And one more thing!
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|Title:||And one more thing!|
|Creator:||ethrosdemon (and commenters)|
|Date(s):||July 18, 2008|
|External Links:||And one more thing!, Archived version part one; page two, Archived version|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
And one more thing! is a post by ethrosdemon on Live Journal on July 18, 2008.
I think to some extent that the issue for me in the OTW thing (aside from fandom politics which just does not get addressed in this whole brouhaha) that bothers me about the aim to have fanworks respected as owned in some way by the fans who generate them is that it's just naive and likely to bring a shitstorm down on *all of us* and not just the naive people who advocate for it.
- fandom and visibility
- who speaks for fandom?
- the delicate dance between fans and TPTB
- fannish archives
Excerpts from the Comments: Page One
[comment by xsnarkasaurus]
i read your post yesterday, and you articulated everything i feel about the situation far better than i ever could. And then you juyst did it again today. Frankly, OTW scares the ever loveing fuck out of me. and so do the fangirls and boys defending it. it is not our *right*. it's a fucking priveledge they allow us by looking the other way. You force them to look, they're gonna be very unhappy.
I think because LJ is so much more public, and there are a lot of people in fandom post LJ that weren't in fandom when we used to really keep our heads down, they don't understand that we're still trespassing in someone else's sandbox. I think either these people don't remember that we actually for really real used to get our sites shut down or sent legal correspondence that said "Hey don't touch our stuff" or else it's just been so long since that was happening routinely that they feel like the landscape has changed permanently. But I think if the landscape has changed in that we're more out in the open and there's been more cultivation of fandom by the PTB, I do feel like that change is still dependent on not forcing their hand. Because as far as I can tell, in terms of legality, we're still exactly where we were ten years ago.
I agree with you about OTW, and you've parsed why this is such a Bad Idea. I'm not sure that this is an age gap issue as talked about upthread, since a bunch of the people involved have been around since before eljay. And I get very "duck and cover!" sometimes and I only started using this format in and around 2006(while lurking namelessly on archives all over the place well before then). I'm in a very RPF bubble right now, so my concerns w/r/t TPTB are different in scope than what OTW seems to skew to. Which touches on your colonialism bit yesterday. I guess my point is that I don't want to have to interact with/find fan(s)/dom with a canary and a miner's helmet. IOW: Pipe down, privileged and crazy acafans & published fans who Don't Get It (I don't think you are one of these, since you posted this in the first place)
It's odd - a year ago I was wildly enthusiastic about OTW - back in the days when the push was for an archive. An archive of our own I mean. I miss the days of centralised archives (though yes I acknowledge they are a big wacking spotlight) and mourn the fic we've lost along the way as archives fall off line or die. That was why I joined up or at least donated money.I didn't expect OTW to veer towards all things aca-fen to happen as completely as it has. And, truth be told that's a tad disappointing. As to the legal issues well.
Man, I like it down here in my little fannish hole. I don't want to be peered at or poked with a stick. And I certainly don't want to see the delicate status quo that's been in existence my entire fannish life suddenly be disrupted by someone's desire for public validation.
I do understand the pull of wanting to create a legal place for fandom. Because yes, I do think things like fanfic have legitimate value, and I think my fanfic writing that I've done has legitimate value (except for the crappy ones), and I know how much I've put into that work so of course to have to say "I do not own this" is a pill. And maybe for the old school people who are supporting it, it's about the fact that they HAVE seen things shut down before and they want to actively do something to prevent that happening again instead of ducking and covering. If that's what it is I do get that, and of course I think it would be NICE if fandom were legal and we had that at our backs. But I think what they're doing is kind of... Let's call it optimistic. Because if creators start defending their copyrights actively I don't think it's going to go our way. It's not worth the risk to me because I kind of like fannish space being separate and somewhat invisible, and I don't really want the people who made my toys to see me playing with them. And Christ, once you pick up that rock there's a lot of stuff under there that kind of doesn't belong in the light. I've written Dancing with the Stars RPF for God's sake!
ALSO, I think the OTW sort of wants to DEFINE what fanfiction IS finally. Legally and ethically, what IS this product we make. Lets have someone ALLOW us to define it. What does it mean to make this 'work'? Who 'owns' it? Are there 'rights' to the product. Etc. And I think JUST that, just trying to get a definition of what fanfiction even IS, is going to cause a shitstorm. I feel like the studios will be all "UH, NO. We don't even want to commit to THAT."
Can you explain this "oppression" you're feeling? I have yet to see OTW tell any fen what to do, but perhaps I'm missing something.
It's the very concept that a group of fans are going to "organize" fandom in some way. That goes against the very nature of fandom. We are a chaotic system of radicals, and I like that. I don't want an official (which claims to be unofficial, which is hilarious) voice or face.
Can you show where OTW is claiming to be "organizing fandom"?
Alright. This is how I see this: they do not NEED to make that claim. It's a de facto sort of revolution. Fandom has gone along as a fragmented group of interconnected circles since the dawn of time. We moved to lj and sort of congealed into an accidental pattern. It was only natural that eventually SOMEONE would decided we needed to be more centralized. Sadly, because fandom is such a disorganized system, there is no way to really rally people into an opposite faction of people who DO NOT WANT any sort of spokesperson/centralization. The whole organization works as a bureaucracy with committees and subcommittees and a charter. Do they need to say "we're your official representation now"? No. They just need to go n the radio and give print interviews "explaining" fandom to the outside world and the become that because of outside forces. That's how that sort of works.
But you take it for granted that OTW wants to be fandom's "official representation." I'm also not sure how talking about fandom turns someone into fandom's leader. Fen have been talking about fandom for ages, and it hasn't happened yet. We don't slavishly follow Henry Jenkins. How will these "outside forces" make you follow OTW's plan for fandom? How are you prevented from continuing to do fandom your way (assuming the fanpocalypse we discussed doesn't happen *g*)?
I feel like the whole Henry Jenkins et al examples are totally different from talking to the media. HJ is just some crackpot academic no one's heard of except people preoccupied by concepts associated w/ fandom and media studies. It's like this: if I heard someone on the radio representing say, Punk Rockers I would also be annoyed. It's the very idea of this. It's hubraic. I'm not saying I acknowledge them as representing me IN ANY WAY, as a matter of fact, they DO NOT (cannot stress that bit enough), however, to the outside world, they do. They automatically do when they set themselves up as experts/representatives of "fannish opinions," or whatever. This pisses me off. If you read through the threads here, you'll see I'm not alone.
god if you want to 'own' something you have to create it yourself. when are people gonna get that fanfic is an underground thing that the mainstream doesn't care about / doesn't want to know about? Why do these people claim to speak for me, I don't want anyone to speak for me, in fact I want everyone to shut the hell up about it.
"Every time OTW is discussed I feel like I must be missing something. If it is what I think it is and does what I think it does then won't we all be brought out into the light from this *illegal* thing we're doing, and isn't that bad? I have't exactly been in fandom for a long time, but I've always had the sense that the goal was to keep our heads down and hope we don't draw any attention from TPTB. I mean every time something fic related gets mentioned in a public venue my flist explodes with exasperation and disgust, but now we're supposedly demanding acknowledgement. I don't get it.
I don't think we have to hide. TPTB know about us. They LIKE us. However, that doesn't mean they want us lawyering up and pretending we have a legal leg to stand on.
IDK, you're almost convincing me (talking about colonisation is a good way to change my mind), but I'm struggling with what feels like a misrepresentation to me... like. everyone I know who is in the anti-OTW camp (and I agree that it does seem to be polarised) is talking about how the OTW is demanding acknowledgement, recognition, legitimisation, whatever, from TPTB. Which doesn't match what I read about it. What I read about - I'm chiefly interested in the archive, I admit - but apart from that stuff, the main aspect I'm getting is that fans don't need to get hugs from TPTB but they/we don't need to run around scared of them, either. (Because, I mean, they can't STFU about how "loyal" SF&F audiences are - where do they think that comes from? vacuum? amazing product? no. crappy shows have loyal audiences because of fandom. But this is a side issue produced by me having recently watched about a zillion interviews with Joe Flanigan when he talks about how fans think he's really John Sheppard and getting kind of annoyed, like, fans are weird but we're not delusional, and we can tell when we're being insulted.) I think I had a point he...I think the distinction is subtle but important! and stuff.
I *almost* got you? Damn, what do I need to do to convince? *laughs* I don't know about demanding. It's more like the hubris that we deserve any sort of recognition. Why? Why do we? Why do they want it? Who CARES what David E Kelly thinks of fanworks? Is the fb on your fanfic from a fellow fan not enough? They seem delusional to me. Delusional and self-congratulatory. The issue of some industry pros not respecting the fans is completely separate from should we ask for copyright allowances. Is Joe Flanigan an asshole? Potentially, he seems like he might be to me. He thinks he's an artist which is never good from genre actors. However, that doesn't mean we need an organization to represent us to defend against shitty actors who disrespect fans.
As an OTW member, what I want is to create fanworks without the threat of it all being taken away by pissy authors/producers/etc. I don't believe they have the right to prevent me from writing and publishing this stuff for my enjoyment and for the enjoyment of my friends. And I think there's a good chance the U.S. courts would take that side. We all want the same thing -- the flourishing of fandom. I wish we could recognize that and have reasonable discussions about the best way to accomplish the universally desired outcome instead of casting suspicion on each other's motives.
I understand your frustration. I don't think we're at risk right now of having the majority of fanworks banned. I think, as a matter of fact, we are the most secure we've ever been because the television and film creators actually appreciate what fans do for them. Where people who think the OTW is valuable and people who share my perspective differ is fundamental to our view of the world--I think the OTW is going to ruin what we already have, I think you believe that we need to protect ourselves with a blanket organization--I think the blanket organization is going to provoke the exact response you're worried about.
Oh, yeah, actually the archive I think is a GREAT idea. I agree 100%. It's the political values of the group I disagree with. An archive owned by fans? Great idea! Going on the radio and talking about fan ownership of fanworks? Shitty idea.
Obviously, IANAL, so maybe I'm just missing something, but isn't an archive still gonna end up in deep legal doo doo if they throw a take down notice in the trash, no matter how ridiculous? What I mean is, let's say we have this big multi-fandom archive owned by the OTW, and someone posts an Anne Rice fic on it. If Anne Rice sends a takedown notice to the OTW as the hosting site, she isn't demanding that they take down the whole site, but only that they remove, or force the fic author to remove, the fic based on her works. The way I understand the DMCA is that it isn't an option for the OTW to determine the validity of the take down notice, but only to remove the content, give the fic writer the chance to claim that they are the copyright holder or that the fic isn't a violation of the DMCA, pass the contact info for Rice and the fic writer on to each, and if the fic writer decides to formally file a response to Anne Rice claiming Fair Use then OTW can re-post or allow the fic author to re-post the fic in question, and then let them fight it out in court. Am I wrong about this? If I am, someone please tell me. But if I'm not, then what I see happening is that the OTW's legal fund won't be able to go toward helping that fic author defend himself against Anne Rice in court, because it will have to instead go toward defending the organization against charges that it is in violation of the DMCA. And usually, "I don't agree with this law or think it's fair" isn't considered a valid legal defense.
I don't really want to get into the fair use vs. illegal part of this debate since the issue is extremely complex and has been hashed to death by smarter, more qualified people than me. But here is what I don't understand. From the beginning, OTW has always been about the fan archive. And it still is. What you see as grandstanding and asserting ownership over copyrighted media, I see as taking a stand to say that creating fanworks is a legitimate form of creativity protected by fair use. More importantly, I see that as like, the most logical follow through in the world. The people pooling their time and talents and pocket change to build a For Fans, By Fans archive think their hobby is legitimate and legal. Duh? I understand you disagree fanworks are fair use, and I get that you are concerned about what the repercussions could be if the OTW turns out to be a visible fan organization, but you also say in the comments of this post that you think the fan archive is a great idea. But do you really think the sort of inclusive, comprehensive archive that the fan archive has hoped to be from the very beginning could exist within the type of framework you seem to be advocating?
I have no actual opinion about the fair use debate, tbh. It's not really something I've ever given much thought because I've never been concerned about being sued. It's just not on my radar. That being said, my opinion on that really has no bearing on what X corporation's legal team thinks, you know? That's my objection to the fair use commentary. What does it matter what OTW thinks? Not much. Ah, ok. So even if the archive existed, I wouldn't use it. I have no interest in that sort of organization of fandom. I never have. I hated lj for years, too, because I felt like the migration here *forced* me to also migrate and I had no desire to. Now I'm used to being here, but I also am even more hate-filled towards lj because I think OTW is a natural outgrowth of the sort of organization and fossilization that lj created w/in the fan community. We're used to all being here, in a sort of lump together, so why not organize more? I knew that would happen eventually, but I've got no interest in it. It's a political view.[...] Ah, right. I know that the OTW was spawned by the whole fanlib uproar. I honestly don't think this archive is/was in any way inevitable. I think the OTW made is inevitable because they're making it. Self-fulfilling prophecy. I think Fanlib would have just gone away when all the fans were like "er, what?" like they were. I mean, I've never posted on ff.net, and I don't think most of my fl has. That's a panfandom archive, too. I don't see this dichotomy of that archive or that archive, nor do I think that the archive that's being planned will even be successful, necessarily. I'm pretty sure that it will split fandom between users and non-users and the two sets of people will devolve into two fannish communities, the same way we have non-lj fandom and lj fandom now.
it's inevitable that a new panfandom archive will replace the outmoded fanfiction.net as the web's central fanfiction archive, not that it was inevitable than FanLib would birth OTW. Anyway, LJ fandom is a fandom unto itself. I have no idea how successful (if success is measured by the number of stories archived) OTW will be, but I definitely think a reliable, community-supported alternative to FF.N/future FF.Ns would be an excellent thing to have.
A number of the commenters noted that they came to the thread from metafandom.
Excerpts from the Comments: Page Two
Thank you for both posts and for keeping the anti-OTW sentiment front and center. You put into words everything that galls me about OTW and why just ignoring that they exist doesn't work. They are dragging all of us along whether we like it or want it and if our fandom experience is tarnished by their exploits their oppressive answer is 'Tough fucking shit. This is what we want and if you are too fucking stupid to get it, that's your problem.' I really, really wish there was a way to move against and counter-act their meddling, but I don't know how one could go about that without drawing even more attention when the anti-OTW sentiment is about staying below board.
[ethrosdemon] It would appear they simply do not care what people not involved with the organization think? Idk. Maybe they're just very incompetent at public relations. They should be actively courting people who disagree with them and making political stump speeches about their agenda rather than huddling together in their own netspace pretending that the rest of us aren't part of their community. The truth is we very much are and fragmenting our community by ham handed attempts at organization is counterproductive to comfortable community interactions.
See this is also my qualm about them. I don't need anyone to speak for me thanks, and I think it's amazingly pompous for them to assume that they can. There's a vast difference between wanting to be an archive resource and a legal resource for fandom(s) and going out there and proclaiming they speak for anyone but themselves as well as pushing their academic agenda. My view is that the only reason they want anything 'legitimised" is so they can further their own academic and legal objectives. No thanks, I don't want to risk the ruin of something I enjoy for the personal gain of a few people.
Maybe? I can't speak for how someone else would feel, but I know that I feel that the stony wall of silence approach is much more alienating than if X OTW board member were to, you know, converse with what seems to me to be a majority of online fandom who does not care for their enterprise.
Is it specifically that the board isn't doing PR stuff that's bothersome, or that you generally have to go to the otw_news community to get official responses from the board/committees?
I would say both? Why should I be bothered to get their news on their terms when they're the ones who need to create outreach?
- ^ ethrosdemon opened an account on Archive of Our Own, Archived version 2009-12-19, after the archive went into open beta. The reason for the account was probably to participate in Yuletide 2009, as the few non-yuletide posted works by ethrosdemon were co-authored and could have been added to the archive by the co-author.