Morgan Briarwood (briarwood) wrote,
Morgan Briarwood
briarwood

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The awesome that is OTW

OTW


The Organisation for Transformative Works are having their membership drive this week.

I know OTW is somewhat controversial in fandom, which kinda baffles me because they are awesome. So this is why I believe they deserve our support.

First, because they're building the archive of our own aka AO3. Nearly all of my stories are there, but that's not why I think it's an awesome project. It's awesome because it's so completely inclusive. And it's tailored to fanfic needs. And the folks creating the code actually listen to feedback. And it keeps getting more and more awesome with each update. And because OTW owns the goddamn servers.

Don't underestimate that last. No matter how fan-friendly the site, we all post fanfic knowing that if some lawyer is having a stupid day, we could find a nasty letter in the mailbox. Or have it vanish without warning because someone's filed a DMCA notice with the web host. Or the archive could suddenly change its policy and force you to take down your fic. Or, if you post on LJ, you can get publically accused of being a child molester just for posting a little harmless fan art.

OTW will fight our corner if that happens. They aren't saying they'll win, and they're not looking for that fight. But they're prepared. This isn't some fuzzy policy, either: they already have supported and advised fans when copyright holders have gotten a little too draconian.

My second reason for supporting them is more personal. It's the Open Doors Project. A gazillion or so years ago (fandom-time), I was a huge fan of a particular writer of Xena fanfic. She wrote as Mil Toro or "Lucyfer". She wrote mostly on a BSDM theme, and her stories were seriously hot. But she also had a quirky sense of humour I really loved. Anyhow, like many lesbian fen at the time, Mil became very disillusioned with the show around the fourth and fifth seasons and announced she was leaving fandom and would be taking her site down. I had printouts of all my favourites of her stories but still, I thought it was a real shame. I wrote to her and asked if she'd be willing to let me take over her archive, so fandom wouldn't lose her works. She agreed to this and I hosted her fic in a corner of my own website for many years.

Last year I started having problems with my site. Like, it disappeared. I still haven't got it all sorted. While my own stories were all someplace else on the web, that Xena archive wasn't. When it became clear I couldn't quickly resolve my site issues, I contacted Open Doors for assistance. Within days I had transferred all of Mil Toro's Xena stories to AO3, with everything set up so it didn't look like it was me trying to take credit for someone else's work. This not only let me preserve those stories, but took the pressure off so I could sort out my website woes in my own time.

Open Doors offered help preserving old fansites when Geocities was taken down, too and have saved 40 or more sites that would otherwise have vanished. Not to mention many other preservation projects they have under their umbrella.

So there you go. That's my pitch for OTW. Joining OTW isn't about getting benefits or kudos: it's about supporting a bunch of truly awesome people who are all about supporting us in turn. So please, check them out and at least think about it.

Crossposted from my Dreamwidth journal. comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.

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