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This Week in Fandom, Volume 101

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, happy new year to all! If you’re hoping to have a more positive fannish experience in 2019, Hypable has published a list of fandom-related new year’s resolution suggestions.


A major event in the world of copyright happened on January first. According to Lifehacker, 1923 works just entered the public domain, the first time this has happened in 20 years, thanks to the “Sonny Bono Copyright Act” of 1998.

WBUR News published an article examining the creative implications of this event, which includes an interview with OTW co-founder and author Naomi Novik. (more…)

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EU Legal Developments, the AO3, and You

We’ve written before in this space about Articles 11 and 13 — fan-unfriendly legal proposals in the EU. On September 12, the European Parliament voted in favor of those proposals. Is it bad? Yes. Is it the end of the story? No. Is it going to change the AO3? Probably not. What can you do about it? Read on.

Articles 11 and 13 impose new requirements on sites that host user content, like the AO3, Tumblr, YouTube, and the like. In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects these sites from some kinds of copyright liability, so that the sites aren’t responsible for infringing content posted by their users unless the sites know it’s there and that it’s infringing. That’s why most sites have “notice and takedown” policies: if they’re warned about infringing content, they have to take it down — and they’re allowed to take fair use into consideration when they decide whether or not to take a work down. Articles 11 and 13 put the burden of preventing infringement on sites, rather than users, and make some very incorrect assumptions about the ability of algorithms to identify what uses infringe and what uses are non-infringing fair uses. (more…)

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

Fight Fan-Unfriendly EU Legal Developments–Time to Act!

Back in July, fans and allies helped convince the European Parliament to schedule a vote rather than automatically approving some fan-unfriendly proposals. Now it is time to act! The European Parliament will be voting on these proposals in a few days. The short version of “what can I do” is: Contact your MEP now. For the longer version, and a discussion of why these proposals matter to fans, read on!

What Are Articles 11 and 13, and Why are They Bad for Fans?

Fandom loves and thrives on the Internet, and the Internet loves and thrives on fandom! So much of what makes fan communities and fan creativity work so well are the same things that make the Internet what it is: people sharing their transformative creations and linking to things that drive their interests. We post vids, gifs, fics, filks, and so many other wonderful, creative things! We link to news stories about our favorite shows, writers, performers, and trends! We use these things to find ourselves and communicate with people all around the world. (more…)