Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls

(1) ONE STOP SHOPPING. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation’s Autumn 2019 edition is up. Voluminous seasonal news and reviews page of both SF and science which includes the major UK SF/fantasy imprint book releases between now and New Year.  (Many of these will be available as imports in N. America and elsewhere.)

(2) LEM V. DICK. [Editor’s note: I apologize for what amounts to misspelling, but characters that WordPress would display as question marks have been changed to a letter of the alphabet without marks.]

[Item by Jan Vanek Jr.] Yesterday the English-language website of the Polish magazine Przekrój published (and started promoting on Facebook, hence my knowledge) the translation of a 2,700-word excerpt (not a self-contained “chapter” as they claim) from Wojciech Orlinski’s 2017 biography of Stanislaw Lem detailing what led to “the famous Lem-Dick imbroglio” with PKD’s “famous Lem report to the FBI”: “access to previously unpublished letters […] resulted in what is likely the first accurate description of the incident, as well as the ultimate explanation as to how the concept of ‘foreign royalties under communism’ is almost as much of a mess as ‘fine dining under communism’ (but not quite as fine a mess)”:

…It all began with Lem’s depiction of Dick – in the third of his great essay collections, Science Fiction and Futurology as little more than a talentless hack. Lem had a poor opinion of almost all American authors, and never thought much of the literary genre of which he himself was an exponent (think of his equally critical view of Pirx the Pilot, for example, or Return from the Stars)….

I found it a quite informative and interesting read, although “Lem’s unfortunate expulsion from the SFWA” that ensued is mentioned only briefly and I think misleadingly (I have checked the Polish book and there is nothing more about it, but it has been described in American sources, many of them online).

(3) ABOUT AO3’S HUGO AWARD. The Organization for Transformative Works has clarified to Archive of Our Own participants — “Hugo Award – What it Means”.

We’re as excited as you are about the AO3’s Hugo win, and we are shouting it to the rafters! We are grateful to the World Science Fiction Society for recognizing the AO3 with the award, as well as to the many OTW volunteers who build and maintain the site, and all of the amazing fans who post and enjoy works on it.

The World Science Fiction Society has asked us to help them get the word out about what the award represented—specifically, they want to make sure people know that the Hugo was awarded to the AO3, and not to any particular work(s) hosted on it. Therefore, while we can all be proud of the AO3’s Hugo win and we can all be proud of what we contributed to making it possible, the award does not make any individual fanwork or creator “Hugo winners”—the WSFS awarded that distinction to the AO3 as a whole. In particular, the WSFS asked us to convey this reminder so that no one mistakenly describes themselves as having personally won a Hugo Award.

Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm, and consider yourselves reminded! We appreciate every one of your contributions.

So far there are 80 comments, any number by Kevin Standlee making Absolutely Clear Everybody Must Understand Things Exactly The Way He Does. One reply says, “You aren’t doing a particularly good job of reading the room here.”

(4) ARISIA PERSISTED. Arisia 2020 has issued its first online Progress Report. Key points: (1) It’s happening! (2) It’s (back) at the Westin Boston Waterfront. (3) The headliners are Cadwell Turnbull, Author Guest of Honor, Kristina Carroll, Artist Guest of Honor, and Arthur Chu, Fan Guest of Honor.

(5) BOO!  LAist primes fans for Universal Studios’ Halloween mazes: “Halloween Horror Nights: A Photo Tour Of The New ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Us’ Mazes At Universal Studios”.

Halloween’s almost here… well, OK, it’s more than a month away, but that means it’s time for Halloween haunts — aka Halloween mazes, aka scary Halloween things at theme parks and the like, to start.

Halloween Horror Nights has been taking over Universal Studios Hollywood for 21 years, and we got the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of two of the brand new mazes, Ghostbusters and Us. We were guided through by Creative Director John Murdy, the man in charge of creating the stories and the scares inside all of the mazes.

He works with an art director to design every moment, writing treatments for each attraction than can run up to 100 pages.

“It’s a narrative from the guest’s POV — everything I see, hear, smell, etcetera, as if I’m going through the maze,” Murdy said. “But it also has a very elaborate technical breakdown by scene, by discipline, down to the timecode of the audio cues.”

(6) DUBLIN 2019. Cora Buhlert’s report begins with — “WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Part 1: The Good…”. There’s also a shorter version for the Speculative Fiction Showcase: “Cora’s Adventures at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland”. Each has lots of photos.

…On Wednesday, the day before WorldCon officially started, I helped with move in and set-up at Point Square. This involved carrying boxes, assembling shelves for the staff lounge and crafting area, taping down table cloths and helping to set up the Raksura Colony Tree model. This was my first time volunteering at a WorldCon and it was a great experience. Not only do you get to help to make a great project like WorldCon happen, no, you also get to meet a lot of lovely people while volunteering. Especially if you’re new to WorldCon and don’t know anybody yet, I recommend volunteering as a way to meet people and make friends. What is more, I also got a handful of groats (which I used to buy a very pretty necklace in the dealers room) and a cool t-shirt.

(7) MEMORIAL. Jim C. Hines tweeted the link to his post about the Memorial held for his wife, Amy, on September 8, a touching and highly personal tribute.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 14, 2008The Hunger Games novel hit bookstores. (For some reason, the bookstores did not hit back.)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 14, 1915 Douglas Kennedy. No major SFF roles that I see but he’s been in a number of films of a genre nature: The Way of All Flesh, The Ghost Breakers, The Mars InvadersThe Land UnknownThe Lone Ranger and the Lost City of GoldThe Alligator People and The Amazing Transparent Man. Series wise, he had one-offs on Alcoa PresentsScience Fiction TheatreAlfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. (Died 1973.)
  • Born September 14, 1919 Claire P. Beck. Editor of the Science Fiction Critic, a fanzine which published in four issues Hammer and Tongs, the first work of criticism devoted to American SF. It was written by his brother Clyde F. Beck. Science Fiction Critic was published from 1935 to 1938. (Died 1999.)
  • Born September 14, 1927 Martin Caidin. His best-known novel is Cyborg which was the basis for The Six Million Dollar Man franchise. He wrote two novels in the Indiana Jones franchise and one in the Buck Rogers one as well. He wrote myriad other sf novels as well. (Died 1997.)
  • Born September 14, 1932 Joyce Taylor, 87. She first shows as Princess Antillia in Atlantis, the Lost Continent. Later genre appearances were The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the first English language Beauty and the Beast film, the horror film Twice-Told Tales and the Men into Space SF series. 
  • Born September 14, 1936 Walter Koenig, 83. Best-known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in the original Trek franchise and Alfred Bester on Babylon 5Moontrap, a SF film with him and Bruce Campbell, would garner a 28% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and InAlienable which he executive produced, wrote and acts in has no rating there. 
  • Born September 14, 1941 Bruce Hyde. Patterns emerge in doing these Birthdays. One of these patterns is that original Trek had a lot of secondary performers who had really short acting careers. He certainly did. He portrayed Lt. Kevin Riley in two episodes, “The Naked Time” and “The Conscience of the King” and the rest of his acting career consisted of eight appearances, four of them as Dr. Jeff Brenner.  He acted for less than two years in ‘65 and ‘66, before returning to acting thirty-four years later to be in The Confession of Lee Harvey Oswald which is his final role. (Died 2015.)
  • Born September 14, 1947 Sam Neill, 72. Best known for role of Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park which he reprised in Jurassic Park III. He was also in Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, Memoirs of an Invisible ManSnow White: A Tale of TerrorBicentennial ManLegend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’HooleThe Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas BoxThor: Ragnarok and Peter Rabbit. 
  • Born September 14, 1961 Justin Richards, 58. Clute at ESF says “Richards is fast and competent.” Well I can certain say he’s fast as he’s turned out thirty-five Doctor Who novels which Clute thinks are for the YA market between 1994 and 2016. And he has other series going as well! Another nineteen novels written, and then there’s the Doctor Who non-fiction which runs to over a half dozen works.  

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Frank and Ernest ask deep questions about Pokémon.
  • A Tom Gauld cartoon about The Testaments launch in The Guardian.

(11) LUCAS MUSEUM. George Lucas, his wife Mellody Hobson, and the mayor dropped by the site yesterday to see how things are going: “Force Is With Them! Construction Of George Lucas Museum In Full Swing”.

Construction of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is in full swing.

On Friday, Lucas — along with his wife and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — watched as construction crews helped bring his vision to life.

And he thanked them for the tireless effort.

“You’re doing the impossible — thank you so much,” Lucas said.

“Millions of people will be inspired by this building. We were just in our board meeting for the museum and George said you are the artists so you’re the artists of this art museum,” says Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments and the museum’s co-founder.

(12) LISTEN TO LIEN. Henry Lien is the Special Guest Star on this week’s episode of  The Write Process podcast, hosted by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program — “Henry Lien on Worldbuilding, Puzzle Stories, Middle Grade, & Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions”

Henry Lien teaches law and creative writing at UCLA Extension. A private art dealer, he is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series, which received New York Times acclaim and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.

(13) COSPLAY ID’S. SYFY Wire has collected all the tweeted photos — “Detroit high school encourages students to dress as pop culture icons for ID photos”.

High school can be a turbulent time for any budding teenager, but when you’re allowed to dress up as your favorite movie or television character, facing picture day isn’t the daunting challenge it once was. Per a report from The Huffington Post, North Farmington High School in the suburbs of Detroit allowed its senior pupils to assume the persona of their favorite pop culture icon for the sake of ID photographs. What followed was a parade of Woodys (Toy Story), Shuris (Black Panther) Fionas (Shrek), creepy twins (The Shining), and so many more!

(14) GUTS. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna profiles YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, whose autobiographical graphic novels have sold 13.5 million copies and  who attracted an audience of 4,000 to her talk at the National Book Festival. “Raina Telgemeier became a hero to millions of readers by showing how uncomfortable growing up can be”.

…Now, because her fans kept asking, she is getting more personal than ever. The Eisner Award-winning author who launched her publishing empire with 2010?s “Smile,” about her years-long dental adventures as a kid, is prepared to bare new parts of her interior world with “Guts,” available Tuesday, which centers on how fear affected her body.

 “This is the reality of my life,” Telgemeier told her fans. She quickly got to the heart and GI tract of the matter: “I was subject to panic attacks and [was] worrying that something was really wrong with me.”…

(15) SIGNAL BOOST. Naomi Kritzer offers an incentive for supporting a cause that needs a cash infusion.

(16) MARATHON SITTINGS. The Hollywood Reporter considers “The Long Game: Super-Sized Movies Are Testing the Patience of Audiences”.

And there may be a financial cost. Over the Sept. 6-8 weekend, New Line and director Andy Muschietti’s It: Chapter Two opened to $91 million domestically, a 26 percent decline from the first It, which debuted to $123.4 million on the same weekend in 2017. The sequel ran a hefty 169 minutes, 34 minutes longer than its predecessor.

“Andy had a lot of story to tell in concluding his adaptation of Stephen King’s book, which is more than 1,100 pages,” says Jeff Goldstein, chief of distribution for Warner Bros., New Line’s parent. “We strategically added more shows and locations to counterbalance losing a show on each screen.”

Adds a rival studio executive regarding It: Chapter Two, “look, $91 million is a great number. But anytime the second film in a hoped-for franchise goes down — and not up — that’s not what you wish for. And I do think the fact that it was so long didn’t help.”

(17) COLBERT. Stephen Colbert’s “Meanwhile…” news roundup includes a furry joke related to the movie Cats, and a bit on “The 5D Porn Cinema No One Asked For.” These items start at 2.02 — here on YouTube.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Cinema verite of author Liz Hand on Vimeo. A 5-minute video of Hand at work and play

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

747 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls

  1. Meredith: Could it be argued that one of the noteworthy, non-fictional aspects of the AO3 is the community itself..?

    I very much think so. But that still wouldn’t make the fanfiction Hugo Award-Winning, nor would it make the fanfic authors Hugo Award Winners.

    No one has argued that the AO3 members as a community shouldn’t take pride in, and feel a part of, the Hugo Award win.

  2. @JJ

    The AO3 prohibits “solicitations for direct or indirect commercial advantage” on the archive. When people are spotted putting Kofi links in their AO3 profiles, they get knocked back for it. The commentary on that that I personally have seen from us AO3 users has weighted extremely heavily to being in favor of that rule and its enforcement, so my prediction is that many, many of our fellow AO3 users’ reactions would be that the Kickstarter getting shut down is totally fine and understandable. I mean, many people even said as much in the comments on AO3 and here.

  3. @JJ

    But if we decided that the community itself was part of its noteworthy, non-fictional, award-winning aspects, then while there still wouldn’t be any Hugo Award Winning (AO3) Fanfic or Fanfic Authors (yet) (because the fic itself can’t be in the Related Work category), there might well be Hugo Award Winning Community Members. Or at least fractions thereof.

    I’m still not sure whether I agree with it or not, but something about it feels, I don’t know, right-ish?

    @Rivine

    I believe JJ was trying to say that with fanfic, however meta it gets, it’s still all fiction all the way down. Related Work must be primarily non-fiction, and judged based on non-fiction aspects (I think the exception written into the rules is basically to prevent non-fiction books from being disallowed because they contain quotes or excerpts from fictional works, or fictionalised segments – not uncommon in non-fiction). I for one try to have at least one fic on my nomination ballot every year, because first and foremost I’m a transformative works fandom kinda girl, but I put it in the fiction categories where it belongs.

    @Mike Glyer

    I meant to say and forgot – there’s a really lovely fanfic series called Mina de Malfois which isn’t based on any existing properties at all, but is instead essentially an affectionate parody of transformative works fandom itself. I dunno whether all fiction written by fans is fanfiction, but certainly I wouldn’t require it to be based on an existing property. I think it’s an “I knows it when I sees it” thing!

  4. @JJ

    LectionaryStan: it hasn’t felt like the WSFS at large wants to be friends, either

    I’m curious as to how you think this should have been handled from the get-go.

    I’d love to see, from LectionaryStan or any other AO3 member who has taken offense, an attempted draft of a what they think the initial post from the Mark Protection Committee should have been. It would need to be congratulatory, acknowledge that fanfic is part of the big tent, be clear that fanfic writers are part of the project which won the Hugo, and most importantly, convey the message that saying “I’m a Hugo winner” when your participation in AO3 is to have been a fanfic writer, is an infringement on the WSFW marks, even if it is done as a joke.
    For all the grief Kevin Standlee has taken here and at AO3, I doubt many could do what is outlined above and not also raise just as many hackles as his comments did.

  5. @JJ

    I’ve seen some GREAT takes on this, actually, though I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post links.

    ZaliaChimera at AO3 has a nice concise one that’s probably my favourite:

    “Dear AO3 and users. Congratulations on the Hugo win! The actual award has been added to the travelling collection and we would love for you to come visit a future Worldcon where you can see the trophy for yourself!

    As the Trademark Protection Committee for the Hugos, we do need to ask that you don’t produce Hugo Award merchandise, or try to trade on the moniker of ‘Hugo Award winner’, because we do have to enforce the trademark for legal reasons.

    We are really pleased to welcome the AO3 project into the fold of Hugo winners and hope to see you at a future Worldcon.”

    So congratulate the community and convey, you know, a positive emotion that people are so overjoyed about the award; convey that for legal purposes the Hugo’s have to enforce their trademark and here’s a reminder we have to give about where the boundary is, but we’re glad to see you having fun and are so happy to have you in the community of sff fans! You know, instead of coming off as seething at all the joking and transparently wishing all those jokes would just stop already.

  6. @Meredith

    Ah, the primarily non-fiction part would change things. I was going off the quoted section only, which I thought had far more leeway than that.

  7. @JJ

    Any bets on what the reaction will be when they kill that enamel pin Kickstarter which a lot of AO3 members have agreed is infringing? Bueller? Anyone?

    The majority will be fine with it. As Rivine already pointed out, AO3 has a policy against Kofi and Patreon links on people’s stories and profiles. The Kickstarter creator getting their hand smacked will almost certainly be viewed in the same way as someone caught posting Kofi links on their stories. That is, in an “well, of course you can’t do that” way.

    And honestly, if C&Ds had just been sent out to people infringing without the WSPS pressuring AO3 to make that post, there would have been basically no wank.
    Sending C&D’s to someone selling unlicensed merch would be seen by the vast majority of users as completely reasonable. Trying to police people’s twitter profiles and jokes they make on social media, and doing it in a way that comes across as condescending gatekeeping, even if that’s not the way it was intended, does not seem nearly as reasonable.

  8. I’m curious as to how you think this should have been handled from the get-go.

    I 100% truly believe that if a clear, definitive statement had been made that these specific actions (creating enamel pins made to look like the Hugo book medal or putting Hugo Award Winner on a resume or a byline) were in violation of the trademark and needed to be stopped, please, because it can actually damage the legal integrity of the trademark if those efforts aren’t legally pursued – that would have been received fine. Some people might still have grumbled, but we do understand legal necessities and trademark protection. It’s why monetization of fanworks is such a hugely argued topic in the community – we know very well that there’s a line between fair use of intellectual property and violation. We may tread it finely sometimes, but we do know it’s there.

    A polite “we would like to not have to threaten to sue you, because that sucks, so please stop doing these specific things” would have been the correct handling. A quoted statement from WSFS and not a paraphrased one from OTW would have also helped. One that distinguished, specifically, between having a laugh about our tentacle porn winning/one one millionth of the Hugo and actual damaging behavior.

  9. Even though I’ve said that I completely understand why Kevin and the MPC have to come down hard on what they see as misuses of the Hugo mark, the following has been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of days:

    The Hugo, as awarded and officially recorded, went to AO3. Internally, WSFS had reasons (the organization, software, tagging structure, etc.) to award it to AO3, but that is internal WSFS business. Externally, all that is relevant is that AO3 won the award.
    That being the case, if I’m a part of AO3, how could I not be a partial Hugo winner?
    And while I’m confident that the MPC would not take people who say “I’m a Hugo winner” to court over this, if it were to happen, I think the above would be a pretty robust defense. When viewed from this perspective, it certainly doesn’t seem as “open and shut” as has been described.

  10. Hello, intermittent reader, first time commenter. I apologise if I’m violating any norms here. I thought it was interesting that Liz described JJ’s definition of what won as depersonalising, because that’s how I felt about it as well. As though you might tell N. K. Jemisin ‘No, you can’t call yourself a Hugo Award Winner, The Stone Sky won the award. But you may call yourself a contributor to a Hugo Award-Winning Novel.’

    (I have no horse in the race of who behind AO3 should be allowed to call themselves, or joke about calling themselves, a Hugo Award Winner. But decoupling the human element entirely makes me uncomfortable, it turns out.)

  11. As though you might tell N. K. Jemisin ‘No, you can’t call yourself a Hugo Award Winner, The Stone Sky won the award. But you may call yourself a contributor to a Hugo Award-Winning Novel.’

    @ longleaf …I… feel like a truck just hit me. All right. This comparison just completely changed my perspective on the whole thing. I need to mull this over. Thank you for the post.

  12. longleaf: As though you might tell N. K. Jemisin ‘No, you can’t call yourself a Hugo Award Winner, The Stone Sky won the award. But you may call yourself a contributor to a Hugo Award-Winning Novel.’

    But in that case, it’s Jemison’s fiction which won the Hugo Award, in a fiction category. It’s not the fiction on AO3 which won the Hugo Award in a non-fiction category.

    And see, all of these attempts at Rules-Lawyering just prove my point that people really do take calling themselves Hugo Award Winners seriously.

  13. And see, all of these attempts at Rules-Lawyering just prove my point that people really do take calling themselves Hugo Award Winners seriously.

    @ JJ After all this, I find it interesting that this is a bigger issue to you than the actual trademark infractions, those clear-cut cases which are simple to defuse and and understand. If there’s “Rules-Lawyering” (a term it feels like you’re using just to make the discussion about it sound ridiculous, which it isn’t), then that means it ISN’T clear-cut and obvious. I’ll take my leave tonight happily knowing that several genuine Hugo nominees and winners and other WSFS members are totally fine with the AO3ers’ collective Hugo title.

  14. Meredith: But if we decided that the community itself was part of its noteworthy, non-fictional, award-winning aspects, then while there still wouldn’t be any Hugo Award Winning (AO3) Fanfic or Fanfic Authors (yet) (because the fic itself can’t be in the Related Work category), there might well be Hugo Award Winning Community Members

    No, they’re still Participants in a Hugo Award-Winning Community. Because it’s not the individuals who won, it’s the community.

    I will bet you $20 (or the equivalent in € 😉 , not that I think that either of us will be able to collect, since I am quite sure that the 2019 Hugo Administrator will not be making any further statements on this, unless someone has a in with the OTW motherboard and can get them to talk) that the OTW was offered the opportunity to specify a handful of names (editors / coordinators), just as The MexicanX Initiative was; even though the project consisted of 50 MexicanX authors, editor, artists, and fans, it was listed as

    http://www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)

    and none of the other participants gets to refer to themselves officially as a Hugo Award Winner, just as a Participant in a Hugo Award-Winning Project.

    I believe that the OTW motherboard wisely chose not to include any individual names on the nomination, because they did not want to make any AO3 member more important than any other.

    Because they chose to do that, the only official Hugo Award Winner for AO3’s Hugo Award is the Organization for Transformative Works.

    Another definition I have seen of “official Hugo Award Finalist” is:
    If you were personally offered the opportunity, and personally had the power to accept or decline the nomination, then you are considered an official Hugo Award Finalist / Winner. If you weren’t asked whether you wished to accept or decline, then you’re not a Hugo Award Finalist / Winner.

  15. LectionaryStan: I find it interesting that this is a bigger issue to you than the actual trademark infractions

    If the members of AO3 get to call themselves official Hugo Award Winners, then so do all of the commenters at File 770, and so do all of the people who’ve had works published in Uncanny Magazine — and at that point, the official term “Hugo Award Winner” has lost all meaning.

    That is very much an “actual trademark infraction”. This is the part that so many AO3 members don’t seem to understand is actually a big deal.

  16. JJ,

    I don’t think you saw my earlier comment, which was in moderation until after you’d posted several other comments of your own. I think you’re confusing two things: people are seriously arguing that they, as ordinary users of AO3, do have some ownership of AO3’s collective win (for example, citing Novik’s speech in reaction to the idea that it’s the code that won and not the community). People are joking that the fiction they contributed to the archive is the basis of that win.

    (There’s also the separate issue that AO3 users assume that “look, Ma, I won a Hugo for my fanfic!” is understood as a joke and that “we all won a Hugo!” is understood to mean that the organization won rather than that every registered user now has a Best Novel award, while the WSFS apparently and surprisingly regards both things as a trademark violation.)

  17. P. (a mostly-lurker at AO3): I think you’re confusing two things: people are seriously arguing that they, as ordinary users of AO3, do have some ownership of AO3’s collective win.

    No one is disputing that. They’re being encouraged to celebrate and enjoy that. They just don’t get to call themselves Hugo Award Winners.

  18. JJ:

    And see, all of these attempts at Rules-Lawyering just prove my point that people really do take calling themselves Hugo Award Winners seriously.

    Speaking only for myself, I didn’t take it remotely seriously until I realised the WSFS did. There’s a level of absurdity in having such strong emotions over such small stakes.

    But I do have questions about the legal issues here. (Note: I am not a lawyer, but I work in the legal industry in an admin capacity, which is ideal for stickybeaking.)

    If I call myself a Dalek(tm) on Twitter, it doesn’t make me a Dalek(tm), but it also doesn’t give Terry Nation’s estate grounds to stop me. Likewise, they couldn’t stop my dad from chasing me around with a plunger and shouting, “Exterminate! Exterminate!” when I was a kid.

    (Which is a shame, because the emotional scars are real.)

    Likewise, I don’t believe WSFS has grounds to stop anyone from declaring themselves a Hugo Award winner, whether on Twitter, on their resume or even in a query letter to an editor. If Jane Fic-Writer tried to do so in all seriousness, that would reflect badly on her own credibility, just as if I tried to request accommodations at work on account of being a Dalek.

    (Okay, not just as if, but I enjoyed the mental image.)

    Would it also reflect badly on the Hugo Awards? In my opinion, no, but I don’t know if US law applies the reasonable person test in such matters. Likewise, people might the jokes on Twitter tedious, unfunny, frustrating, even hurtful, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re violating WSFS’s trademark.

    Which brings me to another point the marks committee needs to consider: they hold no trademarks whatsoever in my country, and trademarks do not apply internationally. AO3 has a very international userbase — probably moreso than the WSFS just through sheer numbers. Right now, no one can stop me from getting the rocket logo and the words “Hugo Award winner” tattooed across my face if I so choose.

    (Don’t worry, I won’t.)

    In short, I think that before they do anything else, the marks committee needs to dip into their budget and seek legal advice.

    (If nothing else, the process for issuing DMCA notices is designed to be easy for rights-holding laypeople — just ask Richard Fox — and surely it’s easier to go after the Kickstarters and Etsy stores and Redbubble sellers than engaging in this endless conversation.)

    (Disclaimer that I’m very much enjoying the endless conversation now we’ve gotten past personal insults and into legal pedantry.)

  19. That is very much an “actual trademark infraction”. This is the part that so many AO3 members don’t seem to understand is actually a big deal.

    JJ, it’s the part where it’s not truly clear whether it is an actual trademark violation. There isn’t a history of slapping people with C&Ds for trademark violations for non-monetized, non-merch jokes. That isn’t a thing that happens. The concept that it’s “actual trademark infraction” is not a given. Even if 100% of the people are dead serious and not joking, it’s not obviously a trademark infraction if the people saying it belong to the community that won the trademarked award. What you are saying as fact is currently just conjecture.

  20. Liz: surely it’s easier to go after the Kickstarters and Etsy stores and Redbubble sellers than engaging in this endless conversation.

    Which is no doubt why, apart from asking the OTW to post a statement, WSFS has wisely refrained from official public engagement on this.

    But hey, we’re genre fans! Engaging in this endless conversation is what we do! 😀

  21. LectionaryStan, it’s called dilution of trademark, and permitting it can lead to an permanent inability for WSFS to be able to enforce any protection of their marks against infringement.

    This stuff is Googlable. Please do so instead of continually arguing “no, it’s not”.

  22. JJ:

    Which is no doubt why, apart from asking the OTW to post a statement, WSFS has wisely refrained from official public engagement on this.

    Right, while we’re endlessly debating the rules of the BRW, I assume the marks committee is off filling out paperwork. (I mean, I hope so, cashing in on a spurious Hugo win is uncool.)

    Engaging in this endless conversation is what we do!

    It’s this or try to understand Brexit.

    But also:

    LectionaryStan, it’s called dilution of trademark, and permitting it can lead to an permanent inability for WSFS to be able to enforce any protection of their marks against infringement.

    I can see a very strong legal argument that accusations of dilution would be a reach. Not to mention that Canada and Australia don’t have that concept at all, although Canada has “depreciation of goodwill”. The World Science Fiction Society needs to take this into account when it’s dealing with social media users.

  23. Which is no doubt why, apart from asking the OTW to post a statement, WSFS has wisely refrained from official public engagement on this.

    This has not been wise; this has been confusing, unclear, and led to frustration all over.

    And since you are not a trademark lawyer, either, my Googling is as good as yours. Trademark is also different from copyright, and defending either is treated much differently across the board. It’s all moot until they decide to say or do something.

  24. @LectionaryStan–I’m a librarian who spent a good deal of my career working for lawyers who practiced trademark law. I’m skeptical that your googling is as good as the legal research and memos I had to do in support of those lawyers. Trademark has to be actively defended in ways copyright doesn’t have to be, if you want to keep your trademark.

  25. JJ,

    P.: I think you’re confusing two things: people are seriously arguing that they, as ordinary users of AO3, do have some ownership of AO3’s collective win.

    JJ: No one is disputing that. They’re being encouraged to celebrate and enjoy that. They just don’t get to call themselves Hugo Award Winners.

    It doesn’t actually matter whether anyone is disputing it. Even if no one at all, anywhere on the Internet, said that the win doesn’t belong to the community, some people seem to think that they did. If those people who’ve misunderstood say, in all seriousness, “yes, look at Novik’s speech, the win really does belong to the community!” while they also have “Hugo Award Winning Writer of Transformers High School AUs!” in their bio, that doesn’t make the latter not a joke. You can’t conclude “yes, look, they’re seriously arguing that they seriously won! They really seriously think their Megatron/Starscream epic won a Hugo!”

    That is, again, separate from the issue of whether the “Hugo Award Winner” joke is a trademark violation.

  26. @JJ

    My point is that the AO3 fanfiction is fiction about fiction, whereas Related Works are non-fiction which is sometimes (but not always) about fiction.

    I think you have a very limited idea of what kinds of fic the AO3 hosts. I personally almost exclusively write and read in the RPF (real person fic) corners of it, though I have also written fic where planets fall in love with other planets, a small rubber ducky saves the world, and where two gay penguins adopt a baby. To date I have never written FPF (fictional person fic) in any fandom.

  27. LectionaryStan: Trademark is also different from copyright, and defending either is treated much differently across the board.

    Exactly, which is why I’ve been talking about trademark. Thanks for finally acknowledging that trademark dilution is a valid concen.

  28. @JJ

    I feel like you may need to take a deep breath and try to accept that just by fighting this battle you’re definitely losing.

    I’m one of those people who tweeted something very like the ones that were linked much much earlier in this thread – I made a joke about having won a Hugo. You can tell I know it was a joke because when a non-fannish follower was impressed and asked me what it was for, I clarified that no, I was kidding – I didn’t win a Hugo, the AO3, or which I am a member/contributor/long time user won a Hugo and I was just psyched as hell. I wasn’t, for the record, poking fun at the Hugos – I was poking fun at the idea that anything I’d written in my RPF corner of the Archive would ever be Hugo caliber – but regardless of how you read my joke, it was very much a joke and I even made sure to clarify that it was.

    The place where you’re not only fighting a losing battle but making your entire side look so much worse is where you’re trying to insist that those jokes are not, in fact jokes. But JJ, they are. They’re jokes that became a small meme in the same way that “Now I’m Batman” is a small meme, and you cannot stop a meme. You can’t do that. It’s actually impossible. By trying to do that, by pushing back against that tide, you’re making yourself look utterly out of touch with the realities of how the internet at large & twitter in particular work. By trying to defend the WSFS and the Hugo you are making your entire group look foolish and out of touch with the realities of how the internet & twitter work; this is also related to the problem with how Kevin approached the AO3 comment thread – we just don’t react well to that kind of inflexible, rules bound, humorless, earnestness. (That’s setting aside the fact that many of us know Kevin from other wanks in the past and were instinctively rolling our eyes when he cropped up. He, to put it kindly, does not have the most sterling of reputations within that corner of fandom.)

    Before this I had a sort of vague affection for the WSFS and definitely cheered y’all on in the fight against the Puppies. If I had had the financial means, I would have joined that fight. As a former book seller, I respected the Hugo award and its long history. At this point, I feel like the WSFS is hopelessly out of touch and has no actual idea how to handle PR or approach other fan communities. Even if I had the financial means, I would not, at this point, ever consider spending money on a WSFS membership and I definitely would never have interest in attending Worldcon. I know for a fact that I’m not the only one feeling this way because I’ve had this conversation with several people over the last four or so days. That’s real damage that’s being done to your brand through this senseless and needless arguing and impossible quest to stop people from joking on twitter.

    Y’all have to stop digging this hole, for your own sake. Just let the joke die in its own time, the way you should have from the beginning, and I promise you, if you stop poking the bear, the wank and uproar will go away.

  29. (Hi Lis, good to see you, but I was talking to JJ. Thought I had marked that better. Thanks!)

    Exactly, which is why I’ve been talking about trademark. Thanks for finally acknowledging that trademark dilution is a valid concen.

    @JJ I haven’t not acknowledged it, either? The use of “finally” made me roll my eyes, which I’m sure wasn’t your intention. This is a fact I’ve known the entire time due to my own work insofar as my job involves the knowledge of protection of trademarks. But I’m still disagreeing that what you perceive as improper claim of a Hugo award results in that dilution – which apparently is not something that can be enforced everywhere in the world, either. Like I said, until the WSFS makes some statement or takes some action, that this specific action is a valid concern is not going to be decided by arguing in the comments section here. You’ve said a lot of things as fact in this discussion which I’m not sure should have been stated as fact; or at least not by someone who we don’t know is authorised to speak for the WSFS or not.

  30. @LectionaryStan

    Just so you know, usual etiquette on File770 is that people can reply to whatever, even if it was @‘d at someone else. 🙂 It’s more freeform than threaded, jumping convos isn’t a forbidden thing or anything. It’s only really worth mentioning if you think something got muddled. (I think something may or may not have got muddled in this case! But I know that jumping convos is not considered okay some places, so thought I’d mention it.)

  31. I really hate that currently I’m unable to keep up with File770 on a day-by-day basis, because the comment I want to respond to is back on, like, page 2 of this thread maybe? But I’m not about to let THAT stop me, not after reading all the way through mainly to find out if someone else had already said something like this:

    While I can imagine that, theoretically, there might be valid and convincing ways for someone to argue that their using “whiny entitled princesses” as an insult doesn’t constitute misogyny, “Yeah, well, I’m a woman, so, GOTCHA!” isn’t one of them.

    If someone already said that and I missed it, 1. sorry, there was a lot of thread to look for it in; and 2. thank you.

  32. Oh, also, so far as I’m aware fanfiction authors are eligible for Best Fan Writer (which typically goes to meta writers), so I’ve been nominating them for that, too, sometimes, if I feel that someone’s body of work in that year was particularly good. (Especially if they also write great meta, since that’s closer to the original intent of the category, afaik.)

    @Rivine

    As well as Related Work being the non-fiction category, it’s also that stuff can’t be eligible in two categories at once, and of course all fanfiction is eligible in Novel/Novella/Novelette/Short Story/Series. It’s why the new Lodestar award was designed to be a not-a-Hugo instead of a Hugo – otherwise there couldn’t be a YA category voted on by WSFS members at all because if there was a YA Hugo some works would be eligible in more than one Hugo category (standard fiction of appropriate length & YA). But not-a-Hugo’s don’t follow the same rules, so Lodestar was fine.

    @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I thought about it really hard, but didn’t actually say it, so thank you.

  33. @ LIz:

    Which brings me to another point the marks committee needs to consider: they hold no trademarks whatsoever in my country, and trademarks do not apply internationally. AO3 has a very international userbase — probably moreso than the WSFS just through sheer numbers. Right now, no one can stop me from getting the rocket logo and the words “Hugo Award winner” tattooed across my face if I so choose.

    I wouldn’t actually be too sure about that, it depends on what country you’re in. I know for sure that the relevant trademarks are in 9at least) “the US” and “the EU” (the 2019 report from MPC to the Business Meeting starts at p. 39 of this prelimiary agenda, the Etsy thing is mentionedon p. 41).

  34. LectionaryStan: Hi Lis, good to see you, but I was talking to JJ. Thought I had marked that better.

    Perhaps you are accustomed to online spaces where you get to be precious and demand that no one address you unless you permit it. File 770 is not such a space. If you comment here, anyone has the right to respond to you, and if that upsets or offends you, you may want to refrain from commenting here.

     
    LectionaryStan: I haven’t not acknowledged it, either? The use of “finally” made me roll my eyes, which I’m sure wasn’t your intention.

    Obviously I was too subtle. I apologize for not making it more obvious that I was referring to the way you changed the subject when I pointed out the validity of the trademark dilution concerns, just as you changed the subject when I pointed out that people were obviously taking the claims of being a Hugo Award Winner seriously.

    Also, nice attempt at claiming some authority on trademark law, after previously demonstrating your ignorance of it.

    Bless your heart.

  35. @JJ

    You know, sometimes I feel like we’re actually getting somewhere in this discussion that might lead to understanding and common ground, and then you haul off with a comment like this. That was just unnecessary, man. The way to inform someone about community norms isn’t to call them “precious” and be condescending. You’re making a strong case that we (AO3 members) are just flat out unwelcome here.

  36. Farasha, I’ve engaged in good faith with LectionaryStan for quite a few comments here, and they’ve repeatedly made it clear that they are arguing in bad faith — and their snotty little putdown of Lis was really the last straw. I’m wondering why you haven’t felt any need to tell them to straighten up and fly right.

  37. @JJ

    I’m wondering why you haven’t felt any need to tell them to straighten up and fly right.

    Because I didn’t see any snottiness? They didn’t know that the norm was for anyone to jump into a conversation. They were polite about saying “good to see you, but I’m having a conversation with X person” – I don’t know, that doesn’t strike me as rude. And I don’t think disagreeing with you in and of itself is bad faith at all.

    I think we’ve gotten to the point where lines are being drawn in the sand and folks are kind of looking for things to be bad faith, so they’re seeing that. I was really surprised by the vehemence of your response because, absolutely honestly, it felt like an escalation that wasn’t merited.

  38. JJ, if you have ever respected me for any reason, please listen: you are letting your temper ride you. It’s getting in the way of any constructive conversation, much less any hope of reaching any kind of rapprochement. It’s an approach that seeks to win a conversation, but it’s also one that guarantees, in this context, that you will not.

    I would really advise you to step back from the keyboard for a bit.

  39. Farasha, please go back and read my exchanges with LectionaryStan. You can see where, when I finally manage to get my entirely valid point across, instead of acknowledging that it’s valid, they instead switch goalposts and say, “well, what about this?” They’ve done that at least twice now, and then proceeded to claim some sort of specialist knowledge about trademark law when they previously made it obvious they had no clue.

    In my world, that’s a lot of arguing in bad faith.

    I will also point out that some AO3 members were quick to complain about Kevin Standlee posting at AO3 without understandiing the culture and norms, while some AO3 members are doing the same thing here and then making excuses for it.

    Also, is it really acceptable culture at AO3 to tell people “I wasn’t talking to you, STFU and stay out of it!” Because if so, wow. Just wow.

  40. @JJ

    I will also point out that some AO3 members were quick to complain about Kevin Standlee posting at AO3 without understandiing the culture and norms, while some AO3 members are doing the same thing here and then making excuses for it.

    “They did it first” isn’t a reason to treat an unrelated person badly.

    “I wasn’t talking to you, STFU and stay out of it!”

    You are vastly misrepresenting how this was said. If this is the tone you read into it, I can understand why it upset you, but that is not how this was said. And yes, it does often happen in our corner of fandom that A and B are having a conversation, C attempts to interject, and A will let them know the conversation is happening between two people and they’d like to stay on that conversational track. Which is exactly what happened? I’m confused by this paraphrasing, it seems like it’s trying to attribute malice that wasn’t there.

    You can see where, when I finally manage to get my entirely valid point across, instead of acknowledging that it’s valid, they instead switch goalposts and say, “well, what about this?”

    I agree with you that moving the goalposts is irritating. But that’s not what I see when I read through it. Your valid point is that trademark must be defended in a different way than copyright. Which LectionaryStan did acknowledge, but then said they disagree that joking publicly (pretty much everyone in this argument has agreed that attempting to profit or boost sales using the trademark inappropriately is wrong) weakens the trademark, and wanting an actual lawyer to weigh in. That’s not moving the goalposts, that’s disagreeing.

    I don’t think they claimed to be an expert either. They claimed to have limited knowledge of how trademarks work and acknowledged they had to be defended differently.

  41. Farasha: If this is the tone you read into it, I can understand why it upset you, but that is not how this was said.

    In a culture where everyone has the right to speak, telling someone to “butt out”, no matter how politely worded, is still incredibly rude. When I read their comment saying that, my jaw just hit the floor. I welcomed Lis’ participation in the conversation; who is LectionaryStan to tell her she’s not allowed to speak?

    edited for neutral gendering; my apologies

  42. @JJ

    In a culture where everyone has the right to speak, telling someone to “butt out”, no matter how politely worded, is still incredibly rude. When I read their comment saying that, my jaw just hit the floor.

    I think I understand your upset better. I still don’t think the response was merited. Check out Meredith’s response and explanation of community norms – that’s fostering discussion and making people feel like they are welcome to speak here, while also redirecting to community norms. Yours is way more rude and condescending and just shuts discussion down.

    It’s not about telling someone they aren’t allowed to speak. It’s about letting someone know that you’re in one conversation and aren’t interested in branching off into side conversations. There are many reasons why someone might want to only have one conversation at a time. Sometimes it’s spoons-related. Sometimes it’s not. But I think malice was assumed due to culture mismatch where no malice was present.

    Which is kind of what happened in this whole argument, only on a micro scale.

  43. Farasha: Check out Meredith’s response and explanation of community norms

    Meredith is a regular at AO3 as well as at File 770, and is probably one of the kindest, most-willing-to-give-people-the-benefit-of-the-doubt-far-beyond-the-point-where-they’ve-demonstrated-they-don’t-deserve-it persons I’ve ever known.

  44. IANAL, but I would like to point out that (in the US) trademark, like copyright, has the concept of fair use. And, just as in copyright, there are complicated multi-factor tools to determine whether or not something is infringing upon or diluting a mark.

    Right now, members of the WSFS (but not yet, officially, the WSFS) have alleged that the use of various permutations of Hugo-winning and Hugo Award Winner to describe someone’s involvement in the Ao3’s win [1] are mark infringement or dilution [2]. Other people are alleging that those are fair use.

    [1] As opposed to the various cases of people making unauthorized Hugo Award merch, which I think everyone here agrees are infringement.

    [2] It’s not actually a given that the concept of dilution even applies here! Another fun and complicated part of trademark law.

  45. @JJ

    Then maybe all of us should strive to be more like Meredith. There’s nothing wrong with being earnest and kind.

  46. Farasha, I have truly, genuinely been trying.

    When some AO3 members keep insisting again and again that, no, no, there are no AO3 members anywhere who are serious about the Hugo Award Winner thing, that every single one of them is joking, it gets very hard to maintain my patience.

    I’m an extremely intelligent person (though there are certainly a significant number of regulars here who are absolutely brilliant in comparison to me). I am quite capable of reading the surrounding tweets in a conversation and getting a pretty good idea of whether they are joking about being a Hugo Award Winner. So when people insist to me that I’m misreading every single one of the people who are clearly serious, it’s really just insulting to my intelligence.

    And look at the comments just in this thread, where people have seriously tried to argue that all AO3 members are officially Hugo Award Winners. So when people continue to categorically deny this, it’s just really aggravating.

    It would be a whole lot easier if the AO3 members who keep denying that there is anyone who is serious about it would stop doing so, concede that there are indeed some who are serious, and maybe even say that some of the rest the AO3 members will try to gently put the kibosh on that. I’ve seen one AO3 member on Twitter doing that, and doing it brilliantly.

    It would also be a whole lot easier if there weren’t a lot of AO3 members behaving like 3-year-olds right now and saying, “Fine, fuck you, we’re going to all put it in our Twitter names and bios and on our author bios and talk about it constantly on social media, just because you asked us not to!”

    Because of course nothing is going to be so convincing to WSFS members that they’ve misjudged the character of those AO3 members as seeing them behave in such a petulant and infantile manner.

  47. I was a bit surprised when I come back to this long, long, contentious thread and saw a remark that it had somehow died down into amity until someone stirred it up again.

    So far as I can tell, this thread has so far never yet settled down into anything like amity. I suspect what has happened is that some posters have wearied of it. That’s not the same thing as coming to any sort of agreement.

    There is no consensus, no amity here yet that I’ve seen.

    @Lectionary Stan:

    I’ve seen some GREAT takes on this, actually, though I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post links.

    ZaliaChimera at AO3 has a nice concise one that’s probably my favourite:

    “Dear AO3 and users. Congratulations on the Hugo win! The actual award has been added to the travelling collection and we would love for you to come visit a future Worldcon where you can see the trophy for yourself!

    As the Trademark Protection Committee for the Hugos, we do need to ask that you don’t produce Hugo Award merchandise, or try to trade on the moniker of ‘Hugo Award winner’, because we do have to enforce the trademark for legal reasons.

    We are really pleased to welcome the AO3 project into the fold of Hugo winners and hope to see you at a future Worldcon.”

    So congratulate the community and convey, you know, a positive emotion that people are so overjoyed about the award; convey that for legal purposes the Hugo’s have to enforce their trademark and here’s a reminder we have to give about where the boundary is, but we’re glad to see you having fun and are so happy to have you in the community of sff fans! You know, instead of coming off as seething at all the joking and transparently wishing all those jokes would just stop already.

    Yes, that would have been a far better, much more positive way to present the issue clearly with less chance of stirring up ill feelings. I regret that nothing like it was tried first.

  48. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:

    That troubled me when I saw it too. Women can be misogynists. Revealing oneself to be a woman does not cancel out any misogynistic action one may have taken.

    Calling any large group of people “whiny entitled princesses” is specifically a gendered insult and uses that gender to belittle so yeah, that is misogyny.

    Thank you for addressing it.

  49. @JJ

    It would also be a whole lot easier if there weren’t a lot of AO3 members behaving like 3-year-olds right now and saying, “Fine, fuck you, we’re going to all put it in our Twitter names and bios and on our author bios and talk about it constantly on social media, just because you asked us not to!”

    Most of the time, I’m incredibly proud of the sheer bloody-minded cussedness of my community, where we will inevitably say “yes we can and will” when everyone and their mother tells us “no.” Historically, it’s how we’ve managed to get things done in our community. It’s that very bloody-minded cussedness that allowed us to build AO3 in the first place. In this case, I don’t think it’s helping us. But that cussedness is a long and proud tradition, and it doesn’t come from nowhere.

    I think more statements could have been qualified on the part of people speaking from my community. I actually don’t think it’s accurate to say that nobody is confused about what the Hugo means. A large portion of AO3 users (who are generally randos on the internet, if that helps explain the tenor of the comments section – randos on the internet are not noted for being polite or level-headed) didn’t even know AO3 was nominated for a Hugo until it won. And since they aren’t regular WSFS members or participants, they didn’t know the norms. This is, in my opinion, like inviting a new roommate to move in with you, and then they throw a party. Some actual bad things happen, like stuff getting stolen or broken. Then some irritating things also happen, like playing music too loud. Because the actual bad things have happened, playing music too loud becomes way more annoying than it would have otherwise.

    Another thing is that we, the community members, don’t know who the volunteers are who code and wrangle tags and maintain AO3 on the back end. For all we know, some of the people have legitimate claim to material contributions that actually built the Archive itself, which is what was awarded, so I think those people also have some confusion. Did they build the thing that won, or not? The point about works being what is awarded but authors being perfectly legitimate in calling themselves award winners is a good point. How many people have to be part of an award winning work before it becomes “contributed to the winner” and not “winner”? If two authors co-write a work, and the work wins, are both of them allowed to say they’re winners in bylines and publications? If Sandman had won in the year it was nominated, would Gaiman as well as the artist and the inker for the comics be able to say they are winners, since the art and the text contributed equally to the finished work? This is a line that hasn’t been firmly defined, at least from my point of view.

    To be clear, I’m comparing people using the trademark to sell or slapping Hugo Award Winner on a text they mean to sell, thus misrepresenting themselves, to stealing and breaking your stuff. I think the fundamental disagreement comes from a lot of us earnestly believing that putting something in your Twitter bio isn’t the same as claiming a credential. Anyone can put anything in their Twitter bio, including (as has been pointed out) saying they’re Batman.

    The question quite a lot of us would like answered is: what is actually legally harmful to the trademark, so we can accurately self-police our own community without seeming like total busybodies.

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