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I am an admin at the Supernatural Wiki, which is a wiki site for the TV show Supernatural that covers both the show and the fandom. For each fan convention we have an entry where fans link to their reports, pictures and videos taken during the Conventions. Many conventions have prohibitions on videotaping, but it happens anyway and is usually posted on You Tube. No Supernatural Convention has ever requested fans remove material posted after the Con. Until now.

There was a convention in Australia over the weekend which was very strict on only "recording devices" and disallowed even cameras after the first 5 minutes of each guest's panel. To date only a few videos have been posted.

I have been contacted by the Convention organsiers and asked to remove links to the fan videos and an audio recording, and would like advice on where I stand on this. Obviously if the fans remove the material the question is moot.

Not necessarily a factor, but at this Convention they did play an illegally downloaded episode of Supernatural (it even had the CW watermark on it!) and they played a number of fanvids which they hadn't obtained permission to use. Hence my added level of annoyance.

Any advice appreciated.

Sam Cushion and Midnight Sun

Hi, I'm Marauder; I'm a second-year law student and I've been in Harry Potter fandom since 2002. Could somebody do me a huge favor and evaluate this, specifically this?

Sam Cushion had a twirock band called Midnight Sun; his songs were all electronic and instrumental. He was advertising the albums as "the unofficial scores" to the various books in Twilight. Apparently Summit Entertainment not only had an issue with people believing that Midnight Sun was officially associated with Twilight, and with Sam making money from his albums, they claimed that the word "twirock" itself violated copyright, and demanded that Sam remove all of his music from the Internet.

I can see the issue with the confusion over who was behind Midnight Sun, I can see the issue related to Sam's making money, but it really bothers me that Summit is claiming the right to shut down anyone who comes up with an instrumental song and calls it "Death of Rosalie Hale" or "Arrival In Volterra" (two of Sam's song titles - others, like "Papercut" and "I Should Infuriate You More Often", were less obviously Twilight-related). I don't know Sam Cushion at all and he's not asking me to do this; he seems depressingly resigned to the fate of his music.

Of course, the far-reaching implications are that Summit Entertainment can shut down any little fourteen-year-old who sings a song about Edward Cullen on YouTube, and any company with the copyright to a fictional work can shut down anyone who creates a song about that work. They didn't just tell Sam to stop selling his albums and be more clear about his lack of any official tie to the series.

Claiming that the word "twirock" is a copyright violation struck me as really absurd. Do they have a right to do this?

Jan. 20th, 2010

I'm working on a website (still beta, not publically announced yet) that has a slightly complicated rights situation. I'd like to license half the site under Creative Commons and keep the other half under normal reserved copyright. Not only is it a site about fanworks, with a lot of fair use material, but it's also a wiki, which means there'll be multiple authors, including drive-by editors who might not be findable to contact about permissions later. As a frequent drive-by wiki editor myself, the idea of doing a wiki under anything but CC makes me twitch -- but I also understand that not all of our potential users are going to straddle the fandom/writing and copyleft communities as comfortably as I do, and that the ambivalent legal status of fanworks means muddying the waters further may be unwise.

Would anyone be willing to glance over my draft copyright policy? I hope this doesn't edge too close to the "legal advice" line. I'm really just hoping that someone can spot any blatant problems I've overlooked, either legally or in terms of non-geeky fen going "WTF is copyleft!?" I'm expecting that I'll be writing most of the CC material myself, but of course, since it's a wiki I can't guarantee its future. So I'm trying to write a policy that anticipates and minimizes potential problems.

The draft is here. Thanks!
Greetings, all--some of you may know me, I'm one of the archivists associated with The Gossamer Project (Deirdre).

In recent months, there seems to have been a major upswing in the material plagiarized from old XF fiction into stories posted on Fanfiction.net. And a corresponding complete silence/non-responsiveness from FFN in regards to reports of that plagiarism. Despite explicitly stating in their content guidelines that copying from previously published material is not allowed, it doesn't seem like anyone over there gives much of a damn (not unexpected, really).

Up to this point, the community pile-on behavior has almost always eventually served to at least get the plagiarized material taken down. But we've got a couple of "authors" on FFN who have realized that they're perfectly welcome to blow raspberries at the outraged original authors and continue on their merry way; or have just ditched the account and left the plagiarized stories posted.

Do you think that pointing some of the original authors at information about writing a valid DMCA complaint and sending it to FFN would be an appropriate response here? I'm at the point where I'm out of less-legal suggestions to make. Also, my understanding is that a DMCA complaint is going to require some type of formal contact information for the person filing the complaint--exactly how much is required under law?

Blog Article

I need some advice and a friend pointed out me to here.

I have a blog, that is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License, where I post articles.

I was approached by a person from a non-profit organization that does a magazine of special interest topics that I write about, and was asked by this person to submit an article to the organization for the magazine.

So I sent an article to that person via email. There were no contracts, waivers, or anything other than the request and stated interest that the organization is interested in my articles and my writing as being contributing material.

It may be a minor detail, but the article has been, so far, not published in the magazine, and I'm not entirely sure that anyone other than the initial contact person even has a copy of it.

The organization is now having difficulties, and I have been told that I am not allowed to publish my article anywhere else, without the organization's permission.

I am confused, since the article was originally published on my personal blog, and I don't know whether the organization can actually tell me where I can and can not publish that article.

Can anyone here help me?


1. Yes, the organization is fully aware that the article was originally published on my blog. When they contacted me, they specifically asked whether I'd like to submit one of the articles on my blog to be published in their magazine.

2. No where on the site is there information about submitting articles to be published in the magazine. Only the general contact information, and definitely no small print. The website is also mainly under construction as well.
And nothing about contracts, copyrights and/or waivers were mentioned when I was approached.

3. I heard about the organization claiming copyright over my work by the person who first approached me. To be honest, this person was very confused as well whether the organization could do this.

4. Also, I'm in Canada. The organization is supposedly international, but based in the States. The magazine they publish is online.

need some advice

we created a supernatural fanbook this year as gifts for jensen jared and eric kripke to show how much their fandom love them etc.
we then sold them to people who took part in the book as keepsakes for the memory of taking part and so they knew how the books turned out. we did not make any profits from these books what so ever the costs were purely the printing costs of the books from the website we used that would postworld wide

we are looking into making a vol2 again and yet again selling them again at no profits price pureply printing costs. for the fans that took part in the 2nd one to keep again as a keepsake. as were are printing a few to give to cast and crew again next year.

we include fanart, fanfics and photos from show and the stars.
we did put a disclaimer in the book saying that we dont claim any of the pics and characters are our own etc. and that we made no profits from the books what so ever. so that they knew that we would no make profits from the sales of the books at all and they understood why we added fanfics and pictures etc.

ive never heard back any complaoints from the 1st book and wondering will we end up getting into trouble making these books even tho we are putting disclaimers in and that we make no profits what so ever!??


Does anyone who has been more closely following "SurveyFail" and it's attendant fall out know if the fact that collecting any sort of identifying or demographic information from those who may be under 13 is punishable under COPPA and that there may also be other legal liability based on the fact that minors are potentially being solicited regarding their sexual feelings and habits.

Just curious. I've seen a ton of discussion re: IRB approval and other norms and standards for sociological research, but I haven't seen any discussion of possible legal ramifications -- either for Livejournal as a host or for the researchers and their publisher.


For those who may want to play along at home here's a link to the final FTC COPPA rules.

I have a research question...

In my magnificent new WIP (ha!), I'd planned to have one of my heroes announce that he's running for president at the end. Here's what the Constitution says about qualifications for running for the presidency:

"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

So does that mean that my hero, an American expatriate who's lived in Italy for the past ten years, will have to wait another fourteen years after he moves back to the US before he can run, or do the first thirty-five years of his life count? (And BTW, he did not give up his US citizenship while he was living abroad.) I can't think of a past precedent for this, so... interpretations, anyone? ;)

ETA: The character does maintain a home in the US, and visits the country regularly. He also owns a corporation based in the US.
no lawyer at all, but last year I bought a copy of Lessig's "Free Culture - The Nature and Future of Creativity" , which is actually from 2004, and had it lying around unread, till well two weeks ago.
wow, that book, even if I just understood like 30% of the content (due to English not really being my first language), it was hellish fun to read, and see how much of the things he predicted, came true.
It does not mentioned fandom as we have here, but from my understanding, it still had a ton of connections to what we have created in fandom, and to the topic of transformative works!

Fun, fascinating and freely available also as a PDF on the author's site:

and no kidding, in one of my newsfeeds came up this today, free for dl as MP3:

Lawrence Lessig on the Google Book Search Settlement - "Settlements: Static goods, dynamic bads" [AUDIO]

Larry Lessig, Professor of Law and founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society speaks at the Berkman Center workshop "Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement" held July 31, 2009.

Sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Law School Library, and Professors Charles Nesson, John Palfrey and Phil Malone.

so, yeah, some of you probably have seen this too, but I thought, I just jump in and share, before I prepare myself for the Merlin Big Bang tonight :D
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