This Week in Fandom, Volume 103

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, the the 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced. What are your predictions for who will win?

It’s been over a month since the Tumblr Purge, and the long-term effects are starting become apparent. The Mary Sue published an article examining the effects the purge has had on fandom specifically. The article states that there appears to have been a decrease in activity on the site.

What’s clear is that there’s been a fractious exit from Tumblr, with those who have left scattering to distant corners and no one clear alternate platform able to replace what Tumblr had been.

Tumblr isn’t totally dead, of course. Many people have remained, but from my perspective, there’s been a noticeable slowdown in activity.

The comments on the post largely agree. User Ashen says “For me Tumblr has basically been stripped of what drew me to it; the community of artists and fans of series I love.” User Jenny Islander says the purge has wrongly affected one of their favourite Egyptology blogs, which contributed to them using Tumblr less. Overall, it looks like things aren’t going well for Tumblr, and the future is uncertain.

In other news, author EL James is publishing a new book, according to ET Canada. The book, titled The Mister, is a “Cinderella story for the 21st century,” and continues in James’ genre of erotic romance.

While the ET Canada article is fairly neutral in tone, acknowledging only that James is “somewhat controversial,” some other websites have been taking sides. The Onion published a satirical article claiming that the book started out as Tiny Toons fanfiction. (Btw, Tiny Toons fanfiction is totally a thing that exists.) Website The Blemish also published an article critiquing the book’s unoriginal formula.

Perhaps surprisingly, the website with the most consistent positive response to this news has been Twitter. Snarky reactions to this news have been thin on the ground on Twitter, with most people expressing excitement instead. What do you think? Will you be reading this new book? Let us know in the comments!

There’s an interesting story in the world of copyright this week. According to Techdirt, a copyright issue regarding a Star Wars fan film has been resolved by the intervention of Lucasfilm.

The tl;dr of the situation is that Toos, a Star Wars fan with a YouTube channel, contacted Lucasfilm about making a fan film. Lucasfilm laid out some rules and gave Toos their blessing. Toos followed the rules, including the one that forbade monetizing the film. Disney then stepped in and claimed copyright of the video due to an original arrangement of The Imperial March, then put their own monetization on the video. Lucasfilm contacted Disney and asked them to release the copyright claim, which they did.

This situation doesn’t set any kind of precedent, but it is an interesting turn of events, given Lucasfilm’s history of fan-unfriendly copyright enforcement.

Lastly, something you may have seen on our Facebook page recently: UCI News recently published that a study found that Harry Potter fanfiction used autistic characters in ways that challenge stereotypes.

The researchers found that fan authors weave either Harry Potter characters or created characters into the storyline to provide alternative perspectives on disability and difference. The characters and plotlines generally highlight personal experiences, such as reactions to initial autism diagnoses, or illuminate the use of various behaviors to cope with autism-related sensory overload, social anxiety and difficulty with personal interactions.

This Week in Fandom

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