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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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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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I. IMPROVEMENTS TO SUPPORT AND ABUSE PROCEDURES

This month saw some improvements to the way Support and Abuse work. Five new Support staffers have finished their training and are now taking tickets, which will improve turnaround times. Support has also switched ticket trackers, streamlining their processes significantly.

In a similar vein, Abuse has proposed changes to the AO3 abuse reporting system which would require anyone submitting a complaint to provide contact details. The Abuse team says that these changes will reduce duplicate reports, allow staffers to contact people to discuss complaint outcomes, and follow up for more information when necessary.

II. LEGAL HARD AT WORK

In May, Legal continued its work at the U.S. Copyright Office, helping shape U.S. Copyright policy. In recent months, we have submitted comments as part of the Copyright Office’s inquiry into various elements of the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This month, we followed up on those comments in person. Rebecca Tushnet participated on behalf of the OTW in two Copyright Office roundtables. The first took place in New York, and explored the notice-and-takedown framework in section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We reported on it at transformativeworks.org. The second took place in Washington, D.C., and explored the process for obtaining exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions, like the “vidder’s exemption” that allows vidders to rip video from DVDs and Blu-Rays to make fanvids. Rebecca reported on the second roundtable on her blog.

At the very end of April, Legal filed a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel a trademark registration for the word “Fandom”, citing scores of examples that the word is a generic description of fans and fan activities and should not be owned exclusively by any single corporation or other entity.

Also in May, Legal Chair Betsy gave a presentation at Whedonopolis in Southern California about the OTW, fanworks, and law. And as usual, Legal responded to several queries for help and legal information from fans.

III. GOVERNANCE

This month, Board has continued to work on improving the financial set up, as well as meeting with committees to discuss their progress and any setbacks they might be facing. Board also approved a Terms of Service change proposed by the Abuse team, collaborated with Communications on a news post, approved new staff for Elections, and discussed an external proposal they received.

IV. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

New Committee Staff: Amy Shepard (Elections), Laura Brooks (Elections), Jessica Mosley (Elections), nellscarlet123 (Elections), and 1 other Election staff.
New Coder Volunteers: Jing
Departing Committee Staff: OutToGarden (AO3 Documentation), 1 AO3 Documentation staff, Seamus Johnston (Strategic Planning), 1 Communications staff, 1 Translation staff, 2 Abuse staff, 1 Legal staff, ShotaSammy (Support), Vanderloo (Support), Genie Este (Support), carolinux (Systems)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Myrifique, 2 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Jáchym, Evalangui, 4 others

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I. DRIVE NEWS

Development & Membership held the OTW's April 2016 membership drive this month, raising just under US$100,000! Kudos to them, as well as to Communications, Translation, Web Strategy, Design & Development, and everyone else who worked on the drive.

And a big thank you to everyone who donated, signal boosted, and supported the drive. We couldn't have done it without you!

II. OTW PROJECTS

Board has filed taxes for 2015 and worked with the Strategic Planning Committee to finish the revision of the Strategic Plan.

Communications' Media Outreach team posted the first of a new Five Things an OTW Staffer/Volunteer Said series, which is replacing the old Spotlight series as a way to showcase what OTW personnel do. Stay tuned for more posts like this in the future.

The Wiki Committee upgraded Fanlore's MediaWiki software to version 1.26.2. This version includes new features and allows Fanlore to take advantage of upcoming security releases.

The Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee is happy to announce that the move to the new transformativeworks.org site is finally finished, and that the Open Doors and Elections sites have also been moved. Elections has been working to make sure navigation works smoothly on their new site, and Web Strategy, Design & Development is reviewing the main sitemap to make sure all content is up-to-date.

III. HARD WORK AT LEGAL

At the very end of March, the ever-busy Legal team submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office about the notice-and-takedown provisions in Section 512 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The OTW argued that the law is far from perfect, but that it helps allow online creativity to thrive. The committee reminded the Copyright Office that many entities that rely on the DMCA, like the OTW's Archive of Our Own, are small and lack the resources to monitor user-provided content for infringement. They also highlighted the importance of preventing and punishing improper takedown notices, and discussed how the current system of counter-notification doesn’t do enough to protect fair use and free expression.

Early in the month, Legal Committee member Rebecca met in person with the European Union delegation in the U.S., and in mid-April, Legal submitted comments to the European Commission regarding the EU’s Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. They discussed the pros and cons of notice-and-takedown systems and the importance of making sure those systems don’t chill non-infringing speech. They also urged the Commission to recognize that significant innovation and creativity can come from the non-commercial sector, and not to make rules that only large businesses will be able to follow.

Later in the month, Legal joined allies in a letter to the U.S. Senate regarding the appointment of Dr. Carla Hayden as U.S. Librarian of Congress. They continue to work with allies to monitor and provide input to the Senate confirmation process.

Legal also responded to several law-related queries from fans. Internally, Legal is monitoring trademark activity concerning parties’ attempts to obtain exclusive trademark rights over the word “fandom,” and laying groundwork to oppose those attempts.

IV. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology have announced an upcoming Archive functionality that will allow collection owners to invite works to their collections. They successfully deployed releases 0.9.129-0.9.131 and began testing for release 0.9.132. The deploys included an emergency fix for an issue where work and bookmark listings weren't updating, as well as some much-needed changes to help Support and Abuse manage comments from logged-out users.

Open Doors began importing works from the WesleyFanfiction archive with the assistance of the site's moderator.

AO3's Tag Wranglers have been seeing a strong increase in newly canonized or renamed tags not updating properly in the filters, which can mean that some works do not appear properly under the tag. Coders are aware of the situation and are working towards a solution, but users are the best resource for finding these tags. Please submit a support ticket if you come across one!

V. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Legal bids a fond farewell to long-time committee member Iona. They look forward to the possibility of her returning to the committee when time allows.

Strategic Planning is very sad to see their staffer, Seamus, leave the committee, but they wish him well in all his future endeavors in Systems and in life!

Systems is very excited to welcome a new Project Manager, Puckling!

This month, Tag Wranglers inducted five new staff members.

Volunteers & Recruiting opened recruitment for 2 Elections staff positions, and worked with Strategic Planning and Board on revisions to the Strategic Plan.

New Committee Staff: Patrycja Zarzecka (Elections), Gesundheit (Tag Wrangling), Cryllia (Tag Wrangling), Schuyler (Tag Wrangling), alamerysl (Tag Wrangling), ChelseaIBelieve (Tag Wrangling), puckling (Systems), 1 Journal
New Coder Volunteers: 1
New Translator Volunteers: 1

Departing Committee Staff: dizmo (Tag Wrangling), cinnamonandtea (Support), Ilona van der Vegt (Abuse), Ehryn (Abuse) and 1 other Abuse staffer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: PineTreePerson and 6 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 2, Mierke

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2016-04-04 13:30:31 -0400
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I. SHINY AND NEW

This month saw the publication of a special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, the OTW's academic journal. Volume 21, "The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work," was guest edited by Ika Willis, University of Wollongong. The essays in this special issue analyze "the relationships between Classical literature (and its afterlives) and contemporary fan work," as Willis's editorial notes. Putting out an academic journal is a mammoth task, and the Journal team do it three times a year. Articles are open access, so anyone can head over and dip into the articles.

After a seven-year run, Communications has concluded the OTW Fannews series. In its place, the committee has debuted a series called This Week in Fandom. Each Tuesday, TWIF will present a roundup of interesting happenings throughout all of fandom from the past week–everything from trending discussions to academia to exciting announcements to media articles on fandom and more. TWIF is new, so feedback on format and content, as well as potential stories and submissions, is very welcome!

The Web Strategy, Design & Development committee has been toiling away to get the new OTW site up and running. This month, the committee moved the website to its final hosting place and is working on doing the same for the Open Doors and Elections sites. Thanks to everyone for their patience with the beta site during the move!

II. AT THE AO3

Accessibility, Design & Technology have reported a great milestone this month: the Archive now has over 800,000 registered users! They have also successfully put out four releases. Of particular interest is an overhaul of the Skin Wizard, and the ability for gift exchange moderators to search sign-ups.

The Abuse team has received 400 tickets this month.

Tag Wrangling staff inducted a new class of volunteers, who have leapt into action to help keep up with the always-expanding volume of new tags and fandoms on the AO3.

Over at Open Doors, staff worked on manually importing the Hornblowerfic.com archive.

III. LEGAL ADVOCACY

In March, Legal represented the OTW at the South by Southwest Interactive festival! Legal committee chair Betsy Rosenblatt presented on the panel "Copyright and Creators: 2026" about the future of copyright law. Legal staffer Heidi Tandy hosted a Fair Use and Transformative Works Meetup at the festival, followed by a gathering for all, including those without festival passes, at a local pub. The event featured some great opportunities for fans to interact with U.S. law- and policy-makers, as well as of course gathering and socializing with each other.

Legal also responded to a significant number of legal questions from fans, some of which came in via AO3 Support and others that came directly to Legal.

IV. GOVERNANCE

After publishing the prospective budget for 2016 at the beginning of the month, the Board of Directors met with a Chartered Professional Accountant and is working through their assessment of the OTW's finances. They've also started preparing for this year's tax filing.

V. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

From February 29 to March 27, Volunteers & Recruiting received 84 new requests, and completed 78, leaving us with 39 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below). They also welcomed two new staffers. Elections brought in a new Communications Specialist staffer this month as well.

New Committee Staff: Misty Fritz (Elections), Anna S. (Volunteers & Recruiting), Katrina Hueniken (Volunteers & Recruiting)
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: adustyspectacle, arahime, Astra, Bella Irvine, capitola, CB, Flynn J. M. Germain, godsamitdean, ImpossibleGirlWrangler, Ira Gladkova, lightofthewind, LittleMousling, lubabathegreat, M.A., mal_stoner, miaou, Miranda, Osono, Perilous Grey, PineTreePerson, Rachel Harris, RepressedLurker, ShadowRancher, Sofia, the-dreaming-hare, and Twera

Departing Committee Staff: Chrissy Sky (AO3 Documentation), 2 Support, 1 Internationalization & Outreach, and 1 Wiki
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Yenelie, radondoran, and 9 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: waywardson1978 and 2 others

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I. INTERNATIONAL FANWORKS DAY

The OTW celebrated International Fanworks Day this month, with a whole week dedicated to events, games, posts and challenges leading up to the big day itself on February 15th. In total, the event included 6 guest posts, a Feedback Fest, a short fanworks challenge called IFDShare, numerous games and public chats, and multiple posts, including one that featured both OTW celebrations and other celebrations for IFD. Head on over to this roundup post to learn more.

II. AT THE AO3

Abuse handled 300 tickets this month. They remind users to keep their email addresses updated so that the team can make contact it makes their life easier, and helps keep AO3 running smoothly!

Over at Accessibility, Design & Technology, eight releases were deployed this month. While these mainly focused on improvements to behind-the-scenes functionality such as automated tests and gems, the hardworking coders and testers on the team also found time to make some minor layout adjustments.

III. NEW WEBSITE AND MORE

The Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee has continued their beta test of the new OTW website and is working on migrating over content. Thanks for everyone's patience while things get settled.

From January 28 to February 28, Volunteers & Recruiting received 91 new requests, and completed 91, leaving them with 36 open requests. They worked with the Web Strategy, Design & Development Committee on the first round of recruitment on the new OTW website. During this round, they recruited for Elections Staff, Tag Wrangling Volunteers, and Volunteers & Recruiting Staff. They devoted time to committee projects including the final stages of the formal audit of org-wide tools access and a revision of training for new staff for their committee. They also fielded a request from a student to answer some questions about experiences with volunteer management within the OTW.

Translation have welcomed 26 new volunteers to the committee, including a new team for Filipino!

Finally, Journal is hard at work on production for the next issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, a guest-edited issue on Classics and fan studies that will come out in mid-March.

IV. LEGAL ADVOCACY

February 22-26, 2016 was Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, and OTW Legal invited fans to “Ask Us Anything” about fair use and fair dealing law. Fans asked several questions, and Legal answered in a public post on February 26. The team also answered individual fan queries throughout the month.

In addition, Legal submitted comments in response to a U.S. Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry regarding the anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the triennial rulemaking process associated with those rules. Legal argued that the process of seeking exemptions is unnecessarily chilling on noninfringing activities like fair use, and is unduly burdensome for parties, like the OTW, who have to obtain exemptions.

We’ve also seen the fruits of some of our advocacy work: at the very end of January, the U.S. Copyright Office released a White Paper discussing the legal framework for remixes, including fan remix. The White Paper extensively cited the OTW’s Green Paper submission, which Legal created with the help of many fans who shared their stories with us.

Now we need more stories: to respond to a European Union consultation on how “notice and takedown” is working worldwide, OTW Legal wants to collect stories from fans worldwide on how internet takedowns have impacted fans. Have you, or anyone you know, been the subject of a takedown notice? What did you do about it? How did it feel? Have you had a fanwork of your own, or one you love, taken down? Have you ever been concerned about “three strikes” rules or other potential consequences of posting fanworks? Tell us all about it!

V. GOVERNANCE

This month, the Board has continued to work on sorting out various transition issues and on trying to find the best workflows to make sure everything get addressed in a timely fashion. Besides that, they have published the 2016 budget and have been working on rebuilding the Finance committee.

VI. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

New Committee Chairs: Nary (Support)
New Committee Staff: Apollonie (Support), coaldustcanary (Support), Eugecapisce (Support), Felix Quinn (Support), Morgan (Support), SelenesLion (Support), ShotaSammy (Support), Taylor Clossin (Support), Veronica M (Support), 4 other Support
New Coder Volunteers: 1
New Translator Volunteers: Francine Dulay, Monika Liptáková, JanOda, Amy Lee, cageot, XxArt, Sayali Marathe, Fatima Ahmed, Idiosincrasy, Rana Kamal, Maliceuse and 14 others
Departing Committee Staff: James Baxter (Development & Membership), Jillian Jacobs (Development & Membership), Hele (Translation), ragingrainbow (Tag Wrangling), Jennifer Rose Hale (Communications), 1 other Communications, 2 AO3 Documentation
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Starry_Sun and 2 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: 5

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Published:
2016-02-12 22:27:49 -0500
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I. Celebrating Fanworks

There have been some big milestones at the AO3 recently. The Archive recently reached the 2 millon fanworks mark. It took over four years to reach 1 million fanworks, and less than two years to add the second million. Also recently, Tag Wrangling canonized AO3's 20'000th fandom. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the Archive's success.

Plans have also been in the works for International Fanworks Day on February 15th. Join us for games, a short fanworks challenge, and Feedback Fest. Alternately, join in one of the many celebrations being held by others and tell us about it!

II. AT THE AO3

Our Accessibility, Design & Technology committee followed up the successful release of comment moderation in November with eight rapid-fire releases in December, making updates to the Rich Text Editor, challenges, and gifts, as well as behind-the-scenes fixes designed to improve overall Archive performance. In January, behind-the-scenes work continued with more performance improvements, Gem updates, and additions to the automated testing suite -- and we found time to announce and deploy layout improvements for different screen sizes, too!

Open Doors announced three more archive imports recently: Hornblowerfic.com, and The Prydonian and Human Nature archives. This is a busy start to 2016 after capping off 2015 with five archive imports.

Our Abuse committee ended the year with a total of 4550 tickets for 2015, up from 2750 in 2014. Our Support committee ended 2015 with 8328 tickets. That’s a 40% increase over 2014 and double 2012!

As a reminder, AO3 will not remove works solely because they portray characters or relationships in a bad light. Per our Terms of Service: "You understand that using the Archive may expose you to material that is offensive, triggering, erroneous, sexually explicit, indecent, blasphemous, objectionable, grammatically incorrect, or badly spelled."

III. Fanhackers and Legal Advocacy

Our Fanhackers committee has been restructured for better efficiency. It is no longer a discrete committee inside the OTW. Instead, the Fanhackers blog (and Tumblr) are now part of our Communications committee, and the Fan Studies Bibliography is now part of our Journal committee. The Fanhackers mission of making research about fans more useful and accessible will continue.

In December, our Legal committee submitted a comment in response to the European Commission's request for comments regarding online platforms, online intermediaries, and cloud computing. The OTW's comments emphasized the dangers of regulating based on the false assumption that all online platforms and intermediaries are large commercial entities like Google and eBay.

In January, a request was made asking fans for their stories about fanwork takedowns. Legal also helped make a public statement supporting fan film makers in the wake of a Paramount/CBS lawsuit against the makers of Axanar, a Star Trek fan film.

IV. GOVERNANCE

The resignation of Andrea Horbinski, Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae from the OTW's Board of Directors became effective on December 15th. After meeting with our Elections and Legal committees, newly elected Directors Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem announced that the remaining candidates from the November 2015 election would be appointed to the Board.

The Board is now hard at work. A draft of the 2016 budget is undergoing internal review for release as soon as possible. Minutes from Board meetings can be found on the minutes page, and future meeting times are listed on the new Board calendar page. (Note: Our website is currently being migrated to a new platform, so some links may malfunction for a little while. Thanks for your patience.)

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

Our Volunteers & Recruiting committee has kicked off recruitment for 2016.

New Directors: Matty Bowers (President), Alex Tischer (Secretary), Atiya Hakeem (Treasurer), Aline Carrão, Katarina Harju.
New Committee Chairs: Atiya Hakeem (Finance), Alex Tischer (Web Strategy, Design & Development (Acting)), Alison Watson (Volunteers & Recruiting), James Baxter (Web Strategy, Design & Development), Mahewa (Elections)
New Committee Staff: Katie (Accessibility, Design & Technology), 1 Journal, Nele Noppe (Communications), Gil (Web Strategy, Design, & Development), Atiya Hakeem (Development & Membership)
New Coder Volunteers: Cesy
New Translator Volunteers: Olya, Rose Hannah, and Chien
New Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers:

Departing Directors: Eylul Dogruel, Soledad Griffin, Andrea Horbinski, M.J. MacRae, Cat Meier, Jessica Steiner
Departing Committee Chairs: Soledad Griffin (I&O), Eylul Dogruel (Web Strategy, Design & Development (Acting)), Renay (Volunteers & Recruiting), Nele Noppe (Fanhackers), Daniel Lamson (Development & Membership), hele braunstein (Translation)
Departing Committee Staff: Xierroh (Translation), Amalia Blondet (AO3 Documentation & Translation), Katarina Harju (Translation), 1 Support, 1 Open Doors, 1 Wiki
Departing AO3 Documentation Volunteers: 1
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Selenay, Ciel, 1 other
Departing AD&T Coder Volunteers: Stephanie S.
Departing Strategic Planning Volunteers: 2
Departing Translator Volunteers: 7 others

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

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Published:
2015-11-08 12:14:49 -0500
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Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the names and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages.

I. ANOTHER LEGAL VICTORY!

On October 27, 2015, the U.S. Copyright Office released its Rulemaking regarding exemptions to section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Last year, OTW's Legal Committee asked the Copyright Office to renew the exemption permitting fan video makers to circumvent the copy protection on DVDs and digital transmissions, and to expand it to include Blu-Ray discs. And on October 27, we won! The new version of the exemption, which goes into effect immediately, permits people to circumvent copy protection to obtain short portions of films, television shows, and other videos for the purpose of making noncommercial videos that criticize or comment on the original work. The exemption explicitly permits the use of "screen capture" technology and also permits circumvention of copy protection on DVDs, digital transmissions, and Blu-Ray discs if necessary to produce sufficiently high-quality content.

We’ve been working on this particular renewal and expansion effort since September 2014, and because the process requires renewals every three years, we expect we will be back fighting the same fight in another two years. In the meantime, we send out our particular thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who joined us in this effort, and to the many vidders who responded to our calls for stories and explanations of how this exemption matters to what they do.

The Legal Committee also joined allies 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. The comments made specific recommendations and emphasized the importance of considering the interests of the public at large, including users who can be harmed by overly aggressive enforcement of intellectual property laws.

II. OCTOBER MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

Our Development & Membership Committee wrapped up a successful donation drive earlier this month, raising US$171,363! We are continuing to send out donation premiums. We encourage anyone who is missing their premium to get in touch with us using the Development & Membership contact form, and we'll figure out a solution to get your premium to you. Many things were learned from this drive, and we look forward to putting them to us during the next one. The Translation Committee also successfully collaborated with Development & Membership for the drive, producing over 150 documents in 17 languages!

III. AT THE AO3

This month, the Accessibility, Design & Technology Committee deployed several small releases addressing miscellaneous issues, including some adjustments to our infrastructure. We were also excited to offer a preview of comment moderation, but have yet to be able to push the button due to investigating and trying to fix recent site slowness and downtimes.

The Abuse Committee received about 450 tickets in October. Most were addressed within a few days, though we did have some complicated ones come in. Please be patient if you don't receive a reply immediately — the more complex the report, the more time we'll need to spend investigating!

The Tag Wrangling Committee revised the guidelines for canonical character tags that represent groups of people (to clarify that they should not be either metatagged or subtagged to individual characters), which should help both to reduce the load on servers by getting rid of unhelpful tag trees and to help users more easily find exactly the works they're looking for.

IV. GOVERNANCE

The OTW's Board of Directors met for their Annual Meeting from October 2–4. During this meeting, the 3-year OTW Roadmap produced by the Strategic Planning Committee was approved. The meeting minutes for all three days can be found on the Board Meeting Minutes page of our website.

The Elections Committee is in the final weeks of this year's OTW Board Elections. We'd like to thank the candidates for running this year. They worked hard to answer member questions in their Q&A Responses and participate in five Candidate Chats. Chat transcripts are available on our website. Voter instructions were also sent to current members. For more 2015 Board Election updates, you can visit the Elections Committee at our Twitter, @otwelections.

The annual election is a team effort — and not just the Elections team! Many thanks go out to Development & Membership, Translation, Communications, and more. Without these and other committees helping behind the scenes, this election would not be possible. Thank you all!

V. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

The Volunteers & Recruiting Committee helped Tag Wrangling, Communications, and Internationalization & Outreach recruit for new volunteers and staffers this month. Thank you to everyone who applied, and everyone who helped spread the word! We also sent a Still Willing to Serve survey out to all current volunteers, and we greatly appreciate the responses of our continuing volunteers, as well as the service of our departing volunteers. Last but not least, we have also started inducting volunteers from our September recruitment round: a warm welcome to all new volunteers, and three cheers for current volunteers taking on new roles!

New Committee Staff: Sofia (Translation), Oriontsuki (Translation), SunnyB (Translation), Cat Goodfellow (Communications), James Baxter (Web Strategy, Design, & Development), Janet Vandenabeele (Communications), qwu (Abuse), Oniondip (Abuse), Nerine Luna Cyran (Abuse), Sammie Jarrett (Abuse), Ilona van der Vegt (Abuse), shiloh (Abuse), Miranda (Abuse), fredoxley (Abuse), 6 other Abuse, 2 Communications, 1 AO3 Documentation, and 1 Systems
New AO3 Documentation Volunteers: 1
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 1
New Translator Volunteers: J4Y and 3 others

Departing Committee Staff: squidgie (Wiki), Janna N. (Support), Noah Feeman (Open Doors), Jintian (Communications), Julia Allis (Communications), Ellorgast (Communications), Marta-Bee (Communications), 2 other Communications, 1 other Support, 1 Legal, 2 Elections, 1 Quality Assurance & Testing, and 1 Tag Wrangling
Departing AO3 Documentation Volunteers: briar_pipe
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Hana Lee, Asha, Swimmies, kiii17, Rana Jones, Elizabeth Moonstone, ryasdfghjkl, and 36 others
Departing Translator Volunteers: Erilia Wu and 8 others

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

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