Annual Report 2019

2019 Annual Report - Organization for Transformative Works

(2019 cover by Blair)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PROJECTS

  • Archive of Our Own
  • Fanlore
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Open Doors
  • Transformative Works and Cultures
  • Fundraising and Outreach
  • Communication and Public Relations
  • People and Planning

OTW 2019 BY THE NUMBERS

TIMELINE 2019

FINANCES

  • Statement of Financial Position
  • Statement of Activities
  • Statement of Functional Expenses
  • Statement of Cash Flows
  • Program Expenses
  • Notes to the Financial Statements

ABOUT THE OTW / MISSION, VISION, VALUES

  • Our Mission
  • Our Vision
  • Our Values

ABOUT THE OTW / WHO WE ARE

  • Board of Directors
  • Emerita Directors
  • Committees

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dear OTW donors, supporters, and volunteers,

As we look back on 2019, it is easy for us to be proud of all that the Organization for Transformative Works has achieved and accomplished. Our team has worked hard to bring some great developments to life, and all of our projects continue to improve day by day.

We are particularly glad to celebrate the Archive of Our Own winning the Hugo Award for Best Related Work mere months before its 10th anniversary. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped the Archive grow into what it is today, be it through volunteering with us, donating to the OTW, contributing fanworks or simply using the website.

This award is just one of several milestones we’ve achieved in the past year! The Archive of Our Own reached 5 million fanworks and 2 million registered users in July. Transformative Works and Cultures published three issues, including its 30th overall. Fanlore celebrated 50 thousand pages, and is well on its way to 1 million edits. Open Doors joined forces with fans and other like-minded groups to save at-risk fannish content in the face of the Yahoo Groups shutdown. Legal continued fighting for fannish rights both in the U.S.A. and internationally, including submitting comments as part of Canada’s and New Zealand’s Copyright reviews.

It is also worth noting that the OTW completed its first Strategic Plan, bringing with it further transparency and better future planning across the Organization. Furthermore, this year brought a large influx of international users to our projects, which challenged us to streamline our processes and figure out new ways to serve our diverse community. We’ll keep exploring this, as well as other ways of best serving the fannish community, in our next Strategic Plan.

None of this would be possible without the rich community of volunteers, donors, creators, reviewers, translators, and more that make our work possible. Naomi Novik summed up the sentiment well in her Hugo acceptance speech on behalf of AO3 when she said:

Even if I listed every founder, every builder, every tireless support staff member and translator and tag wrangler, if I named every last donor, all our hard work and contributions would mean nothing without the work of the fan creators who share their work freely with other fans, and the fans who read their stories and view their art and comment and share bookmarks and give kudos to encourage them and nourish the community in their turn.

So thank you to everyone who’s brought us to where we are today. We’re so proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

With 2020, we look forward to the beginning of a new decade, and to the changes and challenges it will bring. We hope you’ll stick around to see where we can take the Organization for Transformative Works together in the years to come.

With sincere thanks and best wishes,

The Board of Directors
Claire P. Baker
Jessie Casiulis
Natalia Gruber
Lex de Leon
Rebecca Sentance
Danielle Strong
Kirsten Wright


PROJECTS

Archive of Our Own

The Archive of Our Own (AO3) was declared a finalist for, and ultimately won, the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work. Celebrations continued in November, as AO3 celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Archive grew substantially as well, reaching both 5 million posted fanworks and 2 million registered users in July.

This growth was supported by the work of the Accessibility, Design, and Technology Committee (AD&T), who updated the site through 33 releases across the year. Notably, the committee replaced its previous method for generating work downloads with the Calibre command line interface, updated from Ruby 2.3 to Ruby 2.6, and added support for HTML5 audio and video tags. AD&T also added co-creator invitations and updated the code for the Policy & Abuse and Support forms following some changes to the third-party tool used by these committees.

The AO3 Documentation Committee posted two new documents in 2019: a tutorial on formatting content on AO3 with HTML and a new and improved Tags FAQ. The committee also updated the Preferences FAQ to reflect AO3’s new co-creator feature. Internally, co-chair Rebecca Sentance stepped down and was eventually replaced by new co-chair Morgan Drake.

For the first time, both the Policy & Abuse Committee and the Tag Wrangling Committee recruited specifically for Chinese-speaking volunteers to help streamline the workflow of handling Chinese-language tickets and tags. Furthermore, Tag Wrangling established two projects intended to streamline the research and translation of Chinese tags: one project allows Chinese-speaking wranglers to quickly provide research about Chinese fandom tags, while the other trains them to do so for other types of tags and to provide consistent translations of fannish terms from Chinese into English.

Altogether, AO3’s tag wranglers wrangled more than 2.7 million tags in 2019, and they assisted Open Doors by mapping tags for two archives: Side By Side and Watchmen Kinkmeme. Internally, Tag Wrangling named a new co-chair, VSSAKJ. Meanwhile, the Support Committee handled almost 16,000 tickets in 2019, and the Policy & Abuse Committee handled over 19,000. Policy & Abuse also named two new co-chairs, Aenya and AliceJane.

Fanlore

Fanlore spent 2019 encouraging fans across the internet to document their fandoms, fan artifacts, and fannish experiences. Included in this effort were several social challenges, such as the IFD Fanlore Challenge for International Fanworks Day, a Bingo Challenge event, and Stub September. After Verizon’s announcement that Yahoo Groups would be shutting down and deleting all associated data, Fanlore created a special Yahoo Groups Fanlore Project and published a social media PSA about the upcoming Yahoo Groups closure. Thanks in part to these efforts, Fanlore reached its 50,000th published page in November.

Internally, Fanlore Committee co-chairs Priscilla Del Cima and Kate Flanagan both stepped down.

Legal Advocacy

Legal Advocacy had a busy year in 2019! The Legal Committee submitted several amicus briefs to governments in cases that would influence copyright and right-of-publicity law. In April, Legal filed a comment with the government of New Zealand as part of New Zealand’s regular review of its Copyright Act. They also collaborated with other groups to file two additional briefs. One, filed in July, was about the fair use doctrine in the case of Smith v. Drake, which concerned the musician Drake’s use of a sample from a spoken word piece in a rap song. The brief argued that fair use should apply to uses of substantial amounts of a work when those uses have a different meaning, message, or purpose from the underlying work. In February of 2020, the Second Circuit upheld a fair use finding. The other brief, filed in October, was part of the case of Seuss v. ComicMix. The case involved the book Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go, a mash-up of Dr. Seuss and Star Trek. The brief discussed the social and artistic value of mashup and remix creation and explained why mashups like the one at issue often constitute fair use of the underlying material. This case was first dismissed in March 2019 with a finding in favor of the transformative use of the Seuss parody.

Besides amicus briefs, Legal also collaborated with allies in other ways throughout the year. For instance, Legal and allies successfully opposed proposed fan-unfriendly expansions of the right of publicity in New York State. They joined others to make a joint statement of principles about Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, which provides protections for Internet platforms, and to submit a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the CASE Act, which would create a Copyright small-claims tribunal that could impose penalties of up to $30,000 on alleged infringers without due process. Legal also joined the Horizon 2020 European Advocacy coalition, which will be conducting research and advocacy in Europe.

In 2019, Legal worked with the U.S. Copyright Office in several ways. They submitted a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the definition of “noncommercial,” and they also testified at U.S. Copyright Office Roundtable Hearings as part of the Copyright Office’s study of the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions for Internet Service Providers.

Legal staffers also reached out to the public to communicate with them about Legal’s advocacy work. Staffer Rebecca K. appeared on the Three Patch Podcast, Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal interviewed chair Betsy Rosenblatt, and SyFy Wire spoke to several staffers for a piece on how to keep fanfiction legal. Legal also released several public posts—including one about the public domain, one about Article 13, and one for Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week—and updated fans on developments in the European Union, including the EU’s March 26th vote on the ‘Digital Single Market Directive’ proposal and the implications of that vote for commercial fanwork sites.

Finally, Legal’s submission to the Canadian Parliament’s statutory review of the Copyright Act review was cited favorably in a number of places in the release of the review.

Open Doors

In 2019, Open Doors announced the import of one archive to the AO3: Star Trek: The Original Series zine Side By Side. Four previously announced imports were completed: multifandom archive “Born for War”, yaoi and shounen ai fanfiction archive “soul circuit”, Labyrinth (1986) archive “Underground”, and Gundam Wing archive “a little piece of gundam wing”. Open Doors also collaborated with Support to assist in handling creator tickets relating to each import, and with Tag Wrangling to ensure that tags from imported archives were mapped correctly.

Upon Verizon’s announcement of the upcoming closure of Yahoo Groups, Open Doors launched a Yahoo Groups Rescue Project, beginning to work with moderators to import backups of their Yahoo Groups to the AO3 and writing a letter to Verizon requesting that the deletion deadline be extended by six months.

Internally, the Open Doors Committee named a new co-chair, Stephanie Godden.

Transformative Works and Cultures

The OTW’s international peer-reviewed online journal of academic fan studies, Transformative Works and Cultures, released three volumes in 2019. In March, TWC published issue No. 29, Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color, edited by Abigail De Kosnik and andré carrington. No. 30, an unthemed general issue, was released in September. In December, TWC published issue No. 31, Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures, edited by Frauke Uhlenbruch and Sonja Ammann.

Fundraising & Outreach

The Development & Membership Committee held two membership drives in 2019—the most successful for the OTW to date! The April drive raised US$245,655.00 from 9,966 donors in 86 countries, and the October drive raised US$247,098.69 from 8,566 donors in 82 countries. For each drive, Development & Membership collaborated with Communications, the Board of Directors, and other OTW volunteers to produce a letter to send to all current OTW members as well as 3 news posts, which the Translation Committee translated into several languages—27 during the first drive and 26 during the second drive. The OTW also raised US$43,670.35 in donations from matching programs. In total, US$686,466.73 were raised throughout the year. Thank you again to everyone who donated!

Communications and PR

The Communications Committee continued several series of weekly and monthly posts during 2019, including the internal and external OTW Newsletters, This Week in Fandom, and the Five Things a Volunteer Said series. In addition, OTW Guest Posts featured fandom-related activities by individuals outside of the OTW. Communications also assisted other committees such as Elections, Development & Membership, Open Doors, Volunteers & Recruitment, Board, TWC, and Legal in releasing content that included organization announcements and information for fans. Some of these marked International Volunteer Day, Copyright Week, the relaunch of the Fanhackers website, Fanlore’s 50,000 pages milestone, and information for Hugo voters and fans alike regarding the Archive of Our Own.

Communications graphics volunteers created and reworked infographics for the organization as a whole, as well as for each major project, along with genre-themed graphics and updated flyers to celebrate the OTW’s twelfth anniversary. These were hosted on the OTW website so that fans and journalists alike could share information about the OTW and its projects. The Press page also received its own menu link to facilitate discovery by journalists seeking information. These additions proved timely: the OTW recorded 68 media mentions across the year, many thanks to media attention that accompanied AO3’s nomination—and win—of the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

Communications celebrated International Fanworks Day in February with a variety of activities including a mini fanworks fest and online games. They also coordinated a series of posts celebrating AO3’s 10th anniversary in November featuring OTW volunteers reflecting on the history of the site, and organized announcements of other events happening around the OTW.

Internally, Communications named a new co-chair, Jess Hindes, and Angelique Jurd stepped down. In addition, Communications handled queries from fans, website visitors, and the press throughout the year, either responding directly or referring questions to other committees.

People & Planning

The OTW held its fifth consecutive contested election, fielding three candidates for two open seats. Kirsten Wright and Rebecca Sentance were elected to the Board. With 2,234 members voting, this election had the highest total turnout of any election in OTW history.

Internally, Volunteers & Recruiting Committee named a new co-chair, Rachel Bussert.

The Volunteers & Recruiting Committee recruited for 27 roles throughout the year, processing 1,495 applications and completing 400 inductions and 282 removals. At the end of the year, the OTW had 794 volunteers.


OTW 2019 BY THE NUMBERS

12.735 billion AO3 page views. 19,000 Policy & Abuse tickets received. 3,896 Fanlore pages created. 81,003 Fanlore edits made. 7 Legal Advocacy submissions. 16,000 Support tickets received. 33 AO3 releases deployed. 1 Hugo Award won. 2.7 million tags wrangled. 3 Transformative Works and Cultures issues released. US$ 686,801.9 raised for the OTW. 4 archives imported to the AO3 via Open Doors. 114 fanhackers and news posts published


TIMELINE 2019

January

  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed four releases (0.9.232 – 0.9.235).
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology saw 219 million page views to the AO3 in the first week of January (2018: 189 million).
  • AO3 Documentation started its first annual review, covering all of AO3’s user-facing help documentation.
  • Communications made the OTW’s 2017 Annual Report publicly available.
  • Legal staffer Rebecca K. appeared on the Three Patch Podcast to talk about OTW Legal’s advocacy work.
  • Together with allies at Suffolk Law School, Legal opposed registration of the term “Rapunzel” as a brand of dolls, explaining how fans make fanart, fanfiction, and other works regarding the fairy tale character, and demonstrating that fans use the name as a generic descriptor of the character. The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that it was proper for advocacy groups (like the OTW!) to file such oppositions.
  • Legal released two posts for Copyright Week, one about the public domain and another about Article 13, with help from Communications.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,000 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,200 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 200 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled more than 260,000 tags across more than 31,000 fandoms.

February

  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed two releases (0.9.236 – 0.9.237).
  • AO3 Documentation co-chair Rebecca Sentance stepped down.
  • Communications celebrated International Fanworks Day in February with a variety of activities including a mini fanworks fest and online games.
  • Fanlore celebrated International Fanworks Day with the second-annual week-long IFD Fanlore Challenge, offering participants daily editing challenges on the Fanlore wiki.
  • Fanlore co-chair Priscilla Del Cima stepped down.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 750 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,000 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 200 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 201,000 tags across more than 31,000 fandoms.
  • Translation collaborated with Communications to translate several news posts into 25 languages for International Fanworks Day.

March

  • Board hosted a public Q&A about its work.
  • Board approved the 2019 Budget.
  • Legal made a public post for Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week.
  • Legal updated fans on developments in the European Union, including the EU’s March 26th vote on the ‘Digital Single Market Directive’ proposal and the implications of that vote for commercial fanwork sites.
  • Legal submitted a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the definition of “noncommercial.”
  • Legal joined the Horizon 2020 European Advocacy coalition, which will be conducting research and advocacy in Europe.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,000 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,100 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 200 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled approximately 202,000 tags across more than 31,000 different fandoms.
  • Translation welcomed four new teams: Hindi, Persian, Thai and Ukrainian.
  • TWC published issue No. 29 on “Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color.”

April

  • The Archive of Our Own was named a 2019 Hugo Award finalist for the category of Best Related Work.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology, Board, Communications, and Translation worked together to create the Hugo Awards Voter Packet and publish it in 28 languages.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed seven releases (0.9.238 – 0.9.244).
  • Development & Membership raised US$245,655.00 from 9,966 donors in 86 countries in the April membership drive.
  • Elections announced the 2019 election timeline and membership deadline.
  • Finance posted the Organization for Transformative Works’ 2019 Budget.
  • Legal filed a Comment with the government of New Zealand as part of New Zealand’s regular review of its Copyright Act.
  • Legal testified at U.S. Copyright Office Roundtable Hearings as part of the Copyright Office’s study of the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions for Internet Service Providers.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,000 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,000 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 200 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled more than 193,000 tags across more than 32,000 fandoms.
  • Translation translated and uploaded content for the April membership drive in 27 different languages.

May

  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed three releases (0.9.245 – 0.9.247).
  • Communications named a new co-chair, Jess Hindes.
  • Open Doors named a new co-chair, Stephanie Godden.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,200 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,200 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 400 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling named a new co-chair, VSSAKJ.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 262,000 tags across more than 32,000 fandoms.
  • Volunteers & Recruiting named a new co-chair, Rachel Bussert.

June

  • AO3 Documentation uploaded a new FAQ, “Formatting content on AO3 with HTML.”
  • Elections announced four candidates (one of whom withdrew shortly thereafter) for the 2019 Board election and posted their biographies and platforms. These were later translated and published in 28 languages.
  • Fanlore concluded a Bingo Challenge event which saw lots of participants taking part to complete their ‘bingo cards’ and earn badges.
  • Legal’s submission to the Canadian Parliament’s statutory review of the Copyright Act review was cited favorably in a number of places in the release of the review.
  • Legal joined allies in successfully opposing proposed fan-unfriendly expansions of the right of publicity in New York State.
  • Open Doors announced the upcoming import of Star Trek: The Original Series zine Side By Side.
  • Open Doors completed the import of multifandom archive Born for War.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 2,000 tickets.
  • Strategic Planning reached 100% completion on the OTW 2017-2020 Strategic Plan’s 18-month goals.
  • Support received approximately 1,300 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 400 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 225,000 tags across more than 33,000 fandoms.
  • Translation welcomed three new teams: Afrikaans, Lithuanian and Macedonian.

July

  • Communications announced that the Archive of Our Own reached 5 million posted fanworks and 2 million registered users.
  • Elections published candidate Q&A responses and held a public chat with the candidates.
  • Legal joined allies to file an amicus brief about the fair use doctrine in the case of Smith v. Drake, which concerned the musician Drake’s use of a sample from a spoken word piece in a rap song. The brief argued that fair use should apply to uses of substantial amounts of a work when those uses have a different meaning, message, or purpose from the underlying work.
  • Legal joined allies and experts to make a joint statement of principles about Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency act, which provides protections for Internet platforms.
  • Legal joined allies to submit a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the CASE Act, which would create a Copyright small-claims tribunal that could impose penalties of up to $30,000 on alleged infringers without due process.
  • Open Doors completed the import of yaoi and shounen ai fanfiction archive soul circuit.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,500 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,700 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 300 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 232,000 tags across more than 33,000 fandoms.

August

  • The Archive of Our Own won the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed five releases (0.9.248 – 0.9.252).
  • Elections ran the 2019 Board of Directors election, which had the highest turnout ever for an OTW Board election. New Directors-Elect Rebecca Sentance and Kirsten Wright were scheduled to take office October 1, 2019.
  • Fanlore co-chair Kate Flanagan stepped down.
  • Open Doors completed the import of Labyrinth (1986) archive Underground.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,000 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,700 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 400 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 256,000 tags across more than 33,000 fandoms.

September

  • The Organization for Transformative Works celebrated its 12th anniversary.
  • AO3 Documentation uploaded a new and improved Tags FAQ.
  • AO3 Documentation named a new co-chair, Morgan Drake.
  • Communications released new Flyers & Graphics for the OTW Fact sheet.
  • Communications co-chair Angelique Jurd stepped down.
  • Fanlore ran its two-week-long Stub September challenge, focused on growing stubs into full-blown articles.
  • Open Doors completed the import of Gundam Wing archive a little piece of gundam wing.
  • Policy & Abuse received around 1,100 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,300 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 300 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 234,000 tags across more than 34,000 fandoms.
  • TWC published No. 30, a general issue.
  • Webs moved hosting providers for transformativeworks.org.

October

  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed three releases (0.9.254 – 0.9.256), which included upgrading the Archive’s programming language from Ruby 2.3 to Ruby 2.6.
  • AO3 Documentation updated the Preferences FAQ to reflect AO3’s new co-creator feature.
  • Kristina Busse and Priscilla Del Cima finished their terms on the OTW Board of Directors.
  • Natalia Gruber replaced Claire P. Baker as OTW President, and Lex de Leon replaced Jessie Casiulis as OTW Secretary.
  • Development & Membership raised US$247,098.69 from 8,566 donors in 82 countries, surpassing the April drive as the OTW’s most successful membership drive to date.
  • Fanlore created a special Yahoo Groups FanloreProject and published a social media PSA about the upcoming Yahoo Groups closure.
  • Legal worked with allies including EFF, Public Knowledge, Prof. Francesca Coppa, and Star Trek authors to file an amicus brief in the case of Seiss v. ComicMix. The case involved the book Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go, a mash-up of Dr. Seuss and Star Trek. The brief discussed the social and artistic value of mashup and remix creation and explained why mashups like the one at issue often constitute fair use of the underlying material.
  • Open Doors created its Yahoo Groups Rescue Project and published a news post about the Yahoo Groups closure.
  • Policy & Abuse received approximately 1,200 tickets.
  • Support received approximately 1,200 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 300 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 244,000 tags in more than 34,000 fandoms.
  • Translation translated the October membership drive posts into 26 languages.

November

  • The Archive of Our Own celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • Communications published a series of posts with past and present OTW volunteers’ reflections.
  • Fanlore celebrated reaching 50,000 pages.
  • Legal chair Betsy Rosenblatt was interviewed by Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.
  • Legal staffers spoke to SyFy Wire for a piece on how to keep fanfiction legal.
  • Policy & Abuse received almost 2,000 tickets.
  • Policy & Abuse named two new co-chairs, Aenya and AliceJane.
  • Support received approximately 1,700 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 300 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 216,000 tags across more than 34,000 fandoms.

December

  • The Archive of Our Own saw a record-breaking 1.12 billion page views in the month of December.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed nine releases (0.9.257 – 0.9.265).
  • Communications announced the relaunch of the WordPress site for its Fanhackers project.
  • Open Doors submitted a letter to Verizon requesting that they extend the Yahoo Groups deletion deadline by at least six months.
  • Policy & Abuse received about 1,250 tickets, bringing the annual total number of tickets to over 19,000, compared to around 11,600 in 2018.
  • Support received approximately 1,500 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 300 of them. Its annual total number of tickets reached nearly 16,000; over 3,000 of these were in collaboration with Translation. Comparatively, in 2018, Support received approximately 18,900 tickets, collaborating with Translation on 1,500 of them.
  • Tag Wrangling wrangled over 241,000 tags across more than 35,000 fandoms. This brought the annual total number of tags wrangled to over 2.7 million tags, compared to around 2.4 million tags in 2018.
  • TWC published issue No. 31 on “Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures.”

FINANCES

Statement of Financial Position

As of December 31, 2019

2019 2018
ASSETS
Current Assets
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Operating Cash 393,170.68 176,217.01
Operating Reserves 904,237.47 703,855.33
Certificate of Deposit 10,173.65 10,159.99
Donations Receivable 10,355.59 6,682.12
Prepaid Expenses 10,634.00 10,634.00
Total 1,328,571.39 907,548.45
Property, Plant, & Equipment
Servers & Equipment 524,424.33 405,435.39
Less: Accumulated Depreciation (343,404.76) (253,141.00)
Total 181,019.57 152,294.39
Other Assets
Deferred Expenses 3,333.33 13,967.33
Total 3,333.33 13,967.33
TOTAL ASSETS 1,512,924.29 1,073,810.17
LIABILITIES
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable 447.34
Total 447.34
TOTAL LIABILITIES 447.34
NET ASSETS
Without Donor Restriction 1,512,476.55 1,073,809.77
With Donor Restriction
Total Net Assets 1,512,476.55 1,073,809.77

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

Statement of Activities

As of December 31, 2019

2019 2018
REVENUE
Direct Contributions 686,466.73 457,790.59
Donations from Matching Programs 43,670.35 19,112.76
In-kind Revenue 350,000.00 476,867.50
Total 1,080,137.08 953,770.85
OTHER INCOME
Interest Income 395.49 376.10
Miscellaneous Income 430.28 401.45
Total 825.77 777.55
TOTAL REVENUES 1,080,962.85 954,548.40
EXPENSES
Program
Archive of Our Own 187,642.95 157,612.63
Open Doors 611.96 2,990.35
Transformative Works & Cultures (TWC) 1,775.00 5,287.43
Fanlore 8,447.64 7,174.32
Legal Advocacy 100,000.00 121,850.02
Con Outreach 3,027.27
Fundraising 47,391.20 28,533.86
Management & General 296,427.31 382,675.76
Total 642,296.07 709,151.63
Change in Net Assets 438,666.78 245,396.77
Unrestricted net assets, beginning of year 1,073,809.77 828,413.00
Unrestricted net assets, end of year 1,512,476.55 1,073,809.77

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

Statement of Functional Expenses

As of December 31, 2019

Archive of Our Own Open Doors Transformative Works & Cultures (TWC) Fanlore Legal Advocacy Con Outreach Program Total Fundraising & Membership Development Management & General TOTAL
In-kind Expense 100,000.00 100,000.00 250,000.00 350,000.00
Server Hardware 458.90 25.49 484.40 25.49 509.89
Server Hosting 60,692.76 3,290.26 63,983.02 4,268.99 68,252.01
Hosted Provider 130.00 130.00 554.88 684.88
Licenses & Support 10,110.60 561.70 10,672.30 561.70 11,234.00
Website Domains 76.00 237.58 57.00 370.58 76.00 446.58
Website Monitoring 8,439.00 8,439.00 8,439.00
Website Hosting 108.33 108.33 568.75 677.08
Firewall
Contractor Services 15,250.00 15,250.00 15,250.00
Professional Services 1,775.00 1,775.00 14,301.50 16,076.50
Training 19.00 19.00 19.00
Travel
Plug-ins 16.17 16.17 32.83 49.00
Admin & Management 11,359.31 119.88 11,479.19 3,942.00 15,421.19
Filing Fees
Transaction Fees 26,314.13 26,314.13
Banking Fees 24.48 442.19 466.67
Premium Merchandise 6,354.55 6,354.55
Postage & Shipping 9,842.04 2,607.96 12,450.00
Membership Tracking Software 4,040.00 4,040.00
Ticketing Software 816.00 816.00
Auditing 11,250.00 11,250.00
Tax Filing 41.32 41.32
Insurance 3,240.51 3,240.51
Total Expenses Before Depreciation 106,405.57 611.96 1,775.00 3,934.45 100,000.00 212,726.98 47,391.20 291,914.13 552,032.31
Depreciation 81,237.38 4,513.19 85,750.57 4,513.19 90,263.76
Total 187,642.95 611.96 1,775.00 8,447.64 100,000.00 298,477.56 47,391.20 296,427.31 642,296.07

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

Statement of Cash Flows

As of December 31, 2019

2019 2018
Cash flows from operating activities
Increase in Net Assets 438,666.78 245,396.77
Adjustments to reconcile change in net assets to net cash flows provided by operating activities
Depreciation 90,263.76 61,281.81
528,930.54 306,678.58
Increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents due to changes in operating assets and liabilities
Donations Receivable (3,673.47) 4,600.85
Prepaid Expenses 398.67
Deferred Expenses 10,634.00 9,366.00
Accounts Payable 447.34 (826.76)
536,338.41 320,217.34
Cash flows for investing activities
Cash paid for purchase of property and equipment (118,988.94) (137,065.00)
Net increase in cash 417,349.47 183,152.34
Cash, beginning of year 890,232.34 707,080.00
Cash, end of year 1,307,581.81 890,232.34

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

Figure 1: Program Expenses

As of December 31, 2019

Program Services
Archive of Our Own 2019 2018
Server Hardware 458.90 2,312.04
Server Hosting 60,692.76 49,802.89
Licenses & Support 10,110.60 11,270.31
Website Domains 76.00 76.00
Website Monitoring 8,439.00 8,439.00
Contractor Services 15,250.00 3,860.00
Training 19.00 23.98
Admin & Management 11,359.31 8,384.78
In-Kind Expenses 18,290.00
Depreciation 81,237.38 55,153.63
Total 187,642.95 157,612.63
Open Doors
Website Domains 237.58 204.14
Website Hosting 108.33 928.54
Hosted Provider 130.00 120.00
Plug-ins 16.17 16.17
Admin & Management 119.88 99.00
In-Kind Expenses 1,622.50
Total 611.96 2,990.35
Transformative Works & Cultures
Server Hardware 51.38
Server Hosting 1,083.46
Licenses & Support 250.45
Professional Services 1,775.00 1,939.00
In-Kind Expenses 737.50
Depreciation 1,225.64
Total 1,775.00 5,287.43
Fanlore
Server Hardware 25.49 128.45
Server Hosting 3,290.26 2,708.65
Licenses & Support 561.70 626.13
Website Domains 57.00 57.00
In-Kind Expenses 590.00
Depreciation 4,513.19 3,064.09
Total 8,447.64 7,174.32
Legal Advocacy
In-Kind Expenses 100,000.00 119,180.00
Filing Fees 1,500.00
Travel 1,170.02
Total 100,000.00 121,850.02
Con Outreach
Admin & Management 77.27
In-Kind Expenses 2,950.00
Total 3,027.27
Program Services Total 298,477.56 297,942.01
Fundraising
Fundraising Related Expenses
Transaction Fees 26,314.13 17,483.80
Banking Fees 24.48 27.23
Total 26,338.61 17,511.03
Premiums
Premium Merchandise 6,354.55 3,685.15
Postage & Shipping 9,842.04 2,589.93
Total 16,196.59 6,275.08
Membership
Membership Tracking Software 4,040.00 3,840.00
Ticketing Software 816.00 907.75
Total 4,856.00 4,747.75
Fundraising Total 47,391.20 28,533.86
Management & General
OTW Website
Server Hardware 25.49 77.07
Server Hosting 4,268.99 2,323.30
Hosted Provider 554.88 480.00
Website Domains 76.00 76.00
Website Hosting 568.75 4,169.22
Licenses & Support 561.70 375.68
Plug-ins 32.83 32.83
Depreciation 4,513.19 1,838.45
Total 10,601.83 9,372.55
General Administration
In-kind Expenses 250,000.00 333,497.50
Professional Services 14,301.50 12,795.40
Auditing 11,250.00 18,000.00
Insurance 3,240.51 3,417.30
Banking Fees 442.19 292.89
Postage & Shipping 2,607.96 1,881.40
Tax Filing 41.32 121.32
Admin & Management 3,942.00 3,297.40
Total 285,825.48 373,303.21
Management & General Total 296,427.31 382,675.76
Total Expenses 642,296.07 709,151.63

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

Notes to the Financial Statements

December 31, 2019

Note 1 – Description of Organization

Organization for Transformative Works, Inc. (“the Organization”) was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Delaware on September 5, 2007, and has 501(c)(3) nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Code. 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. Over 600 volunteers contribute to the OTW’s five major projects (Archive of our Own; Open Doors; Fanlore; Legal Advocacy; Transformative Works & Cultures) as well as fundraising, membership development, and internal management and administration.

Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Basis of Accounting

The financial statements of the Organization are prepared on the accrual basis of accounting in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”).

Financial Statement Presentation

The Organization utilizes Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 958, Not-for-Profit Entities. Under FASB ASU 2016-14, the Organization is required to report information regarding its financial position and activities according to two classes of net assets: net assets without donor restrictions and net assets with donor restrictions.

Net assets and changes therein are classified and reported as follows:

  • Without donor restrictions – Net assets that are not subject to donor-imposed stipulations
  • With donor restrictions – Net assets subject to donor-imposed stipulations that will be met either by actions and/or the passage of time or net assets subject to donor-imposed stipulations that will be maintained permanently.

The Organization has no net assets with donor restrictions, as of December 31, 2019.

Donations Receivable

The Organization considers receivables from donors to be fully collectible; accordingly, no allowance for doubtful donations is currently required. If donations receivable amounts should become uncollectible, they will be charged to operations when that determination is made.

Contributed Materials and Services

Contributed materials and services are reflected in the financial statements at the estimated fair value of the materials and services received. The contributions of services are recognized if the services received either: (a) create or enhance non-financial assets or (b) require specialized skills that are provided by individuals possessing those skills and would typically need to be purchased if not provided by donation. This is in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 958.

Contributed services of $350,000.00 and $467,868.00 were recorded as operating contributions during the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The contributed services consist of legal services donated to the Organization by the volunteers of the Legal Committee.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of 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.

Cash

The Organization maintains cash at one financial institution which may exceed federally insured amounts at times.

Investments

Investments in marketable securities with readily determinable fair values and all investments in debt securities are reported at their fair values in the statement of financial position. Unrealized gains and losses are included in the change in net assets. Investment income and gains restricted by donors are reported as increases to unrestricted net assets if restrictions are met, either by passage of time or by use, in the period of reporting in which the income and gains are recognized.

The Organization accounts for investments in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. FASB ASC Topic 820 includes a fair value hierarchy that is intended to increase consistency and comparability in fair value measurements and related disclosures. The fair value hierarchy is based on inputs to valuation techniques that are used to measure fair value that are either observable or unobservable. Observable inputs reflect assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability based on market data obtained from independent sources, while unobservable inputs reflect a reporting entity’s pricing based on their own market assumptions.

The fair value hierarchy consists of the following three levels:
Level 1: Inputs are quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities.
Level 2: Inputs are quoted prices for similar assets in markets that are not active, inputs other than quoted prices that are observable, and market corroborated inputs which are derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data.
Level 3: Inputs are derived from valuation techniques in which one or more significant inputs or value drivers are unobservable and require the entity to make its own assumptions.

Property and Equipment

Donations of property and equipment are recorded as in-kind contributions at their estimated fair value at the time of donation. Such donations are reported as unrestricted support unless the donor has restricted the use of the donated asset to a specific purpose. Assets donated with explicit restrictions regarding their use are reported as restricted support. Absent donor stipulations regarding how long those donated assets must be maintained, the Organization reports expirations of donor restrictions when the donated or acquired assets are placed in service as instructed by the donor. The Organization reclassifies temporarily restricted net assets to unrestricted net assets at that time.

Property and equipment are depreciated using the double declining balance methods over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which are 5 years. Maintenance and repairs of the assets are charged to operations as incurred. Significant improvements or renewals of assets are capitalized.

Contributions

Contributions received are recorded as contributions with donor restrictions or contributions without donor restrictions depending on the existence and/or nature of any donor restrictions. Contributions which have any restrictions satisfied in the same period they are received are recorded as increases in net assets and are reflected as without donor restrictions.

The Organization did not receive any contributions with donor restrictions during the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

Functional Allocation of Expenses

The costs of providing program services, fundraising, and administrative functions are summarized on a functional basis in the statement of activities.

See Figure 1 for a summary of Program Expenses.

Income Taxes

The OTW is a 501c3 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.

Note 3 – Investment Assets

The Organization’s investments are valued as follows:

Level 1 Investments
Asset 2019 2018
Certificates of Deposit $10,173.65 $10,159.99
Total $10,173.65 $10,159.99

Note 4 – Fixed Assets

2019 2018
Servers $487,540.96 $371,107.33
Server Hardware & Upgrades $33,475.02 $30,922.71
Firewall $3,405.35 $3,405.35
Total Assets $524,424.33 $405,435.39
Accumulated Depreciation $(343,404.76) $(253,141.33)
Fixed Assets, Net of Accumulated Depreciation $181,019.57 $152,294.39

ABOUT THE OTW / MISSION, VISION, VALUES

Our Mission

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.

Our Vision

We envision a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal and transformative and are accepted as a legitimate creative activity. We are proactive and innovative in protecting and defending our work from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. We preserve our fannish economy, values, and creative expression by protecting and nurturing our fellow fans, our work, our commentary, our history, and our identity while providing the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans.

Our Values

  • We value transformative fanworks and the innovative communities from which they have arisen, including media, real person fiction, anime, comics, music, and vidding.
  • We value our identity as a predominantly female community with a rich history of creativity and commentary.
  • We value our volunteer-based infrastructure and the fannish gift economy that recognizes and celebrates worth in myriad and diverse activities.
  • We value making fannish activities as accessible as possible to all those who wish to participate.
  • We value infinite diversity in infinite combinations. We value all fans engaged in transformative work: fans of any race, gender, culture, sexual identity, or ability. We value the unhindered cross-pollination and exchange of fannish ideas and cultures while seeking to avoid the homogenization or centralization of fandom.

ABOUT THE OTW / WHO WE ARE

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 200 other staffers serving on our committees, and our many volunteers.

Board of Directors

Claire P. Baker’s first fannish obsession was with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, which she had nearly memorized at age four. However, Digimon was her gateway into the wider world of fandom. Through it she discovered fansites, fanfiction, and cosplay; and the rest, as they say, is history. Fandom became a strong part of Claire’s academic career, reflected in papers she wrote while obtaining her three degrees (B.A., B.Ed., M.I.), and remains a primary research interest to this day. Claire started volunteering with the OTW in 2014, and became co-chair of the AO3 Documentation Committee a year later. Since then, she has also joined TWC and Tag Wrangling. In her free time, Claire can often be found betaing fanfiction, running various gift exchanges on AO3, and preparing an army of cosplays and panels for her next convention.

Jessie Casiulis graduated from the Sorbonne Law School, and is currently working towards an LL.M. in Digital Law. She discovered fandom in 2007 with Harry Potter fanfiction, but since then she has become a fandom hoarder, with a current passion for Overwatch and Yuri!!! On Ice. Jessie joined the OTW as a French translation volunteer in 2015, after stumbling on one of Legal’s news posts. She is now serving as a tag wrangler and Support staff, where she works to ensure that AO3 users have the best possible experience on the site.

Natalia Gruber (President) discovered her first fanfiction by accident while waiting for the last Harry Potter book to come out, and thought for the longest time that it was a wonderful, but isolated idea. Thankfully, she eventually found out that not only was this story not the only one, but that fandom was a lively, rich community full of amazing people and more fic than she could ever read. She lurked for several years reading mostly Harry Potter, until she joined the Tolkien fandom. There she finally started publishing her own works and making friends with other fans, and it’s where she still feels the most at home. An English teacher during the day, Nat joined the OTW in 2016 as a Brazilian Portuguese translator. A few months later she became part of the Policy & Abuse and Tag Wrangling committees, where she has had a wonderful experience and learned a lot more about the OTW and its work. At the end of 2017, she decided to join Translation staff, working to support and assist translators in their work, and engaging in a lot more inter-committee and managerial tasks.

Lex de Leon (Secretary) currently works for the United States Government as a document and content management information technology specialist, with a specific focus on records import, migration and long term retention. He began by writing fanfiction for the Valdemar series and has since accumulated multiple fandoms which he is always willing to discuss. An unapologetically passionate femslash shipper, he enjoys writing fic that draws upon his life experiences and imagination, and reading any fic that catches his eye or features a pairing he enjoys. A fortuitous visit to the Archive just after recruitment for Support was announced led to him applying, with the belief that his decade of experience in technical support would be helpful within the OTW. He firmly believes in the mission of the OTW and wishes to continue its work into the future. Somehow, a lovely woman agreed to marry him and always be willing to listen to his fanwork ideas. Together they are raising two cats, a dog and one ornery, flightless bird.

Rebecca Sentance has been in fandom for around fifteen years, starting on Quizilla where she would read second-person fanfics in fandoms like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Inuyasha, Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragonball Z. However, her first ever fanwork was an Enid Blyton fanfiction that she wrote at the age of five – long before she ever dreamed there might be whole communities of people publishing and reading these works online. She discovered AO3 in 2011 and slowly began to learn about the organisation behind it and its many other projects, which led to her delving into fandom history and fan academia, and learning about the vital importance of preserving and defending fanworks of all kinds. While she was eager to be a part of the OTW, she didn’t manage to catch an open recruitment round until mid-2015, shortly after finishing her postgrad studies, when she saw a posting for AO3 Documentation staff—the perfect fit for someone who loves all things to do with words. She later found her way onto the Transformative Works and Cultures and Fanlore committees, and now devotes a significant portion of her time to being part of this amazing community of fans. When not volunteering with the OTW, she can be found lurking in various parts of Marvel fandom and procrastinating on her latest fic.

Danielle Strong began their foray into the world of fandom in the 90s with Gundam Wing slash fiction and fanart. Nearly two decades and a plethora of fandoms later, they’ve made their home on the Archive in the Supernatural and Marvel Cinematic Universe fandoms, amongst others. When recruitment was opened for the Abuse team in early 2014 they knew their skills in hospital patient liaison services, handling complaints and service-user queries would be a good fit for the team, and after joining they never looked back. As an Abuse staffer, Danielle has handled cases from accidental mis-tagging of works to plagiarism and harassment, and can probably quote most of the AO3 Terms of Service by memory by now! They bring a wealth of knowledge in mediation and problem-solving to the team, and is completely dedicated to the OTW and the work it does.

Kirsten Wright is a member of the OTW Communications team. She first joined in 2014 at the recommendation of a former professor. She currently moderates the OTW Facebook page, as well as the LiveJournal and Dreamwidth accounts. She previously moderated the OTW Twitter account, and both the Fanlore Twitter and Tumblr accounts. Kirsten first found organized fandom as a young teenager, and never looked back. At various points, fandom has served as a teacher and friend, and is ultimately how she discovered her career in United States political campaigns. She’s a notorious fandom hopper, but has written the most for The Social Network. Her favorite genre of fic is slice of life. She has definitely opened more than one 200k fanfic after midnight during the work week.

Non-director Officers

Yuechiang Luo (Treasurer)

Emerita Directors

2019

  • Kristina Busse
  • Priscilla Del Cima

2018

  • Matty Bowers
  • Atiya Hakeem

2017

  • Aline Carrão
  • Katarina Harju
  • Alex Tischer

2015

  • Eylul Dogruel
  • Soledad Griffin
  • Andrea Horbinski
  • M.J. MacRae
  • Cat Meier
  • Jessica Steiner

2014

  • Franzeska Dickson
  • Anna Genoese
  • Nikisha Sanders

2013

  • Julia Beck
  • Maia Bobrowicz
  • Ira Gladkova
  • Kristen Murphy

2012

  • Francesca Coppa
  • Naomi Novik
  • Jenny Scott-Thompson

2011

  • Rachel Barenblat
  • Hele Braunstein
  • Sheila Lane
  • Allison Morris

2010

  • Naomi Novik
  • Rebecca Tushnet
  • Elizabeth Yalkut

2009

  • KellyAnn Bessa
  • Susan Gibel

2008

  • Cathy Cupitt
  • Michele Tepper

Committees

Accessibility, Design, & Technology
AO3 Documentation
Communications
Development & Membership
Elections
Fanlore
Finance
Legal
Open Doors
Policy & Abuse
Strategic Planning
Support
Systems
Tag Wrangling
Translation
TWC
Volunteers & Recruiting
Webs

Read about our current committees here.