Since we began in 2007, the Organization for Transformative Works' core mission has included working to promote fan-friendly copyright law. For years, we've submitted testimony and comments to governments, filed briefs in court, and helped mobilize fans to have their voices heard by lawmakers around the world. Recently, one of our big legal advocacy projects has been testifying and submitting comments to the U.S. Senate about the way U.S. Copyright works online under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis has released proposed legislation that would be bad for the AO3 and bad for fans. OTW Legal will fight for fans against this proposal, and you can help.
Sen. Tillis's proposal is awful. Among other things, it would dismantle safe harbors in the DMCA that protect the AO3 and other fan sites. It would put fanworks at greater risk of being taken down, and make it harder for new fan sites to get started. But here's the good news: it's just one Senator's wish list. Although Sen. Tillis's office has released a proposal, it's not even a bill yet--and if we remember our Schoolhouse Rock, becoming a bill is only the first step on a long, winding road that can involve lots of changes and may go nowhere. And before it starts on any road, the OTW (and you!) will have opportunities to have our voices heard and make a difference in what (if anything) might go in a bill.
OTW's legal advocacy team is on the case. We've been submitting responses and objections to Congress and the Senate, meeting with Sen. Tillis and other lawmakers, and doing everything else we can to continue to support free expression and fair use, promote copyright safe harbors that make it possible for the AO3 to exist, and protect fans from having their works unfairly taken down or commercially exploited by others.
We're optimistic that this wish list will not become law! But we have a lot of work ahead of us, and if you live in the United States, you can help. As things go forward, we'll know more about what specific actions will make a difference, but for now the biggest thing you can do is stand up and be counted. If you are interested in staying informed or getting involved, let us and our allies at the Re:Create Coalition know!.
OTW Legal is here to help! To find out more about the OTW's Legal Advocacy work or how to contact us, visit our Legal Advocacy page.
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.