heidi: (chess)

Today has been an absolutely magnificent perfect storm of things that are partially about fannish creativity and legal issues. Basically, within a fifteen minute time frame of my life today, I did an analysis of copyright language,  got a text that the ruling in the Google Books case was in and it was a massigve victory for Fair Use and transformative works in so many ways that can be analogized to fanfic, and *then* while I was sitting in my car tweeting about it, the Amazon delivery guy arrived with my copy of FIC: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World (and if you haven't started Following FIC editor Anne Jamison on tumblr yet, today is the day to!).


Transformatives working... )
heidi: (legally)
Crossposted from Tumblr.

Amazon is working with WB to publish (read: sell) fanfiction from the Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries 'verses. And they said that more "worlds" will be announced soon. 


Basically, fanfic writers will be able to sell their fics - formatted for Kindle - via Amazon, and the restrictions are not as massive as you'd think!


No crossovers. 


No excessive product placement for non-show brands. 


No porn


But here's the thing about porn! Amazon says they don't allow porn to be sold on their site, so as long as your fic content is no more explicit than anything that's on Amazon's site today (see: 50 Shades and anything in the erotica category) then it won't run afoul of Amazon's content restrictions - and if they say it does, then the Internet will stand behind you as if you were a Nutella fan barred from celebrating its wonderful tastiness. 


HOWEVER, each World Licensor will be providing "Content Guidelines" for their specific 'verse - and I can't find those anywhere. THAT might make a significant impact on what types of fanfic one can and cannot sell, but until we've had a chance to look through them, we can't determine the specifics. 


I don't think it's realistic to be concerned that the existence of Kindle Worlds will mean that tv show/film/book creators will stamp out freely given fics. At this point, Kindle Worlds will only accept things over 5000 words, anyway, and the longstanding laches issue that protects fics posted elsewhere and given away will still hold. 


However, it does mean that people who write in the fandoms covered by Kindle Worlds and sell ebooks of those stories outside of the Kindle license may find themselves dealing with cease & desist letters. But there was always a chance they would because of the commercial aspect of that action. 


Also, this will leave fandom with a lot of questions on issues other than legality be on fan-created gift culture, commissions, fundraising for charity, or even the ability of pro writers to write in other universes> 


Does this further "legitimize" fan creativity (which I think has long been a pretty legit hobby), will it just create an additional outlet for story distribution, and what other fandoms will WB add? 


I wouldn't be shocked if they bring Tomorrow People into this as the show launches in the fall, but what about things that are ending their runs like Nikita, or shows with massive fanbases and almost a decade of fan creativity, like the behemoth that is Supernatural?


Oh, and here't the royalty-related info: 




  • Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to the rights holder for the World (we call them World Licensors) and to the Fic Author. Fic Author's standard royalty rate for works of at least 10,000 words will be 35% of net revenue.

  • In addition, with the launch of Kindle Worlds, Amazon Publishing will pilot an experimental new program for particularly short works (between 5,000 and 10,000 words). For these short stories—typically priced under one dollar—Amazon will pay the royalties for the World Licensor and will pay authors a digital royalty of 20% of net revenue. The lower royalty for these shorter works is due to significantly higher fixed costs per digital copy (for example, credit-card fees) when prices for the entire class of content will likely be under one dollar.




Now, I want to be very clear - I think the possible impacts of this are serious and significant and will change fandom massively - but I'm not sure that it gives any rightsholders any additional rights/chances/ability to go after anyone who's giving their fic away for free - at least not in the US, under current IP law.
heidi: (legally)
Crossposted from Tumblr.

Amazon is working with WB to publish (read: sell) fanfiction from the Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries 'verses. And they said that more "worlds" will be announced soon. 


Basically, fanfic writers will be able to sell their fics - formatted for Kindle - via Amazon, and the restrictions are not as massive as you'd think!


No crossovers. 


No excessive product placement for non-show brands. 


No porn


But here's the thing about porn! Amazon says they don't allow porn to be sold on their site, so as long as your fic content is no more explicit than anything that's on Amazon's site today (see: 50 Shades and anything in the erotica category) then it won't run afoul of Amazon's content restrictions - and if they say it does, then the Internet will stand behind you as if you were a Nutella fan barred from celebrating its wonderful tastiness. 


HOWEVER, each World Licensor will be providing "Content Guidelines" for their specific 'verse - and I can't find those anywhere. THAT might make a significant impact on what types of fanfic one can and cannot sell, but until we've had a chance to look through them, we can't determine the specifics. 


I don't think it's realistic to be concerned that the existence of Kindle Worlds will mean that tv show/film/book creators will stamp out freely given fics. At this point, Kindle Worlds will only accept things over 5000 words, anyway, and the longstanding laches issue that protects fics posted elsewhere and given away will still hold. 


However, it does mean that people who write in the fandoms covered by Kindle Worlds and sell ebooks of those stories outside of the Kindle license may find themselves dealing with cease & desist letters. But there was always a chance they would because of the commercial aspect of that action. 


Also, this will leave fandom with a lot of questions on issues other than legality be on fan-created gift culture, commissions, fundraising for charity, or even the ability of pro writers to write in other universes> 


Does this further "legitimize" fan creativity (which I think has long been a pretty legit hobby), will it just create an additional outlet for story distribution, and what other fandoms will WB add? 


I wouldn't be shocked if they bring Tomorrow People into this as the show launches in the fall, but what about things that are ending their runs like Nikita, or shows with massive fanbases and almost a decade of fan creativity, like the behemoth that is Supernatural?


Oh, and here't the royalty-related info: 




  • Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to the rights holder for the World (we call them World Licensors) and to the Fic Author. Fic Author's standard royalty rate for works of at least 10,000 words will be 35% of net revenue.

  • In addition, with the launch of Kindle Worlds, Amazon Publishing will pilot an experimental new program for particularly short works (between 5,000 and 10,000 words). For these short stories—typically priced under one dollar—Amazon will pay the royalties for the World Licensor and will pay authors a digital royalty of 20% of net revenue. The lower royalty for these shorter works is due to significantly higher fixed costs per digital copy (for example, credit-card fees) when prices for the entire class of content will likely be under one dollar.


heidi: (WWoHP)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] pinkfinity at The Programming Hat
Ascendio Programming Summaries in a Word Cloud
It's not a word cloud! It's a word hat, made up of the most popular words in the Ascendio formal programming session summaries. We're asking all the presenters to please click the button below to repost this - and include your session summaries (and times, and rooms) so everyone knows where to find you at Ascendio next month because O_O formal programming starts a month from today!

You can find the Programming Session grids here:
  Thursday Quill Track |  Friday  |  Saturday  &  Sunday

There are so many different wonderful presentations planned for this year’s event that it’s going to be tough to figure out which sessions to attend, so we’ve created an Ascendio scheduling app using Guidebook; download yours here - it's free!

And don't forget about all our after-hours Meetups (Avengers! Sherlock! Hogwarts Houses! Cosplayers! Educators! Doll collectors! And many more!) and events like Night of a Thousand Wizards 2, where we return to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and get to hang out until 1 AM after all the Muggles have gone home (and no stadium presentations by Universal this time - instead, we go right into the park).

If you haven't registered yet, there's still time; online registration is open through June 25 and Day Passes will be available on-site.

See you next month at HPEF's eighth - and final - Harry Potter fan extravaganza!

Now, please, presenters and attendees - click the button below...




Also! Please, come see ME!

On Friday I'll be on a panel on How Fandom has Shaped Social Media Spaces with Femme, Aja and Casey Fiesler from 5 - 6:30 in  Venetian IV (and which I think may be followed by an Avengers Slash meetup (speaking of fandom and social media spaces)

And on Saturday, I'm on two panels - one with my son on Introducing Harry Potter to younger readers at 9:30 in Tuscan 1, and one at 3:30 in Tuscan III with Rachael Vaugn called How To Debate Clueless And Uninformed People About Transformative Works, or, El Tango de Roxanne. Here's part of the summary: 

You see them on Twitter and tumblr and wordpress all the time... People who are convinced that they know everything about fanfiction and fanart and wrock and fan films and how they’re each a copyright violation through and through. They’re wrong, but how do you debate them?

I'm ridiculously excited about each of these sessions - and since registrations are still available (and we have this awesome hotel rate (it's about 1/3 cheaper than the Portofino's other rooms are that week)) I hope to see bunches of you there!

heidi: (LastKiss)
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.

From today's 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court.
The Supreme Court is not likely to rule before the November election, fwiw.

ETA and in a total coincidence, the Whomping Willows' Luna/Ginny song & vid went live today on YouTube (it's their counterpart to their "Draco & Harry Secretly Want to Make Out (that clip is from their Infinitus performance, btw, and they'll be back for Ascendio)).
heidi: (LastKiss)
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.

From today's 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court.
The Supreme Court is not likely to rule before the November election, fwiw.

ETA and in a total coincidence, the Whomping Willows' Luna/Ginny song & vid went live today on YouTube (it's their counterpart to their "Draco & Harry Secretly Want to Make Out (that clip is from their Infinitus performance, btw, and they'll be back for Ascendio)).
heidi: (Rendering)
Stand with EFF and OTW



Read more about the 2012 exemption proceedings here.
heidi: (Rendering)
Stand with EFF and OTW



Read more about the 2012 exemption proceedings here.
heidi: (meep)
Megaupload shut down, founders indicted.
ETA now that I can think for a moment:
1. I wonder if the timing was coincidental or purposeful. But either way, it can backfire because clearly, if they can shut down a site that has a lot of legitimate, noninfringing usages under current law why do they need SOPA or PIPA?
2. Even in a post-Napster universe, especially where so much storage is done "in the cloud", what will the impact of this case be on/from the Sony Betamax case?

Am off to a seminar on copyright law tonight - I hope this is one of the topics up for discussion!!

Stop SOPA

Jan. 18th, 2012 10:23 am
heidi: (Fair Use)

You may have seen this image on the internet today:


And you've probably read about SOPA and PIPA on Twitter and Facebook and tumblr and websites like reddit and boingboing and google and Wikipedia.

But there's a few issues that are of particular concern to those with a fannish bent. theoatmeal.com touches on some of them from a parody perspective, but basically, the "Stop Internet Piracy Act" (and PIPA as well) are written in such a way that they give any owner of any copyright, trademark right, right of publicity or other intellectual property rights the ability to shut down a site's ability to accept donations made via credit card companies, PayPal or Amazon, or bar a site from hosting Google or Groupon ads or being part of the WBShop or Amazon Affiliate programs just because they think that one icon, one User Profile, one piece of fanart, one fanvid or one fanfic infringes on their content - regardless of whether that story, icon, vid or art is transformative, or created pursuant to fair use.

"Fair use is a lawful use of copyright." That's what the Northern District of California said in Lenz v. Universal Music back in 2008. So much of what we do on fansites - from the discussions and reviews to art and fic and vids we host and link to - is fair use, but there's no Fair Use provision in SOPA.

"Think about this for a second: think how many bogus DMCA takedown notices are sent by copyright holders to take down content they don't like," writes TechDirt's Mike Masnick. "With this new bill, should it become law, those same copyright holders will be able to cut off advertising and payment processing to such sites. Without court review."

Donations are vital to fansites; if they can't accept financial support from users and visitors, many will not be able to keep the site online; it costs between $20 and $1000 per month for servers at fansites of various sizes. Ads are vital to other sites - Googleads, the BlogHer network, store associateships, etc.

If SOPA passes, and one copyright-holder who doesn't agree with the law of Fair Use complains to PayPal or Google or Amazon, it is likely that at least some sites will lose the ability to accept donations from users like you, and many will be unable to use ad revenue to keep the sites online.

And fandom-run sites are just a small portion of the internet, in the grand scheme of things. YouTube hosts fanvids, parodies and reviews, Tumblr and LiveJournal host every type of content that can be created, and Google links to everything. One person can choose to abuse the provisions of SOPA and damage each of those sites for everyone - or the sites themselves may curtail certain services, or limit what they allow people to share, discuss and distribute.

That's not an Internet that any of us would recognize.

The worst part of SOPA and PIPA is that the worst case scenarios are extremely likely, plausible and conceivable.

The good news is, the White House has threatened a veto of the bills as they were last week, and the House has put off votes for the immediate future, because we on the internet - we content creators and we content distributors and we content users - have said no, this proposed law is bad and will destroy something we need, use and love.

We can’t sit down now.

If you live in the US, please sign Google's petition, or click here to visit the EFF's website and have an email automatically sent to your representative.

*Not the right word when only one of the six entities testifying before Congress is an Internet-purposed company!

ETA: More discussion here; this post is also on Tumblr.

heidi: (Fair Use)

You may have seen this image on the internet today:


And you've probably read about SOPA and PIPA on Twitter and Facebook and tumblr and websites like reddit and boingboing and google and Wikipedia.

But there's a few issues that are of particular concern to those with a fannish bent. theoatmeal.com touches on some of them from a parody perspective, but basically, the "Stop Internet Piracy Act" (and PIPA as well) are written in such a way that they give any owner of any copyright, trademark right, right of publicity or other intellectual property rights the ability to shut down a site's ability to accept donations made via credit card companies, PayPal or Amazon, or bar a site from hosting Google or Groupon ads or being part of the WBShop or Amazon Affiliate programs just because they think that one icon, one User Profile, one piece of fanart, one fanvid or one fanfic infringes on their content - regardless of whether that story, icon, vid or art is transformative, or created pursuant to fair use.

"Fair use is a lawful use of copyright." That's what the Northern District of California said in Lenz v. Universal Music back in 2008. So much of what we do on fansites - from the discussions and reviews to art and fic and vids we host and link to - is fair use, but there's no Fair Use provision in SOPA.

"Think about this for a second: think how many bogus DMCA takedown notices are sent by copyright holders to take down content they don't like," writes TechDirt's Mike Masnick. "With this new bill, should it become law, those same copyright holders will be able to cut off advertising and payment processing to such sites. Without court review."

Donations are vital to fansites; if they can't accept financial support from users and visitors, many will not be able to keep the site online; it costs between $20 and $1000 per month for servers at fansites of various sizes. Ads are vital to other sites - Googleads, the BlogHer network, store associateships, etc.

If SOPA passes, and one copyright-holder who doesn't agree with the law of Fair Use complains to PayPal or Google or Amazon, it is likely that at least some sites will lose the ability to accept donations from users like you, and many will be unable to use ad revenue to keep the sites online.

And fandom-run sites are just a small portion of the internet, in the grand scheme of things. YouTube hosts fanvids, parodies and reviews, Tumblr and LiveJournal host every type of content that can be created, and Google links to everything. One person can choose to abuse the provisions of SOPA and damage each of those sites for everyone - or the sites themselves may curtail certain services, or limit what they allow people to share, discuss and distribute.

That's not an Internet that any of us would recognize.

The worst part of SOPA and PIPA is that the worst case scenarios are extremely likely, plausible and conceivable.

The good news is, the White House has threatened a veto of the bills as they were last week, and the House has put off votes for the immediate future, because we on the internet - we content creators and we content distributors and we content users - have said no, this proposed law is bad and will destroy something we need, use and love.

We can’t sit down now.

If you live in the US, please sign Google's petition, or click here to visit the EFF's website and have an email automatically sent to your representative.

*Not the right word when only one of the six entities testifying before Congress is an Internet-purposed company!

ETA: More discussion here; this post is also on Tumblr.

heidi: (Fair Use)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] zia_narratora, who showed me how to include the Post To Your Own LJ button on my earlier post about the SOPA bill. You can now reblog it to your own LJ easily - and I tweaked the content a bit, to make it more universally relevant, too.

There's an interesting look at the law on Time Magazine's Techland, which includes this quote:
On the margin…DNS filtering will no doubt reduce piracy. But what we have to ask ourselves is, at what cost? And that cost is legitimizing government blacklists of forbidden information… The result could be a virtually broken Internet where some sites exist for half the world and not for the other. The alternative is to leave the DNS alone and focus (as the bills also do) on going after the cash flow of rogue websites. As frustrating as it must be for the content owners who are getting ripped off, there are some cures worse than the disease.


The thing is, they're ignoring the impact that the law would have on sites that host discussions, reviews, parodies, Fair Use-works, fan creativity, photographs, and more. The revenue streams of rogue websites? SOPA says that a site that hosts a Fair Use-protected fanwork is the same as a site that hosts a rip of a Blu-Ray film and all its extras.

It's not.

I haven't seen much discussion of the specific impact that SOPA could make on fansites of all types - sports, books, films, niche groups. Look to the portion of the law that deals with blocking revenue. Many smaller, "noncommercial" sites (those with very little ad/associate revenue) are funded by the users, who donate monthly or annually to keep the sites online. PayPal, AmazonPayments, Google Checkout - those services allow these niche sites to thrive and focus on smaller communities and interests. And sometimes, the costs for the servers can be hundreds of dollars a month if there's enough discussion going on, or if people are sharing fan-created works that fall under Fair Use. How many of those sites will be cut off because The Powers That Be don't like a topic or a discussion taking place on the site? We saw what Righthaven did these last two years, using the DMCA to bully sites; SOPA - as it ignores the concept of Fair Use - is just a sop for IP rights bullies to shut down discussions that they don't agree with.

Imagine you're the fictional university of Nepp State, and you don't like people using your uniform or logo to criticize the systematic abuse and cover-up by coaches of the Quodpot Team. You hold a trademark (it doesn't even have to be registered) in your logo and jersey design, so you use SOPA to complain to PayPal and GoogleAds about the sites that have icons showing the "ghostbusters" symbol over your jersey design. Under SOPA, PayPal and GoogleAds would have five days to cut off the site's account, payments, and ability to accept donations from its users and the trademark holder can go to the Justice Department to ask that the site's DNS be blocked - while there's a provision that allows the site to remove the content in those five days, that's in the realm of censorship. Gigaom touches on these issues as they pertain to activists like OWS.

I don't normally link to RedState but their summary of the situation and its impact on free speech is well-put.

And here's the perspective of some engineers at DSLReports

The EFF writes about the impact of SOPA on Flickr, Etsy and Vimeo. Did you know that buildings are protected by copyright and sometimes trademark? Take a photo in front of one and put it on Facebook or Flickr (or YouTube, or a print you're selling at etsy) and you're putting yourself and the site at risk.

What will you stop doing if SOPA becomes law?
heidi: (Fair Use)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] zia_narratora, who showed me how to include the Post To Your Own LJ button on my earlier post about the SOPA bill. You can now reblog it to your own LJ easily - and I tweaked the content a bit, to make it more universally relevant, too.

There's an interesting look at the law on Time Magazine's Techland, which includes this quote:
On the margin…DNS filtering will no doubt reduce piracy. But what we have to ask ourselves is, at what cost? And that cost is legitimizing government blacklists of forbidden information… The result could be a virtually broken Internet where some sites exist for half the world and not for the other. The alternative is to leave the DNS alone and focus (as the bills also do) on going after the cash flow of rogue websites. As frustrating as it must be for the content owners who are getting ripped off, there are some cures worse than the disease.


The thing is, they're ignoring the impact that the law would have on sites that host discussions, reviews, parodies, Fair Use-works, fan creativity, photographs, and more. The revenue streams of rogue websites? SOPA says that a site that hosts a Fair Use-protected fanwork is the same as a site that hosts a rip of a Blu-Ray film and all its extras.

It's not.

I haven't seen much discussion of the specific impact that SOPA could make on fansites of all types - sports, books, films, niche groups. Look to the portion of the law that deals with blocking revenue. Many smaller, "noncommercial" sites (those with very little ad/associate revenue) are funded by the users, who donate monthly or annually to keep the sites online. PayPal, AmazonPayments, Google Checkout - those services allow these niche sites to thrive and focus on smaller communities and interests. And sometimes, the costs for the servers can be hundreds of dollars a month if there's enough discussion going on, or if people are sharing fan-created works that fall under Fair Use. How many of those sites will be cut off because The Powers That Be don't like a topic or a discussion taking place on the site? We saw what Righthaven did these last two years, using the DMCA to bully sites; SOPA - as it ignores the concept of Fair Use - is just a sop for IP rights bullies to shut down discussions that they don't agree with.

Imagine you're the fictional university of Nepp State, and you don't like people using your uniform or logo to criticize the systematic abuse and cover-up by coaches of the Quodpot Team. You hold a trademark (it doesn't even have to be registered) in your logo and jersey design, so you use SOPA to complain to PayPal and GoogleAds about the sites that have icons showing the "ghostbusters" symbol over your jersey design. Under SOPA, PayPal and GoogleAds would have five days to cut off the site's account, payments, and ability to accept donations from its users and the trademark holder can go to the Justice Department to ask that the site's DNS be blocked - while there's a provision that allows the site to remove the content in those five days, that's in the realm of censorship. Gigaom touches on these issues as they pertain to activists like OWS.

I don't normally link to RedState but their summary of the situation and its impact on free speech is well-put.

And here's the perspective of some engineers at DSLReports

The EFF writes about the impact of SOPA on Flickr, Etsy and Vimeo. Did you know that buildings are protected by copyright and sometimes trademark? Take a photo in front of one and put it on Facebook or Flickr (or YouTube, or a print you're selling at etsy) and you're putting yourself and the site at risk.

What will you stop doing if SOPA becomes law?
heidi: (Fair Use)
I've been dealing this week with annoying dentistry, weirdly scheduled PTSA meetings, clients whose credit cards are not appreciated by the PTO website and the fun of trying to figure out what type of entity to be for INTA next year, and, of course, re-reading reviews of Philosopher's Stone that were posted in FictionAlley Park a year ago today (well, a year ago this month as some people saw it early) but I needed to take a few minutes today to address the SOPA act that's currently being debated* in committee in Congress, for clients, and in a post that's going up on FictionAlley this afternoon.

This is a slightly revised version of that post (Updated on November 17, 2011):

You may have seen this image on the internet today:



And you may wonder why a site like FictionAlley cares about an act designed to stop piracy; FictionAlley doesn't allow links to downloads of the Harry Potter books or films!

But the thing is, the "Stop Internet Piracy Act" is written in such a way that it gives any owner of any copyright, trademark right, right of publicity or other intellectual property rights the ability to shut down a site's ability to accept donations made via credit card companies, PayPal or Amazon, or bar a site from hosting Google or Groupon ads or being part of the WBShop or Amazon Affiliate programs just because they think that one icon, one User Profile, one piece of fanart, one fanvid or one fanfic infringes on their content - regardless of whether that story, icon, vid or art is transformative, or created pursuant to fair use.

"Fair use is a lawful use of copyright." That's what the Northern District of California said in Lenz v. Universal Music back in 2008. So much of what we do on fansites - from the discussions and reviews to art and fic and vids we host and link to - is fair use, but there's no Fair Use provision in SOPA.

"Think about this for a second: think how many bogus DMCA takedown notices are sent by copyright holders to take down content they don't like," writes TechDirt's Mike Masnick. "With this new bill, should it become law, those same copyright holders will be able to cut off advertising and payment processing to such sites. Without court review."

Donations are vital to fansites; if they can't accept financial support from users and visitors, many will not be able to keep the site online; it costs between $20 and $1000 per month for servers at fansites of various sizes. Ads are vital to other sites - Googleads, the BlogHer network, store associateships, etc.

If SOPA passes, and one copyright-holder who doesn't agree with the law of Fair Use complains to PayPal or Google or Amazon, it is likely that at least some sites will lose the ability to accept donations from users like you, and many will be unable to use ad revenue to keep the sites online.

And fandom-run sites are just a small portion of the internet, in the grand scheme of things. YouTube hosts fanvids, parodies and reviews, Tumblr and LiveJournal host every type of content that can be created, and Google links to everything. One person can choose to abuse the provisions of SOPA and damage each of those sites for everyone - or the sites themselves may curtail certain services, or limit what they allow people to share, discuss and distribute.

That's not an Internet that any of us would recognize.

If you live in the US, please send a letter to your Representative, or click here to visit the EFF's website and have an email automatically sent to your representative.

*Not the right word when only one of the six entities testifying before Congress is an Internet-purposed company!

ETA: More discussion here; this post is also on Tumblr.


Creative Commons License Feel free to use any of this on your own LJ/DW/Blog and link back if you wish (but it's not necessary).
heidi: (Fair Use)
I've been dealing this week with annoying dentistry, weirdly scheduled PTSA meetings, clients whose credit cards are not appreciated by the PTO website and the fun of trying to figure out what type of entity to be for INTA next year, and, of course, re-reading reviews of Philosopher's Stone that were posted in FictionAlley Park a year ago today (well, a year ago this month as some people saw it early) but I needed to take a few minutes today to address the SOPA act that's currently being debated* in committee in Congress, for clients, and in a post that's going up on FictionAlley this afternoon.

This is a slightly revised version of that post (Updated on November 17, 2011):

You may have seen this image on the internet today:



And you may wonder why a site like FictionAlley cares about an act designed to stop piracy; FictionAlley doesn't allow links to downloads of the Harry Potter books or films!

But the thing is, the "Stop Internet Piracy Act" is written in such a way that it gives any owner of any copyright, trademark right, right of publicity or other intellectual property rights the ability to shut down a site's ability to accept donations made via credit card companies, PayPal or Amazon, or bar a site from hosting Google or Groupon ads or being part of the WBShop or Amazon Affiliate programs just because they think that one icon, one User Profile, one piece of fanart, one fanvid or one fanfic infringes on their content - regardless of whether that story, icon, vid or art is transformative, or created pursuant to fair use.

"Fair use is a lawful use of copyright." That's what the Northern District of California said in Lenz v. Universal Music back in 2008. So much of what we do on fansites - from the discussions and reviews to art and fic and vids we host and link to - is fair use, but there's no Fair Use provision in SOPA.

"Think about this for a second: think how many bogus DMCA takedown notices are sent by copyright holders to take down content they don't like," writes TechDirt's Mike Masnick. "With this new bill, should it become law, those same copyright holders will be able to cut off advertising and payment processing to such sites. Without court review."

Donations are vital to fansites; if they can't accept financial support from users and visitors, many will not be able to keep the site online; it costs between $20 and $1000 per month for servers at fansites of various sizes. Ads are vital to other sites - Googleads, the BlogHer network, store associateships, etc.

If SOPA passes, and one copyright-holder who doesn't agree with the law of Fair Use complains to PayPal or Google or Amazon, it is likely that at least some sites will lose the ability to accept donations from users like you, and many will be unable to use ad revenue to keep the sites online.

And fandom-run sites are just a small portion of the internet, in the grand scheme of things. YouTube hosts fanvids, parodies and reviews, Tumblr and LiveJournal host every type of content that can be created, and Google links to everything. One person can choose to abuse the provisions of SOPA and damage each of those sites for everyone - or the sites themselves may curtail certain services, or limit what they allow people to share, discuss and distribute.

That's not an Internet that any of us would recognize.

If you live in the US, please send a letter to your Representative, or click here to visit the EFF's website and have an email automatically sent to your representative.

*Not the right word when only one of the six entities testifying before Congress is an Internet-purposed company!

ETA: More discussion here; this post is also on Tumblr.


Creative Commons License Feel free to use any of this on your own LJ/DW/Blog and link back if you wish (but it's not necessary).

Stop SOPA

Nov. 16th, 2011 03:15 pm
heidi: (Fair Use)
I've been dealing this week with annoying dentistry, weirdly scheduled PTSA meetings, clients whose credit cards are not appreciated by the PTO website and the fun of trying to figure out what type of entity to be for INTA next year, and, of course, re-reading reviews of Philosopher's Stone that were posted in FictionAlley Park a year ago today (well, a year ago this month as some people saw it early) but I needed to take a few minutes today to address the SOPA act that's currently being debated* in committee in Congress, for clients, and in a post that's going up on FictionAlley this afternoon.

This is a slightly revised version of that post:

You may have seen this image on the internet today:



And you may wonder why a site like FictionAlley cares about an act designed to stop piracy; FictionAlley doesn't allow links to downloads of the Harry Potter books or films!

But the thing is, the "Stop Internet Piracy Act" is written in such a way that it gives any owner of any copyright, trademark right, right of publicity or other intellectual property rights the ability to shut down a site's ability to accept donations made via credit card companies, PayPal or Amazon, or bar a site from hosting Google or Groupon ads or being part of the WBShop or Amazon Affiliate programs just because they think that one icon, one User Profile, one piece of fanart, one fanvid or one fanfic infringes on their content - regardless of whether that story, icon, vid or art is transformative, or created pursuant to fair use.

"Fair use is a lawful use of copyright." That's what the Northern District of California said in Lenz v. Universal Music back in 2008. So much of what we do on fansites - from the discussions and reviews to art and fic and vids we host and link to - is fair use, but there's no Fair Use provision in SOPA.

"Think about this for a second: think how many bogus DMCA takedown notices are sent by copyright holders to take down content they don't like," writes TechDirt's Mike Masnick. "With this new bill, should it become law, those same copyright holders will be able to cut off advertising and payment processing to such sites. Without court review."

If we can't accept donations from FictionAlley's users and visitors, we won't be able to keep the site online; it costs about $3000 per year to cover our servers, domain names and other related expenses, and we appreciate all the help you give us in covering those costs. If SOPA passes, and one copyright-holder who doesn't agree with the law of Fair Use complains to PayPal or Google or Amazon, we may lose the ability to accept donations from users like you.

And we're just a little site in the grand scheme of things. YouTube hosts fanvids, parodies and reviews, Tumblr and LiveJournal host every type of content that can be created, and Google links to everything. One person can choose to abuse the provisions of SOPA and damage each of those sites for everyone - or the sites themselves may curtail certain services, or limit what they allow people to share, discuss and distribute.

That's not an Internet that any of us would recognize.

If you live in the US, please send a letter to your Representative, or click here to visit the EFF's website and have an email automatically sent to your representative.

*Not the right word when only one of the six entities testifying before Congress is an Internet-purposed company!
heidi: (legally)
Did I really say this, back in Feb of 2001?
[If WB doesn't go after people who use the Harry Potter mark without their authorization] not only will there be dozens of HP sites (which the world could deal with) there would be unauthorized HP merchandise, and even possibly unauthorized books (which would be bad).


I wouldn't blame any of you if you never spoke to me again! "Dozens" of HP sites?

Wow, my predictive powers sucked.

This post brought to you by the letter "N" for Nostalgia.

So, anyone reading this who remembers when there were fewer than 1000 people on HPfGU?
heidi: (OTW)
Copied from the OTO Call for Fair Use Curriculum Development Team Members:

So how many teens in the United States do you think are familiar with the concept of fair use? How many are exposed instead solely to the message that copyright infringement is always a crime?

Between warnings on DVDs, television PSAs, movie theater anti-piracy ads, and print advertising, kids are usually pretty familiar with a vague idea that copyright is that law that means you can't copy stuff, and that in particular, any commercially produced entertainment or cultural property is sacrosanct.

The message is that remix, criticism, reinterpretation, and transformation are legally transgressive. Missing from this message is both the actual aim of copyright law and the idea that there are legitimate artistic and critical reasons to use copyrighted material, and that such use is legal. The OTW believes that education about the principles of fair use and similar rights around the world are an important part of the defense and preservation of fanworks -- our rights to create, share, and enjoy our work. To that end, we are developing resources for schools, teachers, and students that will allow students to learn about their rights, and how to exercise those rights.

Copyright is intended to protect the creator's right to profit from her work for a period of time to encourage creative endeavor and the widespread sharing of knowledge. But this does not preclude the right of others to respond to the original work, either with critical commentary, parody, or, we believe, transformative works.Read more about the project & how to volunteer/help! )

How to Volunteer
Please use our contact form to tell us:

* Your name
* Your email address
* Applicable experience and what you believe you can contribute to the project

All volunteers will receive an email confirming their information has been received; please give us up to a week to reply. You are welcome to send us a resume at that point if you wish.

Now, me speaking personally...
This has been a project I've wanted to do since probably 2000 or 2001, and I think now is the right time for something like this, because of the state of the law, and the state, frankly, of fandoms and fannishness. We're also planning to do versions of the curriculum in countries other than the US, so we are interested in hearing from people who are/would be interested in getting on board for such a project.
I can't wait to get stared!
heidi: (OTW)
Copied from the OTO Call for Fair Use Curriculum Development Team Members:

So how many teens in the United States do you think are familiar with the concept of fair use? How many are exposed instead solely to the message that copyright infringement is always a crime?

Between warnings on DVDs, television PSAs, movie theater anti-piracy ads, and print advertising, kids are usually pretty familiar with a vague idea that copyright is that law that means you can't copy stuff, and that in particular, any commercially produced entertainment or cultural property is sacrosanct.

The message is that remix, criticism, reinterpretation, and transformation are legally transgressive. Missing from this message is both the actual aim of copyright law and the idea that there are legitimate artistic and critical reasons to use copyrighted material, and that such use is legal. The OTW believes that education about the principles of fair use and similar rights around the world are an important part of the defense and preservation of fanworks -- our rights to create, share, and enjoy our work. To that end, we are developing resources for schools, teachers, and students that will allow students to learn about their rights, and how to exercise those rights.

Copyright is intended to protect the creator's right to profit from her work for a period of time to encourage creative endeavor and the widespread sharing of knowledge. But this does not preclude the right of others to respond to the original work, either with critical commentary, parody, or, we believe, transformative works.Read more about the project & how to volunteer/help! )

How to Volunteer
Please use our contact form to tell us:

* Your name
* Your email address
* Applicable experience and what you believe you can contribute to the project

All volunteers will receive an email confirming their information has been received; please give us up to a week to reply. You are welcome to send us a resume at that point if you wish.

Now, me speaking personally...
This has been a project I've wanted to do since probably 2000 or 2001, and I think now is the right time for something like this, because of the state of the law, and the state, frankly, of fandoms and fannishness. We're also planning to do versions of the curriculum in countries other than the US, so we are interested in hearing from people who are/would be interested in getting on board for such a project.
I can't wait to get stared!
heidi: (OTW)
Copied from the OTO Call for Fair Use Curriculum Development Team Members:

So how many teens in the United States do you think are familiar with the concept of fair use? How many are exposed instead solely to the message that copyright infringement is always a crime?

Between warnings on DVDs, television PSAs, movie theater anti-piracy ads, and print advertising, kids are usually pretty familiar with a vague idea that copyright is that law that means you can't copy stuff, and that in particular, any commercially produced entertainment or cultural property is sacrosanct.

The message is that remix, criticism, reinterpretation, and transformation are legally transgressive. Missing from this message is both the actual aim of copyright law and the idea that there are legitimate artistic and critical reasons to use copyrighted material, and that such use is legal. The OTW believes that education about the principles of fair use and similar rights around the world are an important part of the defense and preservation of fanworks -- our rights to create, share, and enjoy our work. To that end, we are developing resources for schools, teachers, and students that will allow students to learn about their rights, and how to exercise those rights.

Copyright is intended to protect the creator's right to profit from her work for a period of time to encourage creative endeavor and the widespread sharing of knowledge. But this does not preclude the right of others to respond to the original work, either with critical commentary, parody, or, we believe, transformative works.Read more about the project & how to volunteer/help! )

How to Volunteer
Please use our contact form to tell us:

* Your name
* Your email address
* Applicable experience and what you believe you can contribute to the project

All volunteers will receive an email confirming their information has been received; please give us up to a week to reply. You are welcome to send us a resume at that point if you wish.

Now, me speaking personally...
This has been a project I've wanted to do since probably 2000 or 2001, and I think now is the right time for something like this, because of the state of the law, and the state, frankly, of fandoms and fannishness. We're also planning to do versions of the curriculum in countries other than the US, so we are interested in hearing from people who are/would be interested in getting on board for such a project.
I can't wait to get stared!
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