Extra! Your Political Speech is now a “Viacom Property”

Earlier this week, fan artist Glockgal discovered that all but one of the designs at her Zazzle store had been removed “because they “contained content in violation of Viacom’s intellectual property rights.” But the shirts contained not only original graphic designs, but political speech, protesting the casting of Asian or Inuit characters in the film of Avatar: The Last Airbender by white actors.

Apparently, you need permission from Viacom to say: “Aang can stay Asian and still save the world” or “The Last Airbender: Putting the Cauc back in Asian” or “The Last Airbender: Brown/Asian/Colored Actors NEED NOT APPLY”. These design were entirely textual, and obviously political: Glockgal called her store Racebending.com and contextualized its products as a form of political activism: “Stop Hollywood White-Washing of the upcoming movie The Last Airbender!” Glockgal is now selling some of the designs with “CENSORED BY VIACOM” plastered across them–but since when does Viacom own political speech about its products?

Writercon 2009 – A Q & A with TWC’s Kristina Busse

Kristina Busse, co-editor of Fan Fiction and Fan Cultures in the Age of the Internet and one of the editors of Transformative Works and Cultures, was interviewed in a Q & A for the upcoming Writercon 2009, a con dedicated to fannish and original writing. Kristina is going to be one of three special guests at the con, which takes place July 31 through August 2, 2009 in Minneapolis. For more information about Writercon 2009, check out their website or their LiveJournal community. Writercon describes itself as a con “about the writing and the shared love, not shipper politics or the plots of the shows, except as related to the fic. It’s about how fan fiction is literature, and it’s about showing that it’s as worthy as any other genre of writing.”

OTW Annual Report, 2008

The Board of the OTW is pleased to announce the release of our 2008 Annual Report, which went live on our Reports page yesterday. The 2008 Annual Report is available both as a downloadable .pdf and as .html. A big thank you to all our staffers, volunteers, and members for another successful year!