University. She has worked in development, marketing, and strategy for nonprofit legal and theatre organizations, is a long-time ACLU volunteer, and currently works for the Educational Technology department at Barnard College. She also serves as the treasurer of the Columbia University Science Fiction Society.


  • Abuse
  • Accessibility, Design and Technology
    • Coders
    • Testers
  • Communications
  • Content Policy
  • Development and Membership
  • Documentation
  • Financial
  • International Outreach
    • Translation
  • Journal
  • Legal
  • Open Doors
  • Support
  • Systems
  • Tag Wranglers
  • Vidding History
  • Volunteers
  • Webmasters
  • Wiki



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