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Organization for Transformative Works

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Title: Organization for Transformative Works  
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Subject: Real person fiction, Naomi Novik, Legal issues with fan fiction, Vidding, The Hunt for Gollum
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Organization for Transformative Works

Organization for Transformative Works
Abbreviation OTW
Motto "run by and for fans to provide access to and preserve the history of fanworks and fan cultures"[1]
Formation 17 May 2007 (2007-05-17) (7 years ago)[2]
Type non-profit
Main organ board of directors, elected annually

The Organization For Transformative Works (OTW) is a non-profit organization that advocates for the transformative and legitimate nature of fan labor activities, including fan fiction, fan vids, anime music videos, and real person fiction.[3][4][5] It is an organization advocating for the legality of fan works, and its primary focus is protecting fan fiction, fan art, fan videos, and other transformative works from legal snafus and commercial exploitation.[6]

The Organization for Transformative Works offers the following services to fans in fandoms:

Legal Activism

The OTW also provides Legal assistance to the fandom community, addressing the legal issues with fan fiction and other fan works. In 2008, the OTW (in coordination with the Electronic Frontier Foundation) successfully submitted requests to the Library of Congress for further exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to allow the fair use of video clips for certain noncommercial uses such as video remixes, commentary, and education, as well as to protect technology used for such purposes. The exceptions were also successfully renewed in 2012.[9][10]

The OTW has also submitted several amicus briefs to the courts in several cases involving intellectual property law:

  • In Fox vs. Dish, the OTW (in coalition with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge) submitted an amicus brief which argued in defense of digital recording methods used by Dish Network, claiming that "The popular fanwork genre of noncommercial videos (“vids”) uses clips from television shows or film, reworking them in a way that comments on or critiques the original. The Copyright Office has held that substantial numbers of vids constitute fair uses. But the creation of fan vids requires intermediate digital copying and processing in order to produce the transformative final product. OTW thus believes that intermediate copying performed to facilitate fair use constitutes fair use." [11]
  • In the case of Ryan Hart vs. Electronic Arts, the OTW (in combination with the Digital Media Law Project and the International Documentary Association) submitted a brief arguing that Electronic Arts's use of factual information, (such as the height, weight, and jersey number of football players) in creative works (in this case, video games) is protected by the First Amendment.[12]

Fandom Archival Projects

The OTW has also instituted several projects for preserving fan history and culture. One such project was the creation of the

The OTW also has several "Open Doors" projects dedicated to the preservation of fannish historical artifacts. These projects include The Fan Culture Preservation Project, a joint venture between the OTW and the Special Collections department at the Special Collections gallery.

Archive of Our Own

Created by the OTW, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) is an open-source, non-commercial, non-profit archive for fan fiction and other transformative fanac. The Archive is built and run almost entirely by volunteers, many without previous coding experience .[7] The Archive was publicly launched into Open Beta on 14 November 2009,[15] and has been growing steadily since.[16][17] The archive was named one of Time magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2013.[18]


External links

  • Organization for Transformative Works
  • Archive of Our Own
  • Fanlore
  • Transformative Works and Cultures
  • Open Doors
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