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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, October 12-18, 2017

As we celebrate the past ten years of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), let's also take a moment to look towards the future. Thanks to your donations, there's a bright path ahead of us! Your continued support funds all our projects, from the Archive of Our Own (AO3) to the Fanlore wiki, from Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) to our Legal Advocacy team. Here's a taste of what you can expect from some of these projects soon:

The near future for AO3 includes continued expansion of site stability. Your donations have allowed us to hire contractors to help upgrade the Archive, and we will be continuing those infrastructure improvements. Keep an eye on our release notes for more information! The Archive will also continue to work with Open Doors to import and preserve at-risk fanwork archives, using a new and improved importing process.

Meanwhile, in addition to their everyday work helping fans with questions about fannish legal issues, Legal Advocacy is preparing once again to renew the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption for vidders in 2018.

Also in 2018, TWC will publish its historic tenth anniversary issue, which will bring the journal's total number of published essays to nearly 500! As part of the OTW's ten-year retrospective celebration, that TWC issue will focus on The Future of Fandom, illustrating how our networks of communities have evolved and will continue to do so. Keep an eye out for announcements about this issue on TWC's Tumblr and their website.

As we look to the future, 2027 might seem very far away. Untold numbers of fandoms will emerge between now and then, and untold numbers of fanworks will be created within those fandoms. But 2017 once seemed far away too, and yet here we are! We hope that in the coming decade we will be able to serve not only those of you who have been with us all along, but also all of the creators who may not even have discovered their first fandom yet. Here's to another ten years of new fans, new fandoms, new goals and new achievements!

We hope that you will continue to support the OTW and its projects for years to come. We have many things in store for the future, and we can't wait to share them all with you!


The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.

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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, October 12-18, 2017

For ten years now, the Organization for Transformative Works' many projects have been pursuing our stated mission: "serv[ing] the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate." Your support over the past decade has allowed us to do some amazing work for you. Help us to continue, expand and improve our services by donating to the OTW today!

Our very first project, Legal Advocacy, was launched in 2007. The Legal team has spent the ten years since then working tirelessly on behalf of fandom by answering fans' legal questions, publishing informative posts, and adding the OTW's voice to major legal cases affecting fandom.

Next came Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), an open-source, peer-reviewed academic journal launched in September 2008 to showcase research and conversation about fannish topics. With essay topics ranging from digital fan labor to fanfiction in the 17th century, TWC has advanced the field of fan studies and expanded our understanding of fandom. In its lifetime, TWC has published nearly 200 articles, some of which have been cited dozens of times or more.

Launched in the same month as TWC, the Fanlore wiki aims to be a living history of fan traditions and communities, with articles dedicated to ships, works, zines, websites, and fan activities of all kinds. Check out Fanlore's new, completely redesigned front page, then try exploring the site—over 40,000 Fanlore articles have been created over the past decade, and more are added every day, so you never know what you might find!

In November 2009, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) opened to the public. It was created to be a place where fans could post their works without having to worry about censorship or financial constraints, and today it is home to over three million fanworks and counting! Running the Archive accounts for a significant portion of the OTW's budget, and it's your donations that make it possible.

Last but not least, Open Doors has been preserving at-risk fanworks and archives by bringing them to AO3 since 2009. To date, Open Doors has imported 47 fanwork archives from many different fandoms, safeguarding them for future fans to enjoy! Open Doors' Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP) also collaborates with the University of Iowa to save non-digital forms of fannish culture like zines, con materials, and letters between fans and studios or writers. The OTW has been working with the university's Special Collections department since June 2009, when the FCPP facilitated a donation of over 3,000 zines!

The OTW's projects have done some amazing work over the past ten years, and we need your help to continue, expand, and improve our efforts! We hope to be serving the interests of fans for the next decade and beyond. If you'd like to contribute and be a part of our mission, please make a donation today!

For more fun facts, here's a timeline of some major milestones in OTW's history:

Timeline of major OTW milestones
Follow this link to access this infographic's contents in text form.

To find out more about the Organization for Transformative Works, visit the OTW's website.

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OTW April 2017 Membership Drive

Thank you for supporting the OTW! Our April 2017 drive has come to a close, and we have raised over US$145,000 from over 5,600 individual donations representing 72 countries. Over 3,040 of these donations came from first-time donors.

This week, we updated you on exciting developments in several OTW projects. We also told you about additional ways you can donate: corporate matching to amplify your impact, and recurring donations to get that amazing thank you gift you'll love!

We would like to recognize all the OTW volunteers working behind the scenes to make this drive, and everything we do, possible. This drive couldn't have been successful without them, or without you. Once again, thank you for your generosity and support as we continue to grow as an organization.

(Although the drive has ended, your donations are accepted at any time.)

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Earlier this week, you learned about how the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) uses your donations. Here are some ways you can increase your impact when donating to the OTW!

Many companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google, will match your charitable donations. The OTW is a registered nonprofit in the United States, which means it's eligible for many corporate matching programs. If you're not sure whether this applies in your local area or for your company, ask your employer or tax advisor. You could double your giving power!

Have you seen some of our fun thank-you gifts and thought, "I’d love that, but I can’t afford a donation that large"? The good news is, we accept recurring donations. You can donate a smaller amount every week, month, two months—whatever fits your budget—and have those donations build towards one of our thank-you gifts! Just use the recurring donation page to donate, and then let us know which thank-you gift you would like your donations to count towards.

The OTW runs entirely on the support of people like you. (If you would like more information on how donations are spent, you can refer to our 2017 budget here.) Every donation helps, no matter how small, and we appreciate all your support. Please donate today!

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OTW April 2017 Membership Drive

At the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a lot has happened in the past few months. Here's a look at some of the many new and interesting things the OTW has been accomplishing thanks to your support.

Our Systems team have been busy bees this semester! The number of fanworks on the Archive of Our Own is growing, as is the number of users and visitors. We need more space to store those fanworks, and more bandwidth to serve everyone. We also need faster computers that can search through the works quickly and answer more queries at the same time. Your donations help Systems purchase the machines we need to keep our projects running for fans like you! You can find a breakdown of our expenses for 2017 below. (For more specific information on the OTW's finances, please refer to the 2017 budget.)

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 75.7%. Open Doors: 0.5%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 1.5%. Fanlore: 2.7%. Legal Advocacy: 1.2%. Con Outreach: 1.8%. Admin: 8.4%. Fundraising: 8.2%.

Several other teams have also been hard at work recently! The Legal committee has continued its work responding to fan questions and has filed amicus briefs in new cases, including Cross v. Facebook, “against overreaching right-of-publicity laws”. Meanwhile, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) reached 1 million registered users in October 2016 and is passing 3 million fanworks this month, another milestone!

Plus, Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 23, a special issue all about Sherlock Holmes fandom, guest edited by Roberta Pearson and Betsy Rosenblatt. The issue includes articles on fan art and gender disparities in the fandom, as well as reviews of Sherlock-themed books. It even has special cover art! Transformative Works and Cultures, like all of the OTW’s projects, relies on your donations to publish these academic articles for current and future researchers!

It’s your help that makes all of this possible. To add your support to the important work that these teams do, please donate today!

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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Our October 2016 drive is now complete, and all of us at the Organization for Transformative Works would like to thank you for your participation and generosity. Together, we raised US$139,159.45 from 5518 individual donations!

Each and every participant in this drive has helped us continue to thrive as an organization, which means our projects and teams will keep growing and we’ll be able to do more outreach. Your participation has strengthened our community, allowing us to serve you better.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our returning members, who make what we do possible, and we are proud to welcome over 1200 new members to the OTW. We’re truly grateful to everyone who supports us, whether by donating, signal-boosting, volunteering, or encouraging our work. You’ve got our kudos!

Kudos growth graph on AO3, from zero in 2010 to over 60 million as of September 2016.
Growth graph for works and comments created each year on AO3, starting from zero in 2008 to over 500,000 works and 9.5 million comments this year alone.

(And don’t forget: even though the drive is over, you can contribute to the OTW at any time!)

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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

The OTW Legal team works every day in defense of fandom's right to create fanworks. They work to prevent unfair takedowns and lawsuits against fans, to secure exemptions that protect fans’ rights, and to participate in cases that may have an impact on fandom. To support our legal advocacy work, please make a donation.

Our Legal team also helps fans by answering their questions about fair use and their rights as content creators, and by publishing posts about new legal developments. They speak at panels about remix culture, what constitutes fair use, and how fan culture can help all content creators find their voices and gain more skills.

The OTW Legal team works primarily in the United States, although they're branching out to defend fair use principles in other parts of the world as well, including Europe, South Africa, and Australia. If you live in the US, Legal may have helped you if:

  • You cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands)
  • You make fan video (Paramount/CBS Fan Film “Guidelines”)
  • You’ve used the word "fandom" (Petition to cancel "FANDOM" trademark)
  • You write RPF (Davis v. Electronic Arts)
  • You’ve ever made a remix (Petition to grant DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixes)

Work that Legal Advocacy has done this year related to different types of fan activity: cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands), writing (Davis v. Electronic Arts, petition to cancel

You can find out more about their work by visiting the Legal page on our website and support their advocacy by donating today!

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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Have you ever wondered where the fanworks on AO3 are stored? Ever wanted to take a peek behind the scenes? The Organization for Transformative Works, the nonprofit behind the Archive of Our Own, Open Doors, Fanlore and Transformative Works and Cultures, owns the servers that run nonstop to host our projects. With your support, we can maintain and upgrade our servers as our projects grow and expand every year.

We're here to archive your creations, and we take the duty of preserving your fanworks seriously. By owning our own servers, we avoid being subject to other companies' terms of service and potential censorship. Without our servers, none of this would be possible!

As our community and our projects keep expanding, our servers need the capacity to keep up with the volume:

Our servers
Our servers run code, send notifications, store fanworks, wrangle tags and serve pages to visitors. Common server costs: $40,200 in yearly hosting fees, $37,420 for two database servers and about $4,000 for a general purpose server—the first two of which the OTW spent this year.
AO3 currently has around 1 million members, over 2.5 million fanworks, 134 million weekly page views (43% growth over last year) and 10 million monthly unique visitors (18% growth over last year).

Adapted from the OTW 2016 budget.

We need to make sure our servers are up to date and able to handle these demands so that pages load quickly. To help keep the AO3's servers up and running and the OTW's projects thriving, please make a donation today!

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