For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.
I. A WIN FOR LEGAL
It’s been a very active month for Legal's advocacy mission. In the beginning of November, they filed petitions with the U.S. Copyright Office to renew the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that the OTW helped win in 2009 and 2012. This made it legal for fan video makers to rip DVDs and online sources in order to make noncommercial fan video. In addition to seeking renewal, Legal has asked the Copyright Office to expand the exemption to include ripping Blu-Ray discs for the same purposes. The petition is only the first step. Over the coming months they will be submitting evidence and providing further arguments to support the need for the exemption. Legal thanks everyone who helped them with stories and information so far.
Legal also got some good news this month based on some work they did back in April in the case of Garcia v. Google. In April, Legal filed a brief in support of Google’s request that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals re-hear the case. And we succeeded! On November 12, the court declared its original ruling void, and set a schedule for re-hearing the case. So on November 25, Legal filed another brief, explaining why we thought the previous result would promote online censorship and harm free speech.
Legal also did some informational work in November by helping to create some educational materials about transformative works and U.S. fair use law. Their post on “The Case Against Licensing Fanworks" sparked some lively discussion on AO3 News.
Finally, in November Legal also continued work on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s multi-stakeholder project to improve the functioning of the DMCA notice and takedown process, and responded to several queries from fans. As always, they welcome your queries!
II. AT THE AO3
Accessibility, Design and Technology had two code deploys in November — (Releases 0.9.33 and 0.9.34) — and are currently working on a third, with the help of shiny new testers from our last recruitment round! Accessibility, Design and Technology handled a security concern related to our development data by upgrading our encryption method and asking users to change their passwords (via AO3 News post and targeted emails).
Tag Wrangling helped Support resolve tag-related tickets, fixed some broken links in the Tag Wrangling FAQ, and held special-topic training sessions for beginning and intermediate wranglers.
Abuse handled roughly 270 tickets in November, with more constantly streaming in. Please do remember that our team does not need multiple reports sent in; one report per case is all that is required for us to investigate. Most cases are dealt with in less than a week, while trickier cases could take up to two weeks to handle. Abuse is also working with coders to create a way to help better track Fannish Next of Kin requests.
AO3 Documentation sent the first five new FAQs to other committees for revision. This is the last step in their drafting workflow, which means that the first new FAQs are finally almost done! They've also welcomed a new volunteer, and started working on the required documentation to transition into a full committee, while also creating a committee roadmap for 2015.
III. STEPS FORWARD
Systems made some changes to the OTW's internal email architecture to better handle future OTW membership drive emails so that they won't affect the delivery of our internal emails. Meanwhile, Content Policy began revisions to Open Doors' FAQ, with that committee's assistance.
Open Doors announced the pending import for Chains (available in multiple languages thanks to Translation!). They are also receiving much appreciated assistance from Accessibility, Design and Technology on a solution for a second archive import, and have been making progress on two other pending archives. Translation focused on internal documentation and future-planning, including revamping workflows for news posts. Translation chairs are hard at work on chair training documentation and a roadmap for 2015.
The Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee resolved the problem with the OTW website that had been causing frequent downtimes. And Journal is finishing up obtaining final versions of manuscripts for the first two Transformative Works and Cultures issues of 2015, which will go into copyedit in January.
Elections wrapped up the 2014 elections period with a final OTW news post containing transcripts of the three public chats with candidates. They are now writing a roadmap for 2015 and are contacting other committees for feedback on that process.
Strategic Planning drafted an initial plan from the list of strategic goals that was brainstormed in October and presented it to all staff and volunteers for review, input, and discussion of specific implementation steps.
They then hosted two organization-wide chats to review the goals with any personnel who wished to attend. Additionally, each committee chair was contacted individually to solicit input on implementation the specific goals involving their committees. Once the feedback is received, the plan will be revised and reviewed again.
Strategic Planning also welcomed new staff members who will be helping to refine the Strategic Plan, as well as finish up survey reports for each committee and workgroup.
Development & Membership worked with the Board to create a post on the OTW's financial future following our record-breaking drive. The committee also had a lengthy "what we learned" document put together. Because of our technical difficulties with the OTW website, there were some snags in premium fulfilment for donors. But the committee has a good handle on it now, and things are should be smoother going forward.
In addition, Development & Membership announced that the OTW is taking part in the Amazon Smile program so that fans making purchases at Amazon can automatically donate to the OTW. They are also developing business cards and stationary for organizational use.
V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS
Volunteers & Recruiting spent November diving into internal committee work after closing out all external recruiting campaigns for 2014. They've made huge leaps forward on an internal audit of all OTW-wide tools, started a revision of recruitment documentation to help improve our recruiting services in 2015, continued to assess and revise committee internal documentation and procedures, and worked on feedback for the recently released draft of the Strategic Plan.
New Committee Chairs: jsparc (Wiki), Curtis Jefferson (Volunteers & Recruiting)
New Committee Staff: Nerine Luna Cyran (Tag Wrangling), ragingrainbow (Tag Wrangling), Nary (Tag Wrangling), theteapot (Translation), Kirsten Korona (Communications), Ridicully (Support), Kenna McKay (Support), LilyC (Support), Sparrow Rubin (Support), Amy Shepard (Strategic Planning), FeminineBrain (Strategic Planning), 3 other Communications staffers, 2 other Tag Wrangling staffers, 3 other Support staffers, 1 other Strategic Planning staffer, and 1 Systems staffer
New Workgroup Members: Amalia Blondet (AO3 Documentation)
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 1 Tag Wrangling volunteer
New Tester Volunteers: mugenmine, Anika Kabit, twofingerpost, pendrecarc, nightmarefluff, Agwen, and 6 other testing volunteers
New Translator Volunteers: 1 Translator volunteer
Departing Committee Staff: Priscilla Del Cima (Development & Membership), Camden (Communications)
Departing Workgroup Members: EnthusiasmGirl (AO3 Documentation), 3 other AO3 Documentation volunteers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 11 Tag Wrangling volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Nothorse and 1 other Translator volunteer