September got off to a pretty spiffy start for us here at the OTW with an article from Inverse that talked about why people make fanworks and what the OTW does in fandom. (While the OTW gives many interviews, most resulting publications don’t actually talk about our mission, so this was exciting for us.) “Very often, fans come into [creating] fanwork because they’re not finding what they’re looking for, either from the show itself or from existing fan works,” the article says, adding that “what many creators have in common is the desire to shape their preferred narratives.” The article focuses on LGBTQ+ elements as a primary trait of many fanworks, and includes testimonials from fanworks creators about how “there’s just not a lot of mass culture that’s made for [LGBTQ+ people] and [their] tastes.” Is that why you create fanworks? Let us know in the comments!
It’s Fair Use Week! On Monday, we invited you to ask us anything about fair use and fair dealing law as it applies to fandom, and said we’d answer your questions at the end of the week. True to our promise, here are the answers to your (paraphrased) questions!
With the caveat that this post should not be taken as legal advice–anyone seeking legal advice about specific situations is welcome to contact us, and we can help you find representation–let’s dive into the questions and answers!
OTW Legal wants your stories!
Over the years, OTW Legal has spoken for fans and fanwork creators in comments to governments around the world including the U.S., the E.U., Australia, and South Africa. And we want your help to keep doing that! One topic that many governments around the world want to know about is the impact of copyright “notice and takedown” regimes. Notice and takedown regimes are part of the TPP and the laws of many countries, including the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Most recently, the European Commission has asked for comments on how intellectual property (IP) enforcement is working worldwide, with a particular interest in notice and takedown systems and “graduated response” (also sometimes known as “three-strikes”) systems that restrict people’s ability to post content after they receive multiple takedown notices.
So we want to collect stories from fans worldwide on how notice and takedown is impacting fandom. Have you, or anyone you know, been the subject of a takedown notice? What did you do about it? How did it feel? Have you had a fanwork of your own removed, or has a work you loved been removed? Tell us about it! Have you ever been concerned about notice and takedown, “graduated response,” or other potential consequences of posting fanworks? Let us know!
Please submit your stories about fanwork takedowns by February 28. We’ll use your stories to support our legal advocacy work.
Next month’s International Fanworks Day event will include a call for fan activism. Let us know that you took part in letting world governments know that fanworks are important to you.