AO3 News

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2022-02-23 23:45:20 UTC

OTW Legal is tracking and participating in three current developments in U.S. law that could affect fans: (1) Fan-unfriendly proposals to change trademark law; (2) Attacks on LGBTQ+ expression online; and (3) Proposals to mandate technological copyright filtering on the Internet. We will keep advocating for fans in these areas, and in some cases, there are things you can do if you’re in the U.S.! If you want to know more, read on.

(1) Fan-Unfriendly Proposals to Change Trademark Law

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill with the misleading name of “SHOP SAFE” that would place barriers and restrictions on online marketplaces, including the sorts of marketplaces that fans rely on, like eBay, Etsy, Kickstarter, Patreon, Redbubble, TeePublic, and many others. Although this bill is presented as being about “consumer protection,” that’s not really what it accomplishes – instead, it would reverse long-standing principles of trademark law, would give enormous power to trademark owners to take down fan material from e-commerce sites, and would even force e-commerce sites to try to filter out fan material before it even gets posted. It would harm markets for memorabilia, resale, fanart, and more. Although the OTW is focused on noncommercial fanworks, and this law wouldn’t affect the AO3 (which does not do any commerce at all), it would be terrible for fans on other sites.

Although SHOP SAFE has passed in the House, it is still pending in the Senate. The OTW is actively participating in direct efforts to explain to Senators why this bill would do more harm than good. If you’re in the U.S., you can help by contacting your Senators to do the same! One way to contact your senators is using the EFF’s e-mail tool.

Here are some resources to learn more about SHOP SAFE:

(2) Attacks on LGBTQ+ expression online

We have heard from a lot of members about the (again, terribly mis-named) EARN IT Act, which has been introduced by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill, like SHOP SAFE, claims to do one thing, but actually does something very different. On its face, EARN-IT appears to be about curbing the availability of visually-depicted Child Sexual Abuse Material (“CSAM”) online – and if it were actually a tool for doing that, we would support it. AO3 bans the posting or embedding of CSAM (photos of actual children), and bans users for posting such material.

So why does the OTW care? Because EARN-IT is an attack on section 230, which is the law that makes online platforms able to host user-posted material, and it does so in a way that allows U.S. states – many of which can be influenced by powerful anti-LGBTQ+ lobbying groups – to define what constitutes a visual depiction of CSAM. It is also a massive attack on Internet user privacy, that could result in users’ private material being searched. This sort of legal change could have dramatic impacts on fans, fanart, and freedom of expression for LGBTQ+ youth.

EARN-IT would not affect the AO3 directly. EARN-IT is specifically and explicitly limited to visual depictions, and AO3 does not host any visual depictions at all — the only user-posted material that AO3 hosts is text-only. Any and all images visible on AO3 are hosted elsewhere and embedded by users in works. EARN-IT would therefore affect those platforms where the images are actually hosted, not AO3, where the images merely appear as the result of embedding links (the technological difference matters for this bill).

However, the implications of the legislation for fan communities mean that the OTW is monitoring the situation closely, and will take direct action based on how things develop. If you want to get involved yourself, the best way to do so is through our allies at the EFF, which is also monitoring closely and organizing user action. For more information and action items, visit the EFF's EARN-IT action page.

(3) Proposals to mandate technological copyright filtering on the Internet

The U.S. Copyright Office is convening roundtables to explore the imposition of “Standard Technical Measures,” which could require online platforms — like the AO3 — to engage in filtering. Filtering could require platforms to attempt to prevent the uploading of copyrighted material, or monitor or search their networks for copyrighted material — things that do not account well for the sorts of fair uses that fans and AO3 rely on. OTW has long stood against copyright filtering, which is not only harmful to free expression, but also technologically impossible. We have submitted many comments over the years opposing proposals like those contemplated by the Copyright Office, and on February 22, 2022, Legal Committee Member Rebecca Tushnet participated on the OTW’s behalf in this most recent round. We will continue to fight this fight, and will keep you informed as things develop!

The EFF links above also include pointers to email forms that fans in the U.S. can use to contact their representatives to urge them to take a stance against SHOP SAFE and EARN IT.


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2022-02-17 18:28:38 UTC

Another International Fanworks Day has gone by and once again, we at the Organization for Transformative Works are grateful for the enthusiasm and participation of our visitors. IFD is all about celebrating the creativity of the fandom community and it was on full display this year!

The theme for #IFD2022 was Fandom Classics, and we encouraged you to post remixes of or tributes to classic fanworks as well as to to recommend your favorite fandom classics in our Feedback Fest. We're blown away by the number of recommendations we received: easily enough fanworks to keep us busy until IFD 2023.

We'd also like to thank everybody who participated in our chatroom games marathon, which ran from 21.00 UTC on February 14 until 03.00 UTC on February 16. Once again, we hosted the games on our dedicated Discord server and our volunteer moderators were entertained, amused, and impressed by the cheerful enthusiasm of everybody who participated (including the very many people who chose to play games instead of sleeping - we're sorry!). As usual, the fandom songs produced in the Lyrics Round Robin game rounds can be found at our dedicated IFD AO3 account.

If you didn't manage to participate in any of the above events, don't worry: the Fanlore IFD challenge will be running until Sunday, February 20th, with a different editing challenge each day. It's suitable for new and experienced editors alike, so check it out and join in!


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2022-02-14 20:59:05 UTC

Hurray! It’s International Fanworks Day, our annual opportunity to celebrate all things fanworks and fandom. As is now traditional every February 15, the OTW will be celebrating with a chatroom games marathon, hosted on Discord: you can find all the details below. And remember to check out our previous post for details of the rest of our #IFD2022 celebrations!

About the IFD games session

The OTW’s chatroom games session is a 30-hour party that lasts from 21.00 UTC on 14 February until 03.00 UTC on 16 February. The times listed below are in UTC, but you can click the time to find out how that converts to your own timezone.

The games will be hosted on our dedicated Discord server and moderated by OTW staffers throughout the day. Every hour you will be able to participate in a different fandom-themed game! The timetable and game descriptions are given below; (Update: The Discord channel is now closed). The games will be played and moderated in English.

14th Feb

21.00 Lyrics Round Robin - hosted by C Ryan Smith
22.00 That’s Life - hosted by C Ryan Smith
23.00 Linkee - hosted by Claudia Rebaza

15th Feb

00.00 List Builder - hosted by Claudia Rebaza
01.00 20 Questions - hosted by Julie Bozza
02.00 5 Things - hosted by Julie Bozza
03.00 That's Life - hosted by Zoey
04.00 Lyrics Round Robin - hosted by Zoey
05.00 Trivia - hosted by Chrome
06.00 List Builder - hosted by Chrome
07.00 20 Questions - hosted by iManga
08.00 5 Things - hosted by iManga
09.00 Trivia - hosted by Anhaita
10.00 Lyrics Round Robin - hosted by Anhaita
11.00 That’s Life - hosted by Wishopenastar
12.00 List Builder - hosted by Wishopenastar
13.00 20 Questions - hosted by Jonny H
14.00 5 Things - hosted by Jonny H
15.00 That's Life - hosted by Jess H
16.00 Lyrics Round Robin - hosted by Eskici
17.00 Trivia - hosted by SecurityBreach
18.00 List Builder - hosted by SecurityBreach
19.00 Linkee - hosted by Teo
20.00 20 Questions - hosted by Teo
21.00 5 Things - hosted by C Ryan Smith
22.00 Trivia - hosted by Izzy
23.00 Lyrics Round Robin - hosted by Izzy

16th Feb

00.00 That’s Life - hosted by Jess C
01.00 List Builder - hosted by Pokestine 02.00
20 Questions - hosted by Pokestine
03.00 END

Game Guidelines

5 Things
How to Play: During this game, the host will name a topic and players in the room will call out examples from their favorite fandoms. This will repeat for at least 5 rounds. Be prepared to explain why your answer counts (maybe you’ll recruit someone new to your fandom!)

Lyrics Round Robin
How to Play: During this game, we’ll collectively write FANDOM lyrics to replace those of a familiar song. The host will choose the song and type out an alternate first two lines. Then those in the room will write the next lines until the song is finished.

That’s Life
How to Play: This is an RP game. Participants will first name a character that they know well for each round. Every round will consist of two random questions posted by the moderator. Participants share how the character they chose for that round would answer the questions as if answering from their point of view. For each round, participants will name a different character to answer the new questions.

How to Play: Like most trivia games, the host will ask a question and the first person to answer correctly wins that round. Because we’re online and you’re free to do searches we’re going to add another factor, which is time — you must answer within 3 minutes. But you can call out your answer as soon as you think you know. If you have the correct answer, the host will type your name and award you a point. At the end of the game, whoever has gotten the most points will be named the winner!

20 Questions
How to Play: The host will think of a person, place or thing. Your task is to guess what it is. The first person in the room roster (on the upper right side) gets to ask a question that the host will answer with a YES or NO. As soon as the host replies, the next person on the list can ask their question. Players can call out a guess at any time but the host will only answer if it’s correct so that the next person gets their turn. The game will continue until someone has guessed the person, place or thing.

List Builder
How to Play: List Builder is a collaborative game in which players work together to come up with a list of items belonging to a particular genre, starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet. Start at A and work your way through to Z (you can be as flexible as required on the difficult letters!)

How to Play: The host will read a clue and each player should guess (to themselves — shhh!) what the answer is that fits into the [BLANK]. The host will then read 2 more clues. After each one, players can call out a guess about what they think links the clues together. The first person to guess correctly gets a point. When we have completed all clue sets, the person with the most points wins.

We also want to hear from you about other celebrations taking place today. Leave us a comment here to tell us about what your fandom communities are doing!


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Feedback Fest

We've all built our own personal canons – the fics, vids, art and other works that we love and go back to, time and time again. In January, we told you the theme of this year's International Fanworks Day was Fandom Classics, and we asked you to start compiling the fanworks that you consider to be essential reading, viewing or listening.

Now the time has come, and we'd love to see what you've come up with! This post is where you can share all the works you view as classics of your favorite fandoms. These could be works that have inspired fandoms of their own, works that have inspired you personally, or works that have made you see canon in a whole new light – however you choose to define it!

To participate, just leave a comment below sharing the details of any of the classic fanworks that you think really shouldn’t be missed. Don't forget to link to the work itself, and tell us why you consider it to be a fandom classic. (If you prefer, you can also link to a rec post that you’ve made elsewhere and posted with the #IFD2022 hashtag.)

Of course, the creators of these fanworks deserve to be celebrated, too, so when you go back to grab that link, why not tell them how much you love their work? And don't forget to check out other participants’ suggestions – you just might find a new favorite to add to your personal canon.

Have fun!


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International Fanworks Day

It's only a week until the eighth International Fanworks Day and we at the Organization for Transformative Works have a whole lot in store for you all! Please take a look at the events below and join in the fun.

1. Fanworks Challenge

Our theme for this year's IFD is 'fandom classics' and in a post made last month, we invited you to participate by creating fanworks which riff on, remix, or otherwise pay tribute to works that you consider classics of your favorite fandom. You could even write meta about your favourite pieces! We invite you to share your creations using the hashtag #IFD2022 or #IFDChallenge2022 on social media, or 'International Fanworks Day 2022' if you're posting to the Archive of Our Own. There's still plenty of time to participate and we'd love to see what you create!

2. Feedback Fest

On February 13 we'll be making a post that invites you to share recommendations for the classic fanworks that you love the most. Get thinking now and come armed with recs that you can share with your fellow fans!

3. Fanlore Challenge

Get yourself over to Fanlore, the OTW's wiki full of fan history and culture, to participate in their IFD celebrations! The Fanlore challenge runs for a week and includes different editing challenges to complete each day. What better way to honor your love of fanworks than sharing your knowledge with your fellow fans?

4. Games and fan chat

From 21.00 UTC on February 14 to 03.00 UTC on February 16 we will be hosting a chat games session in the OTW's dedicated Discord server. English-speaking OTW volunteers will moderate a series of games including fandom trivia quizzes, 20 Questions, list-making challenges and a whole lot more. It's a great opportunity to get together with fellow fans and share your enthusiasm for the fandoms you love. We will post the link and the full timetable on the day itself so put the date in your diary, come back and check it out!


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2022-02-06 16:00:58 UTC

Banner of a paper airplane emerging from an envelope with the words 'OTW Newsletter: Organization for Transformative Works


The eighth annual International Fanworks Day (IFD) is on February 15, and the OTW has been busy preparing for the festivities! Communications released a public post revealing this year's theme--Classic Fanworks--and suggesting ways to participate, including a Feedback Fest, writing about what your favorite fanworks mean to you, and joining our short-form fanworks challenge. Behind the scenes, Translation prepared to translate IFD posts in time for the celebrations, and Fanlore began planning its own IFD Fanlore Challenge.


Open Doors announced the upcoming imports of Echoes from the West, and My Mongoose Ezines. It also finished importing the Land of Dreams archive. This brings Open Doors to a total of 12 archives (4,096 fanworks) imported and 18 archive imports announced during 2021!

AO3 Documentation uploaded an updated version of the Series FAQ.

In December, Policy & Abuse received approximately 2,600 tickets, and its annual total number of tickets in 2021 reached approximately 29,500 (2020: 19,000). Support received approximately 1,200 tickets, and its annual total number of tickets in 2021 reached more than 16,000 (2020: 18,000). Tag Wrangling wrangled approximately 366,000 tags, or more than 750 tags per wrangler, bringing the annual total number of tags wrangled to approximately 5 million (2020: 4.1 million). Approximately 6,700 canonical fandoms were added in the year 2021.


The Board of Directors held a public meeting, its last of 2021. Board opened internal recruitment for a Diversity Consultant Research Officer, whose job it will be to find a consultant to contract with on issues of racial bias and inequality within the OTW and its projects.

Communications published the OTW's 2020 Annual Report, which can be found on the OTW website along with all previous reports. Meanwhile Strategic Planning opened the OTW Vision Statement 2021-2024 to internal review, and Webs rolled out a new theme for the OTW's website.

Legal thanks the many Hong Kongers who sent in their stories of why making and sharing fanworks has been valuable for them! OTW is a global organization with many members and volunteers in Hong Kong and we are excited to be able to participate in Hong Kong’s copyright consultation process. Our next steps are to continue working with a Hong Konger attorney and copyright expert to frame those wonderful stories in a way that will resonate with the unique law, copyright history, and political process of Hong Kong, and to submit our comments in late February. In particular, Hong Kong’s Public Consultation Paper specifically invites comments on whether to adopt a flexible “fair use” system in place of its current “fair dealing” system, and invites comments on how to adjust Hong Kong copyright law to account for activities such as mash-ups, altered pictures/videos, doujinshi, rewriting lyrics for songs, and other common fan activities. Currently, Hong Kong’s “fair dealing” system allows use of copyrighted works for particular purposes such as parody and satire, and OTW Legal plans to argue for a more flexible system that would suit common types of fan activity.


From 25 November to 23 January, Volunteers & Recruiting received 214 new requests, and completed 218, leaving us with 15 open requests (including induction and removal tasks listed below).

As of 23 January 2022, the OTW has 929 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Committee Chairs: Kirsten Wright (Communications)
New Communications Volunteers: Emily Rogan (Chair-Track), Frankie Krutsch (Tumblr mod), and 1 other volunteer
New Elections Volunteers: viggorlijah (Communications Specialist)
New Open Doors Volunteers: Julie Bozza (Chair Assistant)
New Systems Volunteers: 1 Project Manager, 1 Technical Writer

Departing Committee Chairs: Ori (Translation)
Departing Open Doors Volunteers: Chera Kee (Administrative), Scrivener (Technical) and 1 other Technical Volunteer
Departing Support Volunteers: 1 volunteer
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Ari, Arithanas, Cordz, Diana Sakharova, ereshai, IronLucario, Jacinta Klein, Qkat, Timpa, ValerieZA, Waywren Truesong, and 73 other Tag Wranglers
Departing Translation Volunteers: Eimry, J4Y, Kat Mink, and 5 other Translators
Departing Volunteers & Recruiting Volunteers: Pebble Lee and 1 other volunteer

For more information about the purview of our committees, please access the committee listing on our website.

The Organization for Transformative Works is the non-profit parent organization of multiple projects including Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, Open Doors, Transformative Works and Cultures, and OTW Legal Advocacy. We are a fan run, entirely donor-supported organization staffed by volunteers. Find out more about us on our website.


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In the next few days, we'll be rolling out a new preference to give users more control over who can give them gift works. This change is an important step in our ongoing work to give users more options to control their experience on the Archive and limit unwanted interactions.

The preference will be called "Allow others to give me gift works outside gift exchanges and prompt memes."

When this preference is enabled, any AO3 user will be able to give you a work. That's the current behavior on the Archive, and it will be the default behavior for all existing users.

When the preference is disabled, the only users who will be able to give you works are users who have either been assigned to create a fanwork for you in a gift exchange or claimed one of your non-anonymous prompts in a prompt meme. In other words, if you absolutely do not want to receive gifts from anyone, you can disable this preference and avoid signing up for challenges.

The preference will be disabled by default for accounts created after the roll out. (We'd usually disable any new preferences by default, but allowing gifts is necessary to avoid interfering with ongoing challenges.)

If a user has the preference disabled and you attempt to give them an unrequested gift, you will receive an error message telling you the user does not allow gifts.

The preference only applies to new gifts, so you will still be able to edit any existing gifts without removing the recipient.

Your Gifts page will remain accessible regardless of whether you've enabled or disabled the preference. You will still be able to refuse existing or new gifts.

Wait, what?

  • If you're an existing AO3 user, nothing will change unless you update your preferences.
  • If you never want to receive gift works, you can uncheck "Allow others to give me gift works outside gift exchanges and prompt memes" on your preferences page and avoid signing up for any challenges.

We'll update this post to let you know when the changes have been deployed.

Update 10:10 UTC 6 February 2022: These changes have now been deployed.


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2022-02-02 17:10:22 UTC

OTW Recruitment

Are you interested in the rescue and preservation of fanworks? Are you fluent in a language other than English? The OTW is recruiting for Open Doors Administrative Volunteers and Translation Volunteers!

We have included more information on the roles below. Open roles and applications will always be available at the volunteering page. If you don't see a role that fits with your skills and interests now, keep an eye on the listings. We plan to put up new applications every few weeks, and we will also publicize new roles as they become available.

All applications generate a confirmation page and an auto-reply to your e-mail address. We encourage you to read the confirmation page and to whitelist our email address in your e-mail client. If you do not receive the auto-reply within 24 hours, please check your spam filters and then contact us.

If you have questions regarding volunteering for the OTW, check out our Volunteering FAQ.

Open Doors Administrative Volunteers

Are you interested in the rescue and preservation of fanworks? Enjoy coordinating projects and liaising with people? Still guiltily--or not so guiltily--love the first fanwork that opened your eyes to fandom?

Open Doors is a committee dedicated to preserving fanworks in their many formats, and we’re looking for volunteers to support this goal. The work we do preserves fan history, love, and dedication to fandom: we keep fanworks from offline and at-risk archives from being lost, divert fanzines from the trash, and more.

Our work is largely centered on long-term projects. Each archive import involves completing over 100 detail-oriented steps, and our administrative volunteers take point on multiple imports at once. During waiting periods for one’s archive imports, there are plenty of opportunities for other tasks to claim, such as resolving creator requests, keeping our documentation up-to-date, and assisting with internal projects.

If you want to preserve published fanzines and offline and at-risk archives, are self-motivated, enjoy complex projects with long timelines, and have availability on at least two days a week, the role of Open Doors administrative volunteer may be a good fit for you! If you're interested, click on through for a fuller description of what we're looking for and the time commitment. For your application to be considered, you will be required to complete a short task within 3 days of submitting your application.

Applications will close on 9 February 2022 or once 40 applications have been received.

Translation Volunteers

If you enjoy working collaboratively, if you're fluent in a language other than English, if you’re passionate about the OTW and its projects, and want to help us reach more fans all around the world, working with Translation might be for you!

Translation volunteers help make the OTW and its projects accessible to a wider global audience. We work on translating content by the OTW and its projects from English to other languages, such as site pages, news posts, AO3 FAQs and AO3 Support emails. (However, we do not translate fanworks.)

We really need volunteers who speak Bengali, Bulgarian, Estonian, Filipino, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Kyrgyz, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Marathi, Romanian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovenian, Thai and Welsh—but help with other languages would be much appreciated. If you're interested in starting a team for a language we don't have yet, you're very welcome to!

(Please note that our Afrikaans, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese-BR, Portuguese-PT, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Vietnamese teams are not accepting new members at this time.)

Applicants may be asked to translate and correct short text samples and will be invited to a chatroom interview as part of the selection process. More information about us can be found on the Translation committee page.

Applications are due February 9, 2022

Apply at the volunteering page!


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