As the Tumblrpocalypse unfolds, we’re collecting both personal and scholarly reactions from fan studies scholars and Tumblr researchers. Here are some thoughts from Ruth Flaherty, PhD Candidate in Intellectual Property and Economics, UEA Law School. You can find Ruth on Twitter at @RuthFlahertyUEA.
“I think this raises several important questions. Firstly, regarding the life cycle of these sites, and who they think their users/customers are – who is it they are trying to protect with this move, and what customer research have they done to state that this is necessary? Like others, I think that this will affect LGBTQ+ users disproportionately – but I also see it as part of the ongoing movement of large hosting sites (other than AO3 of course) away from material that could be considered ‘harmful’ to the underlying work – for example for copyright reasons (see the suggested new Article 13 in the Proposed Copyright Directive in the EU). I see this as part of the increasing number of threats to fan communities who don’t interact with each other or the underlying work in the ‘authorised’ way.”