Organization for Transformative Works submits comments on remix to PTO/NTIA

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Academic Commentary
Title: Organization for Transformative Works submits comments on remix to PTO/NTIA
Commentator: Rebecca Tushnet
Date(s): November 14, 2013
Medium: online
External Links: online here, Archived version
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Organization for Transformative Works submits comments on remix to PTO/NTIA is an 80-page academic article by Rebecca Tushnet.

The article contains many quotes and testimonials from fans regarding fandom and the benefits of remix.


"Or, what I did while not on summer vacation. An extended discussion of why transformative, noncommercial works and cultures are valuable and deserve legal protection in the copyright regime. Conclusion: 'However the copyright reform project proceeds, it is vital that it not ignore the legitimate interests of the remixers who are working in every form of media. They are the future of our culture. Artists, not lawyers, should determine the shape of works to come.'"


  • Summary (2)
  • I. The current legal framework is generally favorable to remix, especially noncommercial remix (5)
  • A. Fair use favors transformativeness and noncommercial remix (5)
  • B. Current, broad understandings of transformativeness are correct (7)
  • II. Remix is a large, healthy part of American culture (12)
  • III. Remix provides uniquely valuable content unavailable in other forms (17)
  • A. Remix is at the core of human creative practices (17)
  • 1. Remix has a long and honorable history (17)
  • 2. Creators often feel compelled to remix (19)
  • B. Remixes offer critical and transformative perspectives on popular culture (20)
  • 1. Remix empowers new speakers (20)
  • a. Making remix provides personal benefits (24)
  • b. Remix provides rich political and cultural insights (26)
  • 2. Remix offers particular benefits to otherwise marginalized speakers (29)
  • a. Underrepresentation is pervasive in mass media(30)
  • b. Remix offers unique opportunities for women (31)
  • c. Remix recognizes alternative sexualities and sexual identities (33)
  • c. Remix recognizes alternative sexualities and sexual identities (33)
  • d. Remix can combat racial stereotypes and underrepresentation (35)
  • e. Remix offers new visions of disability (37)
  • C. Remix cultures inspire and teach important skills (38)
  • 1. Non-native speakers use remix to learn English (40)
  • 2. English speakers use remix to learn other languages (42)
  • 3. Remix teaches writing and editing skills (43)
  • 4. Remix teaches skill in visual art (50)
  • 5. Remix teaches video creation and editing skills (52)
  • 6. Remix develops numerous technical skills, often in combination (54)
  • 7. Remix is also a powerful educational tool in formal educational settings (57)
  • 8. Remix teaches respect for the appropriate boundaries of copyright (60)
  • IV. Fair use remains vital to remix cultures; there is no substitute (62)
  • A. Noncommercial creativity is different from, and not replaceable by, commercialized creativity (62)
  • B. Licensing is Pervasively Inadequate (67)
  • 1. Licenses are regularly unavailable (67)
  • 2. Licenses invite censorship (69)
  • 3. Case study: Amazon’s Kindle Worlds is a commercial innovation that uses the language of remix, but fails to provide its benefits (70)
  • 4. Summary: copyright law has the right answer now—some markets aren’t copyright owners’ to control (71)
  • C. Suppression remains a real risk for transformative remixers (72)
  • V. Copyright reform should have the protection of remix cultures as a key goal (76)
  • A. Section 1201 is an example of what not to do (76)
  • B. Fair use and best practices offer a path forward (78)
  • C. A safe harbor is worth considering (79)

Reactions and Reviews

This is utterly amazing, and made me so happy to be in fandom. I am so impressed with the way the stories were presented, the way the whole thing was presented professionally but in language that didn't alienate the average reader, and the scope of the document which truly covered every reason for making fanworks I could think of. [1]


  1. ^ by pslasher at OTW's Legal Committee Comments to the NTIA/PTO, posted November 19, 2013