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Jan. 6th, 2016

pen

*facepalm*

Signs that I have been working on this book for too long: I was working on the current crisis chapter and suddenly thought "Oh, gosh, there's this whole other huge thing I need to talk about in another chapter!" So I typed a quick paragraph and then went to put it in the "things to add" section of the relevant chapter... and then discovered that a) there was another similar note already there; b) the idea is in fact already in the chapter; I'd just forgotten about it because it's been so long since I, you know, looked at that chapter.

In related news, I am reminding myself to say no to things this spring, because although I accomplished many things last fall, none of them were this book. I'm not quite to the point of existential despair about this situation, but I am not happy about it.

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Oct. 27th, 2015

OTW

DMCA: three for three.

Once again, the OTW and EFF persuaded the copyright office to grant vidders (and other makers of noncommercial remix video) a DMCA exemption! The Librarian of Congress 1) renewed the existing exemptions (which allow us to circumvent DRM on DVDs and digital downloads) and 2) added Blu-Ray.

You can read the EFF's account or read the ruling itself.

\o/

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May. 28th, 2015

OTW

DMCA hearings: let the shenanigans begin!

I'm sitting in on this morning's DMCA hearings (along with Rebecca Tushnet, Francesca Coppa, and Corynne McSherry); we'll be testifying this afternoon. If you're interested in the proceedings, I strongly recommend reading Professor Tushnet's (terrifyingly comprehensive) notes on the hearings.

In the meantime, I note without comment that earlier this morning David Taylor, the attorney for the DVDCCA, referred to codecs as "codexes."

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May. 5th, 2015

OTW

OTW membership drive! Also: upcoming projects and presentations.



[Click here to donate]

If you're reading this post, you probably already know at least a little bit about the ways in which the OTW has gone to bat for vidders over the years. I mean, yes, the OTW has done a lot of other great stuff too; I am endlessly grateful for Transformative Works and Cultures, I love Fanlore, and I hear there's also some big fic archive or something. But it's the OTW's work on behalf of vidders, AMV makers, and other fan video artists that means the most to me personally, as a vidder and vid fan.

I'm grateful not only for the achievements themselves but for the organization that's facilitated them. The OTW has enabled fans to collaborate on big projects, to pool our skills and expertise, in ways that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible. Without the OTW, I would still have been furious about DMCA-related takedowns of vids, but I wouldn't have known where to begin fighting back. I wouldn't have known it was even possible to file an exemption petition, much less known how to do so; I just don't have that kind of legal training! But because of the OTW, I've been able to participate anyway: to lend some tech know-how to the people who do have the necessary legal expertise, to bring a vidder's voice to the hearings in DC. I'm proud to be part of this work and grateful to the OTW for the opportunity to contribute what I can.

DMCA

Speaking of which: This year's DMCA hearings have been scheduled for the end of May, so I will once again be joining Rebecca Tushnet and Francesca Coppa at the Library of Congress to explain, in the smallest words possible, why vidders need to be able to break encryption on Blu-ray, DVDs, and DRM-protected digital downloads. Some of the arguments on file have already yielded that special "oh my god you did not just say that" combination of hilarity and outrage that I have come to associate with the DMCA exemption process, so the hearings themselves should be... memorable.

I will also be going to several conferences in the next six months.

Gendered Politics of Production symposium


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Fan Studies Network conference


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Feminisms and Rhetorics


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Feb. 4th, 2015

keyboard

In my defense, it's been a long week.

You know you've been working on your DMCA statement about video specs too long when you glance at the section on interlacing and realize that it begins "From the point of view of remix artists, interlacing—or, for those who don’t know the technical term, “that weird comb effect”—is perhaps best defined as the devil’s work."

I am so tempted to leave it like that, you don't even know.

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Dec. 11th, 2014

professional geek

Orlando Jones skyped with my class today.

I just. WHAT.

Some of you no doubt remember what happened last year: One of my students tweeted Orlando Jones, he responded, epic hilarity ensued.

This year, I put readings by and about Mr. Jones on the syllabus: A Daily Dot piece from last fall about his interest in fic, an essay he wrote for HuffPo, and of course the Tumblr posts referenced above. I told them about his self-identification as a fangirl and linked them to the videos that Henry Jenkins posted in which Mr. Jones chatted with Henry about fandom and the future and visited one of Henry's graduate seminars. (And then in class one of my students asked me who Orlando Jones is. Pro tip for students: if you don't do the readings, please don't embarrass yourself by advertising that you didn't do the readings.)

Anyway! On Monday evening, one of this year's students tweeted him; once again, he responded. I tweeted to say that he should consider himself contacted and we'd love to talk to him during our Thusday afternoon class. There was some weirdness with DMs not going through; he asked me to email him, I did, I didn't hear anything for a couple of days... Until today, when I checked my email after my morning class finished up at noon and discovered that I had an email from Orlando Jones asking for my Skype address. WHY YES I WOULD BE HAPPY TO SEND THAT TO YOU. *dies* I emailed last year's students to invite them to join us, posted to Tumblr (which prompted this post--check the notes), and then staved off fangirl meltdown by grading papers for an hour.

I got to class early to reinstall Skype on the classroom computer and get the webcam set up; we balanced the webcam on a stack of student notebooks plus copies of Jameson's FIC and Jenkins' Textual Poachers. (SO META.) A few of last year's students showed up and waved at me from the back of the room. I was giving an overview of the plan for the day--I think I had just finished talking about final evaluations--when Skype pinged at us. (!!!) I had managed to screw up the sound settings in Skype, go figure; it's not like working with AV equipment is my hobby or anything. *facepalm* But we got it sorted, and then we Skyped with Orlando Jones for close to half an hour.

I'd heard from various people who've met him how nice he is, but you guys, there's hearing about it and then there's experiencing it. He's smart, obviously, and very funny, but also just so gracious and kind and so genuinely interested in talking to us, laughing with us, being goofy with us. He talked about his experiences in fandom and about what the term "fan" means to him, dodged a question about what Hogwarts house he'd be in (oh students, never change), offered some insights into the way that fan visibility is affecting the TV/film industry, articulated some key differences between the way that the money people at networks see fans and the way that he (and by extension other actors and the creative side of the industry) relates to fans, told us what he's fannish about right now (Orphan Black! Utopia!), broke my class by self-identifying as a Destiel shipper, and, at my request, told us a little bit about the book he's going to be working on.

Of course my students all wanted to take selfies with him, which he agreed to do on the condition that they tweet the selfies to him (which they have done, and he's been marking them as favorites--you guys, I can't even). We turned off the lights and I stood at the front of the classroom laughing in delight as my students all turned their backs to the projector screen and held up their glowing cell phones in the dark, a dense constellation of happy fans. Mr. Jones leaned in close to the camera and smiled hugely for them, and then I held up the webcam so they could all wave goodbye, and we signed off.

I will freely confess that the rest of class was not our most productive day ever, though we did manage to have some small-group conversations about what assignments I should keep and what I should do differently the next time I teach the course, and several of my students came up with really thoughtful suggestions that I need to figure out how to implement.

And that was the last day of class for Fan Cultures & Fan Creativity 2014.

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Dec. 8th, 2014

keyboard

Orlando Jones: the gift that keeps on giving.



You guys, I have the best students. And also the best job.

ETA: Why yes, my student did put this on Tumblr. Feel free to reblog. :D

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Oct. 13th, 2014

keyboard

DMCA exemption: worse than cleaning the tub.

(Title courtesy of [tumblr.com profile] devildoll because OMG so true.)

Already cross-posted lots of places, but here's one final reminder!

The OTW's Fan Video & Multimedia Committee is once again working with the Legal Committee and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.). In 2015, we'll be pushing to add Blu-Ray—and, of course, to renew the exemptions we've already won in the last two rounds of DMCA rulemaking.

And we need your help to do it! If you make or watch vids, AMVs, or other forms of fan video, we need you to tell us:

1. Why making fan videos is a transformative and creative act;
2. Why video makers need high-quality source;
3. Why video makers need to be able to manipulate source (change speed and color, add effects, etc.);
4. Why video makers need fast access to source (such as using iTunes downloads rather than waiting for DVDs);
5. Why video makers need to be able to use Blu-Ray;
6. Why video makers need to be able to use streaming sources; and
7. Anything else you think we should keep in mind as we work on the exemption proposal.

We're also looking for vids that we should add to the Fair Use Test Suite, and we'd love to have your suggestions.

If you have thoughts about any or all of these topics, you can comment on this post OR contact me (Tisha) directly at tisha dot turk at gmail dot com or fanvideo-chair at transformativeworks dot org, or email the Legal Committee at legal at transformativeworks dot org. You don't have to use your real name; we can use your name or pseudonym or describe you anonymously as "a vidder" or "a fan video artist."

The DMCA is U.S. copyright law and only directly affects U.S. vidders, but it does potentially have ripple effects outside the U.S.: Strong DMCA exemptions help send the message that fan creativity should be protected everywhere. With that in mind, please feel free to send your thoughts even if you don't live in the U.S.

Also, please help us signal-boost! This info has been posted to LiveJournal and Dreamwidth vidding communities and on Tumblr; if you can think of other places the OTW should post, please let me know—and if you can spread the word in your own communities, on streaming sites, etc., please do.

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Aug. 16th, 2014

professional geek

I'm just giving up and accepting that my life is not going to get less weird.

So I was wandering around Tumblr avoiding the essay I'm supposed to be finishing, as one does, and I happened upon a photo of the required readings for a class. And then I said, Hey, that's my class.

Fourth wall, we hardly knew ye.

(Obviously this sort of thing goes on all the time and has for years. It just hasn't usually involved my classes in places where I can see it, is what I'm saying.)

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Aug. 13th, 2014

professional geek

VividCon panel notes + two more things

1) I forgot to post about this when it happened, but: I was interviewed by project-disco.org back in June, and you can read me talking about vidding, copyright, monetization, etc. The interviewer and I talked for more than 30 minutes, so the published version is heavily edited and thus contains a fair number of apparent non sequiturs simply because the intervening five minutes got edited out. *facepalm*

2) I mentioned this to a few people at the con, so I might as well mention it here: I proposed an essay on the role of music in vids for a special issue of the journal Music, Sound and the Moving Image; the special issue's title is "Musical Screens: Musical Inventions, Digital Transitions, Cultural Critique"--is that not just begging for something about vids? The essay's due at the end of December, which... I am trying not to think about lest I panic, ahahaha.

3) VividCon! I was speaking off the cuff from very brief notes so as not to be too boring and ponderous, so I don't have a whole lot to post, but I'm happy to share what I do have (including the presentation I gave as context for the vidshow I put together for my fan studies class last fall).

Quick reminder: I prefer not to link my pro name and my fan name in ways that are Google-able, so while most of you reading this post know both names, please stick to this one if you post about the panel.

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[personal profile] kouredios has also posted notes from her half of the panel, in which she explained how she uses vid to teach Comparative Literature majors about different schools of literary criticism, specifically deconstruction. To the surprise of no one, I found it super interesting.

We got some great questions. Someone asked how difficult it was to get these courses approved; in my case the answers were "not at all difficult." The fan studies class was a non-issue because content isn't the main feature of the Intellectual Community courses, and the writing course was a non-issue because nobody cares how I teach argumentation and analysis as long as, you know, I teach it. Someone else asked what I do when students aren't fannish about anything, which honestly hasn't been a problem for me; my students are delightfully geeky. I mean, they're not necessarily involved in online media fandom, but they get the idea of fandom, the passionate investment in something. And of course my fan studies students do almost all self-identify as "in fandom," which is just one of the many reasons I'm looking forward to the fall semester. :D

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