Spotlight on Legal Issues

(Updated) German Copyright Law: Action Needed!

Of special interest to German fans, as well as other fans in the EU.

Germany is working on implementing Article 17, which makes significant changes in European copyright law. This has created an exciting opportunity to clarify that fan fiction is legal under German copyright law.

The German government has sent a draft bill to the two houses of Parliament. The final vote is planned for the beginning of May. The government proposal makes clear that nonprofit websites like the Archive of Our Own should not be required to get licenses from copyright owners, as commercial websites like Facebook and YouTube will have to do. The draft bill also proposes to explicitly legalize fan fiction, fan art, and many other transformative works, as part of the EU exception for “caricature, parody and pastiche”. Read More

Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things Casey Fiesler Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. As part of our celebration of Copyright Week, today’s post is with Casey Fiesler, who volunteers in our Legal Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I am part of the OTW Legal Committee. We provide guidance for other parts of the OTW when legal issues come up, provide information for fans when they have questions, and do advocacy work to give a policy voice for the interests of fan creators. This last part especially I think is critical to the mission of OTW, which has always been to serve the interests of fans, and copyright-related advocacy is a huge part of that.

As it says in our vision statement, “We envision a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal and transformative and are accepted as a legitimate creative activity.” I’d love to help us get there! For example, when I first joined the team in 2009 (!) as I was finishing up at law school, I helped with the very first DMCA exemption for noncommercial remix videos. We often partner with organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but I think it’s wonderful to be able to advocate for the specific interests of fan creators.

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Spotlight on Legal Issues

U.S. Copyright News, OTW Legal, and You

Since we began in 2007, the Organization for Transformative Works’ core mission has included working to promote fan-friendly copyright law. For years, we’ve submitted testimony and comments to governments, filed briefs in court, and helped mobilize fans to have their voices heard by lawmakers around the world. Recently, one of our big legal advocacy projects has been testifying and submitting comments to the U.S. Senate about the way U.S. Copyright works online under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis has released proposed legislation that would be bad for the AO3 and bad for fans. OTW Legal will fight for fans against this proposal, and you can help.

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