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OTW Guest Post: Olympia Kiriakou

Every month the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts to provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom. These posts express each individual’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy.

Olympia Kiriakou is a Visiting Instructor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Her research focuses on stardom, gender, and genre in classical Hollywood, Disney, and new media fandom. Her book, Becoming Carole Lombard: Stardom, Comedy, and Legacy (Bloomsbury Academic) is a historical critique of the development and reception Carole Lombard’s star persona and career. Today, Olympia talks about her article in Transformative Works and Cultures.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

My first encounter was when I joined Tumblr as a high school senior in 2008. I first developed an interest in classical Hollywood back in high school through my job at a local video store – I must have spent all my wages on DVDs! While working there, I became fascinated by stars like Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, and Orson Welles. As I began to research them online, I eventually discovered a wonderful community of like-minded fans on Tumblr who shared their personal photo collections, fanworks, and research. I eventually started my own Tumblr account called “The Screwball Girl” dedicated to old Hollywood stars and, specifically, Carole Lombard (the blog name is a reference to her). Although I don’t update my account anymore, I have adopted the same username for all of my social media accounts as an homage to where my fandom flourished!

Thanks to Tumblr, I realized I love researching and writing, so I decided to pursue grad school. I also began to accumulate my own small collection of old Hollywood memorabilia including vintage fan magazines, movie posters, and scripts. Over time, I was inspired to write my PhD dissertation about Lombard and ultimately, this culminated in my first book, Becoming Carole Lombard: Stardom, Comedy, and Legacy.

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Banner: 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

What’s Going on with Disney and Fanworks?

Recently, you may have received an email informing you that Disney has updated its terms of use. Or you may have seen discussion about Disney’s terms of use and statements on Twitter around the #maythe4th hashtag. So what’s going on? Our Legal team can’t give you advice, but here’s what they have to say about what Disney’s terms mean for fans and fanworks.

Disney’s terms of use can be found here. (The direct English-language link is here). They govern the use of various (unidentified) Disney “products” such as websites, software, applications, contests, and services. What does that mean? Well, although this scope is broad, Disney can’t use terms of service to govern what people do out in the world — they can only govern what people do in Disney’s own platforms, (such as Disney’s websites, apps, software, and contests). Even if Disney would like to control what people do outside of those spaces, they just don’t have that power: out in the world, the usual rules of copyright, trademark, and fair use law apply. Read More

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Siyang Wei

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Siyang Wei is a Chinese communist, a lesbian, and currently an MPhil student in Political and Economic Sociology at the University of Cambridge. They are especially interested in how ideological horizons shape discourses of identity and community, and hope one day to finish their Cambridge Latin Course fanfiction epic. Today, Siyang talks about fandom as a consumer identity.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I’m not really sure how I ‘first’ found out, mainly because I was pretty young. I also think there are a lot of things that could be understood as fandom or fanworks that you wouldn’t necessarily assume to be relevant on the face of it. I had a Tumblr account by the time I was 11 or 12, which is definitely where I started to gain awareness of fandom as an actual distinct thing or culture, but before that I had a LiveJournal account which I mainly used to dump on Twilight (I wasn’t very good at LJ either, but I’ll blame those both on being 11). Even before that, my sister and I used to do these extensive role-plays as various real-life celebrities, and I distinctly recall at one point finding an S Club Juniors fanfiction to crib ideas from. Does role-playing in itself count as a fan activity?

So when I really started getting into it was probably around 2010 or 2011, because I distinctly remember a few things that were going on at the time. I was an avid fan of the “Mark Reads” blog (where this guy called Mark wrote chapter-by-chapter reviews of his first time reading things like Twilight and Harry Potter). That was quite a structured fan space anchored around the blog posts, but there was also an interesting dimension of the fan objects being both the reviewed works and the “Mark Reads” blog itself. I might have gotten into that from my Twilight anti-fandom as well; dark times.

Similarly with some of the Youtubers I started watching (you know who they are). And on Tumblr, this was around the peak of Doctor Who/Sherlock fandom, and I was really into BBC Merlin as well. So I followed some people, and it kind of spiraled from there, and I ended up moving from fandom to fandom for a lot of things I hadn’t known about before, purely because I was loyal to certain users who started making posts about different things. Inception, Star Trek reboot, One Direction, ice hockey, Bandom, you name it –- if it blew up, I was probably there.

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