Fan Creation & Copyright Survey: Preliminary Results

http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/6503

Banner by Erin of a spotlight shining the OTW logo behind the text spotlight on legal issues

Last month, OTW Legal conducted a survey about fan experience with and knowledge of copyright. We had such a great response! Nearly 3,000 people participated. Because of this amazing response rate, we have a LOT of data - especially since so many gave us great, detailed answers to free response questions. So we still have more analysis work to do! But as part of fair use week, we wanted to provide some preliminary results, and give some thoughts about trends we're seeing - especially around issues related to fair use. And the best part about our results is that we're learning a lot about how we think we can help you as a legal advocacy team!

For some of the results below, we have only analyzed a portion of the data, so though the trends are meaningful, not all responses are accounted for.

First, some information about you guys as fan creators!

Pie graph showing whether respondents identify as fan creators; roughly 85% responded yes; roughly 15% responded no

Bar graph showing the types of fanworks created by respondents; from most to least popular, the answers are fanfiction; fan art; graphics; fanvids; other; podfics; filk

Bar graph showing the platforms respondents use to share fanworks; in order from most to least popular, the answers are AO3; Tumblr; fanfiction dot net; Livejournal; Twitter; Dreamwidth; Facebook; Wattpad

Most people who filled out our survey identify as fan creators, and fanfiction is by far the most common type of fanwork among our participants. This makes sense since so many of you use AO3! In fact, 97% of our participants reported having shared and/or read content on AO3 (and 32% are official members of OTW). Besides the fanworks we listed on the survey, the most common in the "other" category were: meta, cosplay, fanmixes, crafts, and roleplay. There were also many different online platforms listed; the ones represented on the chart are the most common.

Bar graph showing how many fanworks respondents consume; in order from most to least popular, the answers are many per day; a few per day; a few per week; a few per month; a few per year; less than a few per year

Unsurprisingly, our participants also read/watch/view a lot of fanworks, too!

And though an accurate count of self-described fandoms is ongoing, our initial analysis shows the following top 20 (starting with the most popular) among those who responded: Marvel (and MCU), Harry Potter, Supernatural, Star Wars, Sherlock, Star Trek, Teen Wolf, Dragon Age, Doctor Who, Avengers, Naruto, Merlin, Hannibal, Mass Effect, Lord of the Rings, Yuri on Ice, Overwatch, NCIS, Steven Universe, and Hamilton.

And now, onto questions about copyright!

Only about 15% of respondents reported having any kind of formal copyright education or training, ranging from "l'm a lawyer!" to "I watched YouTube's copyright school video." However, unsurprising to us, they also self report as knowing more about copyright than the average person.

Bar graph showing how respondents rate their own knowledge of copyright law; from most to least popular, the answers are average; slightly above average; moderately above average; slightly below average; moderately below average; far above average; far below average

Interestingly, we found that on average, those who identify as fan creators reported a somewhat lower copyright knowledge than those who do not. However, we also did not find a clear correlation between this self-reported knowledge of copyright and the actual accuracy of a description of fair use. Self reports are always tricky in surveys - but we might speculate here that those who do know more about copyright might know enough to know that they don't know everything!

We also asked some questions about the relationship between fanworks and copyright law.

Pie chart showing what respondents believe about whether fanworks are copyright infringement; roughly 7% responded yes; roughly 33% responded not sure; roughly 60% responded no

Pie chart showing what respondents believe about whether fanworks must be permitted by copyright owners; roughly 2% responded yes; roughly 33% responded it depends; roughly 65% responded no

As you know, at OTW we advocate for the legality of noncommercial fanworks and the right for creators to create and share them without permission. It seems that most of you agree with us! And for those who were unsure, that most often hinged (rightly!) on commerciality.

We also asked specifically about fair use, and analyzed all of that data to find out what people think fair use is, and how accurate their ideas are.

Pie chart showing whether respondents are familiar with US Fair Use law; roughly 8% responded that they were unfamiliar; roughly 37% responded that they had heard the term; roughly 55% responded that they were familiar

Pie chart showing whether respondents were able to accurately describe US Fair Use law; roughly 13% gave explanations with high accuracy; roughly 45% gave explanations with medium accuracy; roughly 30% gave explanations with low accuracy; roughly 12% gave explanations that were wrong

As you can see, almost all of our participants were at least aware of fair use, and more than half could explain what it was. For those who could explain, an awesome group of law students evaluated how accurate these explanations were. "High" accuracy meant that the explanation was completely accurate; "medium" meant that there was nothing blatantly incorrect, but might be slightly misleading (e.g., the implication that it turns entirely on commerciality); "low" meant that it wasn't entirely wrong but might have missed the main points (e.g., that fair use is about "personal use"); and "wrong" was an incorrect explanation (e.g., saying that it requires permission). It turns out that most of our participants have a decent understanding of what fair use is - but there's more we can do to help educate!

Bar graph showing which factors respondents believe are relevant to US Fair Use law; in order from most to least popular, the answers are commerciality; amount; transformativeness; market harm; purpose; credit; external; critique/parody; nature; education

We also asked what factors you think determine whether something is fair use. Nearly everyone who answered this question was in the ball park, naming at least one correct factor! In the chart above, only the last two are not part of what determines fair use.

The first factor in a fair use determination is the purpose and character of the use. This includes things like transformativeness (so important!), educational use, critique and parody, and commerciality. We are not surprised at all that most people hit commerciality as being a very important part of fair use. However, remember that this is not the only part! Though we advocate that noncommercial fanworks are fair use, there are some commercial works that can be fair use as well, and types of noncommercial works that might not be.

The second factor is the nature of the underlying copyrighted work - whether it's fact or fiction, published or unpublished. For fanworks, this does not tend to be very relevant.

The third factor is the amount and substantiality of the underlying copyrighted work used. So those who said things like "how much of the original comes into your fanwork" are completely right! However, it's important to remember that there isn't a bright line rule for how much this is. Like all of these factors, they're all balanced together for a fair use determination.

The fourth factor is market harm for the underlying copyrighted work. Does the new work replace the underlying work in the market, or potentially harm the potential for the original copyright owner to make money? As we know, this is almost never true for fanworks--in fact, fanworks often augment the market for the underlying work!

The most common factor we saw discussed about what makes something fair use is credit. Attribution to the original source is not generally part of what determines fair use. It might be good manners, and it might show good faith, but isn't required by copyright law. And importantly, disclaimers do not hold any official legal weight at all. Some people also mentioned external factors like the feelings of the original copyright owner towards the work, or "who has the best lawyer." Technically these things don't matter either as a matter of law, although, like disclaimers, they may have practical or ethical importance.

So what's the upshot of this? It's good news: most fans know something about fair use law, and most of what fans know is correct. But we still have a long way to go in helping fans understand how copyright law, and fair use, is good for them! Here are some things to keep in mind when you're thinking about fanworks and copyright:

  • Disclaimers and attribution don't matter, legally, but might be considered good manners
  • Commerciality is important but not all of a fair use determination
  • You don't need permission when something is fair use, and the copyright owner's feelings about fanworks don't matter, legally
  • If you get a DMCA takedown, you can fight it if your work is fair use
  • If someone remixes your fanwork, that could be fair use, too
  • If you have questions, you can come to us!

We'll be back with reports on more of the survey results. We have much more information than this, ranging from knowledge of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to common fan experiences with copyright, to copyright law outside the U.S., and much more! We're grateful to everyone who took part in the survey, and we look forward to sharing more with you about it!

The OTW is Recruiting Tag Wranglers and Fanlore Staffers

http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/6500

OTW Recruitment banner by Erin

Are you interested in volunteering for the Organization for Transformative Works as a Tag Wrangler or Fanlore staffer?

We would like to thank everyone who responded to our previous call for Open Doors staff, Translation volunteers, and TWC volunteers.

Today, we're excited to announce the opening of applications for:

  • Fanlore Committee Staff - closing 1 March 2017 23:59 UTC
  • Tag Wrangling Committee Volunteer - closing 1 March 2017 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 volunteers -(at)- transformativeworks -(dot)- org 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.


Fanlore Comittee Staff

Fanlore staff members are responsible for dealing with all the behind the scenes stuff to ensure that Fanlore runs smoothly. We respond to questions and complaints; shape Fanlore policies, categories, and tutorials; assist Fanlore gardeners and other editors; promote Fanlore; and do our best to improve it and plan ahead. No extensive experience is required—only reliability, teamwork, and an interest in fannish history and Fanlore in particular. Join us!

Applications are due Wednesday 1 March 2017 23:59 UTC


Tag Wrangling Volunteer

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, follow the link below to read the job description and application form. Please note: due to (amazing!) interest in wrangling, we’re currently looking for wranglers for specific fandoms only. See the application for which fandoms are in need.

Applications are due Wednesday 1 March 2017 23:59 UTC


Apply at the volunteering page!

Releases 0.9.175 - 0.9.180: Change Log

http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/6497

Our mission to update Rails continues with more clean up, strong parameters, and tests, but we also have a big pile of small bug fixes and enhancements, not to mention a few new tools for the volunteers who keep the Archive running.

Credits

  • Coders: Ariana, CJ Record, cosette, james_, potatoesque, Sarken, Scott
  • Code reviewers: Ariana, bingeling, Cesy, james_, Naomi, potatoesque, Sarken, Scott
  • Testers: Alison Watson, james_, Lady Oscar, Sarken

Details

Tests

  • [AO3-4771] - We added tests for managing collection membership.
  • [AO3-4797] - We improved our test coverage for the works controller, bringing it up to more than 90%.
  • [AO3-4803] - We added still more tests for managing collection membership! In fact, the collection participants controller now has 100% test coverage. \o/
  • [AO3-4804] - We increased test coverage of the challenge assignment controller.
  • [AO3-4819] - Our skin (code) is now 93% covered.
  • [AO3-4823] - We added more tests for the tags controller code.
  • [AO3-4837] - We added tests for the collection profile controller.
  • [AO3-4822] - The owned tag sets controller now has excellent test coverage.
  • [AO3-4809] - We added some more tests for the bookmarks controller and in the process updated the success messages related to adding existing bookmarks to moderated collections.

Rails

  • [AO3-4791] - Just to make sure everything goes smoothly with our Rails update, we added mass assignment protection to some files where we weren't doing mass assignment and thus didn't need to protect against it.
  • [AO3-4798] - We added strong parameters to the subscriptions code.
  • [AO3-4799] - And to the favorite tags code.
  • [AO3-4821] - The skin code now has strong parameters.
  • [AO3-4817] - We added strong parameters to the code that lets site admins block email addresses from being used for logged-out comments.

Bug Fixes

  • [AO3-4524] - On our About page, the link to the Organization for Transformative Works FAQ page was broken. We've updated it to point to the right place.
  • [AO3-4529] - Since we were already working on the About page, we decided we should also fix the broken link for contacting the OTW's Communications Committee.
  • [AO3-4549] - There's a bug that lets users edit their works to remove the fandom tag, and while we haven't deployed the fix for that yet, we have made it so removing the fandom tag no longer prevents users from updating or accessing fandom-less works.
  • [AO3-4738] - While working on improving our automated test coverage, we discovered site admins' ability to change the default site skin was broken. (This is why test coverage is so important!)
  • [AO3-4747] - Now when a challenge moderator who has JavaScript disabled attempts to purge assignments for their challenge, they are taken to a page asking them to confirm the action.
  • [AO3-4846] - Shortly after deploying changes to the series navigation, we realized those changes weren't displaying on every work. So, quick like a bunny, we updated the caching code for it. (It's always caching!)
  • [AO3-4848] - A whole lot of empty space was inadvertently added to the top of collection profile pages while we were fixing another issue. We've gotten rid of that extra space.
  • [AO3-4849] - The error message that tells logged in users they cannot currently request invitations had an outdated link to the Open Doors contact page. The old URL forwarded to the new page, but we thought it would be good to update it anyway.
  • [AO3-4827] - When importing a multi-chapter work from another site, the word count only included words from the first chapter. We've fixed it so now all the words count.
  • [AO3-4644] - Comment emails were generally sent even if the comment was deleted moments after posting, but sometimes there would be so many emails queued up that the email would error. We changed the way comment emails are coded so comments' emails will always be sent, no matter how long the queue.

Enhancements and New Features

  • [AO3-4357] - We added the ability for site admins to disable work downloads so it will be easier to do routine site maintenance. (But don't worry -- we'll let you know before we turn it off!)
  • [AO3-4732] - The error 500 page previously said, "We've been notified about this issue and we'll take a look at it shortly," which was not true -- while we do log errors, we are not notified of each individual error. This message was dissuading users from contacting us about easily fixable things, so we changed it to say, "If you are receiving this error repeatedly, please contact Support. In the form, please include a link to the page you're trying to reach and how you're trying to reach this page."
  • [AO3-4788] - We added an Acknowledgements page to our GitHub repository so we can thank the companies who provide the tools and technology we use.
  • [AO3-4109] - We used to use angle quotation marks (« and ») as the links in works' series navigation, but they were difficult to use on touch devices, and confusing to anyone using a screenreader. We changed the links to say "Previous Work" and "Next Work" instead, which makes the links both bigger and clearer.
  • [AO3-4839] - We also added some dividers to the series navigation to make it clearer where the links began and ended.
  • [AO3-3991] - Some of the various pages related to creating and using site and work skins were missing navigation items or had their navigation items arranged in unexpected ways. We added the missing options and made the display more consistent with the rest of the Archive.
  • [AO3-4716] - We've given site admins the ability to search for multiple users by email at one time. This will help Open Doors cut back on the number of duplicate imports that happen when they upload an archive.

Internationalization

  • [AO3-4297] - We changed the way account activation emails are coded so the Translation team will be able to translate the email into a variety of languages.
  • [AO3-4301] - We also changed password reset emails to allow them to be translated.
  • [AO3-4302] - And the "you've been added as a co-creator of this work" emails!
  • [AO3-4303] - Also the email that lets you know your account's email address has been updated.
  • [AO3-4305] - Ditto the email you receive when you (or one of your co-creators) deletes a work.
  • [AO3-4306] - And, lastly, we've made it so Translation can translate the email we send when a site admin deletes a work.

Clean-up

  • [AO3-4806] - We deleted some unused challenge assignment code.
  • [AO3-4745] - Sometimes multiple users bookmark the same external work, or someone bookmarks a work that another user has cited as an inspiration. It was previously possible for site admins to combine these duplicate external works, which was a good idea in theory, but in reality, not something we have the resources to monitor. We've removed admins' ability to do that.
  • [AO3-4811] - We removed some unused prompt meme controller code we found while writing tests.
  • [AO3-4766] - We removed some Gems we weren't using.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

Thanks for Participating in IFD 2017

http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/6494

International Fanworks Day

Sadly, International Fanworks Day (IFD) has now come to an end, but here are a few details to share about the day's events.

1) There are hundreds of fanworks in many fandoms recced here and elsewhere for Feedback Fest, so check out those comments. It's also not too late to add your own! Shoutout to the Daily Fandom for their IFD post reminding us of fanworks people don't often remember to rec.

2) To those of you who contributed to our Short Fanworks Challenge, your work might have been signal boosted through our social media accounts! 123 works and counting were posted at AO3 as part of the #IFDShare.

3) We had over 1000 visitors to our chat and game room in the past 30 hours. Congratulations to our prize winners: evansentranced, Ryro, A_Song_to_Say_Goodbye and Zhie.

4) Our 2nd Poetry Round Robin session came up with a ghazal:

Why must we always explain the things we read
Why won't they just leave us alone to read.
I am always looking for a time to read
love the thrill when I get books to read.
Every word written in ink
Words proudly, boldly in ink.
Emotions staunchly bleeding onto pages
Stark against the cleanly cream pages.
They make time go away oh that great page
There is a brand new world on each page.

Our first session of Lyrics Round Robin players came up with a fun rewrite of "All the Single Ladies":

All the clever writers, All the clever writers
All the clever writers, now pick your pens up

Down on the page (page), you've hit writer's block (block), trying to write your own world
Decided to read (read), and now you wanna cry (cry), 'cause another character just died (died)

You up all night, reading that story
Don't pay dawn any attention
Have no fears, no angst nor tears
The ending's almost here

'Cause if you liked it then you should have left a comment
If you liked it then you shoulda left a comment
Don't be sad once you see that they've got a block
Cause if you like it then you shoulda left a comment

What’s next?

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week starts in a few days! From February 22-26, sites around the web will be talking about fair use and fair dealing, the elements of copyright law that make transformative works legal.

This year for Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, OTW's Legal Committee will be sharing some preliminary responses fans gave to their survey during January's Copyright Week. So keep an eye on OTW News for more.

It's International Fanworks Day 2017

http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/6491

International Fanworks Day

As our previous post announced the OTW is sponsoring a variety of activities celebrating International Fanworks Day (IFD) today. Please check that post for details!

We're also hosting a 30-hour party in the OTW's Public Discussion chatroom from 23:00 UTC 14 February until 05:00 UTC 16 February. Join us to take part in games, or chat and share fanworks with fellow fans. All times below are in UTC. Click the link to see the time in your timezone February 14th

 

  • 23:30 - Linkee -- Claudia Rebaza (OTW Communications), host

 

February 15th

 

  • 02:30 - Cards Against Humanity - Janita Burgess (OTW Communications), host
  • 03:00 - Poetry Round Robin - Angel Fang (OTW Translation), host
  • 05:15 - That's Life - Karen R. (OTW Communications), host
  • 07:00 - 20 Questions -- Karen R. (OTW Communications), host
  • 08:15 - Lyrics Round Robin -- Pokestine (AO3 Tag Wrangling), host
  • 09:45 - 20 Questions -- Pokestine (AO3 Tag Wrangling), host
  • 11:15 - That's Life -- Ian (OTW Translation), host
  • 12:45 - Trivial Pursuit -- Ian (OTW Translation), host
  • 14:15 - Lyrics Round Robin -- Sarah Loch (OTW Communications), host
  • 15:30 - That's Life -- Sarah Loch (OTW Communications), host
  • 17:15 - Cards Against Humanity -- Sandra Staunch (OTW Communications), host
  • 17:45 - Poetry Round Robin -- Neymat (AO3 Documentation), host
  • 20:15 - Trivial Pursuit -- Art (AO3 Accessibility, Design & Technology), host
  • 23:15 - Cards Against Humanity -- Janita Burgess (OTW Communications), host
  • 23:45 - 20 Questions -- Kirsten Korona (OTW Communications), host

 

February 16th

 

  • 02:30 - Linkee -- Claudia Rebaza (OTW Communications), host

 

Details About the Games

20 Questions

How to Play: Host thinks of a person, place or thing. The first person in the room roster (on the upper right side) gets to ask a question that host will only answer with a YES or NO.

As soon as the host replies, the next person on the list can ask their question. Players can call out a guess at any time but the host will only answer if it's correct so that the next person gets their turn.

The game will continue until someone has guessed the person, place or thing.

Cards Against Humanity

How to Play: Once the game starts, the computer will deal each player ten White (answer) Cards. Your host is the Czar, who will then play a Black (question) Card.

Choose your 'best' White Card answer by clicking 'Select' on the card. Once everyone has submitted an answer the Czar picks the funniest play and the computer will award whoever submitted it an Awesome Point.

After the round, a new player becomes the Card Czar, and everyone draws back up to ten White Cards.

* Note: The CAH room is limited to 30 players so other discussion and games will go on in the Public Discussion room in the meantime.

Linkee

How to Play: The host will read a clue and each player should guess (to themselves -- shhh!) what the answer is that fits into the [BLANK]. The host will then read 2 more clues. After each one players can call out a guess about what they think links the clues together.

BUT if they guess wrong, they have to drop out of the game until we're done! The first person to guess correctly gets a point. When we have completed all 12 clue sets the person with the most points wins.

Lyrics Round Robin

How to Play: During this game we'll collectively write FANDOM lyrics to replace those of a familiar song. The host will choose the song and type out an alternate first line. Then the next person in the room roster (on the upper right side of the chat window) will write the next line until the song is finished.

Poetry Round Robin

How to Play: During this game we'll write a FANDOM poem. The host will choose a style (limerick, haiku, sonnet, or ghazal) and post the first line. Then the next person in the room roster (on the upper right side of the chat window) will write the next line. Once the poem is complete, the next person on the roster list will start the round over again so everyone attending the chat is included.

That's Life

How to Play: The host will offer three questions. Participants should each name a character that they know well and will then share how that character would answer the three questions. For each round, participants will name a different character each time and answer three questions for that character. We'll have 10 minutes for you to come up with answers to each set of questions.

Trivial Pursuit

How to Play: Like most trivia games, the host will ask a question and the first person to answer correctly wins that round. Because we're online and you're free to do searches we're going to add another factor, which is time -- you must answer within 3 minutes. But you can call out your answer as soon as you think you know. If you have the correct answer the host will type your name and award you a point. At the end of the game, whoever has gotten the most points will be named the winner!


There will be 4 games offering prizes of a ripstop nylon bag in red with a matching compact pouch. The bag is imprinted with the OTW logo in white.

To keep things manageable the chat room has a 50-person limit at any one time, so if you're unable to get in for one event, do try another.


We also want to hear from you about other celebrations taking place today. Leave us a comment here to tell us about what your fandom communities are hosting!

Welcome to Feedback Fest 2017

http://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/6431

Feedback Fest speech bubble with multilanguage feedback phrases

International Fanworks Day is nearly here. To celebrate we are kicking off one of our planned events today, which is Feedback Fest!

How does it work?

We know you love fanworks, that's why you're here reading this! So get specific.

Leave a comment here recommending at least three fanworks, and say something about why you love these works and think others should check them out. You can also link to a rec post you've made elsewhere and tagged with #IFDFest. Remember that fan communities, newsletters, archives, and other resources are fanworks too so there are a lot of possibilities.

For everyone checking out the recced fanworks, don't forget to leave comments, likes, kudos or other love to those fan creators to help spread the squee.