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Published:
2017-04-07 12:18:32 -0400
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I. NEW VOLUME OF TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS AND CULTURES

Transformative Works and Cultures published Volume Number 23: Sherlock Holmes, Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game, this month. It was guest edited by Roberta Pearson and Betsy Rosenblatt, it includes 19 articles, and it has special cover art by Laurie Fraser Manifold. Volume Number 24, Queer Female Fandom, will come out in June 2017.

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed 6 batches of code this month, 5 of which were summed up in the Change Log for Releases 0.9.181 - 0.9.185. Following this release, the Translation committee began translating several automated user emails to make AO3 more internationally friendly!

While users were running into site slowness and issues with posting and editing works for a while before, things came to a head on March 17 with a few hours of unplanned downtime. Our incident report explained all the details on the underlying problems and what solutions were devised.

Also, AO3 was unblocked by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine this month! Archive pages will once again be stored for people to peruse.

AO3 Documentation uploaded a new Comments and Kudos FAQ this month, as well as a new question to the Bookmarks FAQ. There's lots of great information in the FAQ, so if you're having trouble figuring out how to do something on AO3, be sure to check it out!

Lastly, Abuse received about 500 tickets this month.

III. COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH

Fanlore opened a brand new Tumblr blog! It joined our Fanlore Twitter account (one of our most popular social media accounts) just in time for April Showers. You can check out the full list of the OTW and AO3's social media accounts and news mirrors on our Where to Find Us page.

In March, Legal helped a number of fans with legal questions, including several with queries about their rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If you have questions about how you can use the DMCA if your fanwork is posted without your consent, or about what to do if your fanwork is taken down in response to a DMCA takedown notice, OTW Legal is here to help, so contact them today!

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of the 27th of March, the OTW has 612 volunteers. ( We finally broke 600!) \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Lauren Hanna (Communications Co-Chair)
New Committee Staff: Genevieve Marshall (DevMem), 1 Abuse, 2 Fanlore
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Claire P. Baker, Morgan Drake, Mandy Gooch, Keri Klimchok, TC, Sarah Crocker, RebelRebel, SapphiraBlue, CharmPoint, Julianna, Emily Sherman, memorde, Gillian Webster, intheinterim, CaitieCat, EstelRaca, torisaurusrex, McBangle, Abigail Jyrkila, Tari, Noah Budgor, TamaraAnn, Newtype Kit, InterdictedKai, Nicky, Van W., Liselot, Slothful, and Jazz
New TWC Volunteers: 1

Departing Committee Chairs: Matty Bowers (Internationalization & Outreach Acting Chair)
Departing Committee Staff: Kathryn Soderholm (Internationalization & Outreach), Firey (AO3 Docs)
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 3 volunteers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 2 volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Issay, 5 Volunteers

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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I. INTERNATIONAL FANWORKS DAY

Thanks to help from volunteers from around the OTW, Communications hosted a celebration for the third annual International Fanworks Day, in which over a thousand participants played games, created fanworks, and shared recs. Some of the works created for #IFDShare were signal boosted across our social media accounts as part of the event, so go check them out to see some of what people did!

Translation collaborated with Communications to translate several news posts into 19 (!) different languages for IFD. A big thank you to all the translators and betas who made this possible. And speaking of Translation, they're pleased to announce that they now have a new team: team Bengali!

II. AT THE AO3

Committees were busy making improvements and changes to the AO3's inner workings this month. The brilliant minds at Accessibility, Design & Technology posted the release notes for their last six releases, including their sole February release, 0.9.180. They continued to focus on improving test coverage and upgrading the technologies the Archive is built on.

Abuse received over 1000 tickets this month, 600 of which were sent in by spammers. Please be patient if you sent in a ticket this month! Abuse is going to be recruiting next month, so if you've been wanting to join, keep an eye out. Meanwhile, Support received about 950 tickets this month, and they passed the milestone of 10,000 tickets since the switch to their new ticket tracker. Support would like to extend their thanks, as always, to Translation for their help with tickets in languages no one on the Support team speaks!

Tag Wrangling finished updating existing canonical tags on the AO3 to be compatible with revised guidelines regarding how tags mentioning animals are handled. They also created a new page with a more detailed description of what Tag Wrangling is and how it works, to help those considering applying to become wranglers. That page is a work in progress; expect more information in the near future!

In non-AO3-related technical news, Systems was busy managing servers this month, as well as doing repairs and relocations. They also asked vendors for quotes for purchasing new hardware. Webs has been making some upgrades, too; the committee is in the process of rolling out updates to the OTW's main website.

III. LEGAL ADVOCACY AND FAIR USE WEEK

Legal celebrated Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week with a post discussing some preliminary results from last month's Fan Creation & Copyright survey! Legal reported that many of the fans who responded had a good understanding of fair use law, but that there's more work they can to do to help fans understand the law even better. Thanks again to everyone who responded!

Also, in a follow-up to their March 2016 comments to the U.S. Copyright Office, OTW Legal answered questions from the Copyright Office regarding the notice-and-takedown provisions in Section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Among other things, they drew on the OTW's experience operating the Archive of Our Own and the experiences of OTW members in dealing with takedown notices to highlight ways in which the current system works well and ways in which it can be improved.

Lastly, Fanlore has put out a call for input on their image policy notice targeted at doujinshi creators to make sure they understand that their works are not being uploaded in full to Fanlore.

IV. GOVERNANCE

Board had a meeting on February 22, where they approved requests from several committees, worked on internal documentation, and approved the dissolution of the Internationalization & Outreach committee.

Strategic Planning continued to work on the implementation of the OTW's 2017-2020 strategic plan, and they began discussions with Board to develop a charge and scope for the creation of the next strategic plan.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of the 27th of February, the OTW had 593 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: Bella Irvine (Open Doors), Cyn (Open Doors), Liz S. (Open Doors), Stephanie Godden (Open Doors), 1 Translation staffer
New TWC Volunteers: 1
New Translator Volunteers: Adriana, Teodora Kaurinović, DefneOz, Diya Basu, and 2 translators
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Dreamingphoenix, blondcockerel, and 3 Tag Wranglers
Departing Translator Volunteers: vikikat and 2 other translators

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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I. LEGAL AND COPYRIGHT WEEK

A big thank you from Legal to all of the fans who responded to Legal's Copyright Week survey about fans' knowledge and attitudes about copyright law! They received over 1,000 responses, and will be using those responses to further the OTW's legal advocacy and education missions. Legal hopes to publish some preliminary results in February for Fair Use Week.

Also in January, they joined several allies to file an amicus brief in the case of Cross v. Facebook. The brief makes two arguments against overreaching right of publicity laws. The first argument is that people shouldn't be able to use right of publicity laws to prevent noncommercial social media communications about them. The second is that Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, which provides a "safe harbor" for sites that host user content (like fan sites and social media sites), protects such sites from liability for user content that violates rights of publicity.

In December, Legal created an educational and advocacy post about two fan-unfriendly lawmaking developments in the EU and UK, along with what fans can do to oppose them. It’s not too late to take action! Also, throughout December and January, Legal responded to queries from users about law and fanworks.

II. AT THE AO3

Abuse has received about 300 tickets in January, down from about 400 in December. Notably for this month, they are currently working with Translation to streamline how they handle non-English tickets.

Accessibility, Design & Technology took some time in December to refine their recruitment and training processes before welcoming a dozen new coding volunteers, who are currently working through set-up and training. Meanwhile, three coders from their November inductions have completed their training and made their first code contributions—thank you, cosette, cresenne, and potatoesque! They look forward to seeing even more new names in their release notes soon.

And speaking of releases, Accessibility, Design & Technology has been hard at work fixing bugs and improving their automated tests—they're very proud to say that the AO3's test coverage has already been increased from 74% to 84% of the codebase! The committee is currently collaborating with a contractor on upgrading to a new version of the Rails framework, and these tests are a vital part of making sure the upgrade goes smoothly. They look forward to finishing these important behind-the-scenes changes so they can once again focus on enhancements to our users' and fellow volunteers' Archive experience.

This month, Tag Wrangling staff finally completed their migration to a new database for coordinating volunteer management, which will allow them to organize their workload much more efficiently. Wranglers also responded to several questions from Support, mostly regarding works that were missing from tag listings. If you notice that a specific tag that has been renamed is missing some of the works it originally had, please contact AO3 Support so they can let the wranglers know!

As part of Tag Wrangling's ongoing project to reduce tree tag depths, they've eliminated several unnecessary metatags and will continue to do so over the next few months. This change has two effects: improving server performance, which means less Archive downtime and faster page load times, and easier searching for users, who will no longer need to search through many layers of tags to get the works they want.

Another change on the AO3 front is that the AO3 Documentation team has a brand new co-chair, Rebecca Sentance.

III. UPCOMING EVENTS AND TWC ISSUES

Communications is preparing for International Fanworks Day on February 15. How will you be celebrating?

Development & Membership welcomed TCD as their new co-chair and is beginning preparations for the April Drive.

Transformative Works and Cultures has undergone a committee name change! The TWC (formerly Journal) committee has put the first two issues of 2017 into production. They are now recruiting a new proofreader. Additionally, thanks to great work by the Systems committee, the TWC Press infrastructure is ready to be put into place.

IV. GOVERNANCE

This has been a busy two months for Board and other governance-related committees. Following the election of a new Board last year, the OTW has been working on a number of long-term plans, as well as ensuring that our budget and documentation are ready to go.

In December, the Strategic Plan was finalized and announced by Strategic Planning, along with the implementation support plan. It began January 1, 2017, and will continue for 3 years. During this time, the team will be there to help all committees reach the OTW's goals! They also gained a new co-chair, Amy Shepard.

The Board of Directors has started working on internal documentation of Board procedures in order to help better train new Board members, as well as purview statements for Strategic Planning. They also approved a policy that addresses how the OTW should handle requests for signal boosting fundraisers or for-profit promotion, as well as fundraising partnerships.

Meanwhile, Elections began to work on a new plugin for their website. In January, they've been working on finalizing the dates for this year's election and updating their internal documentation.

Finance has been making progress in organizing the OTW's financial records. They are also working on the 2017 OTW budget.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting:

In December and January, Volunteers & Recruiting worked on disbanding the Fan Video & Multimedia committee, renamed the Journal committee to the TWC committee, and opened recruiting for three roles (Open Doors staff, TWC volunteer proofreaders, and Translation volunteers).

As of the 27th of January 2017, the OTW has 592 volunteers! Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: deedidoo (Tag Wrangling), stellal (Tag Wrangling), 1 other Tag Wrangling, 1 Development & Membership, 1 Communications, 1 AO3 Documentation
New Coder Volunteers: sentrazeal, Mary Alice Wuerz, Nana, redsummernight, olive, Meepu, dense.lancer, Jennifer Warrender, MaxwellsDaemon, tweath and 2 others
New Fanlore Volunteers: Cesy, MPH, Francesca Coppa, and 8 others
New Translator Volunteers: Sayali Marathe

Departing Committee Chairs: Priscilla Del Cima (Translation), Curtis Jefferson (Volunteers & Recruiting), Tisha Turk (Fan Video & Multimedia)
Departing Committee Staff: Solovei (AO3 Documentation), 2 Translation, 1 Development & Membership, 1 Finance, 1 Abuse, 2 Support, 1 Open Doors
Departing Communications Volunteers: Swimmies
Departing Fanlore Volunteers: Bobdog54
Departing Journal Volunteers: Carmen Montopoli
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: lilacsigil, and 3 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Apollonie, Luin, Sara Serralvo, Katri Koivuranta, Marianne, and 3 others

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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I. NEW SERVER PURCHASE: BETTER FASTER STRONGER!

This month Systems determined which of several quotes to move forward with and purchased a new server to give OTW more space after holding together mail with sticks and strings. This has been a process with much deliberation and planning involved, and sets up the OTW to improve functionality, especially now that we have over a million AO3 users to serve!

II. AT THE AO3

Abuse has received about 350 tickets this month. A reminder: Abuse staff only need one ticket to start investigating. Encouraging people to send in multiple tickets about the same case only slows things down!

Accessibility, Design & Technology (AD&T) began recruiting new coding volunteers at the end of October. A dozen new recruits are currently working through set up and training, and we're looking forward to welcoming more at the beginning of the new year.

In addition to recruiting and training new volunteers, AD&T has been hard at work fixing bugs and increasing automated test coverage ahead of updating Rails. The most recent release also includes tools that will allow tag wranglers and Support staffers to fix some common issues without help from a database admin. The small number of AD&T staffers with database access and training has been creating a bottleneck for a while now, so in addition to these tools, the committee is also in the process of training more long-time staffers to work on database issues.

AO3 Documentation have uploaded a new Profile FAQ, which also replaces the old Icons FAQ. The committee has also welcomed ten new members to their team and are currently training them in their workflows.

In addition to a Five Things post, Communications also posted in celebration of the AO3 reaching one million registered users, a milestone that squeaked through on the last day of October.

This month, Tag Wrangling recruited both new wranglers and new tag wrangling staff— a warm welcome to all! They also worked closely with Open Doors on the tags for a very large and complicated archive import, and a group of wrangling volunteers have now been specially trained to work with and assist Open Doors on the import process. In addition, they made several small changes to the Wrangling Guidelines, mostly to update examples, and one larger update that affected 10 guidelines, bringing them into compliance with new procedures for handling ambiguous tags that were adopted in August.

III. READINGS AND WRITINGS

Journal is busy pushing through the very last articles for the first two issues of 2017, which go into production in January. In addition, several Journal team members have volunteered to do metadata entry for TWC at the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Systems have been working with Journal on getting a second iteration of OJS installed, and working with Open Doors on several projects, including transferring five domains to the AO3.

Open Doors completed the Warp 5 Complex and Dave and Ken's Diner import, answered tickets related to in-progress archives, and worked on improvements to the temporary import sites they use.

Thank you also to Finance, Systems, and Board for also helping Open Doors renew and transfer some domains, extend hosting for some in-progress archives, and set up redirects on completed imports! So much of the work done by the OTW is collaborative, with different committees sharing expertise and capacity to get the job done.

IV. LEGAL AND GOVERNANCE

Board welcomed the two newly elected members as full Board members on November 1. In order to help familiarize them with all committees and their chairs, check-in chats were held with several chairs throughout this month.

In these last couple months, Elections has begun to take stock of how the 2016 Election went. Elections posted statistics about the election on the website, showing the increased voter turnout this year. They also collected feedback from the candidates and several of the committees.

Finance has been working on the organization's new Chart of Accounts this month, and on consolidating payment methods. They are also working on various tasks related to financial document storage, investment planning, and insurance.

It was a relatively quiet month for our Legal team this November. They responded to several user queries about copyright law and fanworks, including a couple from fans whose fanworks had been copied by others. Legal also responded to a cease & desist letter related to the AO3.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Volunteers & Recruiting:

As of the 27th of November, the OTW has 592 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: SoyAlex (Wiki), Carly (AO3 Documentation), Red (AO3 Documentation), telescopicpoems (AO3 Documentation), VSSAKJ (AO3 Documentation), Taylor Ann (Elections), 6 other AO3 Documentation staff, 1 other Wiki staff
New Coder Volunteers: Linny1990, Nico, ArtOfCode, saraolives, ooh, potatoesque & 6 others
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Chanel Tilghman, Kamika, Rea, seimaisin, Vociferocity, Sephira, KatrinaJG, GoldenFalls, elizabethclaire, Deeps, Anushka J., Hilda Teo, Squashedrosie, Adrienne Raw, Zenaxia, theeone, Mickanick, 55555, Manya, G.D. Franco, 1 volunteer
New Translator Volunteers: ncastro, Anya Z.

Departing Committee Staff: Hele Braunstein (Support), Jessica Mosley (Elections), Asante Simons (AO3 Docs), 3 Elections Staff, 2 Internationalization & Outreach Staff, 2 Development & Membership Staff
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 1 Volunteer
Departing Translator Volunteers: Kshitija Agrawal, 2 others

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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I. OCTOBER MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

The membership drive is always a massive collaborative effort, and this year's was no exception. Our Development and Membership committee worked with Communications and Translation to produce three drive posts, each in a total of 23 languages! Many thanks to all the amazing volunteers who made this drive possible, and a big thank you to everyone who donated and signal boosted!

The grand total raised? US$139,159.45 from 5518 individual donations!

II. AT THE AO3

Once again, the AO3 gets a little bigger. This month, Open Doors announced three new imports, The Quidditch Pitch, Türkfanfiction.net and Due South Archive.

And, if you're working on a challenge, you have Accessibility, Design & Technology to thank for the new and improved matching system. AD&T had just the one deploy in October, but the major improvements to challenge matching were big news.

Tag Wrangling have been making AO3 improvements too: they have been continuing work on the ongoing process of updating existing tags to be compliant with guideline changes, including updating relationship canonicals using "Other Characters" to "Other(s)". Tag Wranglers also continued to work with Open Doors volunteers on tag mapping projects to help with archive importing. It's these seemingly small changes and iterations that keep the AO3 in good working order.

III. LEGAL WORK FOR OCTOBER

In October, OTW Legal spoke up for fans in Singapore—we submitted a Comment to the Singaporean government in response to the nation’s Public Consultation on proposed changes to its copyright regime. Our comment covered a lot of topics, including fair use, technological protection measures, copyright duration, attribution rights for authors, and what to do when copyright owners can’t be identified. We also responded to a number of user queries including some about fair use and some in connection with the October membership drive.

IV. OTW WORK BY THE NUMBERS

Support is still going strong at around 900 tickets a month, and the committee will likely beat last year's total number of tickets by the end of October. Thankfully, they have five new eager folks coming on to the team to help answer tickets in a timely manner.

Abuse has received 500+ tickets this month and their new recruits have started training; their help with the growing number of tickets will be much appreciated.

Our Finance committee is all about the numbers, all of the time! They have a new co-chair, the brilliant Yuechiang Luo, and the committee as a whole is liaising with the Board about a new payment request process. They've also created a page for Finance on the OTW website, so you can get to know the committee's work a little better.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of the 28th of October, the OTW has 567 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Directors: Kristina Busse, Priscilla Del Cima.
New Committee Chairs: Yuechiang Luo (Finance), puckling (Systems), Matthew Vernon (Systems), Matty Bowers (Acting I&O Chair), Priscilla Del Cima (Acting Wiki Chair), Araise Solace (Elections)
New Committee Staff: Wania A (Strategic Planning), Lisa Schmidt (Strategic Planning), and 1 other Strategic Planning staffers, Amy Shimizu (Abuse), Svea (Abuse) & EllenW (Abuse) & CB (Abuse) & 3 other Abuse, Aalea (Support), Princess_Sachiko (Support), & 3 other Support, Rachel Pearl Bracker (Communications), Sarah Loch (Communications), Karen R. (Communications), & 1 other Communications staffer
New Translator Volunteers
: TheReadingAce, Motheomar, Isabel Berg, vorkosigan, Ha Thi Ngoc Huyen, Sara N., Natalia Gruber, Alexis Amarth, 6 Volunteers

Departing Committee Chairs: Amanda Furrow (Systems), Karen Johnson (Systems), kiki-eng (Internationalization & Outreach), jsparc (Wiki), Tiyire (Wiki)
Departing Committee Staff: kiki-eng (DevMem), Laura Groeneveld (Support)
Departing Communications Volunteers: Robyn, 2 Volunteers
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Itachi, Nana, Allons-y, Lydiacatfish, Elijah, and 41 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 1 volunteer

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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I. ELECTIONS

The 2016 OTW Board Election was held and the results have been posted! Congratulations to the new Board members, Kristina Busse and Priscilla Del Cima! They will begin their terms on November 1st. We wish them nothing but good things during their service.

Thank you to the candidates and everyone who participated, particularly those who attended the two candidate chats in their new format. Elections also wants to thank all the committees that made this possible; it was a true team effort.

Next year's election is currently planned for August, which is intended as its new permanent home.

Should the process ever see any other changes, we'll always be sure to keep you updated through the Elections website, on the OTW Elections Tumblr account, the OTW Elections Twitter account, and in this newsletter.

II. AT THE AO3

This month, Open Doors announced two new imports (The Basement, ScullySlash, and the Spooky Awards and Sinful Desire) and the project was highlighted in the OTW anniversary festivities. Much appreciation to the Communications team for organizing an interview with Versaphile (mod of several imported archives), an interview with Open Doors staffer Alison Watson, and a live chat with panelists from the three biggest academic fandom collections: University of Iowa (our partner in the Fan Culture Preservation Project), Texas A&M University, and Bowling Green University. We'd also like to thank Translation for their fast turnarounds as usual!

This was also the first month Open Doors internally recruited tag wranglers to help us with pre-import searching (to minimize duplicates for an import), and they did an amazing job searching almost 9,000 works for the Warp 5 Complex and The Hex Files archives. Many, many thanks to Tag Wrangling for continuing to help us map tags for all upcoming Open Doors imports!

Speaking of Tag Wrangling, two new guidelines were adopted as part of the team's ongoing metatag reduction project; one concerning how ambiguous canonical tags should be handled, and the second regarding character-specific tags in the Alternate Universe tree.

Due to the recent guideline updates, wranglers in many fandoms have been reexamining their existing canonical tags, and discovering that a large number are out of date. Several fandoms will be seeing tags updated to be guideline-compliant over the next few months. This will mostly involve adding disambiguations to ambiguous tags, but may also involve formatting changes to character or relationship tags, as well as reductions in metatagging in the freeforms.

III. UNDER THE HOOD AND BEHIND THE SCENES

Abuse received about 500 tickets this month! The team is currently switching to a new ticket tool, and the Abuse form has been updated.

Communications celebrated the OTW's anniversary with a public chat featuring three experts in curation and preservation of fannish history.

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed several batches of code (summarized in the Release Notes for 0.9.154 - 0.9.158 and 0.9.159 - 0.9.163), including changes to the Abuse report form, more invisible improvements and several substantial bug fixes. The team has also added some more documentation to our GitHub presence, to invite more contributions from coders outside the OTW. Accessibility, Design & Technology has been working with one such contributor on an exciting improvement for gift exchanges, which is currently being tested and should hopefully go live soon.

As for the most exciting news of all, the team has found a fantastic contractor whom they are looking to task with upgrading the Archive's version of Rails (the web development framework the AO3 is built on), which has been urgently due for an update for a while. It's a comprehensive, fiddly project, and we're glad to be able to outsource a large chunk of the work involved. Thank you to the Board, Legal, Finance, and all the OTW donors who make this possible!

Throughout September, Webs has worked to resolve and refine several visual and practical features across transformativeworks.org. They're in the midst of minimising loading times, creating a new and improved board minutes display, and other internal improvements.

Journal came out bang on time with issue No. 22 of Transformative Works and Cultures! The team also has most of the table of contents set for one of the two guest-edited issues for the first half of 2017, and contents of the other special issue are almost ready. They have a special issue call for papers out for a 2018 issue, and they hope to add another soon.

Development & Membership has been hard at work preparing for the October drive, writing posts and emails, making infographics, choosing new thank you gifts and making changes to our donation forms. The drive starts on October 13, so keep an eye out!

IV. GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL

Finance has published the 2016 budget update! More internal work is being done to make sure that the OTW's finances are running smoothly.

In September, OTW Legal partnered with our ally Public Knowledge to file an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Lenz v. Universal. This continues our work on the long-running case, which concerns the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice-and-takedown system. Under that system, copyright owners can ask Internet hosts (like the Archive of Our Own) to take down works that infringe copyright. But before doing so, the copyright owners have to state their belief that the work is actually infringing—for example, that the work isn’t fair use.

Last year, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that before sending a takedown notice, copyright owners need to form a belief that the work is not fair use, but they held that a “subjective good faith belief” is enough. Although this ruling was a step in the right direction, the OTW believes that the court set the standard too low. So in this brief, Legal argued that the Supreme Court should examine that standard. They argued that allowing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to stand would chill freedom of expression on the Internet and invite censorship by allowing copyright owners to send DMCA takedown notices without adequately considering or understanding the actual law of fair use.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of September 27, the OTW has 580 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below:

New Committee Staff: sveritas (Finance), Cesy (Finance), and 2 other Finance staffers, 1 Translation staffer, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting, Sandra Strauch (Communications)
New Coder Volunteers: Carlos Martín
New Translator Volunteers: Zane Valule

Departing Committee Staff: Jeniouis (Webs), billiethepoet (Strategic Planning), ashleyhasahat (Communications), 1 AO3 Documentation staffer, 1 Webs
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Kits, defe and 5 other volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Carmen, Chintan, Noura, and 3 other volunteers

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

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I. OTW LEGAL DEFENDING FANDOM

In July, Legal worked with several allies to file an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in the case of Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. In the brief, we argued that copyright law should not be expanded to include garment designs. The case is about cheerleading uniforms, but some have argued that it could have an impact on cosplay. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the OTW strongly believes that cosplay and other fan costuming and building pursuits will still be allowed under the law, but this brief sends an important message about the value of fan creativity surrounding apparel and industrial design.

Early in the month, Legal wrote about CBS/Paramount’s new “Fan Film Guidelines”. As usual, in July Legal also responded to several queries from fans, many of which concerned those guidelines. The guidelines were also a big topic of discussion at San Diego Comic Con, where Legal Chair Betsy presented on a panel entitled “Comic Book Law School 303: New Revelations.” The panel discussed fair use, fan films, fanart, and other “hot” topics. Also at San Diego Comic Con, OTW allies the Re:Create Coalition unveiled “A Day in the Life of Fair Use: A Different Kind of Superhero at Comic-Con,” showing a few ways that copyright fair use makes events like Comic Con possible.

July also saw the culmination of some work that Legal has been doing for the past few months, with help from students at American University Washington College of Law’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic. We successfully petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel trademark registration of the word "fandom" for entertainment services. Just one more success in our effort to combat commercial appropriation of fandom and fan culture!

II. IMPROVING ACCESS TO OTW CONTENT

Journal has gone into production for the Transformative Works and Cultures September 15 issue, which is going to be a big one, with lots of great essays. TWC was also accepted into the Directory of Open Access Journals, which is great news, because the DOAJ shares their journals' metadata with a number of aggregators. That means that students or faculty who search for fan studies articles in libraries will be more likely to find content published in Transformative Works and Cultures!

Translation gained a new co-chair this month, SunnyB, who's spent the last couple of months in chair track training. They've also been collaborating with Elections and have started translating content for the upcoming Board elections in September. Translation also helped AO3 Support answer a total of 37 tickets last month, which is an all-time high!

Webs has been busy welcoming new members, and is hard at work setting up training materials, guiding new staff, and working on documentation. The influx of new staff has enabled them to begin setting up an on-call rotation to give everyone a chance to participate as well as have some days off.

III. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology deployed 4 releases in July, addressing a wide range of issues. While a number of these fixes were invisible and behind the scenes (rearranging servers, fixing database and test issues, updates to committee tools, keeping the Archive running smoothly), they also made some fixes to challenges and tackled a caching bug. The committee also started working with Development & Membership on changes for drives, and with Abuse on changes to the Abuse form. Abuse received around 400 tickets in July. They are hard at work moving to a new ticketing software which should help us deal with tickets much more efficiently.

AO3 Documentation uploaded two documents—a revised Your Account FAQ and the Unofficial Browser Tools which replaces the old Cool Stuff FAQ. They also added a new question to the Pseuds FAQ.

Open Doors announced the import of two archives (Dave & Ken's Diner, a Starsky & Hutch archive, and Warp 5 Complex, a Star Trek: Enterprise archive), and have been managing tickets related to these imports in addition to preparing for other upcoming archives.

Tag Wrangling compiled and posted the First Principles of Wrangling, with the goal of having these principles easily accessible so as to both help wranglers understand how to implement edge cases in the guidelines, and also let AO3 users see what the general ideas underpinning the Wrangling Guidelines are. The committee also put together a glossary of common terms used in wrangling for our volunteers, and made a small update to the guidelines for how tags related to kinks are handled.

In addition, Tag Wrangling worked with Open Doors to handle tag mapping requests for six incoming archives, and requested two minor changes to the wrangling interface from Accessibility, Design & Technology, which have been implemented.

IV. GOVERNANCE

After a long period of inactivity the Finance Committee has been rebooted. They have a huge to-do list ahead and are only just getting started but are hoping to recruit for new members in early August. So if you know anyone who might have the skills to help out, please send them our way!

Board kept busy with the normal flow of approvals for staff, proposals and legal filings. They also amended the bylaws to make Elections' job for the forthcoming elections easier and the election process harder to be abused. They also set up a schedule for upcoming voice chat meetings, and approved new server purchases.

Board assisted the team reviving the Finance Committee in getting their work started. The team's dedication and effort in tackling this complicated job has already started showing positive results. Strategic Planning also had a productive July fine tuning implementation for the next plan and completing edits on the plan itself.

Development & Membership has been happy to welcome on eight new staffers as they try out a new ticketing tool and a more organized task tracking system. The team is in the early stages of preparation for the October drive.

Elections's new timeline is in place, and they announced the candidates on July 31! Here are some more important dates:

  • The membership deadline is August 23. Any member who donated between October 7, 2015 and August 23, 2016, including both those days, is eligible to vote in this year's election
  • The election will be held from September 23–26.

The committee also has opened an Elections Committee Tumblr account which will have announcements and explanations for how the election works, and they're encouraging interested Tumblr users to follow the account. They also have a new communication platform, which they'll be using for the upcoming candidate chats, hoping to allow for more participation by attending members.

The OTW's bylaws have been updated with two requests from Elections: sitting Board members will need to wait until the year after their term expires before standing for election again, and new changes to the bylaws will only impact elections that are at least 90 days away.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From 28 June to 28 July, Volunteers & Recruiting received 87 new requests, and completed 81. Some highlights of this month's tasks included opening recruitment for Tag Wrangling volunteers and receiving 65 applicants, and renaming two committees: Web Strategy, Design, and Development to "Webs," and Financial to "Finance." As of the 28th of July, the OTW has 582 volunteers. Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: SunnyB (Translation)
New Committee Staff: Richard Haupt (Development & Membership), Kat Heiden (Development & Membership), Mandee Wilcox (Development & Membership), Kris Weldon (Development & Membership), TCD (Development & Membership), and 3 other Development & Membership staffers, Jeniouis (Webs), brioche (Webs), Joseph Marques (Webs), kellyprogramsthings (Webs), Lexis_Blake (Webs), dolleye (Webs), zephyruszzz (Webs), and 1 other Webs staffer, alamerysl (Finance), Priscilla Del Cima (Finance), and 1 other Finance staffer, Ona Lu (Legal), Stacey Lantagne (Legal), and 1 other Legal staffer
New Translator Volunteers: Kalliopi Siaka, zephyruszzz, Lana Garcia, SarkaS, Amsjur, Timi, georgiaodd, Chintan and 1 other volunteer

Departing Committee Staff: Sarah Remy (Communications), 1 Abuse staffer
Departing AO3 Documentation Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: RepressedLurker, Aesyr, and 4 other volunteers
Departing Translator Volunteers: Ezra Gecko, Sayali Marathe, Nele Noppe, and 3 other volunteers

For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.

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Post Header

Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

I. TRANSLATION RECRUITMENT AND NEW LANGUAGES

Translation has been focused on recruitment this month: the committee received 50 applications, and will welcome 26 new volunteers, including three new languages: Hindi, Romanian and Welsh! They also conducted a survey of their teams to get to know more about internal issues they've faced, and updated their map on the OTW website showing where in the world you can find Translation members.

The Translation team makes sure that as many people around the world can engage with us as possible - every new language makes our work more accessible to a global audience.

II. BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE OTW

Abuse tackled about 350 tickets so far this month, and are streamlining workflow by transitioning to a new ticket tracker.

Meanwhile, the busy folk at Accessibility, Design & Technology posted the change log for the last 11 releases, four of which were deployed in June. Since then, they've been hard at work doing code review and testing for release 0.9.140, which is slated to include several long-awaited challenge fixes.

Journal is gearing up to begin production for the September 15 issue, with a final flurry of editorial work being done, as well as updates of production documentation. Several team members are at the Fan Studies Network conference in the UK, where they are also doing some promotional work on TWC's behalf.

Open Doors completed the imports of several archives (Wesleyfanfiction.Net, The Prydonian, and Human Nature), updated their website, responded to a number of new requests from archivists, and worked on existing requests.

Tag Wrangling welcomed several new staff members this month and have been training them on procedures. The committee made some updates to the canonicals for the X-men movies and Tortall books fandoms in order to bring them in line with archive standards and make their organization more clear.

III. LEGAL

Early in the month, Legal submitted comments to the European Union in response to its Public Consultation on the Role of Publishers in the Copyright Value Chain and the Panorama Exception. OTW legal representatives argued that the creation of new copyright-type rights and enforcement mechanisms would create uncertainty, unfairness, and harm to creators and consumers of Internet content.

A bit later in June, the committee joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Professor Eric Goldman to submit comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The proposed rule would require sites that rely on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Safe Harbor—like the Archive of Our Own—to renew their DMCA eligibility status every three years. In Legal's response, it was argued that this proposed requirement could harm small service providers and expose providers to risk for small oversights.

Legal Chair Betsy participated in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. discussing the Internet’s role in new creative cultures and economies, and what technological advances mean for copyright law.

Legal can also report an excellent legal result in the case of Capitol Records v. Vimeo. Back in 2014, Legal joined a number of allies to file an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in that case. Among other things, the case considered what constitutes “red flag” knowledge of infringing material that would require the hosting service to remove the material even without receiving a takedown notice under the DMCA. OTW and our allies argued for a standard that would favor sites that host user generated content, to prevent the law from chilling fair use and other valuable speech. And we won! The court held that in order to prove that a service provider had “red flag” knowledge, it is not enough to show that a service provider employee saw a video that includes substantially all of a recording of recognizable copyrighted music. This is a victory for service providers, and also for vidders, who may make fair use of whole (or nearly-whole) songs. Here’s what our allies, the EFF, have to say about the result.

Finally, as always, Legal also responded to a number of fan queries.

IV. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Adri, Alecto Holmes, Alexandra926, Britt, Caitie, Caitlin, cat_eh, chas, Elf, mismoree, Aesyr, Gloria, goldstandard, Kezia Bryant, Kichi, lizard, Maddie, Mander, Nick 556, nocokenojoke, heypaula, Pent, Rianna Seven, Rocky, Sarah Jacobson, Sarar, Sobriquett, The_Plaid_Slytherin, veo_las_estrellas, wreck, tealeafer
New Translator Volunteers: Arahime & 17 others

Departing Committee Staff Emilie Karr (Tag Wrangling), thatwasjustadream (Communications), 2 Abuse staffers, 2 Wiki staffers, 2 Volunteers & Recruiting Staffers, 1 Support staffer
Departing Communications Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: SwaggyOrc
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: 1
Departing Translator Volunteers: Lextiel, dea, 2 others

For more information about the purview of our committees, please see the committee listing on our website.

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