May, 2009 Newsletter, Vol 29

Join us in celebrating our unofficial 2 year anniversary: our first “fanarchive” LJ post went live on May 20, 2007. WOOT! Find out what your favorite OTW projects and committees are doing: more info right below the cut!

Abuse:

No report.

ADT/Archive:

AD&T has been researching co-location facilities and getting quotes on hardware, which is starting to look excitingly detailed. These are the first steps towards actually buying and owning our own servers! We have also started working on the features we’ll need to go to Open Beta!

We’re currently hard at work on a bunch of projects:

  • Enhancing our invitation system, we’ll need this when we start taking on a lot more users
  • Improving our administration interface
  • Improvements to tag wrangling – we’re working to fix the ‘SGA and SG-1 in the filters’ problem.
  • Adding a FAQ and a posting interface for Release Notes and Bug Updates – this is so we can communicate better
  • …and of course a bunch of smaller bug fixes

We’re also still looking for suggestions on Collections and Challenges. We need as much input as possible so we can build something awesome. Head over to Collections and Challenges. It’s Design Time!, the Livejournal post or the Dreamwidth post and share your ideas. Submissions close on 30th May so please, tell us what you know!

We have a small deploy planned for the weekend of the 30th – this will mostly be bugfixes – details in the next set of Release Notes that get emailed to Beta testers.

The testing team who worked on r1278 were amazing! We re-tested almost the entire Archive (which is now a mammoth task). A big thank you to the dedicated and brave people who volunteered to help right in the middle and were fabulous.

We’ve been training up the lovely new coders who joined us recently, who are making great progress! We’ve spiffed up our training materials and our reward has been lots of enthusiasm and activity – we’ve just seen our first archive code commit from the lovely Amelia, who joined us a few months ago. The new training materials make it even easier to learn to code with the OTW, so if you’ve been pondering joining us, now is a great time to jump right in!

Board:

The Board has approved funding for colocation servers and is working on structuring the OTW’s finances to grow with the ongoing costs of a much bigger Archive. We hope to formally announce a timeline and a series of festivals to celebrate our colocation!

Communications:

Communications is working on several projects; a “for the media” page for the tw.org website, the Open Doors “Fan Culture Preservation Project” press releases, some outreach ideas for Fanlore.

Content Policy:

No report.

Development:

Members of Development will be forming a subcommittee with members of Communications, Web, and some specially recruited volunteers to research OTW merchandise for future drives. Stay tuned!

Documentation:

Documentation has no new news, but continues to document everything it can find.

Elections:

The Elections committee will be running the voting and tabulation for the fall election in-house. We’re working closely with Webmasters now to set up the infrastructure to do just that.

Finance Update:

Fincom closed the books on 2008 with the completion of the 2008 financial statements, which were released in conjunction with the OTW annual report, which is now available on our web site. We’ve filed the organization’s 990 return, and will post that soon to our reports page soon. We’ve also been paying the OTW’s bills and catching up with other OTW committees to finalize the 2009 operating budget.

Journal:

May 15th marked the deadline to submit contributions for the third issue of the TWC academic journal. The TWC team is now busy going through the editorial process; issue three will be out by September 2009.

Legal:

As ever, Legal Committee continues in its role of providing advice and support to other OTW Committees. Recently, we consulted with Content regarding the application of a specific clause in the Terms of Service, and we have advised the Web team and the Board on various glossary and license issues. We also continue to respond to queries from the public as they arise, and have this past month commented on some specific speech and copyright issues referred to us by the membership.

Open Doors:

Open Doors is still working with Webmasters and Communications on our project page, and we’re now workshopping a press release.

Systems:

Systems has been working with the various committee chairs to test the exportation of certain project pages to the zen server.

Tag Wranglers:

The Tag Wranglers continue to be quite busy in the Beta Archive. We’ve brought on new volunteers to help us with a wider variety of fandoms. In the next few months we look forward to the coding of the next generation of behind-the-scenes wrangling tools which will allow us greater flexibility to handle a few of the issues we’ve come against. Meanwhile, the fandoms already wrangled are working well with filters and browse.

Translations:

At the beginning of this month we waved our committee member logovo goodbye (who is probably glad to have her life back :P), and as a parting gift, she recruited her own successor, hele. We give a our gratitude for a wonderful time to logovo, and an excited welcome to hele!

We are working on standardizing the translation process to facilitate the volunteers’ work. The committee is also testing the admin side of the new translation interface, with sights on being able to include translators in the testing soon. The teams continue to work tirelessly on translating the website, and keeping the translated versions of the website up to date (no mean feat!).

Vidding History:

Members of Vidding History and Legal went to DC to on May 7, 2009 to testify at the DMCA Hearings on Noncommercial Remix. Extended coverage of our panel is at our blog post here.

Volunteers:

Volunteers continues to work managing staffers and other personnel as well as maintaining our various corporate home systems and software.

Website:

As part of our Elections subsite project, we’re currently testing software that enables multiple sites to be run from a single Drupal installation and database.

Our fabulous chairperson, Jinjur, will be handing out OTW buttons at Wiscon (May 22-25).

Wiki:

We’ve opened up a Fanlore community on dreamwidth for anyone who wants to get involved with editing the wiki, along with adding a news page to keep everyone updated on the latest changes.

Attention Vidders and Other Fannish Remix Artists

American University’s Center for Social Media and AU’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, in collaboration with Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project, have launched a new video explaining how online video creators can make remixes, mashups, and other common online video genres with the knowledge that they are staying within copyright law.

The video, titled Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend, explains the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (which was worked on by OTW’s very own Rebecca Tushnet). Like the code, the video identifies various kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations. Of particular interest to vidders and fannish remix artists might be: “commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material”, “use for illustration or example”, “use to launch a discussion”, and “recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works.”

United We Stand: Glockgal’s Avatar Zazzle Site Restored

The OTW belatedly joins in celebrating the restoration of Glockgal’s Avatar site on Zazzle. As you may remember, Glockgal’s store was TOSed ostensibly for violating Viacom’s intellectual property rights, even though Glockgal’s items were mostly textual expressions of her critique of the all-white casting of the new live-action Avatar film. Viacom was quick to assert that they support fair use and only take things down when they aren’t creative or political; they also invited Glockgal to submit a DMCA counternotice. The OTW was happy to help Glockgal formulate and direct that counternotice, and we have been so delighted to see people from all around the internet banding together to take a stand against unfair takedowns. This (relatively speedy!) victory is a victory for all of us and proof that banding together and defending our rights works.

The takeaway? If someone is infringing YOUR free speech or fair use rights, SAY SOMETHING. TELL SOMEONE!