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detailing what led to “the famous Lem-Dick imbroglio” with PKD’s “famous Lem report to the FBI”: “access to previously unpublished letters […] resulted in what is likely the first accurate description of the incident, as well as the ultimate explanation as to how the concept of ‘foreign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. Rob Thornton has addressed a comment in pretty much the same way I would: I don’t think anyone disputes that AO3 is holistic platform and community which involves a large archive of fanworks, the vast majority of which is fiction. The platform and user interface are what is being honored with the Hugo Award. It could even be argued that the community is part of that platform. But it can’t be argued that the fiction is what’s being honored with the Hugo Award, because the Related Work category is specifically for things that are notable for being something other than fiction.

  2. Farasha: This seems rather complex and somewhat risky for something that’s so important. Would the WSFS be able to run some kind of donations drive, similar to what AO3 does frequently, to beef up the coffers so they aren’t so dependent on the goodwill of others when a legal question actually arises?

    They could; they can also appeal to individual Worldcons which end up with surpluses (which, if they occur, are generally passed on to future Worldcon committees) for donations.

    There’s a long, complicated history which was before my time with an attempt at something called “WSFS, Inc.” which caused a huge amount of division and bad feeling among Worldcon members. I’ve done a fair bit of reading about it, and asked Mike Glyer questions about it, and I’m not sure I still really understand all of the issues behind it.

    Because of that, there’s a huge resistance among the membership — something I think a lot of AO3 members can understand — for anything which might appear to be (much less actually be) authoritarian. This is also why changing the WSFS Constitution and Standing Rules is a 2-year process — so that no one can sneak through some funny business, bypassing the approval of a significant number of the membership.

    There are a lot of loopholes and weaknesses in the Hugo Rules and WSFS processes (which is what enabled the Puppies to engage in vandalism from 2015-2017). This includes the current level of funding allocated to deal with IP infringement. It’s not that WSFS members are too dumb to know about these loopholes and weaknesses, they’ve known about them for decades; it’s that there’s a hesitance to try to over-legislate (something which often results in even worse unintended consequences), and it’s also that for decades, WSFS members have relied on what John Scalzi calls “nobody wanted to be that asshole” to prevent them from having to put into place the massive amount of rules and funding required to deal with an egregious attack or infringement.

  3. IMNSHO, this from JJ should be read over and over until it sinks in:

    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.

    This is the crux of the issue, folks. If a magazine wins a Hugo, that doesn’t mean every person who ever wrote for that magazine gets to call themselves a Hugo winner.

    If a play wins a Tony, that doesn’t mean every member of the cast gets to call themselves a Tony winner.

    If a movie wins an Oscar, that doesn’t mean the third grip gets to call himself an Oscar winner.

    It’s actually a pretty simple concept.

    @Farasha —

    You’re making a strong case that we (AO3 members) are just flat out unwelcome here.

    This actually made me laugh. Pot/kettle much?

    Remember, you yourself said this:

    And, correct or not, fic fandom is a contrary beast and our first response to being told “don’t do that,” especially by people outside our community, is to keep doing that but now even MORE, out of spite.

    It has been obvious from the start of the AO3 thread that outsiders are very much not welcomed over there if they dare to say anything that the AO3 commenters don’t want to hear. I was shocked at the attitude, but there ya go.

    @Klio —

    Maybe he could have done a better job, but I’m still shocked about the level of toxicity that people responded with. After reading many comments from more reasonable AO3 commenters here, I understand better where these toxic comments were coming from, but I still think you have to be exceptionally self-absorbed and lacking in empathy to attack someone like that for neutral, non-hostile explanations.

    Exactly, Klio! That was precisely my reaction as well.

    Now — can we all step back, take a deep breath, and admit that Mistakes Were Made on all sides?

    1- OTW put out a well-meaning but inadequate announcement;
    Kevin stepped in with a well-meaning but clunky addendum;

    2- Some AO3 commenters jumped in to ridicule Kevin instead of asking for clarification or simply noting the clunkiness or trying to understand what he was saying;

    3- Feelings were hurt on all sides;

    4- Many AO3 members did just what Farasha noted is a common trait for the community: their “first response to being told “don’t do that,” especially by people outside our community, is to keep doing that but now even MORE, out of spite.”;

    5- And things spiraled from there.

    Can we stop the spiraling?

  4. Since the explanation appears necessary I am leaving that, but have deleted the original “rip you a new one” comment, which violates standards here set in the Tank Marmot days.

  5. @Rob Thornton

    I’m not trying to be mean, but let me ask you a question: So did every short story on AO3 win a Best Short Story Hugo in this year? Obviously not. AO3’s infrastructure was nominated for a Hugo under the Best Related Work category and that’s it. If you want to view AO3 holistically, that is obviously your right. But that’s not how the Hugos viewed it.

    No, because they weren’t nominated for the Hugo for Best Short Story this year. But they are a part of the win for Best Related Work, not as works of fiction, but because the fanworks (again, not just fic) are part of the infrastructure.

    The thing I hear repeated over and over by AO3 users that doesn’t seem to be getting through is that we can’t conceptualize the archive as anything other than a holistic whole – trying to split it into “the infrastructure” and “the contents” genuinely breaks my brain.

    The infrastructure shapes the stories, and the stories shape the infrastructure. Our individual fanworks didn’t win Hugos, but our fanworks were absolutely part of that Hugo win, because the Archive infrastructure would not exist without them.

    See also: there is no “AO3 organization,” there’s just the AO3.

    @JJ Thank you. I thought that was probably where the language was coming from, it’s an entirely understandable error.

  6. @Cat Meier —

    The thing I hear repeated over and over by AO3 users that doesn’t seem to be getting through is that we can’t conceptualize the archive as anything other than a holistic whole – trying to split it into “the infrastructure” and “the contents” genuinely breaks my brain.

    Is a movie a holistic whole? I’d say yes. But does that mean that everyone who works on the movie gets to call themselves an Oscar winner?

  7. @longleaf:

    Hi. Um, the norms here. Hmm.

    Posts are posted in the order the poster hits “Post.” Some are delayed either because the poster is new and Mike Glyer has to approve them, or because they have lots of links. Once hand-approved they are inserted into the thread based on when they were originally posted. This does mean things can get missed in fast-moving threads.

    Occasionally posts are not approved, mostly due to abuse.

    If responding to someone the custom is to type @ and their username. I don’t know if this actually notifies them, though. Sometimes people quote the posts they’re responding to.

    Anybody can generally respond to anybody.

    Blockquotes are marked by the word “blockquote” in pointy brackets and closed by the same with a / in front of it between the brackets. You can also make italics and boldface doing the same with “i” and “b.” If there are more sophisticated ways of formatting posts I haven’t tried them.

    Posts will show up differently on mobile devices and desktop computers. On a mobile device my numbered list was stripped of numbers and spaces between items. I’ve seen another person’s list treated the same, but it showed up as normal on a desktop device.

    This place probably skews older. A lot of the older fans know each other or have heard of each other from long years in the field. Big names occasionally drop in with comments. The culture in general, to me at least, seems reminiscent of that of classic literary sff conventions, with that sort of humor and approach to literature and fandom.

    It’s probably a good idea to pay close attention to who is posting what, since the culture here is hardly monolithic.

  8. @Contrarius

    I don’t think it’s particularly fair when a few of us tried to have a level-headed and earnest conversation to bridge the gap, we’re still being judged by the standards of randos on the internet (this is what the AO3 comment base is, randos on the internet). I’ve tried to set biases aside and engage with Filers in a way that will hopefully open communication and explain why responses were what they were, and yet it seems that calls for civility and thoughtful engagement are not infrequently met with, “Oh yeah? Well your people behaved badly first!”

    Can we stop the spiraling?

    For the most part it seems that we have come to a place of actually discussing the legal minutae of trademark and speaking thoughtfully, not screaming our heads off. This really wasn’t the case yesterday, but it does seem to be the case now.

  9. @Contrarius

    This is the crux of the issue, folks. If a magazine wins a Hugo, that doesn’t mean every person who ever wrote for that magazine gets to call themselves a Hugo winner.

    If a play wins a Tony, that doesn’t mean every member of the cast gets to call themselves a Tony winner.

    If a movie wins an Oscar, that doesn’t mean the third grip gets to call himself an Oscar winner.

    It’s actually a pretty simple concept.

    Various people keep making this comparison and I keep having the same issue with it. I keep asking the same question and I keep not getting any kind of answer, but I’ll try again here.

    In all of those cases, there seems to be agreement that someone in connection with the project has the right to call themselves a Hugo or Oscar or Tony Winner.

    But nobody has been able to name for me a single human being who can describe themself as a Hugo Winner in this situation.

    And if that’s because we declined to fabricate a hierarchy of contributors for the sake of giving WSFS specific names to put on the award, then yeah, the award is kind of broken, but we’re not the ones who broke it.

  10. Cat Meier: And if that’s because we declined to fabricate a hierarchy of contributors for the sake of giving WSFS specific names to put on the award, then yeah, the award is kind of broken, but we’re not the ones who broke it.

    So is what you’re saying that the Hugo Awards are broken because 2 million AO3 members can’t call themselves official Hugo Award Winners? If so, I have to disagree. I can’t think of anything that would break the Hugo Awards harder than 2 million people being able to officially call themselves Hugo Award Winners.

  11. @ Peggy saves herself:
    What do you mean by “this corner of fandom” that has some experience with pedantic Standlee comments, File770 or AO3 or a sub-section thereof? Do you mean the toxic comments on AO3 reflect previous conflicts with Standlee? Because my impression was that he was an unknown entity there and therefore should enjoy the benefit of the doubt if he isn’t actually trolling. I don’t know any prior issues with his communication style, but from what I’ve seen on AO3 there was no malice or aggression or even sarcasm in his posts, so there can’t be a defendable basis for attacking him. If this is how supposedly enlightened, progressive people treat an overly earnest, perhaps not very subtle person, how would they treat for example someone from the autism spectrum who might have more pronounced social difficulties, or someone with a different culture and language background who just doesn’t get the problem?

    My impression is that at least some AO3 members are happy to cultivate their group-specific idiosyncrasies in a manner excluding others and to position themselves against other groups or individuals because it reinforces their sense of community, group identity and self-worth. Not surprising group dynamics, but it still sucks. It would be so much cooler if the different fandoms had discovered their common ground instead of offending each other back and forth.

  12. @Farasha —

    I don’t think it’s particularly fair when a few of us tried to have a level-headed and earnest conversation to bridge the gap, we’re still being judged by the standards of randos on the internet (this is what the AO3 comment base is, randos on the internet).

    No, sorry. You (generic “you”) don’t get to utter paeans to the sense of community on AO3 in one instant, and then at the next instant call that same community a bunch of “randos”. They’re either a community, or they aren’t.

    And conversely, you (specific “you”) don’t get to excuse the AO3 commenters as “randos” and then in the next instant turn around and castigate 770 commenters as if they were a monolithic community.

    Here’s the truth: both AO3 and 770 are communities. But neither of them are monolithic communities. Each have lots of individual variations. Now, over on the AO3 comment thread, something like 9 out of the first 10 responses to Kevin’s first post were either ridiculing him or applauding other commenters for ridiculing him. Does that sound welcoming to you?

    I’ve tried to set biases aside and engage with Filers in a way that will hopefully open communication and explain why responses were what they were

    And in large degree I think you’ve done a great job. But that doesn’t mean you’ve been perfect at it, and I get to point out those instances where you fail — just as you get to point out cases where I fail.

    and yet it seems that calls for civility and thoughtful engagement are not infrequently met with, “Oh yeah? Well your people behaved badly first!”

    Here’s how to avoid that: say something like “I know there’s been a lot of rudeness on our side too, but could we ALL try to stop making people feel unwelcome?”

    See how easy that is?

  13. @Cat Meier —

    (Why are so many people in sff named “Cat” or “Kat”? Could it be that the invasion of the SJW credentials is even more advanced than we think??)

    In all of those cases, there seems to be agreement that someone in connection with the project has the right to call themselves a Hugo or Oscar or Tony Winner.

    But nobody has been able to name for me a single human being who can describe themself as a Hugo Winner in this situation.

    JJ has already answered this. The person or people who get to call themselves personal winners are exactly and only the people who are mentioned by name on the official Hugo Awards documentation.

    And if that’s because we declined to fabricate a hierarchy of contributors for the sake of giving WSFS specific names to put on the award, then yeah, the award is kind of broken, but we’re not the ones who broke it.

    Just because an award doesn’t operate in the way you would like it to, that does not mean the award is “broken” in any way. And just because you don’t happen to like it, that doesn’t give you any moral or legal right to abuse it.

  14. I realize that no one cares what I have to say about it at this point, but I have reached the point of “So what?”

    There is a wide, multiperson discussion going on here, not private conversations between various pairs of individuals. When LectionaryStan, who apparently imagines themself arbiter of good manners everywhere, dismissively ordered me out of his exchange with JJ, yes, I was offended. Because it was very rude.

    LectionaryStan has since grudgingly conceded that they now realize I wasn’t being as rude as they thought. There is, of course, no hint of an apology for their actual rudeness to me.

    Further–no part of this discussion is actually about relative level of Google skills. It is, in part, about what trademark law, both black letter law and case law, actually requires. I made a relevant contribution on that point, which LectionaryStan prefers to completely ignore, ruling it irrelevant because they were talking to JJ, or because they were relying on Google and consider anything else a distraction, or maybe, just maybe, because it didn’t support their theory that no one can really know and it can’t really matter what AO3 folk (they can’t be members if there’s no organization, right?) do or say, at least as long as their hearts are pure or some such.

    There can’t really be an progress on communication if AO3 folk won’t even concede that how trademark law is applied in the real world, and that organizations losing their trademarks through failure to defend them, is a real thing with real consequences.

    As for AO3 not being an organization–sure, but OTW is, with a Board of Directors and everything. And AO3 is a project, that wouldn’t be achieving anything if it didn’t have a structure. It’s the structure and its features that’s stunningly impressive, and Hugo-winning. Not the fiction, which isn’t even eligible in the category AO3 was nominated in and won.

  15. @Contrarius:

    @Cat Meier —

    (Why are so many people in sff named “Cat” or “Kat”? Could it be that the invasion of the SJW credentials is even more advanced than we think??)

    I’m sorry, what?

  16. @Peace —

    I’m sorry, what?

    Mmm, sorry, that may be a bit of 770 culture that’s obscure to AO3 folks.

    A long while ago, lost in the mists of time (I’m sure some folks know the exact instance, but if I ever knew, I’ve forgotten), right-wing types of folks started referring to cats as “SJW credentials” (Social Justice Warrior) with the implication that right-wingers own dogs and left-wingers own cats. And around here, at least, we pretty much took it to heart — Mike even occasionally posts “SJW credentials resting on science fiction” photos of various members’ cats sitting or lying on sff books. We even have “alternate” credentials (dogs, rabbits, what have you).

    So I’m always amused at how many people in the sff community seem to be named Cat. Nothing nefarious, I promise!

  17. Unless I’m mistaken (and it’s quite possible I am), it seems like the last time a Hugo was won by a group with no one person (or small group of people) in the lead was just 49 years ago, when the Apollo news coverage won for Best Dramatic Presentation. Since a tradition in fandom is anything that happens twice, in 2068, another group award for some work is due (perhaps a novel written by an AI developed by a collaborative group of millions, across the solar system?).

  18. Peace Is My Middle Name: I’m sorry, what?

    This may have happened while you were on hiatus. Back in the Puppy days, when Puppy types kept referring to “SJWs” but could never seem to provide Filers with an explanation of exactly what an “SJW” is, Kurt Busiek said it would be a whole lot easier if we could all settle on a definition of “SJW”, and he suggested “people who own Siamese cats” (possibly because a lot of Filers have Siamese cats), because it’s a clear, easy, and (theoretically) unambiguous definition.

    So ever since then, Filers have had an in-joke about SJW Credentials such that you can tell an SJW by their credentials (which are often Siamese cats but can also be dogs, iguanas, babies, or pretty much anything else a Filer wishes to claim as a credential showing their SJW-ness).

    We even have a feature for SJW Credentials called “Cats Sleep on SFF“.

  19. I haven’t posted here in a long time, so I don’t know what’s up with the time machine, but something seems to be malfunctioning, because people are very clearly reading posts from alternate universes. That is only way I can understand some of these responses which make no sense based on the posts I see.

  20. Adding to JJ – and the credential joke occurs from time to time in Scroll titles, like “SJW Credential on a Hot Tin Roof” and the like.

  21. @Heather Rose Jones

    For whatever it’s worth (obviously I don’t know the full details of your situation), if you changed your mind Alpennia wouldn’t be the first fandom on AO3 to have fic by a suspiciously familiar name (or by a perfectly anonymous one, I’ll bet). The Laundry Files comes to mind.

    On the more discreet end if someone should wish to post a work on AO3 without having that work linked to a specific trackable account, AO3 has a couple of options to distance a work from the account that posted it, one option being to place it in an anonymous collection such as this one: https://archiveofourown.org/collections/Anonymous (That collection’s description mentions some limitations of this method, and IIRC there’s another one having to do with using the series option.)
    Another option is orphanning a work, which completely eliminates the work’s ties to any creator (outside of pure conjecture), but also eliminates the option to later edit or delete the work.

  22. @Contrarius:

    Thanks for the explanation. I vaguely remember when the cat thing started, but I think it might have been right around the time of the beginning of my hiatus from File 770.

    I’m not an AO3 person. I just don’t always get references.

    If I haven’t made clear, I’m a File 770 commenter who was away for a while and came back just recently, shortly before this kerfuffle started. I think I had vaguely heard of AO3 but didn’t really know much about it until it won the Hugo.

    Long-time posters may remember me.

  23. Cat Meier:

    And if that’s because we declined to fabricate a hierarchy of contributors for the sake of giving WSFS specific names to put on the award, then yeah, the award is kind of broken, but we’re not the ones who broke it.

    I don’t think the Hugo Awards are broken because this rare event of an entire online infrastructure and community of coders and users and taggers winning a Hugo happened. If it becomes less rare, and someone feels it needs to be addressed, then someone will submit a Constitutional update to the Business Meeting.

    ====

    LectionaryStan on September 19, 2019 at 8:22 am said:

    … I definitely have this thread bookmarked when people ask me what WSFS members might be like.

    When you answer someone’s question about what WSFS members might be like, please bear in mind that every single person who nominated AO3, every single person who voted for AO3, and also a good chunk of the people pushing back against the more undiplomatic reactions to the perceived and actual trademark infringement were also WSFS members. You’re surrounded on all sides by WSFS members who have opinions on this issue all over the map. Naomi Novik herself was a WSFS member, as was every single person who stood up in that auditorium in Dublin.

    ====

    jayn on September 19, 2019 at 8:27 am said:

    This on AO3 seems pertinent and helpful.
    (https://archiveofourown.org/works/20691011)

    The link jayn posted there is from Will Frank, posting on his AO3 account. Will is a once and future Hugo Award administrator, a Trademark lawyer, a member of WSFS, and a contributor to AO3. I highly recommend everyone read it.

  24. @Peace —

    If I haven’t made clear, I’m a File 770 commenter who was away for a while and came back just recently, shortly before this kerfuffle started.

    Welcome back! You probably did make it perfectly clear, and I just missed it in the crowd!

  25. @JJ: “$2000 and maybe you can pass the hat around later” doesn’t seem that much more in the way of support than “$2000”.

  26. I realise the conversation moved on while I was asleep, but I have a pedantic need to say:

    I am well aware which country I’m in: I am Australian. I like to think I’d understand Brexit if I lived in the UK, although maybe that’s optimistic.
    The WSFS holds no trademarks at all in Australia.
    Australian trademark law has no concept whatsoever of “dilution of a mark”. At the very most, if the Hugo Awards and rocket logo were trademarked here, the WSFS could seek to prevent me from registering, say, the Huggy Awards and a rocket-like logo. They may or may not win.
    IP law isn’t as simple as a yes/no question. The WSFS can argue in court, in various jurisdictions, that non-commercial use in the context of facetious tweets constitutes mark dilution, and/or that earnest use on Twitter constitutes commercial use in the form of self-promotion.

    The defendants can argue on the grounds of free speech, non-commercial use, etc. The court could decide either way based on the strength of the arguments; you could even see different conclusions reached in different jurisdictions, all of which no doubt have different standards and definitions for freedom of speech and “non-commercial use”.

    The only certain outcome is that the WSFS would lose a lot of goodwill, and in exchange, gain a reputation for being heavy-handed and humourless.

    (And now I must bow out, as work’s antivirus software has decided to stop letting me leave comments here, and I have to take that as a Sign.)

  27. Jake, the ways of non-Worldcon bits of WSFS having actual money or even a smidgen of power are just mind boggling to, well, me. But there is a loooong and storied history of not granting on-going power to anyone. That’s why WSFS isn’t a corporation, it’s a non-incorporated literary society, and the DEEP reluctance to incorporate even a tiny organization to hold the Trademarks for the purposes of being able to actually defend them in Europe was real.

    I understand why that reluctance exists. But there’s a good dollop of spiting the face in it and I wish it would loosen up already.

    That said, if the Mark Protection Committee really does need money, as it did when it registered WSFS marks in the EU, and in another instance where they had to defend those marks, Worldcons usually donate to the cause. No one WANTS WSFS to have to defend their/our Trademarks against infringers. It takes both money and people points that are precious commodities.

  28. @Contrarius

    No, sorry. You (generic “you”) don’t get to utter paeans to the sense of community on AO3 in one instant, and then at the next instant call that same community a bunch of “randos”. They’re either a community, or they aren’t.

    It’s a community in the sense that the Archive was collectively built and maintained by sometimes anonymous, sometimes not anonymous volunteers who were also active in creating fic, recommending fic, or otherwise interacting with the site. It’s a community in the sense that there’s a central location for gathering (the site) which contains social norms.

    However, the people who register on AO3 are certainly randos on the internet. I mean, we all kind of are. I don’t know you from Adam, and you don’t know me. I’m a rando on the internet who tried to knock politely, but other randos on the internet are not always, y’know, polite. It doesn’t mean I like, sanction, enjoy, or approve of the way randos on the internet behave, but I do expect it. It’s honestly more surprising to have a calm and rational discussion than the opposite. To be clear: I’m not making excuses. I’m saying that, quite legitimately, these folks are randos on the internet, we don’t know who they are. There’s no rhyme or reason to which part of the AO3 userbase (those who have actually volunteered time to build the thing or those who only registered for an account so they can create private bookmarks of stuff they want to find again) read that post or Kevin’s comment or replied to him first.

    No, it doesn’t sound particularly welcoming. But neither did the initial post that, in the way that it was worded, sounded like the WSFS had composed and asked OTW to release. Is it shocking that people (who, remember, may or may not be familiar with the way the Hugos are nominated or voted on or why, exactly, AO3 won one) who felt they’d been insulted were already defensive before Kevin even got there, and responded with what they saw as in kind? The same way, when Filers saw how Kevin had been responded to, they reacted with what they saw as in kind? I think over the course of this conversation (which has wandered in some circles), we’ve both agreed that the defensiveness and hurt feelings can be understandable, when looked at from the other point of view. Let’s stop litigating the same point.

    Here’s how to avoid that: say something like “I know there’s been a lot of rudeness on our side too, but could we ALL try to stop making people feel unwelcome?”

    I really feel like I’ve done this in one of my comments, but I don’t appear to have a comment history I can search through. It’s been a long thread and I’ve read and written a lot of words on it, so I don’t precisely remember. And I think it is fair to characterize my own experience of a place/conversation without speaking to something that was done on another site to someone else.

    To be honest though, aside from a few who haven’t made a great first impression, I haven’t found it all that unwelcoming. Y’all are just as tetchy when someone pokes you as we are, and the heels get dug in just as hard, but (also like us) it seems that when we can take a breath (and maybe go pet a dog), we can have good conversations from places of mutual understanding. And I might start hanging out here more often.

  29. @ ULTRAGOTHA

    It was actually WSFS members on Twitter who were upset about this that led me here, so I do know that. I’ll amend that to “what File770 users might be like”, which seems in the same spirit as people using the AO3 comment section to gauge what AO3 users might be like.

    I also really like this response to Will Frank, though be warned, it is a Twitter thread and not a full post response in the same format. I thought it was a valuable part of the conversation, and it is nice to know there is also legal justification for both sides. I think this runs the risk of “well, the trademark lawyer who agrees with me says this!” “yeah? well, the trademark lawyer who agrees with ME says THIS!” but I think it’s really important to see that there isn’t one single legal stance on this. The implied threat of “C&Ds that we really don’t want to have to send” in order to stop people from making jokes that might actually be protected is maybe not even justifiable, which I’m pleased to know.

    https://twitter.com/rahaeli/status/1174704957888638977

  30. @Lis Carey

    …AO3 folk won’t even concede that how trademark law is applied in the real world, and that organizations losing their trademarks through failure to defend them, is a real thing with real consequences.

    Please point out where this has occurred. For every single mention of trademark law I’ve seen, people have repeatedly agreed that it’s serious and depends on the rights-holder to defend it. The disagreement has been about what, exactly, counts as that trademark violation under the law, and right now the only person in the fray who has actually identified themselves as a lawyer has specifically refused, several times over, to identify the non-commercial uses such as the Twitter jokes as being infringing or non-infringing. That would be in the comments at this link (thank you again, jayn):
    https://archiveofourown.org/works/20691011

    On a rather more trivial, but highly amusing note:

    There is, of course, no hint of an apology for their actual rudeness to me.

    Gee. Fancy that!

  31. @Liz —

    Australian trademark law has no concept whatsoever of “dilution of a mark”.

    You might want to check out this document:

    “The Protection of Well-Known Marks in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa”.

    It’s a little old (2004), but I’m not going to invest the time to google up something more recent.

    Of special interest, the passage starting: “Australia has no specific anti-dilution trademark protection. However, Australia does have strong
    protection for both foreign and local trademark owners against traders who are using or seeking to register substantially identical / deceptively similar trademarks for similar or closely related goods or services.
    Australia also provides specific protection for well-known trademarks (Section 120(3) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth)). Australia is a party to the TRIPS Agreement and although there has been some debate on the issue, Australia is generally regarded as complying with its
    obligations under Article 6bis of the Paris Convention and Article 16(2) and (3) of the TRIPS Agreement. Because Australian trademark laws have provided relatively strong protection, the introduction of specific anti-dilution laws has not (at least until relatively recently) featured as a high agenda item. However, anti-dilution issues are increasingly gaining prominence for two reasons.[….]”

    At the very most, if the Hugo Awards and rocket logo were trademarked here, the WSFS could seek to prevent me from registering, say, the Huggy Awards and a rocket-like logo.

    It sounds like you’re making the argument that if the WSFS can’t legally force you to desist, then you have no moral obligation to care whether your usage may harm them.

    Does that really sound like an either morally defensible or mature argument to you?

    @Farasha —

    However, the people who register on AO3 are certainly randos on the internet.

    This still doesn’t cut it, Farasha. We keep hearing things about the AO3 culture — you have made statements yourself about AO3 culture — so you don’t get to suddenly throw up your hands and claim that AO3 is just a bunch of randos. Either there’s a culture, or there isn’t.

    Accept some responsibility for how the people within your culture are acting.

    If a commenter on 770 says something that seems especially egregious, believe me, other Filers will jump in and take them to task for it — just look at this thread for a few examples. But I don’t see much of anyone over on AO3 trying to defend any kind of culture of civility over there.

    But neither did the initial post that, in the way that it was worded

    Kevin’s post was entirely polite. I’ll remind you yet again of your own comment about how over-reactive and spiteful the fanfic community can be.

    And I think it is fair to characterize my own experience of a place/conversation without speaking to something that was done on another site to someone else.

    Not so much, when it appears to be laying blame on only one side for behaviors that both sides have engaged in.

    but (also like us) it seems that when we can take a breath (and maybe go pet a dog), we can have good conversations from places of mutual understanding.

    I haven’t seen many folks over on AO3 taking many breaths yet. Heck, the most recent poster on Will Frank’s post talks about how they’d love to see WSFS try to enforce their trademark because of how much backlash there would be and how much the Hugos would end up being ridiculed. Does that sound like someone looking for mutual understanding?

    And I might start hanging out here more often.

    You are always welcome! Just start checking out some of the Pixel Scrolls where we don’t have such contentious topics on the roster, and you’ll get to see more of our friendlier qualities.

  32. LectionaryStan: I also really like this response to Will Frank, though be warned, it is a Twitter thread and not a full post response in the same format. I thought it was a valuable part of the conversation, and it is nice to know there is also legal justification for both sides.

    That tweeter doesn’t seem to be particularly well-informed, given that they’re arguing that “Hugo Award” is not a significantly-well-known brand. The application for mark protection in the U.S. is before my time, but I saw the application for mark protection in the EU (it’s probably available for viewing online), and it included documentation for around 100 book covers published in a dozen EU countries going back 50 years which brag about being a “Hugo Award Winner” or “Hugo Award Nominee”.

    Someone trying to use a defense in a U.S. or EU court which claimed that the Hugo Award brand is not significantly-well-known enough to justify a suit for trademark dilution would fail really hard.

  33. That tweeter doesn’t seem to be particularly well-informed, given that they’re arguing that “Hugo Award” is not a significantly-well-known brand.

    In terms of level of comparison to the brands they mentioned, like Barbie, yes, the Hugo’s are not as well-known. My personal litmus test is my parents. Do my parents know what Barbies are? Yep. Do my parents know what the Hugo’s are? Not even a little. It was a fair comparison, so, yeah, I feel quite confident in their knowledge.

  34. @LectionaryStan —

    IANAL.

    https://twitter.com/rahaeli/status/1174704957888638977

    From that tweet thread:

    Attempting to chill constitutionally protected nominative speech about a registered service mark that is insufficiently famous for dilution protection is censorious legal thuggery.

    I could easily be mistaken, but I don’t believe fraudulently applying the label “Hugo Award Winner” is an example of nominative speech. So I’m skeptical about their conclusions.

    But I’d have to do some research to confirm my belief, which I’m not gonna do right now.

  35. @Contrarius

    It sounds like you’re making the argument that if the WSFS can’t legally force you to desist, then you have no moral obligation to care whether your usage may harm them.

    Does that really sound like an either morally defensible or mature argument to you?

    If the WSFS can’t legally force them to desist, then there’s a strong argument to be made that the usage in question has been deemed to not cause any legal harm to the WSFS’s ability to defend its trademark in the jurisdictions it has registered the mark in, which is what an enormous part of this debate has been centered about (that the WSFS must defend the mark or else risk losing it; the harm in question being that loss, or a contribution to that loss).

    And if it’s not doing legal harm, then… what kind of harm is it doing?

  36. LectionaryStan: I concede you could be right, although I don’t agree, for this reason — If you Google the term “Hugo Award” under News, you will find frequent references to it in mass media outlets from Newsweek to Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, and if you look it up in conjunction with “George R.R. Martin” (re: Game of Thrones) you will find even more. It seems very widely recognized. Barbie would be much more so, no doubt.

  37. @MRM —

    If the WSFS can’t legally force them to desist, then there’s a strong argument to be made that the usage in question has been deemed to not cause any legal harm to the WSFS’s ability to defend its trademark in the jurisdictions it has registered the mark in

    Ummm, no it doesn’t.

    It just means that the miscreant is out of reach.

  38. I’ve got to go attend another high school football game and watch my daughter’s colorguard unit in action.

    If I see a column of fire by night, I’ll know where it’s coming from.

  39. @Mike —

    If I see a column of fire by night, I’ll know where it’s coming from.

    One if by land, two if by tweetstorm!

  40. LectionaryStan: I feel quite confident in their knowledge.

    Someone speaking authoritatively is not the same thing as being an authority. Just because they personally don’t think the Hugo Award brand is significantly-famous enough doesn’t make it so. Given that they haven’t actually looked at any evidence of the Hugo Award brand’s fame, they can’t possibly be an authority on it.

    And they haven’t cited any actual credentials as to why they would be an expert on trademark law — they haven’t even stated that they’re an attorney — which is pretty strange for someone who is presuming to make absolutist statements about trademark law. Their Fanlore profile says that they are a “writer, vidder, developer” — which tells me that they have no business arguing with an IP attorney.

  41. It just means that the miscreant is out of reach.

    Okay, hopefully somebody can clarify this for me:

    It has been stated repeatedly that the holder of a registered mark needs to actively defend their mark in order to be able to retain the rights to that mark. This is clear.

    If somebody in (okay, I’m going to use Australia and the US an an example) Australia uses the mark, and is not able to be pursued by an organization that has registered the mark in the US, would this count in the US as the organization failing to defend its mark, and thereby contribute to the organization losing the right to the mark?

    If yes, that seems an extreme oversight in US trademark law. Or the trademark law of whatever jurisdiction we’re talking about in which the mark has been registered and is required by said law to be defended by the right-holder.

  42. Contraries:

    It sounds like you’re making the argument that if the WSFS can’t legally force you to desist, then you have no moral obligation to care whether your usage may harm them.

    Does that really sound like an either morally defensible or mature argument to you?

    Well, no, but we’re talking about intellectual property law, which in my experience has but a passing acquaintance with morality and/or maturity. I have no intention of creating a competing trademark, or sincerely declaring myself an individual Hugo winner, but legally there is currently nothing to stop me from doing so.

    Your link didn’t work, but going by your quotes, it boils down to (a) what I said about there being legal barriers to registering a deceptively similar trademark to one already registered; and (b) the subjective quality of whether or not the Hugos are “well known” as a brand, which is the sort of nebulous concept that serves to enrich lawyers.

    A lot of people are arguing here as if the law is black and white. If that were the case, the court systems of the world would be far less busy.

  43. @LectionaryStan @JJ

    Denise (the person linked in the Twitter thread) is one of the co-founders of Dreamwidth, and she’s not an attorney. She is, however, very knowledgeable on fair use and IP, for obvious reasons to anyone familiar with the history of DW. I also believe she’s a member of both the WSFS and an AO3 user (the latter I know for sure, the former may just be a past membership).

    And, that aside, I think Will’s refusal to directly answer the question over whether or not words in a Twitter bio can be seen as infringing and his “it’s complicated” responses make it clear that it’s just that–complicated and not at all clear-cut.

    Also, re: the Hugo trademark being well-known, I don’t think it would qualify as “well-known” or “famous” in a legal sense, since that’s generally reserved for brands that have massive cultural saturation, like Coke, McDonald’s, Mercedes, etc. If you pulled 100 people off the street and showed them the Hugo rocket or asked them what they associated the name with, I don’t think the majority of them would associate it with the brand, whereas they would with those other brands. Which isn’t to say it’s not well-known in a more colloquial sense, and especially among SFF fans and literary crowds.

  44. @JJ: Honestly, it sounds like they were correct in terms of talking about appeals to authority in place of other argument. The IP attorney in question didn’t even come down on the side of Hugo Winning claims being infringing, either. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with how they’re talking about it, or else a few people in this conversation would have to retract their posts, too.

    @TMax: Oh! That explains a lot, actually. Yes, okay, I’m even more confident in her knowledge about it.

    @Mike: I do agree it’s easily Google-able, but if I said the name of the awards, I would have to explain what they are to pretty much everyone outside of my nerdy online friends, and even some of them would need to be reminded of the specifics. To me, that is not a good case for being an ironclad super-famous trademark.

Comments are closed.