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Pros novel: Angel in the Dark deleted - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
Pros novel: Angel in the Dark deleted
12/23/2017 Update: 

Her Other Fic Can Stay....But  Fanlore Links Needed
We heard back from AO3. The proof we provided that Thomas/Katharine wrote the stories and  that the account is hers was deemed "acceptable" provided that we link to the Fanlore pages that discuss the fanzines where the stories were originally published. So this may be a good idea for other fanzine fic writers who want to post their fic to AO3 and don't want to be challenged.

The Strike Against Her Remains...And Here Is Why
The warning will remain against her for having linked to a version of Angel in the Dark offsite and a second warning/infraction may still cause AO3 to suspend her account and remove all of her fic.  Because the Angel in the Dark page only contained an author blurb with  a  link and because the link went to a  PDF in a box.com account  it is considered to be a non-fanwork.**    This is where it gets fuzzy  for me...the link went to a PDF version of a fanfic which is located in a  box.com account so what they may be saying: for the purposes of AO3, a "fanwork" is  (1) only these types of works  (list of works) AND  (2) only if all parts of it, or  that are related to it, are completely hosted on AO3 (art and vids excepted).  So if she had posted the first 5 chapters on AO3, ran out of energy and linked to the rest of the story on another website, she I think she would have still violated the TOC (note: although I am a lawyer, I do not play one here in fandom, so if you have questions about AO3 policies, please contact your own attorney or AO3 directly).

There Continue To Be Barriers To Preserving Old Paper Fanfic  Which Fall Heavily On Aging and Disabled Older Fans
She will have a permanent mark on  her account. I take full  responsibility for this as it was my suggestion to her and my box.com account I allowed her to use.  I looked over the TOC in 2012 and missed  the sections that state that you cannot link to a fanwork offsite.****  I know  we can link to fanworks via bookmarks which is where I dropped the ball.  And I know why we did it...this is a novel length story of a paper fanzine published decades ago and  that  exists only in PDF format. At the time, 5 years ago, we were  just starting to scan old fanzine fic and were still learning how to convert them to editable text.  It is now 5 years down the road but it will still take me a week to clean up the PDF and struggle with the reformatting. This is a high barrier and it means that most  of the older printed fanfic will not be preserved on AO3, especially by authors who are aging or disabled.  The process for preserving older fanfic is long: You have to (1) find a copy of  a paper fanzine of which only 100+ copies were printed, (2) buy it or borrow it, (3) take it apart to scan (and then put it back together again), (4) get author permission to upload and now (5) convert it to HTML or Word before being allowed to list it on AO3. There are few fans who make it all the way through these steps (I know, as I am struggling with each and every step).  Last, there are the costs....the cost of the fanzines , the cost of mailing them back and forth, the cost of the scanner, the cost of the comb binding machines  and saddle staplers to re-assemble them, the cost of the software used to convert from PDF to Word...and the cost of time and energy to do all of it.

Angel in the Dark Can Be Reposted But The Comments and Kudos Will Not Be Restored
Anyhow, back to Angel in the Dark. AO3 will allow her to repost the novel as an HTML version on AO3 and I am working on it for her. And now, with Suzanne's permission, we will be able to offer the art. I have asked them to verify that the art can be hosted elsewhere and to be on the safe side, I have asked them to list websites that are not permitted to be used to host the art. I do not want to fall into another grey area because I chose a website that they do not approve of.***

Final Thoughts
I wish they had contacted her and given her time to replace the PDF before  removing it and deleting all the comments and kudos.  It seems drastic and inflexible and completely out of proportion. It feels as if the entire matter was handled reflexively and bureaucratically and after making them do all this work, someone has to sit in penalty box. 

And it feels like AO3 has lost sight of its purpose.

What Should Happen Next (12/24/2017)


1. Remove the strike against Katharine

2. Explain the extra hoops she is having to jump through to keep her fanzine fic online and posting the artwork for Angel in the Dark (while Abuse has told me what to do....I did not see these extra steps spelled out in the FAQ which is raising red flags. See sections below about the required disclaimers, the Fanlore links,  and the fanart citations and permissions statements)

Process Improvements

3. Have Abuse supervisors review the entire exchange to make certain policies were followed and see if additional training is needed.

4. Have Abuse improve their initial contact form letters and allow for flexibility/discretion to work with authors instead of immediate deletion which cannot be reverse and imposition of permanent strikes

5. Implement 2-stage deletion so AO3 can restore when they make a mistake/negotiate with the creators while something is in abeyance. I realize that we may not have enough woman hours to monitor and negotiate. But having an undo button when there is a corner case or a mistake would go a long one to ease the heartache.

Policy Suggestions

See if OTW can build on their existing hosting of PDFs of old fanwork like they are doing now for Jane Land’s PDFs. Perhaps something that Open Doors can look into as there will need to be permissions. I don't think there will be a lot of old timers flocking to do this, but it would be a great thing to offer to older fans and also give a pathway (albeit a tiny one) to preserving older fanfic. I have been working with many of them these past 5 years as part of the Fanzine Preservation Project so I have contact info.
Original post
For reasons unknown, AO3 has deleted one of
Thomas novels (Angel in the Dark). Since the work was originally posted in a zine, we could only offer the PDF (which was hosted on our box.com account). We submitted a request to Abuse to find out why the fic was deleted (there was no explanation given nor any warning). The feedback, comments and kudos have also been deleted.

If you would like to read Thomas' other works still allowed on AO3 go here: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Thomas/works Sadly AO3 is  challenging her other fic


Edited 1:  oh poor Katharine. Someone reported her Pros story as 'non-fan fic".* They also then challenged her right to post all of her fic online (I sent AO3 the lengthy email strings from 2012 where we talked back and forth on how to set up her AO3 account, what names to use on what fic, whether she wanted to include Suzanne Lovett's art in the PDF version of Angel in the Dark  etc. It may be hard to prove that she is the author of the fanfic she posted since the fic was published decades ago in paper format.  AO3 is basically demanding that she link "back to the original" place where the fanzine fic was hosted (I guess we could add a link to the Fanlore pages). I may have to contact the editors of Manacles Press and get them to verify that Katharine is the author. For some of her B7 fic, I can get Tashery S to write an email.. her other fic though...the publishers are long gone. 

And last, she now has a strike against her account.

What a horrible thing for a fan to do to someone who has been in fandom over 30 years.

Edited 2. Keep in mind that Abuse was responding to someone who reported Angel in the Dark as  a non fan work and possibly also to a report that the Thomas account did not have permission to upload her fanfic.  How they handled those 2 claims is the second half of my unhappiness. 
See this comment for a slightly more detailed overview of what Abuse is asking).

Edited 3: I was able to search through the notification email account we set up to monitor Angel in the Dark and found some of the deleted  comments. I added them to Fanlore. We had  set up the email account to monitor requests from people who might have problems with the PDF download....which turned out to be crucial as Katharine does not check email often and would have missed the 1 week deadline to offer proof that she is the author of the stories and she has permission to upload them.


*I think it is a credit to Katharine and Manacles Press that the zine was viewed as a professional work

**Abuse wrote: "...the work did violate the Terms of Service not because of the content itself, but because of the way in which it was posted. In this case, the only content hosted on the Archive was an external link to a PDF file. The page containing the link was not a fanwork and had to be removed."

***Well, this is clear as mud. In response to my question about what sites I am allowed to use to embed the artwork they wrote:

"Art may be hosted externally and posted along with citations and a statement indicating that you have permission to use the works."

 and did  not see the part that explains what "citations" I need to include. Nor does it describe where I need to include the permission statement . I am assuming I have to add this new second statement also to Notes section as well, along with the required link to the Fanlore page for the fanzine novel...this is getting to be insanely complicated and I am not finding it easy to find the info. How the heck is the average fan supposed to not fuck up?

Edited 4: Abuse has clarified somewhat about the fan art

The Terms of Service FAQ explain:

"May I post someone else's fanworks, giving them credit?

If you are an archivist seeking to back up your archive of works submitted by other creators, you can do this, but only by using our Open Doors project, which can assist you with importing and/or backing up your archive within the Archive of Our Own. Importing others' works without the involvement of Open Doors risks suspension or termination of your account. If you are not an authorized archivist, you may not post another creator's fanworks without permission."

Abuse then explains in the email how this section of the FAQ applies to fanart: "As it is against the Terms of Service to upload another creator's fanworks without permission, it is necessary to indicate that you do indeed have the right to embed images if you are not their creator. This can be done with a simple statement that the art was reproduced with permission from the original creator and, where appropriate or possible, a link to their online presence. Of course, if you are the creator of the images, then you may upload them regardless of permission or citation."

The "permission" requirement is pretty clear - a statement that you have permission to embed the art  which could be added in the Notes section.  Unfortunately, the FAQ does not tell you to include a permission statement when you are  embedding third party art nor where to include it, but  AO3 may be assuming this is something that every knows they must do...and knows where to do it.  Caveat: some fans might  might argue that "giving  credit" = the same as "permission statement" but I find this a hard sell.

The "citation"  requirement that I was told to provide remains murky. I think they are implying "citation" = a link to the artist online presence. Again, not clear and more importantly, not spelled out in the FAQ. There seem to be a lot of unspoken rules that if you mess up, will cause you to face the nuclear option (deletion). 

What  I would suggest is adding to the FAQ where they talk about embedding art: 
"When embedding art that you did not create (such as part of a Challenge or Big Bang), please be certain to include a permission statement in the Notes section where it can be easily seen, and where appropriate or possible, a link to the creator's online presence as credit. " 

The reason I suggest adding this to the art embedding section of the FAQ and not in the section about archiving someone else's work, is because embedding someone else's art is not the norm.  Most often the art is owned by the person doing the embedding, but in the case of a  Challenge or a Big  Bang it is not.

****Can someone help me find where the TOS/FAQ says we cannot post links to fanworks offsite?

So far I've found:

This: https://archiveofourown.org/tos_faq#original_fiction (which does not apply as this is not original fic nor do the following sections seem to cover this)


This section where they talk about linking to hosted files. I find this murky because you could argue that a PDF is not purely text (it can contain art and specialized formatting or a layout that AO3 does not support)  and since the AO3 does not host PDFs...etc etc. In any event because AO3 has a hybrid policy (post your text on AO3, OK to link to files not hosted on AO3) is vague. I mean if AO3 is going to be rule-lawyers, they need tighten up their TOS or else people will game it.

What kind of fanworks can I post to the Archive?

You can post fanworks that consist of text, images, video, or audio files, or any combination of these. You can also post Spotify and 8Tracks playlists.

Currently, the Archive is only able to host text. Other file types need to be hosted on an external website. You can then use HTML to embed the externally hosted file in an Archive post. You can also post a link to the site where the file is hosted. Refer to these FAQs for more help:

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1 comment or Leave a comment
catalenamara From: catalenamara Date: December 22nd, 2017 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
That SUCKS! I hope this is all resolved in her favor.
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