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Published:
2019-09-05 13:14:31 -0400
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OTW Celebrates

It's the Organization for Transformative Works' 12th anniversary!

Way back in 2007, there was an idea. An idea of fannish inclusiveness and independence. An idea of a home for all fans, fanworks, and fannish histories. And from that idea, the OTW was born.

From the beginning, we've always kept our beliefs in mind. Every time we defend the legality of fanworks or import an at-risk fanworks archive, we do it with the belief that fandom matters. Every time we publish academic works about fandom or collect stories about fandom, we do it as fans and for fans.

We wouldn't be here if it weren't for fans. Thank you for your contributions and support, whether you're an OTW member, an AO3 or Fanlore user, or someone who's sent in a nice note. After a dozen years, you've made more of an impact than you can imagine.

As part of our 12th anniversary celebration, we're sharing some new genre-themed graphics we've created for fans who want to show support for the OTW and its projects. Do you love horror? Sci-fi? Now you can show your OTW pride in a way that matches your ~aesthetic~!

We're also sharing some updated flyers which provide all the basics about the OTW. These can be printed to hand out at conventions or other fan gatherings, even the ones that take place in your living room.

Going forward, our Translation Committee will be adding additional language versions for both the flyers and graphics.

We hope you enjoy using these new resources to celebrate with us!

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Published:
2018-09-05 13:02:44 -0400
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OTW 11th anniversary banner

Today marks 11 years since the OTW was founded, and that means it's time to celebrate!

The Organization for Transformative Works was founded on the belief that fandom matters. Transformative fanworks, the people who create them, and the communities they foster are important, and we've made it our mission to promote and preserve fan cultures and fannish histories in their many forms.

In celebration of this milestone, we're holding a giveaway! In case you missed it, we recently had a guest post with Ngozi Ukazu, creator of the Check, Please! web comic. As well as answering our questions, we were also offered a copy of her new book Check Please! Year 2, and you can win it!

If that sounds awesome to you, then make sure you enter our trivia contest. Find the answers to the five questions below and send them to the Communications committee using our contact form with the subject "OTW Trivia" by 23:59 UTC on September 11, 2018. (What time is that where I live?)

A winner will be randomly selected from entries that get all five questions right. Anyone can enter, no matter where you live, but only one entry per person is allowed. When you enter, please let us know what name or pseudonym you'd like to be identified by, should you win. The book will be sent from the publisher. Please don't post your answers in a comment.

Trivia Contest Questions:

  1. What was the first Fanlore featured article of 2018?
  2. Which tag is used on more AO3 works: Angst with a happy ending, or Action/Adventure?
  3. Issue 27 of the OTW's academic journal Transformative Works and Cultures includes an article by Daisy Pignetti on the loss of an internet boyfriend. Who is the boyfriend in question?
  4. Which holiday did the OTW celebrate with a blog post on July 27, 2018?
  5. What are the names of the two candidates who were elected to the OTW's Board of Directors in August 2018?

But that's not all! Thanks to graphic designer Rachel G., we've got some fun icons for you to help celebrate all year long. Just right click (on desktop) or tap and hold (on mobile) the images to save them, and then you can use them as icons on AO3, social media, or wherever you'd like.

icon with a white background and a red OTW logo and text that reads We go to 11 icon with a white background and a red OTW logo and text that reads I'm an 11

Finally, a HUGE thank you to everyone who has helped us get to where we are now. That includes personnel, members, supporters, users, and everyone else who's been involved in our journey. It's been an incredible 11 years, and we wouldn't be here without 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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Published:
2017-09-25 11:43:32 -0400
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OTW 10th anniversary history

POST UPDATE: The trivia contest is now CLOSED.. Congratulations to our winners, Ashley Q, BelaBelissima, CIL78, Courtney, Crayonsurpapier, Cyn, Destiny, IsabelClover, Kostia, Jill, Livi, Liviania, Mark R., Nrandom, Oxymora, Penelope, rhps_brad_fan, soshisenshi, Syrenian, TaterPie, Vita_Sine_Fantasy_Mors_Est

We received 175 entries and 90 of those had all 5 correct answers. For those curious about what they were, here are some links:

1 – The U.S. Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (a Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary )

2 – Turkfanfiction.net and German Speaking Slashers United

3 – Either or both of these two challenges:

"Pick a page - stub or not! - of a fandom, character, relationship, trope, person, or anything else at Fanlore. Add five details to it, large or small - bullet-point lists or full paragraphs, whatever you can think of!"

"As the observation of Women’s History Month in many parts of the world wraps up, why not give one last hurrah to the amazing women in our favourite canons? Tell us all about your fannish experiences with women characters — the women themselves, the relationships they’re in (het, lesbian, canonical, fannish, whatever!), the fanworks they star in — whatever you can think of! Stub out pages, or add a sprinkle of information on an existing page."

4 - November 18

5 - Volume 9 and Ian Roberts

Thanks to everyone who took part, and also for the many good wishes included with those entries. We're glad you had fun finding the answers. We have our final 2 chat events to celebrate our anniversary this weekend so we hope to see you there!


You just might, especially if you have good search-fu!

This is how it will work:

  1. Answer the five questions we have listed below. Only one entry per person
  2. Submit those answers to our Communications Committee. (Put "OTW Trivia" in the Subject line)
  3. Let us know what name or pseudonym you'd prefer we use when we announce the winners.
  4. We can't guarantee you'll receive a particular prize, but you can include your top 3 choices in order of preference.

Please do NOT post your answers in a comment.

In 72 hours we will be reviewing all the submissions and randomly selecting 10 winners from all the correct responses we receive. If we do not receive enough correct responses to qualify for the prizes we will include entries with 4 correct answers, or 3 correct answers, etc. until we have 21 winners.

Winners will be notified by email and have 72 hours to provide us with a mailing address for us to send their prize to. We will ship internationally, so everyone can participate. But if we do not hear back from you within that 3 day time frame we will be randomly choosing another winner in your place. (Please check your spam folders!)

What are the prizes?

For our 10th anniversary we will have 10 prizes. Four of these prizes were generously donated to us for this event by author Tamora Pierce! These are autographed hardback copies of her Song of the Lioness series. You will be able to choose from Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, or Lioness Rampant.

In addition we have:

  1. A Season 3 DVD set of Supernatural autographed by Ghostfacers, Travis Wester and A.J. Buckley (NTSC format)
  2. An OTW logo pen
  3. A copy of the book The First 28 Years of Monty Python
  4. A copy of the book Buffy the Vampire Slayer Watcher's Guide Volume 1
  5. 2 OTW stickers and a temporary tattoo for each of our projects
  6. A large totebag advertising the services of wizard detective, Harry Dresden (in black, 51 by 40 centimeters/20 inches by 16 inches)

But there's more! Since we made our anniversary announcement the folks at First Second Books got in touch with us and offered an additional 11 prizes. These are graphic novels and they will ship them directly to the winners. The titles are:

  1. Castle in the Stars, by Alex Alice
  2. Spill Zone, by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland
  3. Cast No Shadow, by Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa
  4. Compass South, by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock
  5. Pashmina, by Nidhi Chanani
  6. Foiled, by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro
  7. Shattered Warrior, by Sharon Shinn and Molly Ostertag
  8. Tetris, by Box Brown
  9. Spinning, by Tillie Walden
  10. Exquisite Corpse, by Penelope Bagieu
  11. The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang

Ready to play? Here are your questions:

  1. In 2014 Naomi Novik testified for the OTW before who (specifically) about why fair use was important to fans?
  2. So far, among the archives Open Doors has imported into the AO3 have been two specifically for non-English fanworks. What are they called?
  3. What challenge did Fanlore issue to visitors and users in March 2011?
  4. On what day in 2009 was the first AO3 News post made that shared stats with graphs about the site's growth?
  5. In what issue of Transformative Works and Cultures did an article appear about the history of the anime music video in Western fandom, and who was the author?

This post will be updated when the contest is closed, and we'll announce the winners. Good luck!


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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OTW 10th anniversary history

Many of you may be new to the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) while a few of you have been following our progress since we launched in 2007. Either way, we hope there are things you've been discovering about us this month. As our next big anniversary won't be for a while though, here are 25 things about our organization you can find out right now!

  1. Our Legal Advocacy team was the first OTW project to launch as they worked on incorporating us as a non-profit in 2007. The OTW's website went live and the first OTW newsletter was posted on December 11, 2007.
  2. One of the OTW's first donations came in August 2007 from Cory Doctorow, who wrote that December: "This is such a good idea. When Naomi [Novik, OTW co-founder] described it at the WorldCon at a panel that we were on together, I wrote her a check on the spot for $500 to fund the org. I hope she cashes it now that they've formally announced."
  3. Our volunteer records go back to 2007. We have 6 volunteers who have been working with the OTW since then.
  4. Our first membership drive was held from March 1-18, 2008. We raised $11,142 from 396 donations. The drive was announced with LOLcats.
  5. The first code for AO3 was completed on March 25, 2008.
  6. An early bit of press coverage for the OTW in August 2008 focused on the history of vidding.
  7. The Legal Advocacy team's longest running project has been a continual effort to maintain exemptions for fan video makers to break copy protection on visual content they use. They first submitted documents for this in December 2008, and have continued petitioning for these exemptions every three years, achieving decisions in our favor in 2009, 2012, and 2015. They are currently preparing for the next round in 2018. (Here's a way that you can tell the U.S. Congress to make these decisions permanent!)
  8. Most of the oldest pages on Fanlore are about individual fans. The oldest fandom page is Die Hard, which was created on August 4, 2008.
  9. OTW's projects launched within 9 months of one another: Transformative Works and Cultures on September 15, 2008, Fanlore on September 29, 2008, the Archive of Our Own (in limited beta) on October 3, 2008, and the Vidding History Project on February 16, 2009. Open Doors announced its Fan Culture Preservation Project on June 18, 2009 with a donated collection of over 3,000 fanzines.
  10. The OTW's first Board election was in October 2009.
  11. This was the first look at the AO3's servers a few months before the public beta in November 2009.
  12. Many of our volunteers have served in at least two different positions, either concurrently or in succession. Some volunteers really like variety! 8 of them have served in 5 committees or more since they began volunteering.
  13. The average donation the OTW received during our last membership drive was $25.90. The $25 average has remained consistent since our first drive.
  14. Archive of Our Own has had several front page redesigns. The first was on November 7, 2009. The last was on February 25, 2015 when the Favorite Tags feature was added.
  15. Open Doors got its website on May 16, 2011 and began archive imports to AO3 when its import tool was ready on February 26, 2012. The first archive they worked on is the Smallville Slash Archive.
  16. The average page on Fanlore has been edited 5.34 times. The most revised entry was the Proposed Zines link. Fourth on the list is the Blanket Permission to Podfic, which is also the longest page on Fanlore.
  17. Our Legal Committee offers advice for fans, usually one-on-one, but also publicly about broader concerns. Their earliest post of this kind concerned a contest being held at San Diego Comic Con and other fan events in July 2012.
  18. Some people know that the February 15th date for International Fanworks Day is tied to the date AO3 passed 1 million fanworks. What may not be known is that it was also the day that Fanlore passed 500,000 edits and the same month that the first OTW-supported book was published by the Transformative Works and Cultures editors, making February 2014 one of our most significant dates.
  19. Besides the many milestones for user accounts, fandoms, and fanworks, the AO3 marked another one in April 2015 when its servers moved into their own rack at the server facility.
  20. We get donations from over 70 countries during most membership drives. In April 2017, the top 10 countries that donors have come from were the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, and Finland.
  21. In the month of July 2017 we had over 11 million different IP addresses accessing the Archive, and we showed them around 17,000 pages a minute. But each day the AO3 sends over half a million emails, or nearly 16 million emails per month to its over 1 million registered users.
  22. The OTW's "About Fandom" Playlist includes interviews of and presentations made by OTW personnel. These make for handy explainers to friends and fellow fans!
  23. AO3 tag wranglers sometimes hold chat parties to entertain each other while they work. In July 2017, they wrangled around 610,000 tags in a single month.
  24. The OTW organizes its work through committees and these have changed many times over the years. Our Volunteers & Recruiting Committee reports that our largest committee is Tag Wrangling, with 304 people, and our smallest committee is Systems, with only 7 people. Overall we have over 600 volunteers in 22 timezones.
  25. Transformative Works and Cultures has had 10 general issues and 15 special topic issues, and their articles have been cited hundreds of times over the past decade. They just published their 25th issue this month.

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Published:
2017-09-04 20:05:06 -0400
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OTW 10th anniversary celebration

Today is a very special day: it's been 10 years since the OTW launched. The Organization for Transformative Works is the parent organization of multiple projects including AO3, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures and OTW Legal Advocacy. We have a number of activities planned this month to celebrate and we hope you'll join in!

Each weekend in September we will be hosting chats with guests and offering Q&A sessions with OTW staff representing different areas of the organization. Below is our schedule of events and special posts for the month. Links to our chatroom will go live during the hours shown, so check back here on the day in order to click through and attend.

Room attendance is capped at 60 people at any one time. If you can't get in you can try again later or check out the transcripts, which will be posted within 24 hours (Available through all OTW news outlets)


Saturday, September 9th from 05:00 to 07:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • The OTW's Fanlore Committee held an open house. Thanks to those who took part and be sure to check out pages for your favorite fannish topics on Fanlore.

  • Sunday, September 10th from 16:00-18:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • The Magicians author and journalist Lev Grossman will be joining us to discuss his work in a talk about "Television and Book Fandoms."
  • Read the transcript


    On Wednesday, September 13th we'll be making a special Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said post with one of the OTW's founders, Naomi Novik. She'll be looking back at the OTW's early days and the organization's arc. (Available through all OTW news outlets)


    Saturday, September 16th from 17:00 to 19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • In a discussion about the Romance Genre, authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings will discuss their work as Christina Lauren, along with romance author and professor Catherine Roach.
  • Read the transcript


    Sunday, September 17th from 16:00-18:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • Authors Seanan McGuire and Martha Wells will be joining us for a discussion about "Fantasy and Fandom", their works, their time in fandom, and maybe some filk too!
  • Read the transcript


    On Monday, September 18th we'll be taking a look back at our history with "25 Things to Know About the OTW." (Available through all OTW news outlets)


    On Thursday, September 21st we'll be sharing a Guest Post from noted media scholar Henry Jenkins. (Available through all OTW news outlets)


    Saturday, September 23rd from 14:00-15:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone) and 19:00-20:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • The OTW's Legal Committee will be holding an open house. If you've ever wanted someone to answer your questions about fandom, fanworks and legal issues take this opportunity to find out more! Have you ever had questions about why the AO3's terms of use allow posting of some kinds of fanworks but not others? Do you find yourself puzzling over whether Patreon and crowdfunding change the legality of fanworks? Have you ever wondered what fans can do to keep their fanworks from being exploited by others? Are you worried about ways that countries may seek to regulate the Internet? These are just a few of the many topics Legal could chat with you about. (Here are some more examples of questions Legal could discuss). Just keep in mind that the chat can't be used to give you personal legal advice, and if a question looks like it might violate a user’s privacy to answer (if it needs an email address or other personal information, for example) the Legal staff will redirect you to the Legal contact form so you can communicate via email.
  • Thanks to those who attended, and if you missed asking your question, you can contact Legal by email.


    Sunday, September 24th from 14:00-16:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • The OTW's Support Committee will be holding an open house to answer your questions about using the AO3. Live chat is best for questions of a “How do I…?” or “Why does it…?” nature. For example, you might have been wondering how to run a challenge, how to post using formatting the Rich Text Editor won’t give you, or perhaps you want to add a lot of your older works to the AO3 so what would be the easiest way to do that? Ask away! Two caveats though: Support's function is to help users with technical bugs and issues so any questions or comments about AO3 or OTW policies -- good or bad -- Support Chat isn’t the right place for them. Additionally, if a question looks like it might violate a user’s privacy to answer (if it needs an email address or other personal information, for example) we may not be willing to work with it in chat. In those cases, we’ll redirect you to the Support Form so you can communicate via email.
  • Thanks to those who attended, and if you missed asking your question, you can contact Support by email.


    Monday, September 25th we'll launch a 72 hour OTW Trivia Contest. Submit your answers and try for a variety of prizes, including some donated to us by author Tamora Pierce! (Available through all OTW news outlets)


    Thursday, September 28th a post from editors Kristina Busse, Francesca Coppa, and Karen Hellekson about books that support the OTW! (Available through all OTW news outlets)


    Saturday, September 30th from 17:00-19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • Author Tessa Gratton will be discussing her work, which includes YA novels and the Tremontaine series based on Ellen Kushner's Riverside books. Kate McNair, a YALSA Board member and the Teen Services Coordinating Librarian for the Johnson County Library will also be joining us to talk about the Young Adult genre.

  • Read the transcript

    Sunday, October 1 from 17:00-19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone)

  • The OTW's Translation Committee will be holding an open house to answer your questions about how the OTW communicates in over 30 languages, but also to chat with you about fandom and fanworks! If you've wanted to make contact with other fans at the AO3 in your native language(s), wondered what it might be like to be on the OTW's translation team, or considered how many ways you can translate 'kudos', take this opportunity to find out more!
  • Thanks to those who attended, and if you missed asking your question, you can visit Translation's committee webpage.


    More Ways to Participate

    1. If you want to find out more about the OTW's history, you can read its first announcement as a new organization, or browse our Pinboard account for news posts old and new, which includes announcements from all our projects as well as news from AO3 and Fanhackers posts.
    2. You're a part of fannish history too! Chances are the fandoms you've been in and the works you know about could use more information on Fanlore. And if you'd like some help starting out, drop into the Fanlore chat session this month.
    3. Thanks to our graphics volunteer Rachel G, we have some snaggable art below which you can repost on your fannish accounts to let everyone know that you're also celebrating our birthday this month! Copy the information in the text box to post a linked version of the larger badge, or right-click to download the smaller badges.

    Celebrating OTW's 10th Anniversary

     

    <div style="text-align:center"><a href=" http://www.transformativeworks.org/today-is-the-otws-10th-anniversary/"><img src=" http://www.transformativeworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/10Anniversary_300_Red-RachelG.png" alt="Celebrating OTW's 10th Anniversary"/></a></div>

    -- --

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    Published:
    2016-09-05 12:28:57 -0400
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    OTW 9th anniversary

    Today marks 9 years that the OTW launched, and we have some celebrations and activities planned this month to celebrate!

    This September we will be putting the spotlight on our Open Doors project, discussing the importance of preserving fanworks and fannish history. This will include our Five Things series where we talk with OTW volunteers about the work they do for us. We'll also have a Guest Post with Versaphile, an archive owner whose sites have been imported into the AO3 by Open Doors.

    In addition to the announcement about the Sinful Desire archive there will be several more announcements from Open Doors this month about archives that will be imported to AO3, so keep an eye out!

    And on Sunday, September 18th from 17:00-19:00 UTC (check when that is in your timezone) we'll be doing a live chat to which you are all invited! Three librarians who work with popular culture, science fiction and fantasy collections, all of which include fanworks, will be available to answer questions about their work, their collections, and preserving fannish history.

    Our panelists will be

    The chat will be held in our Public Discussion chatroom.

    For anyone who wants to find out more about the Open Doors project, please visit its website or catch up on news about their activities.

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    Published:
    2015-09-05 11:37:49 -0400
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    Banner by Rachel reading 8th Anniversary Celebration

    Today the OTW turns 8 years old. The organization and its projects have accomplished a great deal during this time, all of which has been made possible with the donations of our supporters and the many hours of work from our thousands of volunteers over the years.

    This month we'll see another milestone: Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) will be releasing its 20th issue. We hope that its readers, contributors, and our many visitors will take the time to help us celebrate!

    We'll be wrapping up on September 19th, when we'll host a live chat with four contributors to TWC who have been involved with the publication from its early days. Edited to add: The transcript is now available

    • Lucy Busker is a writing professor at Parkland College in Illinois, USA. She was the founder and site maintainer of the original Fanfic Symposium, and the owner of the Fanfiction Critic's Association mailing list. Her recent interests include gender in children's media, including a strange fascination with her daughter's Barbie movies.
    • Cathy Cupitt has been an active member of fandom since the late 1980s, first writing fanfiction for Lotrips. She's been a writer, reccer and vidder in Stargate: Atlantis, Torchwood, Supernatural and Teen Wolf, among others. She has a Doctorate in Creative Arts, and is currently a Research Fellow for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
    • Amanda Odom has served as an instructor at several institutions, including the University of South Alabama, the United States Sports Academy, and Front Range Community College. She has also worked as an editor. She loves finding connections between the characters in comics, video games, books, and movies and the people who write and read them.
    • Dana Sterling has published a romance novel under a nom de plume, and teaches writing at Oklahoma State University's Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. She studied journalism, and previously spent 20 years as a reporter, editor and broadcaster. She has been a fan of comics, Star Wars, Stargate, and The Lord of the Rings among others.

    The chat will be held in the OTW's Public Discussion Chatroom on September 19th from 14:00-16:00 UTC (what time is that in my timezone?)

    We hope you'll join us! And if you have any questions about the event, leave them here.

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    Published:
    2014-09-05 13:20:22 -0400
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    graphic by Rachel G announcing our 7th anniversary

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    Today's post is by Flourish Klink, who has a broad perspective on fandom. Among her accomplishments she is Chief Participation Officer for The Alchemists, a franchise content company; was a co-founder of FictionAlley; and has lectured at MIT, teaching classes in transmedia storytelling, fan culture, and media studies.

    Why does the OTW matter?

    Not so many years ago, cease and desist letters sent to fans were a regular cost of doing business. Today, they're a scandal. Not so many years ago, fanfic was a closely guarded secret. One didn't simply let one's professional identity become tainted by one's fanworks. Now, a growing number of fans don't see it as problematic to use their professional names and identities at all. (I'm one of them.) Not so many years ago, it was “common knowledge” that fanfic was illegal. Now, few people would try to make that (unsubstantiated) argument.

    Mashups are an expected part of your workout mix. Jezebel writes about knotting. The Big Bang Theory brings nerd culture to prime time TV. Diane Von Furstenberg designs Google Glass frames, and all our favorite celebrities read fanfiction about them aloud and joke about it in interview upon interview. Your cousin sends you “Closer,” which he found on Reddit, and even seems to get what it's about. This is the future; geek is chic; remixes are expected; who needs the OTW?

    I do. And you do. And, although they might hate to admit it, the entertainment industry does.

    The OTW's work in creating and maintaining a vidding exemption from the DMCA is a perfect example. Though the entertainment industry long ago left behind personalized, combative cease and desist letters, YouTube takedowns produce the same chilling effect–and we no longer have the ability to speak to real humans about those takedowns, at least not easily. We are stuck in computer hell. Without the OTW's work and the work of other similar organizations, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we as fans would be at the mercy of corporations, whose only goal is profit.

    I'm not trying to say that there's something inherently wrong with profit. I'm a partner in my company, myself, and I like profit as well as the next capitalist. But when you build a conglomerate with thousands of employees in every division, it doesn't matter that the folks who run social media are saying “let the fans do their thing; fans are our bread and butter!” The lawyers don't know the people who run social media, and the lawyers' job is to be as conservative as possible, to assert the company's intellectual property rights as strongly as possible. And fandom, for all that we are vocal, is still a small percentage of the total viewership of movies like Guardians of the Galaxy or shows like Teen Wolf. We need to organize. We need to legitimize ourselves in their eyes. We need to speak their language. The OTW does that wonderfully well.

    Of course, the OTW's work goes far beyond just fighting for fans' rights. We could talk about Transformative Works and Cultures, which as an open-access journal can be read by anybody–including the fans that the articles in it are about. We could talk about Fanlore and the Archive of Our Own, sites which are transparently run and which guarantee that the fanworks stored in them won't be repurposed for someone else's profit. We could talk about the incredible task of preserving and cataloging zines.

    These are crucial projects, any one of which would be a tremendous contribution to fandom. But the fact that a single organization is behind them means that they're worth more than the sum of their parts. And the fact that many different fandoms are represented in the OTW's projects and the OTW's concerns is even more powerful. Fandoms that are newer, smaller, or less organized can, through the OTW, benefit from the power of large and well-established fandoms. It's a similar concept to the one that inspired labor unions. And if there's one thing Hollywood understands, it's unions.

    What's funny is that as the entertainment industry is changing, Hollywood needs to understand its fandoms–in all their various complexities–more than ever. The traditional methods of financing television, especially, are beginning to collapse, and the industry is searching for new metrics that almost always privilege active audiences–that privilege fandom. For instance, Variety is beginning to publish audience engagement ratings, and I can't count the number of times someone has told me “we're seeking to build a fandom for our show...” But unless fan voices are not just heard but listened to, it's not likely that these efforts will be effective. They might even spell a worse environment for fans and fandom, as the rush to monetize fan culture begins.

    So let's celebrate the OTW on its anniversary! Here's to another seven years of free thinking, of using transformative works for critique and celebration! And here's to fan culture, built by fans and for fans!

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