The Organization for Transformative Works (http://transformativeworks.org/) is a nonprofit organization created by fans to support the creating and distribution of fanfiction, fanart, and similar transformative works. The founders of OTW believe that current law does permit these sorts of works to be created and freely distributed. They have already established an online, international peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, of which the first issue came out in September 2008.

Of interest with regard to collections is that OTW is also in the process of creating open-source archive software with which to host such works. OTW itself will have a multifandom archive, and the software will be available to others to use as well. They are slightly behind on their projected timeline (they were hoping for a public launch of the archive in August 2008, and it hasn’t happened yet), doubtless due to the fact that this is original software being developed by and for OTW rather than some out-of-the-box package that might not suit the specific needs of fan creators and their works.

Copyright is always an issue to be considered in creating digital archives, and the OTW holds the position that fanworks fall into the category of “fair use.” It will be interesting to see what happens once the archive is in place and fanfiction (and eventually fanart, fanvids, etc.) is made available through it. A reconsideration of what exactly copyright protects may be in order.

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