Embroidery Industry Makes the RIAA look nice!

It’s not just music: embroidery fans were being intimidated for discussing the Embroidery Software Protection Coalition’s intellectual property protection tactics:

The Embroidery Software Protection Coalition (ESPC) has dropped its attempt to unmask anonymous embroidery fans after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) intervened in the case.

The embroiderers used an online discussion group to share information about a long-running campaign to threaten purchasers of embroidery designs and software with copyright infringement lawsuits. ESPC filed defamation claims against some members of the group and then issued a subpoena for detailed personal information about every single person who joined the discussion group — whether or not they had ever posted a single message.

“ESPC should have never filed this frivolous case in the first place. But we’re pleased that ESPC now understands that it can’t use the courts to intimidate those who want to talk about ESPC’s ham-fisted tactics,” said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. “The First Amendment forbids such abusive use of the discovery process.”

This case is the latest in EFF’s long fight to protect anonymity online. EFF lawyers have represented or provided amicus support in anonymity cases in California, Colorado, and Delaware. Most recently, in Oklahoma, a school superintendent withdrew his attempt to unmask anonymous online critics after EFF filed a motion to quash his subpoena.

Whether or not defamation occurred, subpeonaing info on all discussion members is beyond the pale. Imagine subpeoning everyone known to have ever eaten at a particular restaurant because some of the diners said nasty things about a company. Frivolous indeed. Go EFF!

Social Sports Explosion!

Mashable runs through the many new social networking sites suddenly flooding the sports fans scene. Now there’s one for cricket joining several others, most of which have debuted in the last 3-4 months. How much is too much? How do fans decide which to join when there are so many to choose from? Interface? What’s on the front page? My guess: which one their friends use — or which ones the people in the online sports networks they’re already hanging in talk about — will be the biggest influence on which ones people adapt.

I suspect each will develop its own subcultural niches, some will fail, a few will thrive. Last time I wrote about this I said I was sure there was room for two. But surely there isn’t room for 7. It will be interesting to see which ones succeed and what they did that the others didn’t.

Lonelygirl creaters weren’t trying to trick their fans?

I’m already starting to feel a bit Lonelygirl15ed out, but had to comment on this set of quotes from the filmmakers:

The creators said Tuesday that they never intended to stage a hoax or trick people into believing their characters were real.”We never wanted to lie to people,” Beckett said.

“Our job from the beginning was not to trick people. It was to create a character that was believable,” Flinders said.

The trio began posting individually scripted and filmed episodes online and began incorporating changes based on reactions and suggestions from fans.

The result is part video game, where viewers exercise some measure of control over the characters, and part mystery novel, complete with hidden clues and cliffhanger chapters that left viewers wanting more.

Flinders writes scripts for each episode and the actress playing Bree delivers her lines with a persuasive power that still has some online viewers believing she is genuine, even after her creators posted their online confession several days ago.

Excuse me, guys, but when you have profiles posted on social networking sites and someone sending emails to the New York Times and signing them “Bree” when you know darn well the person you’re sending them to is questioning Bree’s existence, you are trying to trick people. There’s nothing wrong with fiction, and it’s great if they’ve got more viewers now that we know it’s fiction, but when you try to make a character so real that people believe she exists, you’re trying to trick them, don’t pretend otherwise.

I like the idea of a video series that encourages fan involvement, think it’s a great use of YouTube and MySpace, and am somewhat relieved to hear that this turns out to be indie guys and not, oh, Disney, but I just don’t like deception. Maybe I’m funny that way.

Hi LJ People!

Yesterday brought a Live Journal flood my way. Hi everyone! There’s lots of meta-fandom activity going on over there, and as someone who’s not on LJ, I know I’ve been missing out. Anyone game for offering a ‘fandom studies on LJ’ primer?

Shout to Henry Jenkins’s readers

Hello to those of you following Henry’s link over here. Obviously, I was quite flattered to find such a lovely plug for this site on his blog and appreciate your clicking that link.

When I was writing my dissertation on the fan community rec.arts.tv.soaps circa 1992 someone (Steve Jones maybe?) told me to get ahold of Henry, who promptly sent me the page proofs for Textual Poachers, which instantly became one of my all time favorite reads. Anyone who would compare texts to my favorite children’s story, the Velveteen Rabbit, is a genius in my book. If you follow that link you can read it and even see the original illustrations! Make sure you have hankies handy. In case it doesn’t go without saying (how could it not?), if you don’t already read Henry’s blog and books and are interested in fandom, you’re missing out on the main course.

As he notes, I’m writing a lot about music fandom, which forms the bulk of my own active engagement with online fandom these days, but I’m keeping an eye on what’s getting buzz or should be getting buzz around other media as well. My hope is that this site will eventually hold particular appeal for fans and/or professionals who are working with online fans of anything.

Please don’t be shy about jumping in, making recommendations for things I should write about, or just saying hi.