Fan Art is Coming! Fan Art Is Coming!

In preparation for hosting fanart on the AO3 (that is, you will soon be able to upload art directly to our servers and not just link it from elsewhere), we are revising the official Terms of Service and our FAQ!

As always, we actively seek and very much appreciate feedback on all archive policies. The coding for fanart is still underway, and there is time to make changes, so if there’s anything in this draft that concerns you, please let us know.

Here are the proposed additions to the FAQ:

* When can I use pictures I have made on the archive?

The basic rule is that a fanwork based on an existing work should be transformative. Transformation means adding something new, in meaning or message, to the original. We consider that fanart, like fan fiction, is generally transformative. Please remember that the ratings and warnings policies apply to images.

You can also use pictures you’ve made to complement a fanwork–so, if you are illustrating a story, you can use illustrations of the setting, the original characters, or anything else that fits with the story, as long as you otherwise follow the content policy.

We do not allow sexually explicit photos of minors, nor images manipulated so that they look like sexually explicit photos of minors (even if the manipulation is obvious). This is necessary for us to comply with US law, which has special rules for photographs and video of human beings under age 18. In addition, under Section IV.H of the Terms of Service, we may remove content, including photos or drawings, when we determine that it is necessary to resolve a threatened or pending lawsuit. We will not screen or ban images for offensiveness.

* When can I use existing (nonmanipulated) pictures in my fanworks on the archive?

The basic rule is that a fanwork should be transformative. Transformation means adding something new, in meaning or message, to the original. Existing works, including pictures, can be part of a transformative work. Please remember that the ratings and warnings policies apply to images.

When you’re using an existing picture, commentary and critique are particularly favored kinds of transformativeness. A use that highlights the way that framing, angle, or other pictorial elements affect the pictures’ meaning; a use that draws attention to the roles of different people in the pictures; and a use that contrasts different pictures are all examples of potential transformation. Humor can also be transformative: unlikely subtitles may change the meaning of the picture substantially. Commentary can be explicit or implicit, as when it’s done by pointed contrasts between images, where the use of a picture recontextualizes it and gives it new meaning.

The number of pictures should be appropriate to the purpose: if you’re illustrating the relationship of a character’s costumes to her story arc, then you are likely to need more pictures than if you merely want to introduce the character so your audience knows what s/he looks like.

Where possible, credit or attribution to the original source of your image is also helpful.

We have drawn on the American University Center for Social Media’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video in our discussion here. You may find a full copy of the code here http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/fair-use/related-materials/codes/code-best-practices-fair-use-online-video if you want to see more detailed discussion and examples, though they are focused on video.

* When can I use pictures in my skins on the archive?

We generally consider skins containing pictures to be fanworks, so please follow the guidelines in the sections above. In addition, since skins are created by individual users, the OTW does not endorse particular skins in any way. We do screen public skins for technical compliance, to limit the proliferation of public skins in order to keep the public skins feature usable for other people, and for obvious violations of the content policy, but it’s the user’s responsibility to make sure a skin complies.

You can use pictures you’ve made for skins, even if they aren’t fanworks, as long as you otherwise follow the content policy–e.g., you can use a picture of the view from your window.

You can put attributions for images in your skins into a comment like this:

/* This image comes from SOURCE and is used here for INSERT TRANSFORMATIVE PURPOSE */
header { background: url(http://url/of/image.jpg); }

Here is the current text in the Terms of Service about user icons, which are the only artworks currently on the archive:

J. User Icons

User icons should be appropriate for general audiences. They should not contain depictions of genital nudity or explicit sexual activity. For more information, please refer to the ToS FAQ.

Here is the proposed new text of the Terms of Service for our new expanded set of artwork:

J. Images

A. User icons

User icons should be appropriate for general audiences. They should not contain depictions of genital nudity or explicit sexual activity. For more information, please refer to the ToS FAQ.

B. Other images

Other images are subject to the general content policy, including the ratings and warnings policy. No sexually explicit photographs of minors (people under age 18) or sexually explicit photomanipulations that appear to be pictures of minors (people under age 18) are allowed. For more information, please refer to the ToS FAQ.

Relatedly, we propose to delete the last paragraph of Section IV.D, which currently reads:

Please note that the first version of the Archive will only host text and user icons. Future policies will focus on other media.

Links Roundup 11 July 2011

Here’s a roundup of stories that might be of interest to fans: articles about professional fanart, technology meant to control fans, interactive fan sites, erotic fan fiction and sexuality, new models for fan-TPTB collaboration, and fans as transmedia specialists, all beneath the cut!

* Just Don’t Call It Fanart. Salon did a fascinating article on an ongoing art show called “Crazy 4 Cult” which features artists making work based on movie stills. The show is patronized by the likes of Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarentino, Samuel L. Jackson and others. But, Salon warns, “Just don’t call it ‘fan art.'” (It sounds to us a lot like fan art.)

* Who Controls Your Camera? The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently posted about the implications of Apple’s new patent: a camera that can be turned off by a third party. The idea is to stop fans from, say, capturing “illegal images” at a rock concert. The EFF points out that this repression of fans is bad enough, but also asks us also to imagine how that technology might be used in an era where portable cameras have been used to document and publicize civil rights abuses and spread important news all around the world. Who gets to decide what you can record?

* Interactive Sites Before Pottermore. There have been many stories these last few weeks about Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s new interactive Harry Potter site, but here’s an article about some other explicitly pro-fanfiction and pro-interactivity authors who have put together creative sandboxes for their fans.

* Elmer Fudd vs. Miss Marple? This review of A Billion Wicked Thoughts, a book which uses erotic fan fiction and other online materials to draw conclusions about human sexuality, critiques the book on many fronts, but most notably from a lesbian perspective: “Is the near total silence about this quadrant of human desire because the authors couldn’t fit lesbians into their thesis?”

* No Endorsement; Endless Possibilities: Cory Doctorow, thinking through the implication of creating “ODOs” or On-Demand Objects, imagines a world where creators and owners could give fans a “no endorsement” license to make and sell derivative (not transformative!) works. The maker would automatically cut in the creator/owner for a stipulated percent of any profit.

* Transmedia 2: Electric Bugaloo: Henry Jenkins has posted footage from all four panels of this spring’s Transmedia Hollywood 2 conference. There was discussion of fan culture and works throughout the conference, with many panelists believing that fans have acknowledged expertise in transmedia storytelling, and others debating how best to engage fans in this new multi-modal world. (OTW Board Member Francesca Coppa was on the second panel to talk explicitly about fan works and characterization.)

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about you can submit it in three easy ways: comment on the most recent Link Roundup on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW, tag a link with “for:otw_news” on Delicious or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

Links Roundup for 13 April 2011

We’re highlighting links of interest to fans and OTW supporters — today, we’ve found two new initiatives that may yield interesting results:

  • The Digital Media Consumption Manifesto is an international effort to offer media producers a solution to digital piracy by suggesting a set of industry standards including transparent pricing, simultaneous international distribution, accessibility options, and freedom from DRM, in exchange for a commitment to purchase rather than pirate from consumers. Many globe-spanning fandoms would breathe a sigh of relief at an alternative to file-sharing that included simultaneous international releases, and we know a few vidders who would be relieved at the end of DRM.

    The Manifesto is also interesting in light of the recent brief issued by the London School of Economics criticizing the UK’s Digital Economy Act. Ars Technica posted an analysis of the brief pulling out the main points, including the statement that providing user-friendly ways to download media legally is a more effective strategy for enforcing copyright than heavy-handed regulation. The full text of the brief can be read here: Creative Destruction and Copyright Protection: Regulatory Responses to File-sharing.

  • The Future of Art Project, which originated in the Open Zone section of Transmediale 2011 (the Open Zone was described as “a social experiment with different social territories that are occupied by artists and media activists”) espouses an open-philosophy model and transmedia approaches that sound a lot like many fandom cultures to us, and their micro-grant may prove relevant to fanartists working with new and innovative technology.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about you can submit it in three easy ways: comment on the most recent Link Roundup on transformativeworks.org, LJ, or DW, tag a link with “for:otw_news” on Delicious or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.