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OTW April 2017 Membership Drive

At the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a lot has happened in the past few months. Here's a look at some of the many new and interesting things the OTW has been accomplishing thanks to your support.

Our Systems team have been busy bees this semester! The number of fanworks on the Archive of Our Own is growing, as is the number of users and visitors. We need more space to store those fanworks, and more bandwidth to serve everyone. We also need faster computers that can search through the works quickly and answer more queries at the same time. Your donations help Systems purchase the machines we need to keep our projects running for fans like you! You can find a breakdown of our expenses for 2017 below. (For more specific information on the OTW's finances, please refer to the 2017 budget.)

Expenses by program: Archive of Our Own: 75.7%. Open Doors: 0.5%. Transformative Works and Cultures: 1.5%. Fanlore: 2.7%. Legal Advocacy: 1.2%. Con Outreach: 1.8%. Admin: 8.4%. Fundraising: 8.2%.

Several other teams have also been hard at work recently! The Legal committee has continued its work responding to fan questions and has filed amicus briefs in new cases, including Cross v. Facebook, “against overreaching right-of-publicity laws”. Meanwhile, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) reached 1 million registered users in October 2016 and is passing 3 million fanworks this month, another milestone!

Plus, Transformative Works and Cultures has released No. 23, a special issue all about Sherlock Holmes fandom, guest edited by Roberta Pearson and Betsy Rosenblatt. The issue includes articles on fan art and gender disparities in the fandom, as well as reviews of Sherlock-themed books. It even has special cover art! Transformative Works and Cultures, like all of the OTW’s projects, relies on your donations to publish these academic articles for current and future researchers!

It’s your help that makes all of this possible. To add your support to the important work that these teams do, please donate today!


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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Our October 2016 drive is now complete, and all of us at the Organization for Transformative Works would like to thank you for your participation and generosity. Together, we raised US$139,159.45 from 5518 individual donations!

Each and every participant in this drive has helped us continue to thrive as an organization, which means our projects and teams will keep growing and we’ll be able to do more outreach. Your participation has strengthened our community, allowing us to serve you better.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our returning members, who make what we do possible, and we are proud to welcome over 1200 new members to the OTW. We’re truly grateful to everyone who supports us, whether by donating, signal-boosting, volunteering, or encouraging our work. You’ve got our kudos!

Kudos growth graph on AO3, from zero in 2010 to over 60 million as of September 2016.
Growth graph for works and comments created each year on AO3, starting from zero in 2008 to over 500,000 works and 9.5 million comments this year alone.

(And don’t forget: even though the drive is over, you can contribute to the OTW at any time!)


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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

The OTW Legal team works every day in defense of fandom's right to create fanworks. They work to prevent unfair takedowns and lawsuits against fans, to secure exemptions that protect fans’ rights, and to participate in cases that may have an impact on fandom. To support our legal advocacy work, please make a donation.

Our Legal team also helps fans by answering their questions about fair use and their rights as content creators, and by publishing posts about new legal developments. They speak at panels about remix culture, what constitutes fair use, and how fan culture can help all content creators find their voices and gain more skills.

The OTW Legal team works primarily in the United States, although they're branching out to defend fair use principles in other parts of the world as well, including Europe, South Africa, and Australia. If you live in the US, Legal may have helped you if:

  • You cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands)
  • You make fan video (Paramount/CBS Fan Film “Guidelines”)
  • You’ve used the word "fandom" (Petition to cancel "FANDOM" trademark)
  • You write RPF (Davis v. Electronic Arts)
  • You’ve ever made a remix (Petition to grant DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixes)

Work that Legal Advocacy has done this year related to different types of fan activity: cosplay (Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands), writing (Davis v. Electronic Arts, petition to cancel

You can find out more about their work by visiting the Legal page on our website and support their advocacy by donating today!


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OTW October Drive – October 13-19 2016

Have you ever wondered where the fanworks on AO3 are stored? Ever wanted to take a peek behind the scenes? The Organization for Transformative Works, the nonprofit behind the Archive of Our Own, Open Doors, Fanlore and Transformative Works and Cultures, owns the servers that run nonstop to host our projects. With your support, we can maintain and upgrade our servers as our projects grow and expand every year.

We're here to archive your creations, and we take the duty of preserving your fanworks seriously. By owning our own servers, we avoid being subject to other companies' terms of service and potential censorship. Without our servers, none of this would be possible!

As our community and our projects keep expanding, our servers need the capacity to keep up with the volume:

Our servers
Our servers run code, send notifications, store fanworks, wrangle tags and serve pages to visitors. Common server costs: $40,200 in yearly hosting fees, $37,420 for two database servers and about $4,000 for a general purpose server—the first two of which the OTW spent this year.
AO3 currently has around 1 million members, over 2.5 million fanworks, 134 million weekly page views (43% growth over last year) and 10 million monthly unique visitors (18% growth over last year).

Adapted from the OTW 2016 budget.

We need to make sure our servers are up to date and able to handle these demands so that pages load quickly. To help keep the AO3's servers up and running and the OTW's projects thriving, please make a donation today!


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2016-09-24 20:24:50 -0400

2016 OTW budget

In March this year, the OTW published its first official budget. Since then, our Finance committee has been rebuilt by volunteers who have non-profit and/or accounting backgrounds! They've been busy working with other committees to reorganize and rebuild key internal processes for bookkeeping, budgeting, tax filing, and general financial policies.

This improvement is a work in progress for us as an organization, and we've already learned a lot since March about how to forecast our expenses and income better. Because of that, we're publishing an updated version of the 2016 budget that better reflects our current financial situation (download 2016 updated budget spreadsheet).

2016 expenses

OTW expenses by program: 67.79% AO3, 14.11% fundraising, 12.27% administration, 2.74% Fanlore, 1.69% Legal Advocacy, 1.08% TWC, 0.33% Open Doors

Archive of Our Own

AO3 expenses: $73,176.82 spent so far out of $128,458.92 total this year.

  • US$73,176.82 spent so far out of US$128,458.92 total this year.
  • Most of the OTW's expenses go towards AO3 upkeep, including the bulk of our server expenses (new purchases and ongoing colocation and maintenance), website performance monitoring tools and systems licenses (access all program expenses).
  • The amount allotted for the original contractor for the Archive of Our Own in the March budget has been reduced due to time constraints. Both the Accessibility, Design & Technology and Systems committees plan to seek new contractors before the end of the year, and next year's budget will include more accurate forecasts for their work.


Fanlore expenses: $3,360.12 spent so far out of $5,187.57 total this year.

  • US$3,360.12 spent so far out of US$5,187.57 total this year.
  • Fanlore expenses are mostly its allocation of server purchase, maintenance and colocation costs, in addition to licenses and domains pertaining to Fanlore directly (access all program expenses).

Legal Advocacy

Legal Advocacy expenses: $2,196.76 spent so far out of $3,196.76 total this year.

  • US$2,196.76 spent so far out of US$3,196.76 total this year.
  • Legal's expenses consist of filing fees and travel expenses for panel presentations (access all program expenses).

Transformative Works and Cultures

TWC expenses: $1,736.32 spent so far out of $2,040.30 total this year.

  • US$1,736.32 spent so far out of US$2,040.30 total this year.
  • Transformative Works and Cultures' expenses are its allotment of server costs and fees associated with the journal's publishing and storage (access all program expenses).

Open Doors

Open Doors expenses: $305.89 spent so far out of $627.16 total this year.

  • US$305.89 spent so far out of US$627.16 total this year.
  • This year's expenses for Open Doors are hosting, backup and domain costs for imported archives (access all program expenses).


Fundraising expenses: $10,227.54 spent so far out of $26,737.54 total this year.

  • US$10,227.54 spent so far out of US$26,737.54 total this year.
  • Our fundraising expenses consist of transaction fees charged by our third-party payment processors for every donation, thank-you gifts purchase and shipping, and the tools used to host the OTW's membership database and track communications with donors (access all fundraising expenses).

Administration expenses

Admin expenses: $15,158.96 spent so far out of $23,254.49 total this year.

  • US$15,158.96 spent so far out of US$23,254.49 total this year.
  • The OTW's admin expenses include hosting for our website, trademarks, domains, insurance, project management, communication and accounting tools, as well as contracted services for CPA assessment and tax filing (access all admin expenses).
  • We worked with a CPA to receive an initial assessment of our financial situation and procedures earlier this year, and with an external tax preparer to file our taxes. Having completed both of these, we don't foresee needing other external financial services until next year. Finance is currently organizing our ledger and processes, and will then reassess the best setup for external services in the following years.

2016 revenue

OTW 2016 revenue: $99,727.54 from April drive donations, $130,000 from projected October drive donations, $57,519.60 from non-drive donations, $839.08 from Amazon Smile purchases

  • The OTW is entirely supported by your donations—thank you for your generosity!
  • We receive most of our donations each year in the April and October fundraising drives, which together should account for 80% of our income in 2016.
  • We're aiming to raise more than our projected expenses for this year, which should help cover us until next year's April drive (including a new server!), plus increase our reserves by about US$30,000. The Finance team is currently looking into the best possible low-risk investment options for the OTW's reserves; our 2017 budget post will provide more details regarding our reserve policy, such as how many operating months we can sustain with zero donations and under what circumstances committees are allowed to request reserve funds for spending.
  • US$137,886.22 so far and US$150,200 projected until the end of the year.

2016 OTW revenue: $137,886.22 so far, $150,200 projected until the end of the year.

Got questions?

If you have any questions about the budget, contact the Finance committee. We will also be hosting an open chat a week from today to answer any questions you may have about the OTW's finances. This chat will take place in our public chatroom on Sunday, October 2 from 20:00 - 21:00 UTC (What time is that in my timezone?) Update: Here's the link to our chatroom.

This post will be updated with a chatroom link a few hours before the appointed time. Come chat with us, and bring your questions!

To download the OTW's updated budget for 2016 in spreadsheet format, please follow this link.


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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 6–12, 2016

Our April 2016 drive has come to an end, and we’d like to thank you for your support! It's because of you that we can do more than ever in 2016: grow our projects, increase our outreach, and help our teams thrive. With your help, we will be a stronger organization, better able to support what matters most—you, our community.

Together we raised US$ 97,155.54 from 4095 individual donations. To the 970 new members of the Organization for Transformative Works: Welcome! To our returning members: we're so grateful for your ongoing support! None of what we do would be possible without you. Everyone at the OTW would also like to acknowledge the volunteers who have worked behind the scenes to make this drive run smoothly.

Whether it was by signal-boosting, sending words of encouragement, or donating, if at any point throughout the years your voice has helped bring us to where we are today, thank you.

(And of course, while this drive may be over, you can help the OTW at any time!)


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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 6–12, 2016

Your support has brought us a long way so far (thank you!) and this year we hope to go even further. Here's some of what we're looking forward to in 2016:

The Archive of Our Own (AO3) will hit several milestones in the coming year: 1,000,000 registered users, 25 million comments on works, and 20 million page views in a single day. Currently the team is focusing on upgrades to our infrastructure, laying the foundation for more improvements.

The Transformative Works and Cultures academic journal is publishing two issues this year: "The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work" in March and a general issue in September, with a combined total of 25 fan studies essays.

Our fandom history wiki, Fanlore, is also on track to hit two huge milestones: 40,000 pages and 700,000 page edits. Join Fanlore and help write fannish history by sharing your own—add information about your favorite fandoms, ships, fanworks, and fan events.

Legal Advocacy will continue to fight to protect fandom and fanworks, filing briefs in courts and submitting policy recommendations to governments around the world in defense of fair use and transformative works, participating in discussions and conferences on copyright law, and answering questions from fans everywhere.

Donations from fans like you make all of this possible! With a donation of US$10 or more, you can join the OTW as a member; with US$50 or more, you can choose to receive an exclusive OTW thank you gift. Please help spread the word: reblog, retweet, share this post, and donate to the OTW today!


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Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 6–12, 2016

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) dedicates itself all year to the protection and preservation of fanworks and fan culture through its projects: Archive of Our Own (AO3), Fanlore, Legal Advocacy, Open Doors, and Transformative Works and Cultures. This week, we'll share what we've accomplished in 2015 thanks to your support, and what your donations can help us achieve in the future.

Infographic with OTW project statistics and 2016 budget information
Follow this link to access this infographic's contents in text form. Graph adapted from the 2016 OTW Budget.

Help our work grow even more this year by making a donation. If you give US$10 or more, you can become a member of the OTW, and for US$50 or more, you can choose an exclusive OTW thank you gift. Please help spread the word: reblog, retweet, share this post, and donate to the OTW today!


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