Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, Black Panther is setting records as the second-fastest grossing movie of all time (so far). Tell us what you thought of it in the comments!
You may be familiar with Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva from her silver-medal performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, a new article by Den of Geek highlights Medvedeva’s appearance at a past Tokyo event in which she cosplayed as Sailor Moon. In this routine, “Medvedeva reenacted much of the anime’s first episode, complete with props of a cat and transformation from student to superhero. She even visibly sings along to some of the Japanese lyrics from the show’s original opening credits.”
Moreover, the choreography of the skate is largely based on blocking and choreography from the Sailor Moon episode in question. A fanvid also linked in the above article places footage of Medvedeva next to the relevant clips from the anime, demonstrating just how directly the performance parallels the show.
Elsewhere in the Winter Games, figure skating pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have themselves been gaining media attention for the romantic fanfiction that fans have been writing about them. In a feature for The Globe and Mail, one University of Calgary instructor who writes and studies fanfiction, Eden Lackner, describes the Virtue and Moir fandom as “small but significant” and suggests that fanfiction authors are writing not about Virtue and Moir as people, but about their “public personas.”
Fans, meanwhile, have been using social media to express just what they think of the skaters’ onscreen personas:
#VirtueMoir just skated. Winter Olympics are over. They melted all of the ice. Everyone is pregnant. We're all Canadian now.
— Earpnado (Liz) (@earpnado) February 20, 2018
In a new development with potentially far-reaching consequences, a federal judge has ruled that embedding an image from a separate website into a news publication constitutes copyright infringement. According to a statement by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the case began when photographer Justin Goldman sued several online publications for embedding into news articles a link to a tweet containing a photograph that Goldman took. The ruling disregards the “server test,” a precedent established in 2007 that “copyright liability rests with the entity that hosts the infringing content—not someone who simply links to it,” a principle which the EFF calls “a foundation of the modern Internet.”
Slate explains that exceptions to copyright law such as “fair use for news reporting” have previously protected news publishers from liability when embedding content. Moreover, the article claims that the server test serves a “positive social purpose” by protecting websites from unexpected liability for embedded content of which they do not have knowledge:
Online advertisements, for example, are generally done through embedding, and the website operator often does not prescreen the ads. An embedded Facebook post can incorporate comments added after the fact. Even embedded tweets can end up including unexpected photos or text if the tweet contains a link to an article. In all these circumstances, the “knowledge” aspect of secondary copyright infringement protects websites that might otherwise unexpectedly find themselves copyright infringers due to the acts of others.
The Fashion Law calls the decision “chilling” and compares it to a lawsuit between Playboy and BoingBoing. In this ongoing case, Playboy sued BoingBoing, not for directly hosting copyrighted Playboy content, but for publishing an online article which contained links pointing to third-party websites with hosted Playboy images.
Finally, an article in Uproxx explores how musicians have used their popularity to introduce fans to the artists who influenced them. The author proposes that bands like Pearl Jam “reward obsessive fandom” for seeking out rare recordings, bootlegs, and performances with exposure to other artists through covers and references to their music. Comparing the music fandoms of previous generations to contemporary ones like Taylor Swift and Kanye West, the piece suggests, “It might not be coincidental that the artists that inspire some of the most impassioned, unwavering fandom are the ones willing to challenge those same fans, and offer rewards for digging deeper.”
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