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Appropriate Action for Protecting Fandom's Journal
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Below are the 7 most recent journal entries recorded in Appropriate Action for Protecting Fandom's LiveJournal:

Sunday, August 19th, 2007
5:07 pm
If this post is inappropriate, I have no problems with deleting it or it being deleted by someone else.

soleta_nf and I created ljconfl_archive for the purpose of gathering in one place all those links and pieces of information we’ve seen floating around out there. We want to have an archive to act as a single, cohesive and comprehensive resource where users can have this information at their fingertips. Personally, I’ve been running an ongoing series of posts covering the current issue, but I wasted time searching for links to reference what I was talking about. ljconfl_archive will hopefully remedy that problem, not just for me but for everyone needing information for coverage purposes or for essays. This could be a very important resource for finding what is need to bring action against Six Apart, if enough people get involved and post what they know.

We have done our best to make certain the Archive will remain objective information, free from bias. While the information linked in the Archive may show bias itself, anyone posting to the Archive must refrain from using any biased/subjective language.

We want information on Strikethrough and Boldthrough, of course, but also on past controversies that have occurred in the LiveJournal community, such as the controversy concerning default user pics depicting breastfeeding.

By posting this information here, we are inviting everyone with links to information to come join and help us build the Archive into the comprehensive resource everyone needs. Already, we have a timeline of events, and a listing of communities dedicated in one way or another to the issues at hand. One person can only gather so much, however. We need to come together as the LiveJournal community to offer our knowledge and in it, seek the larger truth.

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
10:40 am
Online Letter
Thanks to filkertom for pointing this out:

bubble_blunder has created an online letter for Six Apart/Livejournal asking for much needed clarification on the terms of services and other related issues.  I recommend that you take the time to read her letter in full, and if you agree, comment with "Signed" or something similar.  I personally find the request reasonable.

Online letters are by no means a guarantee that there will be a change.  However, they do a great job of carrying weight.  If enough people agree to them and the right people hear about it, it might at least have an small impact.
Sunday, August 5th, 2007
1:19 pm
New Copyright Law Introduced
Rep. Steven Chabot (R-OH) has introduced a bill that strengthens copyright laws.  This bill modifies existing laws to make it possible for you to be charged criminally for copyright infringement and increases the penalty for such infringements.  While this law is mostly designed to help the RIAA and MPAA send people who use P2P networks to jail (and make more money), it could also be applied to the fandom world.

Because it could also result in 6A being held criminally liable for hosting what some might report as "illegal" fanfic and/or fanart, it is very important that this measure not be passed.  If you click on the link below, there is a form you can fill out to automatically have your local politicians notified that you oppose this measure.

This is our first chance to act as a community for our rights.  Lets make sure we stand up for what we believe in.
12:07 am
The Community is Growing
We have 29 Members and 30 Watchers at this time.  I honestly didn't think it would get that big that fast.  I suppose by some community standards it is small, but still.  I'd like to get a Maintainer or two to help with the community.

By all means, someone start a discussion about some of the recent legal issues on Livejournal.  Just remember, I'd like to keep this community to discussions of facts, rights, and what action can be taken to change it.  Also related would be posting about news regarding copyright law, obscenity law, fair use, etc.

Most importantly, this is a community for you to make a difference.  I want to hear what you have to say.
12:01 am
So, what do you do if you do get a Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) on something that you believe was fair use?

You send a Counter Notification.

From Wikipedia:

Counter notification

An alleged infringer may file a counter notification to the OSP. The counter notification must include (512(g)(3)(A-D)):

(A) A physical or electronic signature of the alleged infringer.
(B) Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location before removal.
(C) A statement under penalty of perjury that the alleged infringer has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.
(D) Their name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that they consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if the subscriber's address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that they will accept service of process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.

Once a valid counter notification has been received the OSP must:

  • promptly provide the person who filed the original notification with a copy of the counter notification and inform them that the material will be replaced or access to it restored in 10 business days (512(g)(2)(B)).
  • replace the material and cease disabling access to it not less than 10 and not more than 14 business days following receipt of the counter notification. This does not apply, and the material should not be replaced, if the designated agent receives notification that legal action to seek a court order to restrain the subscriber from engaging in infringing activity to the material has been commenced (512(g)(2)(C)).

The first thing you can do to make a difference in the policies is to use the law available.  If Livejournal is going to make you take down your work, make them put it back with the same law.  See, in the fanfic situation, Livejournal was required by Federal Law to take it down.  But if a counter notification is filed, Livejournal has to put it back up.  The original work CANNOT be taken back down unless the person who filed the OCILLA files legal action against Livejournal.
Saturday, August 4th, 2007
6:11 pm
Fanfiction Rights
I just found a wonderful site for fanfic authors.  The site covers laws regarding copyrights and DMCA as well as many other relevant laws. 

I find this particularly relevant for the deleterius crowd:

Question: What kinds of things are copyrighted?

Answer: In order for a work to be protected by copyright, it must be an original creation set in a fixed medium.

An artist or author does not have a copyright in material borrowed from someone else. Also, stock characters (the sidekick) or plot lines (boy meets girl) are not copyrightable.

The requirement that works be in a fixed medium means certain forms of expression, most notably choreography and oral performances such as speeches, are not copyrighted, (unless they are being recorded contemporaneously). For instance, if I perform a Klingon death wail in a local park, my wail of death is not copyrighted, and someone else may come along and do the same thing the next day. However, if I film the performance, then the Klingon death wail does become copyrighted (since it is now "fixed" according to copyright law). Contrary to popular belief, I do not have to register my copyrighted work for it to receive copyright protection. In the United States, I only need to register if I'm going to sue.

Again, I'm no lawyer.  While it doesn't come out and say it this tells me that a fanfic writer cannot completely copyright their fanfic.  The characters (except for new ones they create) and setting are owned by the original author.  Meanwhile plot lines cannot be copyrighted.  This means only new characters can be and falls into somewhat of a grey area given the unusual nature of fanfic.

Even better is this wonderful little gem:

Question: I found something interesting on someone else's blog. May I quote it?

Answer: Probably. Short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement. The Copyright Act says that "fair use...for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." So if you are commenting on or criticizing an item someone else has posted, a court would likely find that you have a fair use right to quote. The law favors "transformative" uses — commentary, either praise or criticism, is better than straight copying — but courts have said that even putting a piece of an existing work into a new context (such as a thumbnail in an image search engine) counts as "transformative." The blog's author might also have granted you even more generous rights through a Creative Commons license, so you should check for that as well.

So, criticism is covered under fair use and as long as it is transformative, it is protected as long as you can show it is, in fact transformative.  I would be sure to exclude parts of the original work to be safe, but it seems to be pretty well protected.
9:28 am
About the Community and its Founder

On August 3, 2007 news of two bannings swept across Livejournal.  Both members were sent the same notice from the LJ Abuse team.  Six Apart later clarified that reasons for the bannings.  Early that week, it also was discovered that a fanfic writer sent a DMCA request to Six Apart requesting the removal of a particular entry.  As sites that host content must honor DMCA requests, they have to take down the information by a certain deadline or face severe penalties.

It all gets down to one thing.  Six Apart is getting outside pressure about the content on Livejournal.  They are trying to protect themselves legally and as there are no laws to protect the examples above, the fans are the ones getting hurt.  If fandom is to survive on the web, they need to change this.

The purpose of this community is to discuss how to create change in the laws, report legislation that fandom needs to respond to, and find ways to promote appropriate awareness to the issue.  There is also the possibility of using this community to discuss the existing laws and getting into what rights the fandom community has in face of things such as DMCA Take-Down requests and bannings from SixApart.

This community is NOT a place to yell and argue about the practices of SixApart.  This is strictly about the legal protections for fans and for getting protections in place.

Now, a little bit about me:
I'm a writer, not a lawyer.  I believe in supporting the existing laws but doing what is in my power to change the laws I disagree with.  I write to my local congressmen regularly.  I'm a registered Libertarian.

For the purposes of fandom, I have written fanfics in the past but do not do so anymore.  As I plan on being a published author by the end of next year, I want to make sure the rights of my fans are protected when I get there.  Because most of my writing involves the fae and certain fae are depicted frequently as very child looking, it means that artistic work of my writing may become a target of this issue.

In regards to fanfiction, I believe in protecting it for its Free Speech value, especially satire.  However, I also believe that the author of the original work owns the rights to the characters and should have the right to limit non-satirical use of their copyright.  I think it is stupid for a writer to completely deny any fanfic writing, but I believe they should have that right.  I also believe that the right of an author to restrict and limit the use of their copyright for the purposes of fanfiction and fanart needs to be put in place prior to the work.

That's my purpose for the community.  That's my personal philosophy.  Now lets get members and start putting this community to good use.  

The community is currently set to moderator approval for posts at this time, I will likely change that down the road.

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