rivkat: Fandom is my fandom (fandom is my fandom)
( Sep. 6th, 2014 08:55 pm)

Via the OTW: Fan Video & Multimedia is once again working with our Legal Committee as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.). In 2015, we’ll be pushing to add Blu-Ray. Right now we’re in the data-gathering stage: asking fan video makers to talk with us about how they get Blu-Ray source and why Blu-Ray is important.


The exemption will expire if not renewed!  The big copyright industries fought really hard last time, and renewal is not a foregone conclusion, even though we’re still right.  As always we need (1) examples of vids that make a critical commentary on the original source, particularly examples from the past 3 years, as well as (2) vids that need very high quality source, in technical terms, to do what they do.  With Blu-Ray, we need (3) explanations of how getting Blu-Ray source can be done, so we can educate the Copyright Office, and (4) explanations for why Blu-Ray source is important.  

If you can help with any of these, please let legal@transformativeworks.org know!

Naomi Novik's congressional testimony on behalf of fair use/fanworks; recap of hearing; video of hearing. I have to admit, I never really imagined fans defending fair use before Congress, but Naomi always did.  (Farscape reference, heh.)

Super NSFW art by pandora_gold
 (pun intended) for A Life Less Invulnerable (Clark/Lex, NC-17).

S1 SPN rewatch: babies! Just finished the Bloody Mary episode.  shallow thoughts )
Remixer/friend of vidding Elisa Kriesinger has partnered with Public Knowledge to do a project on fair use and takedowns. Take her survey!

Covert Affairs: spoilers have done something with their hair )

Two US agencies are holding hearings on copyright reform; enough powerful people (ok, companies) think that copyright law needs changing that this might actually happen.  Don't let it happen without fannish voices: the OTW is soliciting stories of how creating transformative works has helped people in day-to-day life, whether that's through building language skills, video editing, writing, coding, or anything else.  You don't need to provide personal information, but the more specific the better.  You can submit your story through this form.  We need to speak up, or we'll be left out.
Laura Shapiro explains that Jay Smooth and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are making a documentary about remix, and seeking video submissions--vidders should consider participating!

Also, the OTW is seeking stories from fans who’ve received DMCA notices, or who’ve heard mention of the so-called “right of publicity” and its relation to RPF.

three years on and still wondering... )

What Flourish Klink says about Amazon’s new fan fiction monetization project is all worth taking seriously, especially the parts about incremental change and bringing in people who weren’t traditionally “fan fiction writers.” I think that’s actually the riskiest part (and I don’t think she argues otherwise); the internet grew to its present point in a context in which it was much easier to go from inventing fan fiction in your own bedroom to finding a community of people who’d made the same invention than it had been when you had to find a convention or a round robin or the like. I’m skeptical of Golden Age thinking, but at the same time I do want to make sure that people who find fandom through places like Amazon can also easily find some non-walled gardens to play in. I also don’t think this is going to be a model for many franchises/works other than those created using the Alloy Entertainment model of monetizing a concept for teen audiences, though I’ve been wrong before!

(Flourish also points out that it’s standard white folk cluelessness to ban “racism” in Vampire Diaries fan fiction given its canonical basis in chattel slavery, though I’m pretty sure Amazon’s enforcers will be defining that term differently than many who might be reading her work; others have noted the ironies in banning excessive brand placement in Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars fic. I guess the official versions have that covered?)

Letters from Titan has a great post too, raising what seem to me to be exactly the key questions. Sure wish I had answers:
Question 1: To what degree does Kindle Worlds suggest that the fanfiction can only be legitimized through the eradication of fan culture’s gift economy?
Question 2: Fanfiction has significantly changed our media culture. Kindle Worlds isn’t just capitalizing on it, but arguably represents an attempt to shape it. Is this a feedback loop in action or an attempt to stop the catalyst that is fan work?
Questions 3: The contractual terms of Kindle Worlds are the sort traditional professional writers would be strongly advised against signing on to. Is fannish work worth less? Should it be?
Question 4: Fanfiction has, arguably, always been about the option to use use all the tools, particularly those often discouraged by corporate content production (e.g., sexuality), to tell story. If the toolbox is limited, whether a given writer would choose to use all the tools or not, is it fanfiction or is it some other form of derivative (vs. transformative) work?
Question 5: How will fan readers view/treat fan writers who use a tool like Kindle Worlds? And how does that impact our communities, hierarchies, and barriers to entry?
I also said some stuff on tumblr. Hi tumblr, I’m trying you out.  And wow are you terrible for conversations!

Relatedly: like vids? Vote in the US? Call your representatives and tell them to support DMCA reform so that vidding stays lawful. There are a variety of proposals, but only one bill that is any good and that fixes anything but cellphone unlocking.
Head Like a Hole mashed up with Call Me Maybe. You’re welcome. (Batman Maybe is better, but this will do.)

From the hazel orbs files, this footnote from a recent copyright opinion about whether one romance novel infringed another might be of interest:
The parties debate the extent to which the heroines’ eyes “change color with their mood and emotions in critical scenes. (Merrick: ‘emerald flames at him’, ‘eyes darkening’).” Regardless of the degree of similarity of change, this is not truly a description of the characters. Their eyes do not literally change color depending on their moods. This is a literary device meant to express the well-known idea that one’s eyes can express thoughts or emotions. The expression of that idea — a shift in eye color reflecting a change in mood — is generic and not protectable.
Pat Conroy is reflective; Neil Barofsky is mad )
Three NYT headlines, one societal clusterf*ck:

West Antarctica Warming Faster Than Thought
: "New research suggests that the huge ice sheet there could collapse, with potentially drastic effects on the sea level."

How G.O.P. Shifted to ‘No New Taxes,’ Ever: "Some Republicans fear that the opposition to tax increases is coming at the expense of fiscal responsibility."

The Ultimate Amenity: Grandparents
: "Some affluent New Yorkers are buying apartments near their own so their parents can be closer to grandchildren."  Something about the juxtaposition just really made me sad at how quickly we are becoming a lifeboat society, and certain people have been pre-allocated the boats.

In slightly different news, Harvard is offering a MOOC copyright course from 1/28/2013 to 4/22/2013: it’s free, though you have to apply.  It should be interesting. Terry Fisher, who will be lecturing, was a speaker at the conference that is in part responsible for the creation of the OTW, because of all the guys on stage talking about how they’d invented this awesome new thing where they edited videogame footage to music. I’m not dinging the creativity of machinima--everyone gets to invent fandom—but it was definitely a moment where it was clear that some public representation from our kinds of fandom was called for, because history was going to be written and policy made with or without us, and with us was better.  I would be very curious about how Fisher teaches “user-generated content” these days.  It would be neat if one of you guys had the time to sign up and report back!
rivkat: Dean reading (dean reading)
( Jun. 7th, 2012 10:20 am)
Wow. Your views on race affect what you think about this dog (Bo Obama, as it happens).

In the same vein, Anne Fausto-Sterling on Bodies with Histories:
Or consider spirometers, which measure lung function. The normal functioning of black people’s lungs is typically presumed to be 10–15 percent below that of white people’s. As Lundy Braun, who studies the intersection of race and medical science and technology, has shown, the presumption stems from a poorly supported idea that blacks inherently have lesser lung capacities than whites. Yet spirometers are calibrated to account for this difference. Some machines actually have a “race” switch built into them, which technicians flip depending on what race they believe the patient to be. Pegging the lung function of blacks at a lower level means, among other things, that they have to be sicker than whites in order to qualify for worker’s compensation or other insurance for lung-related illness.
Quis Copyright Ipsos Custodes: Another perspective on Watchmen prequels, including discussion of copyright and fan fiction, along with the difficulty of defending as feminist the argument that one particular guy should control these characters, instead of a corporation. Unlike the author, I like the original Watchmen, though.

neat fantasy by P.C. Hodgell, Holly Black, Joe Haldeman, Alison Bechdel )
Resolved: If I make headway on grading, I will allow myself to write the [guest character]/girl!Dean snippet that came to me immediately after I watched 7x20.

Not actually spoilery for Game of Thrones: Anna Holmes: "I marvel at the semi-medieval society’s standards for personal grooming, which seem to anticipate the Brazilian waxes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries: I call the pubic hair pattern so often seen on Westerosi women 'the King’s Landing Strip.'”

V.v. sad to discover that, on closer listen, lyrics of Call Me Maybe are not “all the other boys try to change me.” I thought it was a song about finding a good boy, not finding a distant boy!

Nice description heard at ROFLcon: you became an engineer because you like working with your hands and dislike working with your arms. (Zach Weiner’s choose your own adventure, also the theme of the con program.)

My worlds collide (copyright law v. vampires). Best fannish answer I ever got was on a question featuring Jack O’Neill, Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson & Teal’c. Since the question involved O’Neill’s property, one student put in a side comment about the fish pond.

Unpack the gendered notions of work and value suggested by this quote about music hitmakers, which comes after noting that producers are almost always men and top-liners are usually women: “The producer runs the session and serves as creative director of the song, but the top-liner supplies the crucial spark that will determine whether the song is a smash.”
I was reading the Megaupload indictment, as you do, and found a couple of points of interest. First, an answer to a question about Megaupload that occasionally arose pre-shutdown: “On or about March 3, 2009, DOTCOM sent an e-mail to a reporter indicating ‘Whenever a user uploads a new file it is checked against our database and if we already have the exact same file the upload completes instantly. This way a complete system backup into the cloud only takes a fraction of the time it used to take. And the longer we exist, the more files we receive, the faster we get.’”

Also, Megaupload didn’t care about infringements of the little people’s works. No Hong Kong materials were allowed, because the company was based in Hong Kong, but one email directed an employee, in response to copyright complaints from Mexico, “In the future please do not delete thousands of links at ones from a single source unless it comes from a major organization in the US.”

Finally, several individual uploaders and premium members in the Eastern District of Virginia were identified by first and last initial, though they weren’t named as unindicted coconspirators. Still, that subpoena’s gotta be pretty terrifying.
Yes, I know, it's the time zones plus daylight savings time, but I'm enjoying myself!

Stop the E-Parasite Act: worth checking out if you’re in the US; this is a terrible law that we will try to export and other countries will use to justify censoring whatever they don't like.

Counteragent is making a SPN genderswap film, written by Naomi Novik; you can follow the production at the film's LJ and there's also a tumblr though I know nothing of those.
rivkat: Gotham Office of Copyrights (copyright gotham)
( Nov. 5th, 2011 02:44 pm)

Via Renee Hobbs:

You may be aware that every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office enables users who believe that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) limits their fair use rights to use copyrighted material for socially beneficial purposes to apply for an exemption. In order to prepare a comment for consideration on behalf of educators and students, we seek your opinions and experiences. Please take five minutes to complete this survey. Click here:

Educational Use of Copyrighted Movies and Videos

Your opinions are important! Thanks for helping to advance the legal interests of educators and students who are eager to use copyrighted materials for teaching and learning.

rivkat: Chloe: Here to cheer on a mission from God (chloe cheers)
( Oct. 7th, 2011 10:34 am)
For Ada Lovelace day, I can't do better than [personal profile] lucyp's amazing ode to [personal profile] lim. But I want to add in a bit about Corynne McSherry, the Intellectual Property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Like it or not, for tech to do what we want it these days we need lawyers who understand tech, and she's one of the best. Like your DMCA exemptions in the US? We're going to have to ask for them AGAIN, because they don't last, and we have a new Register of Copyright making the calls so all bets are off. The EFF, with Corynne at the helm, and the OTW are going to be working together on vidding exemptions, and the EFF is also responsible for the "jailbreaking" exemptions that let people install the software they choose on their own iPhones. I'm grateful for the incredible work of the AO3 coders, testers, and sysadmins; I'm also grateful that we're not alone in recognizing that fanworks are worthy of respect. Go EFF!

I leave you with the image on my EFF T-shirt, courtesy of xkcd:
woman thinking, I want to be a superhero, but I hate flying, skyscrapers, violence loud noises, and direct sunlight: I'll join EFF!

Mainstream pop-culture/remix-savvy media: have a Woody Allen supercut.

Fandom, specifically [personal profile] thingswithwings: have a manpain supercut.

The bonus meta post is well worth reading, and to my mind bears some eerie similarities to the reasons given by Jeff Koons for why he copied fashion photos in his painting Niagara, reasons which led a federal court to find that he was engaged in fair use.  As [personal profile] thingswithwings points out, there were dozens of examples to choose from without thinking hard, and that's what makes this such a useful commentary.  Also, I like excluding John Crichton for the reason given!
rivkat: Gotham Office of Copyrights (copyright gotham)
( Nov. 1st, 2007 12:27 pm)
(cross-posted to fandom_lawyers)

The EFF and several other organizations have released a set of fair use principles for the new world of content filtering. Of special note for fans is that the principles come with a test suite, featuring fanvids and vid-type creations.
(Crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] fandom_lawyers) I am passing on a message I received from students at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at American University:

The Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at American University is working with the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) on a FTC complaint against major content providers including the NFL, the MLB, Universal, DreamWorks, Harcourt Inc., and Penguin Group. The CCIA alleges that these corporations have engaged in a nationwide pattern of unfair and deceptive trade practices by misrepresenting consumer rights under copyright law by posting misleading and overreaching copyright warnings.

The Clinic is looking for anyone who has been injured or affected by these overreaching copyright warnings. That is people who chose not to use a particular work or modified their use of that work after reading the attached overreaching copyright warning. For example, a teacher who chose not to use a television, movie, or music clip in the classroom out of fear that his or her actions violated copyright law.

If you have a story or any helpful information regarding this issue, please email Marlee Miller or Khalil Malouf at copyrightmisuse@gmail.com.
Choice phrases from the opinion I've been reading -- and FYI, these are legal arguments on which millions of dollars turn:

“‘Superboy’ is merely ‘Superman’ in smaller tights.”

“I cannot accept defendants view that Superboy was in reality Superman.... Superboy was a separate and distinct entity.”

Siegel v. Time Warner Inc., 2007 WL 2172822 (C.D.Cal.)

I love my job.
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)
( Aug. 3rd, 2007 12:34 pm)
Over the years I've seen a number of fan fiction/copyright debates, and (as with most ideological disputes) people's convictions about fan fiction's legality correlate strongly, but not perfectly, with their convictions about its morality. But there's always a set of fan writers & readers who say, often without investigating the subject much, "I know it's illegal but it shouldn't be," and I assume some on the other side who say the opposite, though I don't hang out with them.

The exact same thing happens with discussions of art & fiction featuring underage sex. And here, frankly, we're on firmer ground than with fan fiction & copyright, since there aren't any litigated cases on fan fiction. Depictions that aren't pictures or video of actual minors are judged by the standards for obscenity, not child porn. It is true that the moral panic doesn't distinguish between those, so what the law actually says is not the end of the matter. It is also true that a given piece of fan art could be obscene (writing is much less likely to be so, though it's not legally impossible), just as a given fan story could infringe. The reason lawyers give unsatisfactory answers to reasonable questions is often that the truest answer is "it depends." Moreover, there are of course a huge number of things it's immoral but not illegal to do or say; citizens must populate that set for themselves, whether in communities or as a matter of individual choice.

I'll leave you with the Auden poem.



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