Organization for Transformative Works

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Name: The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW)
Date(s): 2007-
Profit/Nonprofit: Nonprofit
Country based in: USA
Focus: Protecting and fostering transformative works
External Links: transformativeworks .org

Subpages for Organization for Transformative Works:
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Otw button.jpg

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms and to advocate for fans who need assistance when faced with legal issues or media interest due to their fannish pursuits.

Fanlore (this wiki) is a project of the OTW.

Visit the website for updates on the OTW’s projects, and the FAQ for detailed information on the organization's background and philosophy.

The OTW — by virtue of the fact that many of its founders and volunteers are aca-fans, and its related journal Transformative Works and Cultures — is also considered to be a movement toward increasing fannish exposure and toward the study of fandom as a concept. This giant project by fans from all walks of fandom is a new 21st century approach to fan behavior and fandom's place in the world of cultural and critical studies.


The OTW is run by an elected board, members of which have three-year terms. For a history of those who have served on the board, see Organization for Transformative Works/Board. To be eligible to run for Board, a fan must have committee experience and be a current paid OTW member. Committee members are chosen by the previous Board from those who have volunteered via the website.

As of 2011, the OTW had over 200 volunteers, and around 50 committee members.


In May 2007, astolat suggested that fans needed An Archive of Our Own. This was the impetus for the creation of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW). See: An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat) and An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat)/Comments.

The domain name "" was registered on May 30, 2007. [1]

Originally known as the FanArchive project, the OTW was renamed to better reflect the argument that transformative works are legitimate under current US copyright law. [2]

For more, see Beginnings of OTW: 2007-08 Comments and Timeline of Organization for Transformative Works


Current OTW projects include:

Organizational Structure

The OTW is an all-volunteer organization. The org volunteers are divided up according to committees that oversee projects or provide expertise for multiple projects. Committee members are also called "staff" and are a special class of volunteer that have more responsibility and serve yearly terms. Some committees also oversee "volunteers", a different class of volunteers, who generally do not have as much responsibility. These include Archive of Our Own coders, testers and tag wranglers, and Translation volunteers. See Volunteering, Roles, and Involvement Levels! OTW Willing to Serve Drive 2012 and Committee Descriptions for 2012 for more information. It is not necessary for a volunteer or staff member to be a paid OTW member; indeed many fans choose to support OTW by donating their time rather than the annual US$10 membership fee.



Former Committees & Workgroups

  • Category Change [1]
  • Grants
  • Survey [2] - temporary workgroup for the OTW Community Survey
  • Systems Training (?)

Controversy & Debate

Some of the points on which the OTW has been criticised include:

Some of the counter-arguments include:

The 2011 Board Election:

The OTW 2011 Board Election generated a large amount of discussion on various topics including volunteer management and retention, the importance of the Archive of Our Own in relation to other OTW projects, and the role of the founders in the running of the organization. See also Fail Fandom Anon's wiki entry on the OTW for a summary of OTW-related wanks.

The 2015 Board Election

Further Reading


  1. Who Is, accessed October 26, 2015
  2. see Campbell v. Acuff-Rose
  3. reference link
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