AO3 News

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2018-04-13 12:32:42 -0400

spotlight on legal issues

Lately, OTW Legal has received many queries and concerns about recent U.S. legislation known as FOSTA/SESTA. We want to reassure you that the law as it currently stands does not apply to fiction, and therefore should have no impact on the Archive of Our Own.

The term “FOSTA/SESTA” refers to legislation that has been passed by U.S. Congress and the Senate, purporting to combat what it describes as “sex trafficking.” The legislation would make it a crime to operate an interactive computer service “with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.” (That is, the exchange of sex for money.) Under the law, sites that “knowingly assist[], support[], or facilitate[]” prostitution can be held liable for user-posted material.

President Trump signed FOSTA/SESTA into law two days ago. Some sites, including Craigslist, preemptively changed policies in anticipation of the legislation becoming law, and in response to the FBI’s seizure of, a classified-ad site that was often used to advertise personal services including sex work, and which the FBI has allegedly linked to illegal sex trafficking.

Once the law goes into effect, it may not last. Many have argued that it is unconstitutional for a number of reasons, including that it effectively makes it illegal to facilitate promotion of services that are legal in some U.S. states. Many have also argued that it violates the First Amendment, and that it may make it harder for legal sex workers to maintain their personal safety and for U.S. law enforcement to identify and pursue victims of illegal sex trafficking. But unless and until it faces legal challenge in the courts, FOSTA/SESTA will probably be law.

What does this mean for fans?

FOSTA/SESTA is about promotion of personal services—prostitution—and not about fiction, art, or any other sort of fanwork.

Some sites may voluntarily decide to change their policies regarding pornography or other adult-themed material in response to the law, but those changes would not be required by the law. The only policy changes that the law requires are changes that have to do with promotion and facilitation of prostitution.

It is also possible that some particularly overzealous law enforcement members may try to stretch the law to argue that fiction, art, or other expressive works that discuss prostitution constitute “support” of prostitution. The OTW believes, however, that any such interpretation would be a gross misreading of the law, and would be a clear violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. With that in mind, FOSTA/SESTA could make sexually explicit material more vulnerable to challenge, especially if it’s material that law enforcers do not understand—but it will not make such material illegal, and it will not make hosting such material illegal.

What does it mean for the Archive of Our Own?

The AO3 already prohibits advertising and commercial promotion. Therefore, any promotion or facilitation of prostitution that would violate FOSTA/SESTA would already be prohibited on the AO3. For that reason, in keeping with the AO3’s ongoing commitment to maximum inclusivity, any changes in the AO3’s terms of service or associated FAQ as a result of FOSTA/SESTA would be for purposes of clarification, not policy change.


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


TWC has published the 26th volume of Transformative Works and Cultures, Social TV Fandom and the Media Industries, on March 15th. Edited by Myles McNutt (Old Dominion University), this issue studies the myriad challenges of social media and the production and consumption of television through an editorial, 9 articles, 4 book reviews, and an interview with Flourish Klink of Chaotic Good Studios.

Watch for the next issue of TWC, “Tumblr and Fandom,” out in June 2018.

If you're interested in contributing to Transformative Works and Cultures, you can view the calls for papers on their announcement page.


The OTW participated in the Fifth Annual global Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week February 28th through March 2nd. The OTW was one of 153 organizations (and many individuals!) celebrating, promoting, and explaining the Fair Use and Fair Dealing exceptions to copyright internationally. As part of these activities, OTW's Legal committee, with the assistance of Communications, made a post on Why Fanworks are (Usually) Fair Use.

Communications also posted a related guest post with the EU-based Ioana Pelehatăi and Alex Lungu, whose webseries "Copy Me" looks at myths of copyright and copying.

Rounding out the OTW's participation in 2018 Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, Legal Chair Betsy participated in a panel discussion, "Exploring the Role of Fair Use in Fan Culture" at the University of Michigan Law School.


Behind the scenes at the Archive of Our Own, things continue to be incredibly busy with a variety of ongoing infrastructure improvements. The Accessibility, Design and Technology committee has been working hard on some upcoming changes, and Systems has been diligently managing servers to make sure everything can run smoothly.

In March, Open Doors announced the upcoming import of VinXperience, a multifandom Vin Diesel fanfiction archive.

Tag Wrangling wrangled 548,000 tags in February. Policy & Abuse received over 900 tickets in March, up slightly from February’s over 800. Support received close to 1,600 tickets in March, including about 450 on one day due to some system upgrade-related bumpiness. Thanks to users for being patient and understanding as we continue to make infrastructure improvements! Follow @AO3_Status on Twitter for real-time updates on AO3.


In Finance-related news, the OTW wrapped up the audit of its 2015 and 2016 financial statements this month, with the independent third-party auditors issuing the opinion that the OTW's financial statements are accurate, reliable, and adhere to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The OTW's Audited 2015-2016 Financial Statements can be found on the Reports and Governing Documents page of our website.

Legal also continued its advocacy work in March, joining allies in making several legal filings in ongoing matters, including Reply Comments to U.S. Copyright Office exemptions to the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, and an amicus brief seeking rehearing of a case (TVEyes v. Fox), based on the provision of news broadcast clips for purposes including criticism and commentary as Fair Use. All of the OTW's legal filings can be found on the Legal Advocacy page of our website.


As of the 28th of March, the OTW has 662 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below:

New Committee Staff: Kate Flanagan (Fanlore), shadowkeeper (Fanlore), Jessica Doble (Fanlore) and 1 other Fanlore staff
New Translator Volunteers: 1 volunteer

Departing Committee Staff: Carli Anderson (Elections), stellal (Tag Wrangling), Kiri Van Santen (Communications), and 1 Policy & Abuse staffer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Tsukiko
Departing Translation Volunteers: IshaTagore, Kenyan-Girl, and 1 other volunteer

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

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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2018-03-31 05:52:48 -0400

For the past several weeks, the Archive has been experiencing brief, but somewhat frequent, periods of downtime due to our search engine becoming overwhelmed. This is because we're working on upgrading from Elasticsearch 0.90 to 6.0, so only half of the servers we'd typically use to power the Archive's search engine are available -- the others are running the upgraded version so we can test it.

The good news is the downtime should stop once our upgrade is complete and all servers are running Elasticsearch 6.0. While we can't estimate when that will be, we're working hard to wrap up our testing and fix any remaining bugs as quickly as possible, and we'll have more information on the upgrade coming soon.

We've made some minor adjustments to minimize the downtime, although you may notice some slowness, and downtime may still occur during particularly busy periods. Please rest assured we have systems in place to alert our volunteers of the issue, and it will generally be resolved within 30 minutes.

For now, we offer our sincerest apologies, and we'll continue to monitor the situation and make whatever adjustments we can to improve it. As always, you can follow @AO3_Status on Twitter for updates.


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2018-03-22 11:41:30 -0400

Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Nikki Bird, who volunteers as a staffer in our Finance Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

I am part of the Finance Committee, which handles the money things for OTW. We are responsible for the bookkeeping of the organization, as well as tax preparation, budgeting, and any other fun and exciting financial related matters that come up. Basically, we make sure a lot of the administrative stuff is taken care of for the OTW to keep running.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

My weeks range from calm and quiet, with ample sleeping, eating, reading, and writing (although those have been rare and I’m probably just dreaming that this is even possible) to insane and crazy (the normal standard of my life now). I work full time (is there something more than full time?), am enrolled in online graduate-level accounting classes, and my significant annoyance needs occasional attention like watching TV together or epically competitive Monopoly games (I never knew I was so competitive). So I fit in my volunteer work as much as I can in the evenings and on the weekends.

And no week is the same for the Finance Committee, it really depends on what is going on. We have meetings once a week on the weekends and update each other on what’s happening, although we frequently chat in between meetings, discussing things that are going on as they happen. Some weeks are fairly quiet in terms of what needs to get done, others are jam packed with all kinds of things that it’s hard to know what to work on first. Lately, the main focuses have been the budget for 2018 and 2017 year end, as well as learning the bookkeeping system.

What experiences have you had that you found helpful for your volunteer work?

I am a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state I live in and work full time in the accounting department of a non-profit with prior experience as an auditor. So I have experience and education in non-profit accounting that translates really well into my role in the Finance Committee. And conversely, since joining the Finance Committee, I have learned and experienced things with OTW that I then take back to my work since the organizations have different focuses and operations. With OTW operating all online, it’s shown me some different tools and methods for operating more efficiently and in a paperless way that I then am trying to incorporate at my work.

What's the most rewarding thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

I find it incredibly rewarding to be able to help OTW with the accounting. Non-profit accounting has some different rules and quirks than a for-profit company would have and I like being able to share my knowledge in a helpful way. As I progress in my career, I hope to become an expert in non-profit accounting, so my volunteering with OTW is helping me tremendously by gaining experience that I don’t have access to at my work, again just because it’s two very different organizations.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I stumbled into the fandom world at the end of 2016 thanks to looking online to decide if I wanted to read the next series in a fandom and discovered my OTP was canon (and at the time had no clue what that meant and didn’t even realize I had an OTP). That led me to fan fics and art on Tumblr, which lead to my discovery of Ao3, which led to me eventually trying to write my own stuff. I’m sad I didn’t discover this treasurer trove of online community sooner, although my school and work productivity is thankful (productivity definitely took a sharp nosedive for a few months as I consumed fics like oxygen and they were necessary for my very survival).

But I really enjoy being a part of the various fandoms I like, even if I’m not a super active participant. I like seeing other people’s headcanons, reading fics, seeing art. I just love consuming it all and feeling connected to other people based on our interests. Nothing is better than screaming nonsense with others about how great something is and how much you love it and all the feels that come with it.

I would love to actively write more often, but life has been too busy for that to be a regular focus. As I have little bits of time I’m slowly working away, maybe someday I’ll be able to post it.

Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

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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2018-03-08 13:03:20 -0500

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


What do fanworks mean to us? Apparently quite a lot of things! #WhatFanworksMeantoMe was the most successful of the OTW's events for the 2018 celebration of International Fanworks Day on February 15th. Browse the hashtag on Twitter to experience all the different personal stories!

Communications worked hard on #IFD2018, and other OTW events for the celebration included IFDShare, a challenge to create short or quick fanworks, Feedback Fest, a celebration of fanworks through recommendations and other feedback, and games and public chat in an OTW-hosted chat room.

Fanlore also held an event for IFD, the Fanlore Challenge, which had a great response. New editors started Fanlore accounts and made load of edits to articles to earn shiny challenge badges!

Many thanks to the volunteers from all over the OTW who pitched in to help with planning, preparation, and hosting games in the chat room. Translation, in particular, helped make IFD a truly international event, translating posts into 24 languages!

See the wrap-up post for more details about #IFD2018.


One of the OTW's founders (and current TWC staffer), Francesca Coppa won the 2018 PROSE Award for Media and Cultural Studies for The Fanfiction Reader: Folk Tales for the Digital Age (University of Michigan Press, 2017). The PROSE Awards annually recognize "the very best in professional and scholarly publishing" and the OTW is incredibly proud of Francesca's well earned award! If you're interested in buying the book, royalties go to the OTW. (You can also use the OTW's Amazon Smile link!)


In February, Open Doors completed two archive imports: The Boy, an archive for fanfiction about any character portrayed by actor Michael Shanks, and The New Adventures of Sinbad Fan Fiction Season 2, a The Adventures of Sinbad (TV) fanfiction archive. Open Doors also announced one other upcoming import: Obidala Network, a Star Wars fanfiction archive focused on the pairing Obi-Wan Kenobi/Padmé Amidala. Special thanks to Tag Wrangling and Systems for all their help!

Accessibility, Design & Technology did lots of work behind the scenes this month in preparation for future upgrades. Thanks to AO3 users for being patient and understanding about hiccups in the Archive. Remember, follow @AO3_Status on Twitter for real-time updates on AO3.

Tag Wrangling reported approximately 616,000 tags wrangled for the month of January. February numbers will be available in the next newsletter.

Policy & Abuse (formerly Abuse), had over 800 tickets come in this month, similar to January's numbers. By contrast, Support received 1660 tickets in February, up quite a bit from 1450 in January and 1329 in December 2017.


Legal continued to work hard on petitions to clarify and expand exemptions to section 1201 of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In addition, Legal staffers worked on a reply submission and will be providing testimony. They have also responded to a number of queries from fans with legal questions, and have considered and addressed questions about the AO3 terms of service and content policies.

Systems installed new front end servers for many OTW projects during February.

Lastly, Webs assisted TWC in setting up their new Open Journal Systems installation for the TWC website.


As of the 27th of February 2018, the OTW has 653 volunteers. \o/

Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Staff: Rachel Bussert (Translation), Relle (Translation), lareine (Translation), Rebecca Snyder (Translation), and 2 Communications staffers
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: 2babyturtles, Acrazyworldofdreams, ami, Anca Palade, antonomasia09, AshT, BasedGarbage, Brhi, camlights, Charlottec1, Deifire, DevinKos, Eonni_jagga, Fricklefracklefandomackles, GhostJ, Inrainbowz, Jade Hanson, Julia Santos, keena, Kitsune_Scribe, LaReveuse, Laura Kaye, Letícia Lopes, Lex deLeon, Marina M, Maygen, Megan Q, mopsi, Mouse, one_of_those_crushing_scenes, praecantrix, Quoth, Qwerty, Remi, Sam Bailey, SaraChimera, Soz, SylphOfPaperPlanes, Ulawan5 & zelazny

Departing Committee Staff: Kristen Murphy (Development & Membership), 1 Open Doors staffer, Amy Lee (Translation)
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Elf, Maygen, SavanannahM, and 1 other Tag Wrangler
Departing Translation Volunteers: Evmorfia, Lykke, and 2 other Translation volunteers
Departing TWC Volunteers: Shoshanna Green

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

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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2018-03-07 12:24:37 -0500

OTW Recruitment Banner

Would you like to help wrangle tags or assist AO3 users by resolving complaints? The Organization for Transformative Works is recruiting!

We're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Tag Wrangling volunteers - closing Wednesday 14 March 23:59 UTC or after 75 applications
  • Policy & Abuse Staff - closing Wednesday 14 March 23:59 UTC

We have included more information on each role below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist our email address in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Tag Wrangling Volunteers

The Tag Wranglers are responsible for helping to keep the millions of tags on AO3 in some kind of order! Wranglers follow internal guidelines to choose the tags that appear in the filters and auto-complete, which link related works together. (This makes it easier to browse and search on the archive, whether that’s Steve/Tony with tentacles or g-rated Rose/Kanaya fluff.)

If you’re an experienced AO3 user who likes organizing, working in teams, or excuses to fact-check your favorite fandoms, you might enjoy tag wrangling! To join us, click through to the job description and application form.

Please note: You must be 18+ in order to apply for this role. Additionally, we’re currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only, which will change each recruitment round. Please see the application for which fandoms are in need.

Applications are due Wednesday 14 March 23:59 UTC

Policy & Abuse Staff

The Policy & Abuse Committee is dedicated to helping users deal with the various situations that may arise. We also handle any complaints that come in about content uploaded to the Archive of Our Own. The team determines if complaints are about legitimate violations of the Terms of Service, and what to do about them if they are; our major goals are to adhere to the TOS, to make our reasoning and processes as clear and transparent as possible, and to keep every individual case completely confidential. We work closely with other AO3 related committees such as Support and Content.

We are seeking people who can keep in close contact, be patient in rephrasing explanations, make and document decisions, cooperate within and outside of their team, and ask for help when it's needed. Staffers need to be able to handle complex and sometimes-disturbing content, and must be able to commit a sufficient amount of time to the team on a regular basis.

Policy & Abuse staffers are required to spend at least five hours a week handling committee work, though it often tends to be more. Please be sure you can handle the workload before applying.

Applications are due Wednesday 14 March 23:59 UTC

Apply at the volunteering page!


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VinXperience banner

VinXperience, a multifandom Vin Diesel fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

For almost two decades, the VinXperience web site and message board provided a second home for fans of actor Vin Diesel, as well as other scifi & movie fans, writers, and friends. More than a thousand stories - fanfic, original fiction, group writing projects, and poetry - were housed at the VX message board. VinXperience officially closed its message board in 2017, but the many works of fiction will remain available through the AO3 archive.

Open Doors will be working with Bitten, Silsin, NorthernLights, and MAVDementia to import VinXperience into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own.

We will begin importing works from VinXperience to the AO3 after March.

What does this mean for creators who had work(s) on VinXperience?

We will send an import notification to the email address we have for each creator. We'll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

Please contact Open Doors with your VinXperience pseud(s) and email address(es), if:

  1. You'd like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. You have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you no longer have access to the email account associated with your VinXperience account, please contact Open Doors and we'll help you out. (If you've posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they're yours, that's great; if not, we will work with the VinXperience mods to confirm your claims.)

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on

If you still have questions...

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, contact the Open Doors committee.

We'd also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of VinXperience on Fanlore. If you're new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips.

We're excited to be able to help preserve VinXperience!

- The Open Doors team and the VinXperience mods


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2018-03-02 13:14:33 -0500

Fair Use / Fair Dealing Week

It’s Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week!

We here at the OTW talk a lot about how most fanworks are legal under copyright law, but we know that most people find copyright law a little bit mysterious. One reason for that is that the answer to most legal questions is “maybe.” This is particularly true for questions about the copyright doctrines of fair use and fair dealing, which are the doctrines that make (most) fanworks legal as a matter of copyright law.

So to celebrate Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, we wanted to provide some answers to one of the questions we get most often: Why are Fanworks (Usually) Fair Use?

U.S. (and several other countries’) copyright law is limited by the doctrine of "fair use," which protects free expression by giving people the right to use copyrighted material in certain ways without getting permission or paying. The doctrine of "fair dealing" does the same thing in Canada, the UK, and a number of other countries. Courts in the U.S. have held that fair use is "not merely excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law."

The U.S. Copyright Act provides that certain kinds of uses of copyrighted material are fair use, and therefore are not infringing. The law provides examples of the kinds of uses that are likely to be allowed -— such as criticizing or commenting on the underlying work. The law also provides a list of factors to consider in determining whether a particular use is allowed:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Courts generally balance all four factors in deciding whether something is fair use -- no single factor determines the answer.

The Fair Use Factors

Most fanworks are fair use because most fanworks fit well within these four factors. Here’s how:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

This factor favors the kinds of noncommercial, transformative fanworks at the heart of the OTW and AO3’s mission. Although some fanworks are sold, most fanwork creators want to share their creative work without thinking about commercial gain. Commercialized fanworks may still qualify as fair use -- commerciality is only one of the factors that courts consider, and most fair use cases have been about commercial works -- but noncommercial uses are particularly favored.

Second, fanworks transform the meaning or message of the underlying work. In the case of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, the U.S. Supreme Court explained that a use is "transformative" when it "adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the [underlying work] with new expression, meaning or message." The Supreme Court explained that transformative works "lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine’s guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright," and "the more transformative the new work," the more likely it is to be fair. For this reason, courts usually find that when a work is transformative, it is not infringing.

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work.

This factor doesn’t have much to do with fanworks either way. It deals with whether the original work was published rather than secret or not made available to the public, and whether the original work was factual rather than fictional. Since most fanworks are made from published works rather than unpublished or secret ones, the third factor generally weighs in favor of fair use, but the fictional nature of many fanworks' source material weighs in the other direction. Regardless, it is usually not a factor that courts tend to place heavy weight on unless the original copyrighted work was unpublished or secret.

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

How this factor applies will vary widely from fanwork to fanwork, but most only take parts of the original work, and relatively small parts at that. For example, fan fiction often just uses characters, settings, or moments from a work, and recasts them into something new. (This factor, by the way, is one reason why the AO3 does not allow reproductions of whole or substantially-whole copyrighted works without the consent of the copyright owner.) Even when someone uses a "qualitatively important" part of a work, it can still be fair use.

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

This factor asks whether people would buy the derivative work instead of buying the original copyrighted work or some other work the copyright owner would be likely to make or authorize. Here again, fanworks are favored. This is especially true of fanworks that criticize, comment on, or otherwise transform the meaning of the underlying work in ways the copyright holder would not do or want. Often, copyright holders want people to celebrate works "as they are," but fans want to make those works do or say something new and different. These kinds of transformations do not serve as market substitutes for the underlying work -- in fact, they often help it. Fans tend to spend a lot of money on the original work and associated merchandise, and encourage others to buy also. If anything, they help promote the original creator's work.

What About Fair Dealing?

Fair dealing laws, which govern in Canada, the UK, and several other countries, are similar but not quite the same as fair use laws. Fair dealing laws provide specific categories of works that are allowed under certain circumstances. In Canada, for example, those categories include parody and satire. They also include criticism, review, and news reporting if the maker attributes their sources. And they include non-commercial user-generated content if the maker attributes their sources and the new work does not act as a market substitute for the underlying work. So just as most fanworks are the sorts of work that fair use permits, most fanworks fall into fair dealing categories.

The OTW Is Here To Help

The OTW is committed to advocating for fans and preserving the principle that fanworks are fair use. You can find out more about our work on the OTW’s legal advocacy page.

We’re here for you! If you have questions about fair use and fanworks, feel free to contact our legal team.

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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