not your typical annihilatrix (furiosity) wrote,
not your typical annihilatrix

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go ahead, shoot me. but i'm not the one you want

lj_biz: answers to your questions about sponsored communities

burr86 (LJ admin) on fandom: Someone asked that we specifically address this, so: Along the same lines as the previous bullet point, we're not going to "shut down" fandoms or RPGs just because a sponsor said they wanted them shut down. We find that idea repulsive. However, we are (and have always been) legally obligated to act if we receive complaints indicating that someone is violating copyright or infringing on a trademark. This is a long-standing practice; we *have* to do this to avoid getting into legal trouble.

That said, we also enjoy legal freedoms by not actively seeking this sort of thing out -- a sponsor can't ask us to search for all communities of a given fandom so they can report them to us. If they want to do that, they have to do it on their own; we can't and won't help with that. So ultimately, our existing policies on copyright and trademark aren't going to change if a sponsor is on LJ; if they want to report icons or screencaps, the copyright holder will always have a legal right to do so. We're neither going to encourage them to do that, nor are we going to discourage them, either. LiveJournal needs to remain neutral in this type of situation, due to existing United States laws. We still have to enforce these laws whether or not we have sponsored communities.

We understand your fears about having your fandoms disrupted by large media corporations, and so we want to make this clear: just because they've paid us money doesn't mean that corporations will have any extra rights or leverages to censor what you do as a part of fandom. I know a lot of people are worried that they'll "find you" and destroy your communities that way, but their having a community here doesn't give them any extra visibility into LJ; they're "in your neighborhood", yes, but the guildelines we're making with them make it clear that we don't want them interfering with established communities in ways that everyone can agree would be disruptive.

Translation: Jesus is coming. Hide your bong.

Seriously, though -- I get that people are unhappy that corporations are moving next door. I do. I'm not thrilled about it either, though the post I linked and the other two posts on the subject (at the top of lj_biz) did a good job of reassuring me that my experience on LJ would not change in ways I didn't want unless I chose to change it. But the thing is... fan fiction was a form of copyright infringement before all this happened, too. It would still remain copyright infringement if this sponsored comm dealio weren't going on. If LJ Abuse gets a DMCA-compliant report on someone's fanfic journal, they have to act. They always did have to act on it if a copyright holder complained. The only thing is that the copyright holder or a legal representative alone may lodge such a report. With sponsored comms coming to LJ, the risk of a copyright holder lodging a DMCA complaint against ficcers/vidders/artists/iconers increases somewhat. (ETA: Check out this comment for more info on the likelihood of such an increase.)

This, however, does not call for panic on our parts. No, seriously.

First off, HP ficcers? The books are intellectual property of Joanne Kathleen Rowling. And she's said that fanfic is OK, unless it's porn (and IIRC she never expressly forbade porn either, she just said it needed to be hidden from the kiddies). Pornfic is what's going to be the ultimate target of any C&Ds -- and those C&Ds might never come, unless Scholastic sets up shop on LJ. Which it hasn't, at this point. I'm definitely going to take steps to lock away the porn; it's already protected on my personal fic website, but I haven't yet decided how I'm going to go about it on LJ. I've already been putting most of my NC-17 rated fic in a separate community; I might just lock it up there and open the membership. That could get hairy, though, because a Scholastic wonk might join the comm and demand that LJ suspend it, even though it is locked. Locking something away doesn't make it any less of a copyright violation. So I might just start posting links to the protected pages on my site instead of posting the fics in my LJ. LiveJournal cannot be held responsible for offsite content and they can't be expected to regulate what links people post, and where those links point. Obviously, that might bring my site under fire, but I can always wait a while, then get a new host. ;) [As a corollary to that, linking to offsite archives not owned by you is probably not a very nice thing to do to those archives if there's an LJ-wide crackdown on HP porn.]

At any rate, this is 100% theoretical as there is no crackdown at this point and TPTB might not even bother with one. A crackdown would alienate huge parts of the fandom, after all; crackdowns on fannish activity always do. But that's just fic, and the WB doesn't own the HP characters, does it? They only own the movies and all material relating to the movies. Movie-related material -- icons, layouts, manips, vids -- is far harder to hide/protect, especially icons. :\ At the end of the day, if you're worried about losing your journal due to a suspension, I recommend LJ Archive -- unfortunately, it's only available for Windows users. But it lets you download the entire contents of your journal -- including comments.

If you pay attention to the quoted text above, LJ's "dont' ask, don't tell" policy is not going to change. They're not going to make any effort to appease sponsors by cracking down on fannish activity. It's up to the fandom community to be smart about this -- don't participate in the sponsored comms. If you do, use a sock if you can, and definitely don't flaunt/pimp your unauthorised fandom stuff. If you go to a JKR book signing, you're not going to shove your NC-17 necro mpreg Snarry in her face, are you? Be smart. Be cautious. Take steps to avoid notice by TPTB. You know, AS USUAL. -_-

But bottom line? Afraid of getting slapped with a C&D? Lock it up. This was the case before LiveJournal ever existed. The sponsored comms do not change that. Yes, it's annoying. Yes, the extra hoops required for reaching the fic will reduce readership for those of us who choose to lock things up. But fanfic has always been and always will be an infringement of copyright law. We're the ones who chose a hobby that has inconvenient legal ramifications. It is not on to whine about LJ "endangering" our publicly posted fic. We have no legal right to post it in the first place, and HP ficcers are damn lucky that the creator lets us get away with it. George RR Martin, Anne Rice, Anne McCaffrey(?), Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, etc etc fans are not so fortunate.
Tags: lj, online culture, politics
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