Links Roundup for 23 March 2011

We’ve got a bumper crop of recent news items that are of interest to fans — a victory for fair use, a refreshingly positive take on fanworks and popular entertainment, and the reversal of a wrongful takedown.

  • Copyright troll Righthaven achieves spectacular “fair use” loss
    Ars Technica reports that Righthaven, known for their indiscriminate lawsuits on behalf of rights owners, lost a recent case when a federal judge ruled that the reproduction of an entire news article by a non-profit group was fair use. Righthaven follows a business model that relies on scare tactics, skipping over the cease and desist step entirely in favor of the spectre of a potentially costly lawsuit. Their gamble that targets will pay to settle out of court didn’t pay off this time, and may actually and ironically have strengthened fair use in the US.
  • 5 Reasons Pop Culture Is Run by Fan-Fiction puts fanfiction into context, and presents a refreshingly positive spin on the topic, looking at the history, range, and omnipresence of fanworks. Hypocrisy is a theme of the article, as it points out again and again that there’s little that divides many oft-mocked fannish tropes from oft-used (and highly successful) entertainment staples.
  • How I Fought a YouTube Takedown and (Eventually) Won
    When Anita Sarkeesian’s remix video critiquing sexism in video games was removed by YouTube not for copyright violation, but for an unexplained Terms of Service violation, she googled, tweeted, and sought help. The tale of the takedown’s reversal is a heartening example of a victory over wrongful removal of content, but the time, effort, and expert help she needed to overturn the miscategorization of her fanwork as spam is sobering.

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, 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.

A Week in the Life of a Tag Wrangler

Written by Franzeska Dickson

Tag wranglers are our biggest pool of volunteers, with over 100 wranglers around the world working to organise the Archive’s 100,000+ tags. The wranglers put in a varying amount of work, each wrangler deciding for themselves how much time they can dedicate to wrangling. We now profile a week in the life of one of our… more dedicated wranglers…

Monday: Look at all those fandoms without wranglers. How is InuYasha still missing a wrangler?! I’d better do some emergency wrangling before it gets any more out of control. That’s funny: these character names aren’t in Japanese order. Or are they? Maybe the original manga uses names in a weird order. I’d better go look at Wikipedia…

5 hours later:


Tuesday: 20 minutes spent making a google docs spreadsheet of all the Japanese names. 5 minutes spent wrangling all the pairing and character tags now that I’ve decided on a standard format. 5 hours spent catching up on all the Tuesday tv shows. (What’s up with that, US networks? Why is everything on Tuesday?!)

Wednesday: Hey, I know that obscure 19thC novel! I don’t remember this character though. Maybe there’s a copy on Project Gutenberg…

Thursday: Robin Hood doesn’t have a wrangler. That should be easy to wrangle… Huh. There’s a megafandom page on the internal wiki.

Just how many Robin Hood adaptations are there anyway?! And they all spell the names differently! At least the megafandom team has a spreadsheet.

Friday: Characters and pairings seem pretty well under control, but my fandoms are full of freeform tags. Hey, ‘Bob’ isn’t a character in my fandom. Who’s Bob? I wonder if this is on Fanlore

Saturday: Dreamwidth’s content search is awesome! I can search for my name, and my new fandom, and that weird word from word a day that I’m pretty sure no one has actually used in any posts. Look, someone posted about tag wrangling. And they have a question. That I know the answer to!

Sunday: This series isn’t even on Wikipedia. Maybe if I google it, I can find something. Hey, a bunch of the characters are listed on the TV Tropes page…

What do you mean it’s Monday already?!