The Archive of Our Own is a place for fanworks, including fan
fiction based on books, TV, movies, comics, other media, and real-person
What We Believe
- Our goal is maximum inclusiveness (refer to the ToS FAQ) of
content. Our software is open-source and available for
others to use if they wish to implement the code elsewhere.
- We are committed to defending fanworks
against legal challenges. Our position on transformative fanworks is
detailed in the OTW FAQ.
We have legal resources and alliances on which we
draw. However, that is not a guarantee that the organization can or will
fight each battle. The Board will take into account a variety of factors,
both legal and otherwise, in responding to a legal challenge. Further
information is available on the OTW site.
- We strive to make
the Terms of Service (ToS) readable.
We have tried to provide explanations for the more unusual legal terms. If
you have terminology questions not covered here, Law.com's glossary may
help, though we cannot vouch for the accuracy of outside sources,
including those referenced in the ToS.
There are five parts to the Terms of Service (ToS):
- General Principles
- Age Policy
- Content and Abuse
- Assorted Specialized
I. General Principles
A. The legalese: including where a lawsuit
would be filed, when, and under what law
The ToS constitute the entire agreement between you and
the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) and govern your use of the
(the Archive of Our Own ). It takes the place of all prior agreements
between you and the OTWthe OTW site
Works and Culturesdonations to or membership
in the OTWOTW elections.
the relationship between you and the OTW, and all disputes arising out of
or related to it, shall be governed by the laws of the United States state of New York (refer to the ToS FAQ), without regard to
its conflict of law provisions.
You and the OTW agree to submit to the personal and
exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within New York County
(Manhattan), New York, and to waive any objection to the laying of venue there.
The OTW's failure to enforce any part of
the ToS will not waive the OTW's ability to enforce it, and any
waiver with regard to a specific instance shall not constitute a waiver of any
other breaches of the ToS, even with regard to the same user.
If any provision of the ToS is found by a court of
competent jurisdiction to be invalid, you agree that the court should give
effect to the party's intentions as reflected in the provision, and that the
other provisions of the ToS remain in full force and effect.
You agree that, regardless of any statute or law to the contrary,
any claim or cause of action arising out of or related to use of the Archive or
the ToS must be filed within one (1) year after such claim or cause
of action arose or be forever barred.
B. You agree to the Terms of Service
- Section III of these Terms of ServiceBy
comment, image, item of information ,
tag, or any other form of content ("Content") to
the Archive, you state
that you agree to comply with the ToS.
- We may update the ToS as
necessary. If the ToS change
in the future, this is how the process will
work: Changes in the ToS may be proposed at any time by or to
the OTW Board. Proposed changes will be prominently disclosed on
and we will offer at least a two-week comment period for proposed changes.
At the end of the comment period, proposed changes will be voted on by the
Board. If the Board votes in favor, the changes will become effective at
that time. You can learn about changes in the ToS by visiting
the or subscribing to our .
Subject to amendments of the update
process by the OTW Board, this is the only means by which the Terms of Service
may be altered. The Terms of Service cannot be changed by, e.g., emails or oral
communications with you.
C. Potential problems with the Service
- The OTW provides services,
including the Archive of Our Own, on an "as is" and "as
available" basis. The OTW does not warrant (that is, does
not make a legally binding promise) that our services will meet your
requirements; that our services will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or
error-free; or that the results you get from using the services will be
accurate, reliable, or satisfactory to you. We will endeavor to provide
the best possible service to users of the
but many things (e.g., possible outages, hackings, etc.) are not within
our control and we cannot provide for all eventualities.
- Any material you download, view, or
otherwise access through
OTW services or sites is at your own risk. You will be solely
responsible for any damage or loss of data that results from the download
of any such material.
- The OTW expressly disclaims all
warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not
limited to, the implied
warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and
non-infringement. The ToS govern your use of the
services, and therefore no
communication from anyone associated with the OTW will create
any warranty that isn't expressly stated in the ToS.
- You expressly agree that
the OTW shall not be liable to you for any damages of any kind
(even if the OTW has been advised of the possibility of such
damages) resulting from the
including but not limited to your use of or inability to use the services;
unauthorized access to or changes in Content or information you submit;
and the acts and statements of third parties who use the services.
- You agree that the OTW shall not
be liable to you or any third party for any termination of or limitation
on your access to
The OTW may change, end, or put on hiatus services or parts of services at any time.
- You agree that the OTW shall not
be liable to you for any claim arising out of Content you make available,
your use of the Service, your connection to the Service, your use of
the ToS, or your violation of any rights of another.
In other words,
the OTW is not liable to you for allowing you to post Content,
download Content, or
other things with OTW services.
The OTW does not assume whatever legal risks you face by posting,
viewing, or doing other things with Content.
D. What you can't do:
You agree not to use the
(including the e-mail
addresses and URLs of OTW sites):
- to make available any Content that violates the Content Policy;
- to impersonate any person or entity,
including, but not limited to, an OTW representative, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your
affiliation with a person or entity (fiction marked as such, including
real-person fiction in first-person format, is not subject to this
- to forge headers or otherwise manipulate
identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any Content transmitted to
or through the
(headers and identifiers are defined as information actually used or
intended to be used to route or authenticate Content, and do not include
Content that simulates identifiers as part of a story, such as a fictional
- to make available any Content that a court
has ruled constitutes patent, trademark, trade secret or copyright
infringement (please be aware of the OTW's position on fanwork
- to make available any
unsolicited or unauthorized advertising (defined as solicitations
for direct or indirect commercial advantage), junk mail, spam, chain
letters, pyramid schemes, or any other form of solicitation;
- to make available any material that
contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs
designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer
or hardware or telecommunications equipment;
- to interfere with or disrupt OTWsites
or networks connected to OTW sites;
- to create an account if you are a resident
or national of any country to which the U.S. has prohibited transactions
by mandating a trade embargo, as detailed further by the State Department;
list of countries that apply the GDPR can be found here.
- to use OTW services to break any
law that applies to you, including any rules or regulations having the
force of law. Just by way of example, do not use the services to
disseminate restricted technologies or violate laws governing the export
of technical data. This provision is not intended to deal with matters
subject to the Content Policy, but the Content
Policy cannot cover every law in every country. As a general matter, the
Archive follows US law. Content that is alleged to violate the law of a
relevant jurisdiction will be dealt with according to the procedures
established in the Abuse Policy.
E. Content you see through use of the Service:
- The OTW or users of its services
may provide links to
other sites .
The OTW has no control over such sites, and you agree that
the OTW is not responsible for and does not endorse their
content or availability.
- You understand that the OTW does
not prescreen Content or review it for purposes of compliance with
the ToS. This includes but is not limited to
content, text, graphics, comments, or any other material. Content is the sole responsibility
of the people who submitted it.
You understand that using the Archive may expose you to material that is
offensive, triggering, erroneous, sexually explicit, indecent,
blasphemous, objectionable, grammatically incorrect, or badly spelled.
- You recognize that the OTW does
not endorse Content on the Archive in any way, except when material
appears as an official statement of the OTW. No committee members,
officers, or directors of the OTW are acting in an official
capacity when they post
commentary, or other Content of the type generally provided by site users.
- The OTW is not liable to you for
any Content to which you are exposed on or because of the Archive.
F. Valid e-mail address:
- As part of your registration, you agree to
provide an accurate and current e-mail address and to update the address
as necessary. If your e-mail address is inaccurate or not current, the
Archive may suspend your
Unless there are other circumstances, such as
voluntary deletion by a user, Content provided by suspended
accounts before the suspension will not be removed.
- By registering or otherwise using an
e-mail address in connection with the Archive, you assert that the e-mail
address is not listed on any child protection registry. (There are child
protection registries in Michigan and Utah, and our policy applies to any
others that exist or may be adopted, whether local, state, or national,
including any outside the U.S.)
G. What we do with
The OTW does not claim any ownership or copyright in
your Content. Repeat: we do not own your Content. Nothing in this
agreement changes that in any way. Running the Archive, however, requires us to
make copies, and backup copies, on servers that may be located anywhere around
- You agree that we can make those copies
and show your Content to other people, subject to your privacy settings. Specifically,
by submitting Content, you grant the OTW a world-wide,
royalty-free, nonexclusive license to make your Content available.
"Making available" includes distributing, reproducing,
performing, displaying, compiling, and modifying or adapting (refer to the ToS FAQ).
Modifying and adapting here refer
strictly to how your work is displayed—not how it is written, drawn, or
otherwise created. But because your Content may be transmitted over various
networks, we may have to make changes to the formatting or display of your
Content in order to adapt to the technical requirements of different networks
or devices. Multimedia content may not display properly on all devices. In some
circumstances, we may make changes to improve accessibility. For example, we
may automatically convert html tags to our standard forms (e.g., changing
"bold" html to "strong"). Or we may make special provisions
for accessibility, such as allowing you to use nonstandard fonts but also
providing an alternate format for those who cannot read such fonts. We may use
an internal search engine whose results display relevant snippets from your
User-provided tags are subject to
organization, which is a process we call tag wrangling; for a full explanation
of tag wrangling, refer to the
- Subject to the next paragraph of this
policy, this license exists only for as long as you choose to continue to
include such Content on the Archive and will terminate within a reasonable
time after you remove or the OTW removes such Content from the
Archive. We will always strive to make your Content unavailable to users
as soon as possible should you choose to remove it. Though removed Content
will not be publicly available, for legal and disaster recovery purposes
we may retain backup copies for longer periods.
- You may provide Content to a part of the
Archive that you do not completely control. For example, you may decide to
participate in a challenge run by another user. Or you may provide Content
to a part of the Archive where your Content can be deleted by other users,
for example a
page. Where this is the case, by submitting Content to those parts of the site,
you agree to the rules for removing and retaining such Content on those
parts of the site.
- You acknowledge and agree that
the OTW may preserve Content and may disclose Content if
required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such
preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to: comply with legal
process; enforce the ToS; respond to claims that any Content violates
the rights of third parties; or protect the rights, property, or personal
safety of the OTW services' users and the public.
II. Archive Age Policy
This Age Policy covers the Archive's treatment of users under the age of thirteen (13
In compliance with United States regulations regarding online
privacy for children, the Archive does not knowingly solicit or collect
information from children under the age of thirteen (13). Children under the
age of thirteen (13) are therefore not permitted to have an account or upload
Content of any type to the Archive. By submitting Content to the Archive, you
thereby confirm that you are thirteen (13) years old or older (refer to the ToS FAQ).
Asking a parent or legal guardian to upload Content does not
constitute submitting Content under this policy. If you are under the age of
thirteen (13), your parent or legal guardian may upload your Content
through their account.
A. Who runs the Archive
The Archive is a project of the Organization for Transformative
Works (OTW), which is committed to fan privacy. For more information about how
you can support the OTW, please see the OTW Website. This Privacy
Policy governs the Archive.
The TOS applies only to the Archive
identifying information submitted to us
and which we collect
when you use our services in the course of ordinary communications. If
you follow links off the Archive, you should review those sites' privacy
policies, which may be different, and for which the Archive takes no
C. About possible changes:
changes at any point in
the future, we will post the policy changes to the Archive
of Our Own. Such changes will be used only for information provided by
those who have visited, used, or accessed the site
after the effective date of such policy changes. If you are concerned about how
your information is used, you should check back at the Archive site
D. Archive adherence to the TOS:
If you feel that this
is not following its stated information policy, please contact Archive Personnel
contact Archive administrators.
E. What we will do:
- We may collect personally identifying
for a user account with the Archive, visit any of the
or use any of the Archive services. We may use third-party services to store, process,
or transmit data, or perform other technical functions related to
operating the site.
These services may include spam detectors, backup services, icon hosting,
and e-mail services . We endeavor to use only services Subprocessor
List with comprehensive privacy policies but cannot guarantee their performance. We or the services we use may store or
process your personally identifying information in data centers which may
be located in the United States or other countries.
- We will use your
address internally , and if you make
it public on the site, anyone can access
it and use it for any purpose. We may occasionally send e-mails
to you from the Archive . We reserve the
right to send you notice of complaints or violations of
the Terms of Service, as well as to reply to any e-mail
message you send to the Archive.
may retain :
e-mail addresses of
those who communicate with us via e-mail;
information about what pages users access or visit;
the IP address of
each visitor to our sites;
that a person sends to OTW or Archive e-mail addresses (i.e.,
any e-mail to an administrator or other official address).
preferences; customize web
content based on visitors' browser type or other information that the
visitor sends; and record activity at our sites in order to provide better service when visitors
return to our site. Cookies must be enabled for the site
to function properly with your computer. The Archive has no access to
cookies set by other sites.
- If for any reason you terminate your user
account with us, we will destroy active records containing your
information as soon as
reasonably possible. "Reasonably" here means no more than seven
business days from the termination of the account; however, we may have
to retain some information for a longer period as legal records . If we terminate your service, we
may retain enough information to prevent you from signing up for the
service in the future.
- If we receive a complaint about a
violation of someone's intellectual property rights, we
will disclose the information provided by the
rightsholder or the rightsholder's representative to the subject of the
complaint. If we receive a complaint about other matters, such as
plagiarism or harassment, we will follow the Abuse
Policy, which explains what information provided by the complainant
may be disclosed to the subject of the complaint.
F. What we will not do:
not give out any of your personal information or any of the
information we collect, except as provided under this policy. We will not use your personally identifying
information to market third party products and services to you .
We will not sell, trade, or rent your personally identifying information.
as provided under this policy, we will not disclose your personally
identifying information to any third party without your prior consent
unless we (1) are legally compelled to do so, (2) have a good-faith belief
that such action is necessary to comply with a current judicial
proceeding, a court order, or legal process served on the OTW, or (3)
are cooperating with law enforcement authorities. As to (3), we will
cooperate with all investigations conducted by law enforcement authorities
the United States of America when legally required to do so. Cooperation
with law enforcement authorities from other countries and cooperation when
it is not legally required are at our sole discretion. Our discretion
looks favorably on freedom and justice, and unfavorably on oppression and
- Unless legally prohibited, we will attempt
to notify you any time we disclose your personally identifying information
. In some cases, the information we have,
such as an IP address, may be insufficient for us to notify you.
IV. Content and Abuse Policies
We recognize that there is no such thing as a popular abuse
policy. By their nature, abuse complaints are unpleasant at best. And policy
needs to be applied by people, which always complicates matters. We have tried
to set out clear procedures to minimize and channel the inevitable conflicts.
The Content and Abuse
covers procedures, spam and
commercial promotion, threatening the technical
integrity of the site, copyright, plagiarism, personal information and
fannish identities, harassment, illegal and non-fanwork content, and ratings
and warnings. We have developed a FAQ page to answer additional
questions about Content and Abuse (refer
to the ToS FAQ).
The Archive does not prescreen for content. Complaints are
investigated only when they are submitted through the appropriate channels and
with the appropriate information.
- Submitting a complaint
Complaints may be submitted to our
abuse team. Except in the case of copyright
complaints, a complainant may submit a complaint via the Policy & Abuse web form , which
does not require identifying information. Depending
on the nature of the complaint, however, anonymity may
hinder our ability to verify the complaint or
affect the credibility of the complaint. In order
for the abuse team to
follow up on any allegation, the exact location (URL) and nature of the alleged
violation must be supplied in the original complaint. Repeated unverified abuse
complaints from the same source may be subject to summary rejection.
- Treatment and investigation of complaints
Only people who need to know about
a complaint will be informed about it. The details of any individual complaint
are confidential and must be used only in resolving that complaint.
The subject of a complaint may also
be among those who need to know about it. Only information provided in the
complaint will be passed on. The complainant has complete control over what
information is submitted to Abuse, and can submit
(Legal names and other information sufficient to identify a person in the
physical world will never be disclosed as part of a standard abuse complaint.
For further clarification, please refer to our
In general, the
abuse team will only communicate with the subject of a
complaint if there appears to be a violation of the abuse
policy, or if the abuse team needs more information to resolve the issue.
abuse team records the IP address from which each anonymous
complaint is submitted, to prevent misuse of the abuse system.
Subject to obligations of
confidentiality about specific complaints, the
abuse team may release statistics about general trends, such
as the number of plagiarism complaints made and the actions taken by the abuse team,
in public or to other OTW committees, to facilitate discussions of
policies, procedures, and trends in abuse complaints.
the abuse team determines that content
needs to be removed , if contact information is available,
the abuse team will notify the original
poster (the complaint subject), identify the nature of the problem
with the content, and
set a deadline for voluntary removal of the content.
An administrator may also hide content from
other users where appropriate. If the original poster does not remove the content
within the deadline, the Archive will remove the content.
In addition, we may remove content
immediately, without waiting for a response, if we are contacted by a
legitimate law enforcement agency or if we determine that the content
is threatening to an individual or reveals an individual's personal information
without consent. In such cases we will inform the original poster as soon as
possible. The original poster will then have the option to resubmit with the
abuse team may also determine that tags need to be added to
or edited in an item of content. For
more information, please see the ratings/warnings section.
violating the ToS is posted anonymously or
with invalid contact information, it will be removed without prior notice.
If the complainant requests
notification of the resolution of the complaint and provides contact
information, we will notify them.
- Submitting an appeal
The complainant or the original
poster may appeal a decision to the
abuse team as a whole. During the appeal, the original
decision will remain in effect. We will attempt to resolve appeals as speedily
as possible, but please remember that we are all volunteers. The abuse
team's decisions are final unless overturned by the Board at the Board's sole
discretion. There is no right of appeal to the Board. The abuse team,
however, may consult with the Board or with committee members authorized by the
Board if the abuse team decides that consultation
would help resolve an issue.
- Account statuses
"Account status" refers
to the existence of warnings on an account and whether that account has been
suspended, temporarily or permanently (refer to the ToS FAQ).
abuse team may issue warnings when it determines that a
violation of the ToS was minor or unintentional. More serious,
intentional, or repeated violations of the ToS will trigger
suspensions. A suspension will generally be for a defined period of time, such
as a month. The abuse team may also permanently
suspend users when it determines that such action is justified. Permanent
suspensions for violations other than spam or threatening the
technical integrity of the site require a majority vote of the abuse team.
abuse team's discretion will be informed by the nature of the
violation and the response of the user, including the user's decision to
voluntarily remove the content
that violates the ToS.
A user whose account has been
permanently suspended may not
rejoin under another identity.
Where possible, we encourage users
to try mediating disputes before contacting Abuse.
We provide tools for registered users to control Content that is uploaded in
their own spaces. For example, users are able to delete comments on their own
stories. If you are unable to resolve the problem on your own, you can file a
complaint with the
In some cases, objectionable
may have already been deleted before the abuse team acts. We appreciate good faith attempts to
resolve disputes, and in most such cases will close the abuse complaint
with no further action. However, we reserve the right to consider individual
circumstances, including whether the poster has engaged in a pattern of such
conduct. In such cases, if we verify that the original content
violated the ToS, we may still decide to warn or suspend the original
Penalties apply to users, not to
screen names/pseudonyms. Penalties are not retroactive: a suspended user's
not be automatically removed . Suspended users retain the right to delete
their fanworks by contacting Archive adminstrators.
B. Spam and commercial promotion
Promotion of commercial products or activities is not allowed.
Repeated identical or nearly identical posts in multiple places, e.g., a large
number of identical comments promoting a website, will also be considered spam
regardless of commercial content.
Anything we determine is spam will be removed immediately. Users
may be permanently suspended for spam the first time they post spam content.
In general, unsolicited commercial activity is not permitted on
the Archive. The
team has discretion to decide that a fan-related offer was mistakenly
disseminated and issue a warning instead of a suspension.
Any spam- or commercial activity-related penalties may be appealed
using the ordinary appeal process.
We may use automated means to filter out spam. If you submit
that is erroneously caught in a spam filter, please notify Archive
C. Threatening the technical integrity of the
Conduct that threatens the technical integrity of the Archive,
e.g. attempts to hack the
spread viruses through it, will result in an immediate account suspension and
deletion of any content that
is hazardous to the operation of the site
or to users' computers. Threats to the technical integrity of the Archive
will not be subject to the two-person review process described above.
Users may be permanently suspended for threatening the technical integrity of
the Archive the first time they do so. Such suspensions may be appealed using
the ordinary appeal process.
Uploading technically misnamed
content—e.g., non- text
files with a text
file extension name, used to disguise their actual
format—constitutes a threat to the technical integrity of the site.
D. Copyright and Trademark
Please be aware that the OTW believes that
transformative fanworks are legal; therefore, complaints based merely on the
existence of fanwork based on copyrighted content or mentioning trademarks will
not be pursued.
If you believe that your content has been reproduced in whole or
in part, without transformative use (transformative use is defined by
the OTW as adding something new, with a further purpose or different
character, altering the source with new expression, meaning, or message),
please follow our procedures for reporting copyright infringement.
The report must clearly and specifically indicate the exact
location (URL), nature, and extent of each instance of allegedly infringing
content, as well as the exact copyrighted material that is being infringed, as
well as full and complete contact information for the copyright holder and/or
an authorized agent.
Epigraphs and short quotations, including quotations from song
lyrics and poetry, are allowed. Content that is set within or draws on an
existing work is allowed. Reproductions of entire copyrighted works—whether
songs, poems, transcripts, or other material—are not allowed without the
consent of the copyright owner.
Plagiarism is an often-contested and fuzzy concept, and no
definition will satisfy everyone. Our aim is to be transparent and fair in
Plagiarism is the use of someone else's words or concepts without
properly attributing those words or concepts to their original source. Simply
finding and replacing names, substituting synonyms, or rearranging a few words
is not enough to make the work original to you. Deliberately writing a work
using the same general idea as another work is not plagiarism, but citation is
always appreciated. Generally, quotes from the source material (canon) on which
based will not constitute plagiarism, nor will obvious allusions ("Use the
Force, Luke!"). However, when in doubt, cite. Be aware that the abuse team may decide that your citation is not sufficient
to render the work your own; a mere nod to another author whose work you are
presenting as your own may result in a judgment of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is a violation of the ToS and will incur the
penalties described in the
As with all content that
violates the ToS, plagiarized content
must be removed. Depending on the type and amount of plagiarized content,
this might entail removing an entire piece of content,
removing only the plagiarized portions from a longer work while leaving the
original material, or adding citations.
If you believe a fanwork posted on the Archive plagiarizes another
work, please report the work to the
Policy & Abuse team. In order to allow us to investigate, please
provide a link to the work on the Archive, relevant excerpts, and a specific
citation of the original material (for example, a URL or a book
edition and page number).
F. Personal information and fannish identities
- The OTW is committed to
protecting the privacy of our users, including the separation many fans
choose to keep between their legal, "real life" names and their
fannish pseudonyms. Unauthorized disclosure of a fan's personal
Terms of Service. For these purposes, "personal information" may
include legal names and other information sufficient to identify a person
in the physical world that they have not voluntarily shared on the Archive
itself. "Personal information" may also include the identity of
the creator of an orphaned fanwork.
Harassment is any behavior that produces a generally hostile
environment for its target. This includes activities such as bullying and
hazing by groups of people as well as personal attacks by individuals. Not
everyone agrees about what is offensive and unacceptable. Individual users are
encouraged to try to resolve problems on their own before contacting the
Harassment is not allowed. Users engaging in this behavior may be
warned, suspended, or permanently suspended as described in the general abuse
When judging whether a specific incident constitutes harassment,
abuse team will consider factors such
as whether the behavior was repeated, whether it was repeated after the
offender was asked to stop, whether the behavior was targeted at a specific person,
whether that target could have easily avoided encountering the behavior,
whether the behavior would be considered unacceptable according to normal
community standards, etc. Additionally, making complaints that are both (a)
repeated and (b) baseless, particularly those targeting a specific user, can be
considered harassing behavior and may be deemed a violation of the ToS.
While these complaints will be reviewed on a case by case basis,
in general, threatening
be considered harassment, while content that
is merely annoying will be allowed. Please note that most statements like
"X is a terrible actor and should die!" are not death threats.
Writing a story where X dies as part of the plot is also not usually a death
threat. Content that is harder to avoid (such as comments on the target's
fanworks) will be judged more strictly than content
that is easily avoidable (such as stories).
The behavior of the original poster (the complaint subject) may
also affect the
abuse team's determination. If the
original poster repeatedly contacts the subject of the content
about the content
after being told to stop, harasses the subject, or requests that others harass
the subject, the content may
be considered part of a general pattern of harassment and be removed. Please
use your best judgment both when producing content
of this type and when reporting it.
A special note on RPF (real-person fiction):
Writing RPF (real-person fiction) never constitutes
harassment in and of itself. However,
that advocates specific, real harmful actions towards real people is not
allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, death threats and requests for
readers to harass specific people. If you find content
that you believe contains harassing or threatening material, please contact the Policy & Abuse team .
H. Illegal and inappropriate
The Archive of Our Own is a place for fanworks. Content may not be
uploaded to OTW's servers if it contains or links to child pornography
(images of real children); warez, cracks, hacks or other executable files and
their associated utilities; trade secrets, restricted technologies, or
classified information; or if it consists entirely of actual instruction
manuals, technical data, recipes, or other non-fanwork content, including
non-fanwork creative work (refer
to the ToS FAQ). Uploading such
is a violation of the ToS.
We may determine that we need to remove
to resolve a threatened or pending lawsuit . If so, we will remove the content.
otherwise violates the ToS,
removal for this reason
will not lead to a suspension.
If you believe
violates a specific law, you may report it to us. Please, however, read our offensive
content policy below.
As provided in part I.E.3 of the
Terms of Service, the OTW is not liable to you for any Content to
which you are exposed on or because of the
Unless it violates some other policy, we will not remove Content
for offensiveness, no matter how awful, repugnant, or badly spelled we may
personally find that
J. User Icons
User icons should be appropriate for general audiences. They
should not contain depictions of genital nudity or explicit sexual activity.
For more information, please refer
to the ToS FAQ.
- We will not require specific ratings or
warnings. However, a creator who chooses not to use ratings or warnings
on a fanwork must signal this choice (refer to the ToS FAQ).
- By default, all users will see the
Archive warnings and tags the creator has selected. Any logged-in user who
wishes to avoid Archive warnings and tags may set preferences to hide
them by default. Logged-in users who set their preferences to hide
information are proceeding at their own risk and may be exposed to
they would otherwise wish to avoid. Such users may change their
preferences, or reveal information for specific stories, at any time.
- Logged-in users may set their preferences
to indicate that they are willing to see mature or explicit content.
- Other users, including users who are not
registered users of the
who follow a link to a fanwork rated mature, explicit, or "not
rated," will be asked to agree to see mature, explicit, or unrated content.
The Archive software will remember a non-registered user's choice during
that user's visit, but will not retain the setting for future visits.
- The Archive uses the following ratings,
or the equivalent text as specified on the creator upload form:
- General audiences.
- Teen and up audiences.
- Not rated.
- As a rule, the creator controls the
In response to a complaint, the
abuse team may decide that a "general" or
"teen" rating is misleading. In such cases, the creator may be
required to change the rating. If the creator declines or fails to respond, the abuse
team may hide the work, set the rating at "not rated," or take any
other appropriate action, but it will not add any other rating.
- The meaning of "not rated":
Fanworks labeled "not
rated" may be treated, for purposes of searching, screening, and other
Archive functions, like "explicit"-rated fanworks. Thus, users may be
asked to agree that they have chosen to access the fanwork before proceeding to
- Warnings and Archive Warnings
- General description:
There are two components to warnings
on the Archive.
- Archive warnings: Creators can select
from a list of Archive warnings.
The list also allows creators to select "choose not to use Archive
warnings" and "none of these warnings apply," or equivalent
text as specified on the creator upload form.
- Secondary (optional or additional) tags,
including warnings: Creators can define their own tags, as seriously or
as humorously as they like. These can include specific content warnings.
The warnings policy only covers Archive
- As a rule, the creator controls the
Selecting "choose not to use
Archive warnings," or the equivalent text as specified on the creator
upload form, satisfies a creator's obligation under the warnings policy. If a
fanwork uses this option, we will not sustain any failure-to-warn complaints.
team receives a failure-to-warn complaint in other circumstances, the abuse
team may decide the absence of a specific Archive warning is misleading. In
such cases, the creator may be asked to add a warning or to select the choose
not to warn option. If the creator declines or fails to respond, the abuse
team may hide the work, set the warning to indicate that the creator has chosen
not to warn, or take any other appropriate action, but it will not select any
- The meaning of "choose not to use
Archive warnings" or equivalent text:
The fanwork may or may not contain
any of the subject matter on the Archive list. Users who wish to avoid specific
elements entirely should not access fanworks marked with "choose not to
use Archive warnings." A creator can select both "choose not to use
Archive warnings" and one of the Archive warnings in order to warn for some
but not all of the Archive warnings.
- Consequence of failure to use an
appropriate rating or Archive warning
In general, failure to use an
appropriate rating or Archive warning is not a violation of the abuse policy.
It is our policy to defer to
creators' categorizations, but we reserve the right to recategorize a fanwork
in the situations described above.
A recategorization decision is
appealable through the ordinary
abuse appeals process.
A recategorization of a fanwork
will not result in suspension of a user's account, unless it is a repeated
pattern for a single user, in which case it may be treated as grounds for a
suspension. Moreover, if a creator unilaterally reverses a recategorization,
without agreement from the
team, that will be treated as grounds for a suspension.
- Fanwork types
It is our policy to defer to
creators' categorizations, but we reserve the right to recategorize a fanwork
A manual recategorization decision
made by the
team is appealable through the ordinary abuse
A manual recategorization of a
fanwork will not result in suspension of a user's account, unless it is a
repeated pattern for a single user, in which case it may be treated as grounds
for a suspension. Moreover, if a creator unilaterally reverses a manual recategorization,
without agreement from the
abuse team, that will be treated as
grounds for a suspension.
- General tags
Some tags may be automatically
applied to a work. It is our policy to defer to creators' categorizations, but
we reserve the right to manually recategorize language and other Archive tags,
including fandom tags. A manual recategorization or removal of a tag will not
result in suspension of a user's account, unless it is a repeated pattern for a
single user, in which case it may be treated as grounds for a suspension.
Moreover, if a creator unilaterally reverses a manual recategorization or
removal, without agreement from the
that will be treated as grounds for a suspension.
V. Assorted Policies
A. Collections, Challenges, and Exchanges
- Archive users may create Collections
collections and encourage other users to submit fanworks to
maintainer can set any constraints they want on the collection,
including rules about anonymous works (see A.4 below) but must otherwise
follow the content
policy (e.g., if the collection content is explicit, it should be marked as
"explicit" or "choose not to rate"). The collection
maintainer may be able to ask users for suggestions for new fanworks
prompts, match participants with prompts (including contacting them via
the contact information provided to the Archive or to the collection
maintainer), and show the prompts on the Archive, following the general
rules governing works on the Archive. Where collection
rules allow, prompts may be anonymous or limited-visibility, as detailed
in A.4 and A.5 below.
challenge maintainer can
communicate with challenge
participants. The challenge
maintainer may have access to participants’
email addresses for this purpose.
- To be part of a
collection, the fanwork creator has to affirmatively
submit the fanwork to the collection.
maintainer will be able to remove the fanwork from the collection,
but not from the Archive.
- If the
maintainer has specified in advance in the collection
rules that submissions cannot later be removed from the collection,
the user who submitted the fanwork may not be able to delete it, but will
be able to orphan
it so that the user's identity is no longer associated with the fanwork.
- In order to implement certain types of
the Archive may allow works to be posted without making the creator
generally visible (which we call anonymous works).
- Anonymous works are not
works, though they can be orphaned.
- The creator's pseudonym will not be
publicly associated with the
while the anonymity is in place. For non- orphaned
works, the creator's pseudonym will be visible to administrators
(including members of the abuse
team for purposes of resolving complaints), co-creators (if any), and the
maintainers of any collection
of which the work is a part.
- If the
of which a work is a part specifies rules regarding anonymity, such as a
designated time for revealing authorship, the collection
maintainer may be able to control the work's anonymity consistent with
those rules. In other situations, creators may be able to choose
- In order to implement certain types of
the Archive may allow works to be posted which will not be generally
visible until a time set by the collection
- Once posted, the work will be visible to
administrators (including members of the
abuse team for purposes of resolving complaints),
co-creators (if any), and the maintainers of any collection
of which the work is a part.
- If the collection of which a work is a
part specifies rules regarding time of general visibility, the
maintainer may be able to control the time at which a work becomes
generally visible to Archive users.
- In the absence of an independent violation
of the abuse policy, the Archive will not intervene in decisions by the
B. Fannish next-of-kin
Registered Archive users may designate a fannish next-of-kin. A
next-of-kin agreement allows the transfer of
maintenance in the case of a user's permanent incapacitation or death.
Both parties to the agreement must be registered users of the
The Archive's role in this agreement is only to act as a
facilitator. If the person designated as the fannish next-of-kin activates the
agreement by sending a message to the Archive, the Archive will not do any
independent investigation to confirm the necessity for the transfer.
A fannish next-of-kin agreement is confidential and accessible only
by designated members of the Archive team, who may only use it for purposes of
implementing the agreement.
- Definition of
One of the goals of the OTW and the
Archive is to provide a permanent long-term home for fanworks. We also
understand that circumstances can arise in which creators wish to remove their
stories from the internet or otherwise dissociate themselves from their work.
Our Archive software gives creators the ability to anonymize or
fanworks along with the option of deleting them from the Archive. For a more
detailed description of orphaning,
please see Orphaning FAQ.
Users will have the ability to
themselves as long as they have a valid account . Users
are responsible for saving their
account passwords and
keeping their e-mail addresses
up to date.
Users will be able to have passwords e-mailed to them and to change the e-mail
addresses associated with accounts. However, a user who has lost a password and
has no access to the e-mail associated with the account may be unable to access
the account for any purpose, including orphaning
or deletion, unless the user can verify identity in some other way, as
may be difficult or impossible to reverse
If a user affirmatively
a work, any connection
between the user and the work will be removed. It therefore may be difficult or
even impossible to restore the link between an orphaned work and a user.
- Linking an author with an
As part of the OTW's commitment
to privacy, users are not allowed to
use comments or tags to publicly identify the creator of an
work after the work has been orphaned.
Users who add public identifying tags or comments after a work has been orphaned
violate the Archive's Terms of Service. Additionally, identifying tags or comments
will be removed.
- If the creator has an account, it is the
creator's responsibility to delete any
associated with the work prior
it, and to inform the abuse
team of any identifying tags that should be deleted. If the creator does
not have an account, it is the creator's responsibility to identify any
comments and/or tags that should be deleted as part of a request for orphaning
(see Policy on unverified identities and orphaning
or deletion below).
- Policy on unverified identities and
Our policy is that creators should
be able to
delete a work, and
they should also be protected against claims by non-creators. We will provide creators with several alternative methods of
confirming source, including using the e-mail address associated with the
fanwork; using information from a creator's own site or journal; or using an
e-mail address or other form of contact associated with a different copy of the
fanwork, including on the Internet
Archive. We will also consult with the maintainer of any collection of
which the fanwork is a part and take any other actions that seem likely to help
If the source of the request is
confirmed, we will comply with the request. When the link between the source of
the request and the fanwork's creator cannot be confirmed, and attempts to
contact the fanwork's creator through any existing contact information receive
no response, we will
D. Open Doors
Please note: these terms are designed for agreements between the
The Open Doors project of the Organization for Transformative
Works is dedicated to preserving fanworks for the future.
We are happy to help maintainers of typical fanfic archives
preserve or back up their collections by transferring the contents of their
archive into the Archive of Our Own. Other fannish projects that cannot be
integrated into the Archive may also be preserved as special collections,
resources permitting. Both kinds of projects may be featured on the Open Doors
ToS for Open Doors projects
- Maintainer Consent
The OTW will only preserve
collections with the full consent of the maintainer of the collection. The
current maintainer of the project must agree to the Open Doors ToS, agree to
any other conditions of the import, and grant us access to a copy of the
current contents of the collection. The maintainer must also transfer ownership
of the domain name or follow Open Doors' instructions if they want URL
redirects, and if such redirects are possible. (Domain name transfer is not
necessary if the maintainer is merely backing up an Archive within the Archive
of Our Own.)
- Transfer of Project
When the Open Doors Committee and
the current owner of the collection have decided to import an archive or a
special collection under the Open Doors project, the current owner will provide
a copy of the current contents and take any other steps necessary to carry out
Typically, fanwork archives will be
imported into the Archive of Our Own under a collection named after the
- URLs for Open Doors Project
For collections not hosted on the
Archive itself, the special collection or project may be available under
subdirectories or subdomains of an OTW site.
We may also preserve the original
project's domain name.
Archives that have been integrated
into the Archive of Our Own will also be listed in the Open Doors gallery.
- Role of Original Maintainer
The original maintainer of an
archive that has been imported to the Archive of Our Own will be invited to
moderate their archive's collection within the Archive of Our Own with all the
powers that a collection owner in the Archive usually has; so, for instance, to
decide whether a new
fulfills their collection's rules, or should be removed from the collection.
If the collection's maintainer no
longer wants to work on the collection, they can designate a new maintainer for
the collection, or close the collection to new submissions. Should
volunteer request to maintain a closed
collection, Open Doors will attempt to contact the original maintainer to find
out if they are interested in transferring the collection. If the original
maintainer does not respond with approval, ownership of the collection will not
- Collection Policy
Where possible, the existing
policies of the collection will be preserved, even if they differ from the
policies of the Archive of Our Own. Specifically, collections (whether
integrated into the Archive of Our Own or preserved as special collections) can
have limits on fandom, subject matter, sexual content, etc. that do not apply
generally. Open Doors collections may be mixed fan and non-fanworks; when we
accept a mixed collection, the entire collection can be added to the Archive,
and the standard prohibition on non-fanworks will not apply to the collection.
However, the OTW retains the right to remove content
from its servers if the Board deems removal necessary for specific legal
reasons, or if the content
violates the Content Policy (other than the prohibition on non-fanwork
Control over individual fanworks
contained within a collection rests with their creators. If the verified
creator of any individual fanwork contained within a collection requests its
removal or alteration, the OTW will always comply with such a request in a
reasonable period of time. We will also provide mechanisms allowing creators to
claim their fanworks from such a collection and if desired to attach them to a
new or existing Archive of Our Own account, edit them,
them, or delete them.
- Parting from the OTW
As noted in section 5, control over
individual fanworks contained within a collection always rests with their
creators. This section applies to collections as a whole. If the collection's
original maintainer decides that they no longer want to be affiliated with the
OTW, or the OTW board decides they no longer wish to work with the original
maintainer, the following procedures for dissolution will apply:
- Open Doors will delete the imported
archive's collection on AO3. Any works imported to the AO3 already
or anonymized by AO3 users will remain in the Archive under control of
the creators' accounts, or the orphan
account. Open Doors will work with the original maintainer to delete any
- OTW will give the original maintainer a
copy of the archive backup given to the Open Doors Committee, if
- OTW will not be responsible for helping
the maintainer set up elsewhere.
- OTW will place an announcement on the
Open Doors page indicating that the original maintainer has moved to a
new location, with a link to the new location if provided by the
- These ToS are written assuming
a single maintainer. If there are
multiple active maintainers of a collection, they must all agree before
the OTW will bring the collection into Open Doors. If some but not all of
the maintainers later wish to part from the OTW, those who wish to do so
can continue to work with the collection on the OTW servers, while the
OTW will follow provisions b. and c. for any maintainers who wish to move
the collection elsewhere. However, the OTW will retransfer any domain
names only to maintainers who were formerly registered owners of the domain
names at issue. For active collections, maintainers can use whatever
dispute resolution procedure they work out between themselves, provided
that they otherwise comply with OTW policies.
The goal of these rules is to be
clear about how special collections and other extant fannish projects might
come under the OTW umbrella while still preserving the autonomy both of the
original maintainer and of the OTW. We want to provide a permanent home to
projects, and preserve the results of our efforts, without the original
maintainer feeling like they are giving up all control.
- General provisions
Matters not specifically addressed
will be governed by the general Terms of
Material in this draft has been drawn from Slashcity,
NearlyFreeSpeech.Net, Vox Populli, imeem.