Annual Report 2015

Annual Report 2015

Table of Contents

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PROJECTS

  • Archive of Our Own
  • Fanlore
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Open Doors
  • Transformative Works and Cultures
  • Fundraising and Outreach
  • Communication and Public Relations
  • People and Planning

TIMELINE 2015

CONTINUING TO SERVE FANS: Stepping Stones for 2016

FINANCES

  • Balance Sheet
  • Profit and Loss
  • Notes to Financial Statements

THE OTW / MISSION, VISION, VALUES

  • Our Mission
  • Our Vision
  • Values

ABOUT THE OTW / WHO WE ARE

  • Board of Directors
  • Emerita Board Members
  • Committees
  • Workgroups

LETTER FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dear OTW donors, supporters, and volunteers,

2015 has been a year of many challenges and victories for our organization. We celebrated some incredible milestones together while carrying out our mission to protect the interests of fans and to preserve and provide access to fanworks and fan cultures.

  • Our Legal team participated in numerous petitions, comments and amicus briefs around the world in defense of copyright fair use, workable Internet policies, and freedom of expression, while also helping fans to understand their rights better and answering questions related to copyright and other topics.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures published three new issues in 2015, celebrating in September the release of its 20th issue, whose topics ranged from Japanese fan comics to Lady Gaga.
  • The Archive of Our Own passed 2 million works and 750,000 users, and its pageviews have increased from 84.6 million in the first week of 2015 to 119 million in the first week of 2016, showing the impressive growth of our userbase.
  • Open Doors imported five at-risk archives in full, and worked to improve and automate the importing process.
  • Fanlore passed the 600,000-edit and 35,000-article mark, and keeps growing steadily, with a community of dedicated editors.All these accomplishments show how much our volunteers can do with your support and generosity. We have once again raised a record amount in donations, and we hope to put it to good use in the coming year to serve fans and fandom.

We faced some internal challenges in 2015, which led to to our board of directors turning over at the end of the year. Facing those issues and planning for the future has brought us together as a stronger and more united organization that is better prepared to deal with the challenges ahead.

The 2016 Board welcomes these changes and is confident and hopeful for this year and all the milestones yet to come.

With sincere thanks and best wishes,

The 2016 Board of Directors.

Matty Bowers
Aline Carrão
Atiya Hakeem
Katarina Harju
Alex Tischer

PROJECTS

Now in its 8th year, the Organization for Transformative Works is seeing changes in terms of user support and word-of-mouth publicity, as well as a marked increase in contributions from fans to its projects.

ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN

The Archive of Our Own (AO3) continued to experience significant growth in 2015. AO3 reached 2 million fanworks on the 20th of December, doubling its size in a little less than two years. (The one million mark was reached in February 2014.) Visitors (by IP address) increased from 7.7 million in January 2015 to 8.7 million in December, and average weekly pageviews increased from 79.75 million in January to 106.4 million in December. The Archive gained about 260 thousand registered users by October 2015 and continues to grow.

At the start of the year, the Abuse Committee, with input from Accessibility, Design, & Technology Committee (AD&T), suspended the issuing of invitations from the automated queue in order to prevent spammers from creating new accounts. The Archive had been experiencing stability issues related to spam bots either posting advertisements as works and comments, or downloading works in bulk. This issue was resolved with assistance from the Abuse, Support, and Systems Committees. The invite queue was reactivated following a February deploy to prevent the situation from recurring. Site performance was generally consistent thereafter. Planned downtime took place in March while the Systems Committee completed a server relocation for the AO3 and Fanlore servers. Systems ordered new servers in June.

AD&T made 45 deployments, including bug fixes, performance work, and maintenance in 2015, debuting a new homepage featuring the option to favorite tags in February, upgrading AO3’s programming language from Ruby 1.9.3 to Ruby 2.0 in June, and introducing comment moderation in November. Additional deploys included bug fixes and other invisible performance upgrades, new tools for the Abuse and Translation Committees, changes to work filters, an upgrade to the Rich Text Editor, and the ability to refuse gifted works.

In April, AD&T worked with the Legal, Communications, and Translation Committees to respond to a situation where the website ebooks-tree.com was linking to downloads of AO3 works as part of its own library. Systems blocked the website’s access to AO3’s servers. Later, in July, the Communications and Legal Committees worked with AD&T to clarify that a third-party Google Play app for AO3 was not affiliated with the OTW.

The Abuse Committee handled over 4,500 tickets throughout the year regarding potential Terms of Service violations, and the Support Committee handled 8,328 tickets covering a wide range of bugs, suggestions, and communications with other committees.

The Tag Wrangling Committee made major structural changes to encourage volunteer engagement, reduce burnout caused by the dramatic increase in tagging over the past two years, and keep up with their ever-increasing workload. These included social changes to help more new wranglers finish training and more experienced wranglers stay with the committee longer. As a result of structural changes, several wrangling guidelines were updated in 2015 and hundreds of fandoms that were behind on wrangling because they were not assigned to anyone have been updated.

FANLORE

Fanlore experienced planned downtime in March due to Systems’ relocation of the site’s servers. The site functioned well for the rest of the year. Also in March, the Wiki Committee was approached by the United States Library of Congress for permission to preserve Fanlore as a part of their American Folklife Center’s ongoing digital culture web archiving project.

The Communications Committee liaisons to AD&T and Wiki created and distributed tweets and posts for April Showers, the OTW’s annual event to encourage posting forgotten works and refreshing neglected wiki entries. Wiki and Communications also worked together for June Bloom, an event encouraging users to add new entries to Fanlore, and Stub September, which promotes the expansion of Fanlore stubs into full articles.

LEGAL ADVOCACY

The Legal Committee worked proactively to protect the rights of fanwork creators and consumers.

Since 2009, Legal has worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to protect and expand exemptions to the anticircumvention provisions of the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In February of 2015, Legal and the EFF filed reply comments to the U.S. Copyright Office refuting the claim that fan video makers should not be allowed to utilize high quality source material. Legal filed further comments in May and argued at hearings in support of the renewal and expansion of the vidding exemption to the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions. The Copyright Office had follow-up questions about the OTW’s position, which Legal answered with input from the Fan Video & Multimedia Committee. Finally, in October, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that it would be renewing and expanding the vidders’ exemption as we had argued.

Legal filed several amicus briefs in defense of fair use and freedom of expression. In the case of Lenz v. Universal, OTW Legal, together with the EFF, asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strengthen its holding that “[f]air use is not just excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law” and that copyright holders must consider fair use before issuing a DMCA takedown notice. OTW and EFF argued that the court set the standard too low when it required copyright owners sending DMCA takedown notices to have only a “subjective good faith belief” that the work in question infringes copyright and does not constitute fair use. In in the case of Davis v. Electronic Arts, OTW Legal joined the EFF and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in asking first the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and then the U.S. Supreme Court, to settle a disagreement among U.S. courts about when the First Amendment protects people’s free speech rights to use someone’s name, likeness, or identity without violating their rights of publicity.

Legal partnered with Public Knowledge in October to file a comment with the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in response to that agency’s request for comments on its plan for intellectual property enforcement. In March, Legal joined with a number of organizations, academics, and legal professionals in sending a letter to the United States Congress regarding the importance of “a balanced copyright system [that] benefits creators, users and innovators” and encourages free expression.

Over the year, Legal also submitted comments to the South African government in response to the government’s call for comments regarding possible copyright law reforms, urging South Africa to adopt a fair use standard; and to the European Commission in in response to their request for comments regarding online platforms, online intermediaries, and cloud computing, emphasizing the dangers of regulating based on the false assumption that all online platforms and intermediaries are large commercial entities.

A representative from Legal attended a U.S. Department of Commerce public meeting on facilitating the development of the online licensing environment for copyrighted works. Legal also continued its participation in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Multistakeholder Working Group regarding the operation of the notice and takedown system under the DMCA, which collectively generated a “List of Good, Bad and Situational Practices” that the USPTO and NTIA released in April.

Legal worked with Communications to publish several informational posts, educating fans about the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty and about fair use for Fair Use Week, addressing Tumblr takedowns, discussing ebooks-tree.com’s linking to downloads of AO3 works, and clarifying that a third-party Google Play app for AO3 was not affiliated with the OTW. Later, the committee worked with the maker of the Google Play app to change the logo of the widget and make it clear that it is unauthorized and unrelated to the OTW. Committee staff also participated in a panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July, entitled “Fandom is my Fandom.”

The Legal Committee led the OTW into a number of partnerships this year. Thanks to their hard work, we are now affiliated with the Harry Potter Alliance’s Fanworks Are Fair Use project, the Re:Create Coalition and the Save the Link Project. As a result, we were able to promote the Save the Link Coalitions Internet Voice Tool for collecting feedback for the European Commission regarding proposed European copyright legislation. Legal’s partnership with the Re:Create Coalition led to the joint proposal of two panels for the 2016 South by Southwest conference.

Finally, Legal worked with fan group Whedonopolis to ensure that their use of “fandom” in a registered trademark does not bar others from using the term to identify other projects, goods or services.

In the year 2015, none of the OTW’s services have received requests for information under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

The Archive of Our Own has a notice-and-takedown policy under 17 U.S. Code section 512, posted at http://archiveofourown.org/dmca. In 2015, the Archive received no takedown requests that complied with this policy regarding works hosted on its servers.

OPEN DOORS

In 2015, the Open Doors Committee adopted a new import tool created by the AD&T Committee that significantly reduced import times for large archives. It was used to import two archives that year: the Henneth Annûn Story Archive (HASA), a Tolkien archive with 5,340 works imported; and Wolf and Hound, a Remus Lupin/Sirius Black ship archive with 800 works imported.

Open Doors announced and began six other archive imports to the AO3 in 2015: Monaboyd.net, a Lord of the Rings RPF archive; Table for Three, a Hermione Granger/Harry Potter/Ron Weasley ship archive; the Hermit Library, a Blake’s 7 archive; Seamus/Dean Forever, a Seamus Finnigan/Dean Thomas ship archive; WesleyFanfiction.net, a Wesley Wyndam-Pryce-centric archive; and Innocent Lies, an Alexis Denisof archive. Of these, Table for Three, the Hermit Library, and Seamus/Dean Forever were completed in 2015, along with the previously announced Chains: The Powerfic Archive, for a rough total of 6,700 works imported in 2015.

Through the Fan Culture Preservation Project partnership with the University of Iowa, Open Doors facilitated five fan donations, resulting in approximately twelve boxes of zines donated, and one estate gift.

Open Doors also revised its Terms of Service in March 2015.

TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS AND CULTURES

As in past years, the Journal Committee promoted and provided access to scholarship on fanworks and practices with one unthemed issue and two special issues of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) in 2015. Issue 18, Performance and performativity in fandom, was guest edited by Lucy Bennett (Cardiff University) and Paul J. Booth (DePaul University). Issue 19, Transnationalism, localization, and translation in European fandom, was guest edited by Anne Kustritz (University of Amsterdam).

The journal’s unthemed 20th issue was publicized by the Communications Committee and celebrated with a public chat. The issue included pieces on bronies (Anne Gilbert), fans of the Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Andrew Ryan Rico), and the use of African American cultural studies in fan studies (Rebecca Wanzo). Symposium essay topics included creative winter fashions made in in a Nunavik village in Quebec (Jasmin Aurora Stoffer).

In May, Journal received approval from the Board to create a press for book-length Open Access Gold works. The Press project will fill an important niche by providing an Open Access platform for publication of relevant works in transformative and fan studies for grant recipients whose grant includes the requirement for publishing in such a venue–an increasingly common requirement in the digital humanities that remains underserved. As with Journal, Press will couple open source software with rigorous peer review and timely publication that permits embedding of color images, audio, and video.

FUNDRAISING AND OUTREACH

The Development & Membership Committee held successful drives in 2015, with both the April and October drives raising over US$100,000. The October membership drive raised over US$170,000.

Development & Membership worked with the Translation and Communications Committees on both annual drives to promote content and raise awareness. Development & Membership drafted themed posts for each day of the drives and responded to questions from donors and interested parties.

In April, Development & Membership completed a migration of their CiviCRM software to CiviDesk, and the committee opened an account with an alternative to Paypal in September.

COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

The Communications Committee (Comms) published 217 posts in the 2015 term, drafting 144 and assisting with an additional 73.

All of Communications’ active social media accounts gained followers over the year, with both Twitter and Tumblr showing gains of over 1,000 followers. The OTW’s Google+ account was retired in August due to changes to the platform that further limited the medium’s already-negligible audience. Communications took steps to better reach and respond to the OTW’s international audience on social media and completed the setup of a Sina Weibo account by the year’s end.

On the 15th of February, Communications celebrated the first annual International Fanworks Day (IFD). The event was announced by the Communications Committee in February 2014 in response to a month of milestones from AO3, Fanlore and TWC. The Translation Committee translated several posts, comments, and correspondences for the holiday. Events for IFD included #IFDrabble, a short fanwork challenge around the theme of how the characters from your favorite fandom express their own fannish interests; a feedback fest encouraging AO3 users to comment with links to fanworks they have commented on; and a panel chat with fan/professional authors and moderated by former OTW Board member Francesca Coppa.

Translation split its Portuguese team into separate Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese teams in 2015 and added teams for Japanese, Croatian, Marathi, Slovenian, Greek, and Norwegian. The committee translated posts for the Communications Committee as well as posts for Open Doors, Legal, AD&T and more, , and provided content for the April and October drives in 17 languages.

PEOPLE AND PLANNING

The Volunteers & Recruiting Committee recruited for 32 roles throughout the year, processing 640 applications and completing 458 inductions. The committee began decommissioning the Fanhackers Committee in December.

In November, the Board of Directors approved the Strategic Planning Committee’s 2016–2019 strategic plan, which outlined goals for the OTW. The current Board and Strategic Planning are in the process of reviewing and adapting the plan to meet the highest priority needs of the OTW.

The Elections Committee worked to connect directly with potential voters, launching an official Twitter account and implementing online chats with the public. In September, Elections announced eight candidates for the two seats to be filled by the 2015 OTW Board elections. Elections published candidate biographies, manifestos, and Q&A responses, and held public chats with candidates to help voters make an informed decision. In November, Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem were elected to the Board and scheduled to take office at the start of December.

2015 Board members Eylul Dogruel, Soledad Griffin, Andrea Horbinski, M.J. MacRae, Cat Meier, and Jessica Steiner resigned their seats at the start of December. Election candidates Aline Carrão, Katarina Harju, and Alex Tischer were appointed to the Board before the year’s end.

TIMELINE 2015

January

  • Abuse received 360 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had two releases in two deploys (0.9.40 – 0.9.41).
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology worked with Abuse, Support, and Systems on solutions to spam bot comments and downloads.
  • Open Doors announced the import of the Henneth Annûn Story Archive (HASA), a Tolkien archive, to AO3.
  • Support received 784 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling launched a virtual wrangling merit badge program to acknowledge volunteer achievements.
  • Translation added a new team for Danish.
  • Wiki successfully completed a server move.

February

  • Abuse received over 350 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had four releases in four deploys (0.9.46 – 0.9.49), which addressed recent spam issues.
  • AO3 debuted a new homepage and Favorite Tags feature, and the invitation queue was re-enabled.
  • AO3 reached 17.5 million kudos.
  • Communications worked with Translation to host celebrations for the first annual International Fanworks Day. These celebrations included Feedback Fest, the #IFDrabble fanworks challenge, a public chat, and guest posts.
  • Legal submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in support of their Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption petition.
  • Legal worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to file an amicus brief seeking rehearing in the case of Davis v. Electronic Arts.
  • Legal worked with Communications to publish two informational posts for Fair Use Week.
  • Open Doors announced the import of the Monaboyd.net, a Lord of the Rings RPF archive, and Table for Three, a Harry Potter archive, to AO3.
  • Support received 736 tickets.
  • Translation split its Portuguese team into separate Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese teams.

March

  • Abuse received over 450 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had two releases in three deploys (0.9.51 – 0.9.53), which addressed bugs and background changes in preparation for future upgrades.
  • Journal released issue 18, ‘Performance and Performativity in Fandom,’ guest edited by Lucy Bennett (Cardiff University) and Paul J. Booth (DePaul University).
  • Legal worked with Communications to publish an informational post about Tumblr takedowns.
  • The OTW purchased the domain name fandom.org.
  • Open Doors updated their Terms of Service.
  • Support received 696 tickets.
  • Systems completed a server relocation for the Fanlore and AO3 servers.
  • Translation added a new team for Kiswahili.

April

  • Abuse received over 350 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had three releases in three deploys (Releases 0.9.55 – 0.9.57), which addressed bugs.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology worked with Legal, Communications, and Translation to respond to a situation where the website ebooks-tree.com was linking to downloads of AO3 works as part of its own library. The website’s access to AO3’s servers was blocked.
  • AO3 Documentation published two AO3 FAQs.
  • Communications’ liaisons to Accessibility, Design & Technology and Wiki created and distributed tweets and posts for April Showers.
  • Communications implemented a formal spam policy for its new outlets.
  • Development & Membership completed a migration of their CiviCRM software to CiviDesk.
  • Elections hosted its first public chat.
  • Elections launched its Twitter account.
  • A representative from Legal attended a U.S. Department of Commerce public meeting on facilitating the development of the online licensing environment for copyrighted works.
  • Open Doors implemented a new import tool.
  • Support received 741 tickets.

May

  • Abuse received over 320 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had five releases in five deploys (0.9.58 – 0.9.62), which addressed bugs, work filters and groundwork for translating archive templates.
  • AO3 Documentation published two AO3 FAQs.
  • Development & Membership raised over US$104,000 in the May membership drive.
  • Journal received approval from the Board to create a press for monograph-length Open Access Gold works.
  • Legal filed submissions to the U.S. Copyright Office and argued at hearings in support of the vidders’ exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Wiki was approached by the United States Library of Congress for permission to preserve Fanlore as a part of their American Folklife Center’s ongoing digital culture web archiving project.
  • Support received 766 tickets.

June

  • Abuse received 420 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had one release in one deploy (0.9.63), which addressed bugs.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology upgraded AO3’s programming language from Ruby 1.9.3 to Ruby 2.0.
  • AO3 Documentation was changed from a workgroup to a committee.
  • Communications published the OTW’s Annual Report for 2014.
  • Elections ran a mock election to determine the viability of a potential software.
  • Journal released isssue 19, ‘Transnationalism, Localization, and Translation in European Fandom,’ guest edited by Anne Kustritz (University of Amsterdam).
  • Legal worked with Fan Video & Multimedia to submit a written response to the Copyright Office’s follow-up questions about their May submission on the renewal and expansion of the vidding exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions.
  • Legal worked with fan group Whedonopolis to ensure that their use of “fandom” in a registered trademark does not bar others from using the term to identify other projects, goods or services.
  • Support received 631 tickets.
  • Systems ordered new servers for AO3.
  • Wiki and Communications created posts and held a public editing party for June Bloom.

July

  • Abuse received over 300 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had four releases in four deploys (Releases 0.9.65 – 0.9.69), which addressed bugs.
  • AO3 Documentation published two AO3 FAQs and one tutorial.
  • Communications worked with Accessibility, Design & Technology and Legal to clarify that a third-party Google Play app for AO3 was not affiliated with the OTW.
  • Elections published its confidentiality policy.
  • Legal began a partnership with the Harry Potter Alliance’s Fanworks Are Fair Use project.
  • Legal led the OTW in joining the Re:Create Coalition and the Save the Link Project.
  • Legal personnel participated in a panel at San Diego Comicon called “Fandom is my Fandom.”
  • Legal worked with Fan Video & Multimedia to file a follow-up submission to respond to the Copyright Office’s follow-up questions about their May submission on the renewal and expansion of the vidding exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions.
  • Open Doors announced the import of The Hermit’s Library, a Blake’s 7 archive, to AO3.
  • Support received 720 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling rewrote and restarted its guideline update discussion process.
  • Tag Wrangling Staff created and published a Confidentiality Policy for their team.
  • Tag Wranglers began a monthly event called Drop Day, to encourage wranglers who are overworked to offer fandoms to wranglers with less work to do.
  • Translation added new teams for Marathi, Croatian, Slovenian, Japanese, and Vietnamese

August

  • Abuse received over 500 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology migrated from Google Code to JIRA.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had three releases in seven deploys (0.9.70 – 0.9.76), which addressed comment IP addresses, improvements to the Fannish Next of Kin interface, behind-the-scenes improvements, and bugs.
  • AO3 celebrated its first day with over 15 million page views.
  • Communications published an informational post about the unfeasibility of the OTW creating an official AO3 mobile app.
  • Legal partnered with the Re:Create Coalition to propose two panels for the 2016 South by Southwest conference.
  • Open Doors announced the import of Seamus/Dean Forever, a Harry Potter archive, to AO3.
  • Support received 679 tickets.
  • Translation added new teams for Marathi, Norwegian, Greek and Slovenian.

September

  • Abuse received over 300 tickets.
  • The OTW celebrated its eighth anniversary.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had seven releases in seven deploys (0.9.77 – 0.9.83), which addressed tools for Abuse and other miscellaneous items.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology announced upcoming comment moderation for AO3.
  • AO3 Documentation update the About FAQ.
  • Communications worked with Journal to hold events celebrating Transformative Works and Cultures’ 20th issue, including a public chat and two spotlight posts.
  • Development & Membership opened an account with an alternative to Paypal.
  • Elections announced eight candidates for the 2015 elections and posted their biographies and manifestos.
  • Candidate Nikisha Sanders was removed from the election ballot by direction of the Board. Candidate Dan Lamson withdrew his candidacy.
  • Journal published the 20th issue of Transformative Works and Cultures.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling in the case of Lenz v. Universal, agreeing with the OTW and its allies that “[f]air use is not just excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law.”
  • Legal submitted a comment to the South African government in response to the government’s call for comments regarding possible copyright law reforms, urging South Africa to adopt a fair use standard.
  • Legal worked with the maker of an unauthorized Android widget to change the logo of the widget and make it clear that it is unauthorized and unrelated to the OTW.
  • Support received 638 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling created a new project to improve the wrangling of unassigned fandoms. Over the rest of the year, the project resulted in hundreds of unassigned fandoms being wrangled or updated to meet current wrangling guidelines.
  • Translation added new teams for Greek and Norwegian.
  • Wiki published posts and tweets for Stub September.

October

  • Abuse received over 450 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had three releases in three deploys (0.9.84 – 0.9.86), which addressed tools for Abuse and other miscellaneous items.
  • Board held its annual retreat, with representatives from several committees also attending.
  • Board addressed user inquiries and criticisms regarding budgeting practices.
  • Development & Membership raised over US$170,000 in the October membership drive.
  • Elections published candidate Q&A responses and held five public chat with candidates.
  • The U.S. Copyright Office announced its renewal and expansion of the vidders’ exemption to section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which OTW Legal proposed and argued for in partnership with The Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • Legal partnered with Public Knowledge in filing a comment with the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget in response to that agency’s request for comments on its plan for intellectual property enforcement.
  • Strategic Planning received Board approval for its 2016-19 Strategic Plan and Implementation Support Plan.
  • Support received 650 tickets.
  • Tag Wrangling overhauled its recruitment process to include an assessment and a smaller group of new wranglers.
  • Volunteers & Recruiting sent out its annual Still Willing to Serve survey to all OTW personnel.

November

  • Abuse received over 400 tickets.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had six releases in seven deploys (0.9.87 – 0.9.93), which debuted comment moderation and adressed other miscellaneous items.
  • Elections ran the 2015 Board of Directors election. New Directors-Elect Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem were scheduled to take office December 1, 2015.
  • Board members Andrea Horbinski, Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae announced their resignations effective December 15, 2015.
  • Elections published statistics for the 2015 election.
  • Legal promoted the Save the Link Coalition’s Internet Voice Tool for collecting feedback for the European Commission regarding proposed European copyright legislation.
  • Legal filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strengthen its holding in the case of Lenz v. Universal that copyright holders must consider fair use before issuing a DMCA takedown notice.
  • Legal partnered with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to settle a disagreement among U.S. courts about when the First Amendment protects people’s free speech rights to use someone’s name, likeness, or identity without violating their rights of publicity.
  • Open Doors announced the import of the Wolf and Hound, a Harry Potter archive, to AO3.
  • Strategic Planning published its 2016-19 Strategic Plan.
  • Support received 579 tickets.

December

  • Abuse received 350 tickets, ending 2015 with a total of 4550.
  • Accessibility, Design & Technology had three releases in six deploys (0.9.94 – 0.9.99), which included an upgrade of the Rich Text Editor, the ability to refuse gifted fanworks, and several invisible performance improvements.
  • AO3 celebrated its 2 millionth posted fanwork and its 20,000th canonized fandom.
    vBoard appointed the top three runner-up candidates in the November elections, Alex Tischer, Katarina Harju and Aline Carrão, to fill the Board seats left vacant by Jessica Steiner, Margaret J MacRae and Soledad Griffin’s resignations for the remaining two years of their terms, effective immediately.
  • Content Policy made small changes to the AO3 Terms of Service and associated FAQ to clarify the privacy policy and the orphaning policy.
  • Fanhackers was restructured, dissolving the committee. The Fanhackers blog became the purview of Communications, and the Fan Studies Bibliography became the purview of Journal.
  • Legal submitted a comment in response to the European Commission’s request for comments regarding online platforms, online intermediaries, and cloud computing, emphasizing the dangers of regulating based on the false assumption that all online platforms and intermediaries are large commercial entities.
  • Support received 708 tickets, ending 2015 with a total of 8328.
  • Open Doors announced the import of WesleyFanfiction.net, a Buffyverse archive, and Innocent Lies, an Alexis Denisof archive, to AO3.
  • Tag Wrangling formalized a new process to allow wranglers to announce significant changes to how tags in their fandoms are being wrangled.
  • Tag Wrangling canonized AO3’s 20,000th fandom.

CONTINUING TO SERVE FANS: Stepping Stones for 2016

In addition to continuing to perform our mission through our projects and teams, the main priorities for the OTW for the coming year will be reviewing and streamlining our internal setup and improving our web presence so that our achievements, structure, and work will be more visible and transparent.

We are planning to work on these areas in particular:

  • A better structure for financial organization and management, creating procedures following best practices for bookkeeping, account handling and financial reporting to our internal and external stakeholders
  • A review of our elections process and bylaws to guarantee impartiality and clarity in future elections
  • An overhaul of the OTW’s web presence, starting with the move of the main website to its new home
  • Support and a better structure for all OTW projects to help them grow and achieve their goals

Looking towards the future, we’re working closely with project committees to help them improve their workflows and establish what their needs and goals are moving forward. We’re also aiming to instate an advisory board for the OTW further down the line, and to reassess what the best operational structure is to keep the OTW and our projects growing.

FINANCES

Organization for Transformative Works
STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION
For the Year Ended December 31, 2015

BALANCE SHEET

Total

As of Dec 31 2015 As of Dec 31 2014 (PY)
ASSETS
  Current Assets
    Bank Accounts
      Checking 412,182.38 278,433.34
      Paypal 12,673.46 12,671.34
      Paypal 2 1,377.39  11,300.51
    Total Bank Accounts $426,233.23 302,405.19
    Accounts Receivable
      Accounts Receivable 0.00 0.00
    Total Accounts Receivable 0.00 0.00
    Other Current Assets
      Credit Card Receivables 5,184.76
      Other Current Assets 300.00 300.00
      Uncategorized Asset 106.00
    Total Other Current Assets $5,590.76 $300.00
  Total Current Assets $431,823.99 $302,705.19
  Fixed Assets
    Machinery and Equipment 198,978.89 127,804.54
      Depreciation 3,791.68 3,791.68
    Total Machinery and Equipment $202,770.57 $131,596.22
  Total Fixed Assets $202,770.57 $131,596.22
  Other Assets
    Other Long–Term Assets 10,088.92 10,081.82
  Total Other Assets $10,088.92 $10,081.82
TOTAL ASSETS $644,683.48 $444,383.23
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
  Liabilities
  Current Liabilities
    Accounts Payable
      Accounts Payable (A/P) 1,889.14
    Total Accounts Payable $1,889.14 $0.00
    Total Current Liabilities $1,889.14 $0.00
  Total Liabilities  $1,889.14  $0.00
  Equity
    Opening Balance Equity 0.00 0.00
    Retained Earnings 444,383.23 252,849.66
    Net Income 198,411.11 191,533.57
  Total Equity $642,794.34 $444,383.23
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY $644,683.48 $444,383.23

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

PROFIT AND LOSS

Total

Jan – Dec 2015 Jan – Dec 2014 (PY)
Income
  Non Profit Income 348,457.92 298,543.92
Total Income $348,457.92 $298,543.92
Expenses
  ADT Expenses 99  4,721.35
  Bank Charges 1,247.49 520.00
  Finance Costs 12,876.83 1247.49
  Fundraising  13,741.11 16,884.77
  Insurance  5,312.25 2,433.24
  Office/General Administrative Expenses  2,161.06 9,577.35
  Project Management 7,280.90 6,965.27
  Systems Expenses 81,526.63 47,377.66
  Taxes & Licenses  60.00 60.00
  Travel  18,758.27 18,355.21
  Travel Meals 3,344.14 160.68
  Unapplied Cash Bill Payment Expenses  1,793.48
Total Expenses  $148,201.16 $107,043.53
Net Operating Income  200,256.76 191,500.39
Other Income
  Interest Earned  7.10 18.18
Total Other Income $7.10 $18.18
Other Expenses
  Reconciliation Discrepancies  1,852.75 -15.00
Total Other Expenses $1,852.75 $-15.00
Net Other Income 1,845.65 33.18
Net Income $198,411.11 $191,533.57

All currency amounts are presented in USD.

NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
December 31, 2015
Organization and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Organization: The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware. The OTW was established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. The OTW is a collaborative effort initiated and driven by fans for fans.

Basis of Presentation: The accompanying financial statements are presented using a modified cash method of accounting.

Financial Statement Presentation: Information regarding the financial position and activities are classified into the applicable classes of net assets: unrestricted net assets, temporarily restricted net assets, and permanently restricted net assets. Currently, all assets are categorized as unrestricted. Additionally, expenses are classified into program service expenses and support expenses.

Cash and cash equivalents: The OTW maintains cash balances within federally insured limits. No cash equivalents are held by the organization.

Use of Estimates: The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Contributions: The OTW recognizes all unconditional contributions received as income in the period received. Contributions received are recorded as unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted support depending on the existence and/or nature of any donor restrictions. All contributions are considered to be available for unrestricted use unless specifically restricted by the donor.

Donated Services: The OTW does not assign a value to volunteer activities in the statement of activities.

Membership Dues: Membership dues are recognized as revenue based on the membership period covered by the member dues.

Functional Allocation of Expenses: The costs of providing the various programs and other activities of the organization have been summarized on a functional basis in the statement of activities. Accordingly, certain costs may have been allocated among the programs and supporting services benefited.

Income Taxes: The OTW is a 501c3 organization exempt from Federal income and State franchise taxes under provisions of Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code and Section 1902(b)(6), Title 30 of the Delaware State Taxation Code respectively. As such, no provision for income taxes has been provided in these financial statements.

Concentration of Credit Risk: The OTW maintains its cash balances at one bank. Accounts at the bank are insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000.

ABOUT THE OTW / MISSION, VISION, VALUES

OUR MISSION

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.

The OTW represents a practice of transformative fanwork historically rooted in a primarily female culture. The OTW will preserve the record of that history as we pursue our mission while encouraging new and non-mainstream expressions of cultural identity within fandom.

OUR VISION

We envision a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal and transformative and are accepted as a legitimate creative activity. We are proactive and innovative in protecting and defending our work from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. We preserve our fannish economy, values, and creative expression by protecting and nurturing our fellow fans, our work, our commentary, our history, and our identity while providing the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans.

OUR VALUES

  • We value transformative fanworks and the innovative communities from which they have arisen, including media, real person fiction, anime, comics, music, and vidding.
  • We value our identity as a predominantly female community with a rich history of creativity and commentary.
  • We value our volunteer-based infrastructure and the fannish gift economy that recognizes and celebrates worth in myriad and diverse activities.
  • We value making fannish activities as accessible as possible to all those who wish to participate.
  • We value infinite diversity in infinite combinations. We value all fans engaged in transformative work: fans of any race, gender, culture, sexual identity, or ability. We value the unhindered cross-pollination and exchange of fannish ideas and cultures while seeking to avoid the homogenization or centralization of fandom.

ABOUT THE OTW / WHO WE ARE

The Organization for Transformative Works is run for fans by fans. The directors of OTW’s Board are all active in fandom, as are the more than 100 other staffers serving on our committees, and our many volunteers.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Matty Bowers (President) first stumbled upon fandom back in May of 1998; however, she didn’t truly get involved until 2001. Her first fandoms were Highlander and Buffy, however she quickly fell into a variety of other fandoms. These days she is very much a fan of fandom; she’ll read pretty much any epic length work in any fandom! Matty mainly lurked the first few years, but eventually started contributing to fannish projects such as newsletters and rec communities. She was fascinated and intrigued when she first heard rumblings about building a place where fandom owned the servers, and joined the OTW as a tag wrangler when the call for volunteers was made in 2009. Since then she has served in the Support, AO3 Docs, and Abuse committees. Matty graduated with a degree in Education and spent over ten years teaching before moving on to a job in the tech field. She is currently working as a manager for a local business, and in her spare time works as tech support for her many friends and family.

Aline Carrão has a Law degree from the Universidade de Juiz de Fora (Brazil). She has worked in consumer protection and civil law and is currently continuing her education to work as a civil servant. Aline discovered fandom back when Harry Potter was taking over the world and never left. You can find her under the fannish identity of LilyCat AO3 and on Tumblr. She joined the OTW in 2013 as a tag wrangler and slowly got involved in other parts of the organization; she’s now staff in Support and Translation. In Support, she’s addressed concerns, questions and feedback from users; in Translation, she manages over 150 volunteers and has completed projects with strict timelines in an atmosphere of constant and productive team-wide communication.

Atiya Hakeem (Treasurer) received her undergraduate degree in biology from the California Institute of Technology, then went to the University of Hawaii for a PhD in biomedical sciences. After working at Caltech as a neurobiologist studying autism and social cognition for many years, she has recently returned to Hawaii, and currently hangs out with aardvarks as a volunteer at the Honolulu Zoo. She has always turned to fandom as an escape and a creative outlet, with interests including Star Trek, baseball, the age of sail, Hawaii Five-O, and anime, which last led to serving as con staff at Anime Expo and AX New York. She joined the OTW as a volunteer in 2012 with AO3 Support and has since answered some 5,000 user inquiries. Motivated by a desire to be directly involved in keeping the Archive running, she joined AD&T (the Archive’s coding and design committee) as a tester, and is now the Quality Assurance & Testing subcommittee lead. She also has served on the Category Change and Survey workgroups.

Katarina Harju is a Swedish-speaking Finn currently working towards a degree in Information Technology. Prior to this, she worked in accountancy for many years. She went searching for fandom in 2000 after reading about it in a magazine (and is eternally grateful that she happened to pick up that particular one in a moment of boredom). She has created fanworks for a variety of fandoms, many of which can be found at her AO3 userpage. Somewhere along the line, she fell in love with podfics, and she still writes fic, records podfic and even makes some fannish crafts now and then, though not as often as she’d like. Katarina followed the OTW’s work closely from the beginning, getting involved herself in 2013 as a member of the Translation committee. She spent time as a tag wrangler in 2014, and currently also serves on the AO3 Abuse committee.

Alex Tischer (Secretary), DrMedVet, is an ECC veterinarian. Grew up in Germany and currently lives in the UK. Has been in fandom since before the millennium and has migrated through more fandoms than can be listed here. The most current ones include Rivers of London, Person of Interest and Mad Max: Fury Road. Has been a member of the OTW pretty much continuously since 2008, volunteering in some capacity for the same amount of time. Apart from media fandom has also somehow ended up in the weird and wonderful world of sports – which are very niche groups that resemble fandoms in surprising ways. When not dealing with sick pets, Alex can be found doing assault courses, climbing and trail running nearly as often as consuming media.

Emerita Directors

2015

  • Eylul Dogruel
  • Soledad Griffin
  • Andrea Horbinski
  • M.J. MacRae
  • Cat Meier
  • Jessica Steiner

2014

  • Franzeska Dickson
  • Anna Genoese
  • Nikisha Sanders

2013

  • Julia Beck
  • Maia Bobrowicz
  • Ira Gladkova
  • Kristen Murphy

2012

  • Francesca Coppa, PhD
  • Naomi Novik
  • Jenny Scott-Thompson

2011

  • Rachel Barenblat
  • Hele Braunstein
  • Sheila Lane
  • Allison Morris

2010

  • Naomi Novik
  • Rebecca Tushnet, JD
  • Elizabeth Yalkut

2009

  • KellyAnn Bessa
  • Susan Gibel, JD

2008

  • Cathy Cupitt, DCA
  • Michele Tepper, PhD

Read more about our former directors
Read about our current committees

COMMITTEES

Abuse
Accessibility, Design, & Technology
AO3 Documentation
Communications
Development & Membership
Elections
Fan Video & Multimedia
Financial
Internationalization & Outreach
Journal
Legal
Open Doors
Strategic Planning
Support
Systems
Tag Wrangling
Translation
Volunteers & Recruiting
Web Strategy, Design & Development
Wiki

WORKGROUPS

Content Policy