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October 2018 Newsletter, Volume 129

I. OTW MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

Thanks to you, this month’s membership drive was a huge record-breaking success! Once everything was counted up, the donations received totalled US$203,557.29 from 8203 donors. 479 premiums were requested–including the very popular new kudos stress ball.

Kudos to all the OTW peeps who worked hard on the membership drive, including Development & Membership, Communications, Translation, Finance, and many others!

And kudos to you–everyone who donated, signal boosted, and celebrated the OTW with us. Thank you so much!

II. AT THE AO3

Tag Wrangling celebrated a major milestone this month with the canonization of the 30,000th fandom on AO3! In honour of the occasion, Tag Wrangling put together some tips on how to make tagging work to your advantage, including how to avoid the too many Peters problem.

Open Doors is back at it with two archive import announcements this month. P/K All the Way, a Star Trek: Voyager fanworks archive, and Elusive Lover, a Star Wars fanworks archive, are both coming to the AO3.

Policy & Abuse continued to receive thousands of spam tickets this month, in addition to roughly 700 actual tickets. Please be patient when waiting for a response to a report you’ve made. We do respond to every (non-spam) report, but it’s taking a bit longer than usual right now.

Lastly, Support received over 700 tickets this month, and Tag Wranglers handled about 210,000 tags in September. (October numbers will be in next month’s newsletter.)

III. LEGAL ADVOCACY

You may remember OTW Legal’s continuing advocacy work on expanding and clarifying exemptions to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions. The DMCA exemptions expressly allow certain kinds of decryption (such as ripping DVDs or Blu-Rays, or decrypting digital files) for certain kinds of copyright fair use. Over the years, for example, OTW Legal has successfully secured an exemption for non-commercial vidders to rip DVDs and Blu-Rays, and decrypt digital files, in order to use short portions in their vids.

Over the past year, we have been working to clarify and expand exemptions to allow decryption for other sorts of fan uses. And in October, the Copyright Office issued its rulings on the most recent round of petitions that OTW Legal and our allies submitted to the Copyright Office. We didn’t get everything we asked for, but we do have some good news:

  • The exemptions have been expanded beyond documentary film and noncommercial vidding to include uses of short portions for parody, criticism, and comment.
  • The exemptions have been expanded for non-fiction multimedia e-books, so they allow (for example) authors to decrypt DVD, Blu-ray, and online sources to include short portions of them in the OTW’s academic journal, Transformative Works and Cultures.

Hooray for this step in the right direction, and we’ll keep fighting for fan-friendly laws!

Also in October, OTW Legal submitted an amicus brief in the case of TVEyes v. Fox. In the brief, we asked the United States Supreme Court to reaffirm a principle that the Supreme Court first articulated years ago: that if a copyright owner wouldn’t ever authorize a particular use of its work—such as parody, criticism, or transformation they disapprove of—then someone who uses the work for that purpose isn’t harming any market for the work that the copyright owner would ever take advantage of. We’ll keep you informed if anything else happens with this case.

IV. GOVERNANCE

Newly elected Board members Lex de Leon and Natalia Gruber began their terms this month, while Matty Bowers and Atiya Hakeem finished theirs. Our thanks to the departing Board members, and a warm welcome to the new ones.

Finance published an updated version of the OTW’s 2018 budget this month and held a public chat to answer questions about it. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the chat–it was great to meet with you!

Finance also released the OTW’s audited 2017 Financial Statements this month. They can be found on the Reports and Governing Documents page of the OTW website.

V. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS

As of 26 October the OTW has 701 volunteers. \o/ Recent personnel movements are listed below.

New Directors: Claire P. Baker (taking over as president)
New Committee Staff: Frost The Fox (Volunteers & Recruiting), Linde (Volunteers & Recruiting), likegallows (Elections), Emma Lloyd (Elections), Daniela Maria António (Elections), 4 other Elections Staff and 2 Policy & Abuse Staff
New Tag Wrangler Volunteers: WinterKnight, Crimsonochrome, Emily Finbow, Yuki, Emma L.

Departing Directors: Matty Bowers, Atiya Hakeem, Priscilla Del Cima (no longer president but remaining on board)
Departing Committee Chairs: SunnyB (Translation), Trey C (Translation)
Departing Committee Staff: ltfoxyee (AO3 Documentation) and 1 other AO3 Documentation Staff, Moth (Policy & Abuse), 1 Communications Staff, 1 Development & Membership Staff, 2 Election Staff, 1 Strategic Planning Staff, 1 Support Staff, and 1 Systems Staff
Departing Tag Wrangler Volunteers: Eve Forbes, Natalia Gruber and 3 other Tag Wranglers
Departing Translation Volunteers: 1 Translation volunteer

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