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[QUOTE] From Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase by Laurie Penny (via cypress-tree)

What is significant about fan fiction is that it often spins the kind of stories that showrunners wouldn’t think to tell, because fanficcers often come from a different demographic. The discomfort seems to be not that the shows are being reinterpreted by fans, but that they are being reinterpreted by the wrong sorts of fans – women, people of colour, queer kids, horny teenagers, people who are not professional writers, people who actually care about continuity (sorry). The proper way for cultural mythmaking to progress, it is implied, is for privileged men to recreate the works of privileged men from previous generations whilst everyone else listens quietly.

Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase by Laurie Penny (via cypress-tree) ift.tt/1nt4wz2

[QUOTE] From “Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013)

If female fans are dismissed more easily, then so are their interests, their spaces, and their primary forms of engagement. Or, said differently, gender discrimination occurs on the level of the fan, the fan activity, and the fannish investment. There is a ready truism that enthusiasm for typically male fan objects, such as sports and even music, are generally accepted whereas female fan interests are much more readily mocked. Likewise, fangirls are mocked as is fan fiction, an activity more commonly ascribed to females. More than that, affect and forms of fannish investment get policed along gender lines, so that obsessively collecting comic books or speaking Klingon is more acceptable within and outside of fandom than creating fan vids or cosplaying. Even the same behavior gets read differently when women do it: sexualizing celebrities, for example, is accepted and expected among men but gets quickly read as inappropriate when done by women.

“Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013) ift.tt/1tr9CBz

[QUOTE] From Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor

For example, the video game industry has long been working to blur the line between labor and play in their own ranks by recruiting fans as beta testers for games that are about to be released. Companies routinely emphasize the benefits and the prestige associated with early access: alpha and beta testers are said to have the ear of game makers, to be influential in shaping the final product. Similar rhetoric abounds in recruitment materials aimed at young workers looking to break into the industry.

Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor ift.tt/1sxoYCp

[QUOTE] From Drew Emanuel Berkowitz, Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education, p203

Many (New York Times articles about fan fiction) described fanfiction authors as dedicated (Nussbaum 2003), but the specific language used to frame their “zealous” (Stelter 2008, 5) or “marginal obsessive” (Manly 2006, 1) behavior varied. The normalcy of fanfiction appeared largely dependent on the fan’s age. Adult fanfiction authors were portrayed as perverts playing out their media-inspired sexual fantasies (McGrath 1998; O’Connell 2005; Orr 2004), whereas children and adolescents used fanfiction as a creative form of literacy and self-expression (Aspan 2007; Kirkpatrick 2002; Salamon 2001).

Drew Emanuel Berkowitz, Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education, p203 ift.tt/1i2fPfg

[QUOTE] From Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

As one reflects upon the history of culture in the twentieth century, at least within what we call the “developed world,” it’s hard not to conclude that Sousa was right (to fear in 1906 that creation by regular people was becoming less central to culture). Never before in the history of human culture had the production of culture been as professionalized. Never before had its production become as concentrated. Never before had the “vocal cords” of ordinary citizens been as effectively displaced, and displaced, as Sousa feared, by these “infernal machines.” The twentieth century was the first time in the history of human culture when popular culture had become professionalized, and when the people were taught to defer to the professional.

Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy ift.tt/1hD2UUY

[META] Parafanfiction and Oppositional Fandom

[P]arafanfiction…refers to a particular subset of parafictional art that claims to be fanfiction of, or some other record of, an external media object that does not actually exist. The most notable examples of this are the Homestuck Anime and Squiddles, both of which are spinoffs of the actual Homestuck hypercomic. The idea with those projects is to fabricate an entire alternate reality where Homestuck is an anime and the in-comic show Squiddles actually exists. The fans participating in these projects create objects ostensibly taken directly from the shows in question—screencaps, pictures of old VHS tapes, GameBoy Advance cartridges, gif edits, and so on and so forth—in order to sell the idea that these shows actually exist. Parafanfiction and Oppositional Fandom by

[QUOTE] From Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy

Generally speaking, media fandom operates on a labor theory of value—not necessarily in the Marxist sense of the phrase, but in the sense that value derives from work. Fandom’s gift economy assigns special worth to “gifts of time and skill” (Hellekson 2009, 115), gifts made by fans for fans. The worth of these gifts lies not simply in the content of the gift, nor in the social gesture of giving, but in the labor that went into their creation. Commercially purchased gifts, such as the virtual cupcakes and balloons that can be purchased in the LiveJournal shop, may be given and appreciated, but will generally be worth less, in the context of fandom, than gifts made by the giver (note 2). This labor theory of value is often invisible or unarticulated until something goes wrong: a site skin doesn’t work as anticipated, a vid is plagiarized, a story in progress—or an entire archive—is abandoned. These events remind us that our experience of fandom depends on the labor of others: “A gift is a thing we do not get by our own efforts. We cannot buy it; we cannot acquire it through an act of will. It is bestowed upon us” (Hyde 1979, xi).

Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy ift.tt/1g9d3Vi

[QUOTE] From Bethan Jones, Fifty Shades of fan labor: Exploitation and Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades complicates the concept of prosumption, however, as (E.L.) James “built a following within a community founded in part on the explicit rejection of monetary gain in favor of fannish love, and then used that community and the work it helped her to produce in order to make a name—and a fair amount of money—in mainstream publishing” (Wanenchak 2012). James thus straddles the line between producer and fan, stealing from commodified culture to create Master of the Universe while stealing from fandom to make a success of Fifty Shades. The question of whether James’s fans would have been so involved in supporting and reviewing her work if they were aware that their efforts would result in her profit—although ultimately unanswerable—is nevertheless a valid one, and I would suggest that these debates suggest a subtle change in the relationship between fan and producer. From being in a position of cultural marginality where they poach from texts, fans are now the ones potentially being poached from (Andrejevic 2008; Milner 2009).

Bethan Jones, Fifty Shades of fan labor: Exploitation and Fifty Shades of Grey ift.tt/1kEIfyT

[QUOTE] From Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor

One major issue in the 2007–8 Writers Guild of America strike was an insistence that Web content was creative work and was thus eligible to be paid at creative rates, rather than promotional work that creators were obligated to participate in for free (Gray 2010; Leaver 2013; Russo 2010). The kinds of paratexts or pieces of ancillary content that were at stake in the WGA strike are quite like what fans produce, and turning to fans rather than paid staff for such work thus looks increasingly good for the bottom line. After all, even against the baseline of declining labor strength in Hollywood, fan work is a bargain for industry.

Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor ift.tt/PrPe4z

[QUOTE] From “Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013)

If female fans are dismissed more easily, then so are their interests, their spaces, and their primary forms of engagement. Or, said differently, gender discrimination occurs on the level of the fan, the fan activity, and the fannish investment. There is a ready truism that enthusiasm for typically male fan objects, such as sports and even music, are generally accepted whereas female fan interests are much more readily mocked. Likewise, fangirls are mocked as is fan fiction, an activity more commonly ascribed to females. More than that, affect and forms of fannish investment get policed along gender lines, so that obsessively collecting comic books or speaking Klingon is more acceptable within and outside of fandom than creating fan vids or cosplaying. Even the same behavior gets read differently when women do it: sexualizing celebrities, for example, is accepted and expected among men but gets quickly read as inappropriate when done by women.

“Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013) ift.tt/1gQemxE

[QUOTE] From Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture, p244

Comike was neither the first nor the biggest dōjinshi fair when it was established; its main purpose was to provide the freest market possible, and that freedom has come at a price. The dream of a Comic Market open to every one and everything was never realized, as there were too many physical, financial, and legal restrictions. Even today, the Comic Market suffers from a lack of space, a lack of money, and a lack of legal security. Only two-thirds of applicant circles can participate due to constraints, since, as a small independent operator Comike’s financial resources are limited and most of the work is done by volunteers.

Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture, p244 ift.tt/1jEHBFw

[QUOTE] From Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy

The phrase fan work is typically used, by both fans and academics, in the sense of work of art; it refers to fan fiction, fan vids, fan art. Within fandom, these objects are “the main focus of most discussion outside of the show itself” and are “highly prized” because they “require some level of artistry to master” (Sabotini 1999). They are the objects, and thus the labors, most likely to be publicly assigned value (in the form of comments, kudos, likes, reblogs, recommendations, etc.) by other fans and to be studied by academics.

But there are many other forms of fan work, including work that does not necessarily result in objects for recirculation. Media fandom runs on the engine of production, but much of what we produce is not art but information, discussion, architecture, access, resources, metadata. Think about all the behind-the-scenes labor, for example, that goes into commenting on stories, beta-ing vids, writing essays and recommendations, reviewing and screen-capping episodes, collecting links, tagging bookmarks, maintaining Dreamwidth and LiveJournal communities, organizing fests/challenges/exchanges, compiling newsletters, making costumes, animating .gif sets, creating user icons, recording podfic, editing zines, assembling fan mixes, administering kink memes, running awards sites, converting popular stories to e-book formats, coding archives, updating wikis, populating databases, building vid conversion software, planning conventions, volunteering at conventions, moderating convention panels—and the list could go on.

Such activities and their outcomes tend to be less discussed and commended, in both fannish and academic circles, than fandom’s “traditional gifts,” even though in many cases these activities facilitate the creation of art objects or provide the infrastructure that enables the dissemination and discussion of those objects. The sheer volume of fan work, in the inclusive sense of the phrase, necessitates further fannish labor; the navigation of online fandom is made possible by the creation of metadata, access points, links, and so on: important though sometimes underacknowledged work. These labors, too, are gifts.

Tisha Turk, Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy

[QUOTE] From Susan Hall, The Future of Fanworks Legal Q&A – Post 2

One area of serious concern which has not received the attention which perhaps it should is the privatisation or enclosure of folk works, historical or mythological figures or works which are out of copyright (for example, Mulan, Robin Hood, the Jungle Books, Pooh Bear) by the growing use of trade marks. Although trade marks should only restrict commercial uses of intellectual property, the danger by way of using trade mark law as a way of deterring ISPs from hosting fanworks in future is a danger which should not be overlooked.

[QUOTE] From Susan Hall, The Future of Fanworks Legal Q&A – Post 2

(Q: Given the increasing visibility of fanworks to both content/source creators and the public, what do you think are some important points to emphasize — or sources to use — when explaining fanworks to people who are unfamiliar with them?)

I think it’s important to stress that the simplistic “all fanworks are theft” line peddled by the likes of Anne Rice and Lee Goldberg is, and always has been, completely unsupported in law, even in the more restrictive legal systems of the EU. Furthermore, there are a lot of myths about alleged cases with have been brought and alleged rulings against fanworks, most of which do not stand up to scrutiny.

A report recently commissioned by the EU into the use made to date by European countries of the exceptions in favour of “parody, caricature or pastiche” introduced by the Copyright Directive of 2001 or equivalent local exceptions was unable to find any EU cases where successful legal action had been brought against fanworks by rightsholders.

[QUOTE] From Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor

It is now well established that watching television can usefully be conceptualized as work (Jhally and Livant 1986; Smythe 1977), and a labor framing has been applied to user-generated content by critical media studies scholars (Andrejevic 2009; Fuchs 2012; Hesmondhalgh 2010). However, fans have not often been approached this way. This disjuncture partially comes from the fact that fan activity is both by all appearances freely chosen and understood as pleasure, neither of which is typically associated with work. Instead, fan action has been framed as being active or participatory, and while these conceptualizations have been productive, when the lens of labor is applied, unique and crucial questions come into view.

To speak of labor is to attend to the value fans generate—an antidote to surprisingly tenacious notions of fan activity as a valueless pleasure. Once we have conceptualized fan work as generating value, we can also inquire into how that value is distributed and whether work circulating between fans in gift economies or among fans and industry is potentially exploited labor. This special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures takes the premise that if fans are a vital part of the new economy, then we have to take the economy part as seriously as the vital part.

Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, Editorial: Fandom and/as labor

[QUOTE] From Anne Jamison from the “Future of Fanworks” chat with fan studies authors, going on right now. Join in!

A lot of people like slash better if they imagine queers slashing, or imagine it to be political, in favor of representation, talking back, etc. That’s a story people like. And it’s a TRUE story. But when we think of heterosexual women who get off on thinking about explicit sex between (or among) men? Also a true story—that’s a story that I think more people are unhappy with.

[QUOTE] From Anne Jamison from the “Future of Fanworks” chat with fan studies authors, going on right now. Join in!

I think a lot of emphasis among fan writers and artists has been for *more* visibility, once that became possible—more validation, reviews, feedback, hits, reblogs, etc. As software made the counts more accessible, they began to function like a kind of currency. So for a long time, many were about becoming *more* visible but they sometimes assumed it was only visible, somehow, to other fans. I’ve seen so many people react in horror that non-fans could see their work. So I some people who don’t want nonfans to see their work are burrowing down—and I think that’s fine.