Sometime in the early days of blipfuture I read somewhere that community non-profit control of a bit of web was unprecedented. I picked that up and ran with it. A bit later I saw Veronica running with it so thought it must be true. I asked her her source. Me. Ah…
Thus are rumours started and urban myths created.
I have discovered that we are not the first. Nearly ten years ago a community of fan fiction writers who shared their writing on LiveJournal suddenly found that because those in charge of the platform did not like what some were writing, journals or parts of journal were blocked or deleted. Community members were upset and angry and many left. A bit later, after promises that such things would not happen again, they happened again. The community decided to create their own platform: Archive Of Our Own (AO3). The IT-savvy taught the others how to code and a community-created, community-run, non-profit, non-commercial, no-advertising site emerged. Using member contributions they bought their own servers so they could not be held hostage in future. They say,
‘We are proactive and innovative in protecting and defending our work from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. We preserve our … economy, values, and creative expression by protecting and nurturing our fellow fans, our work, our commentary, our history, and our identity while providing the broadest possible access to fannish activity for all fans.’
They now have over 350,000 users worldwide. In December 2014 the archive contained 2,000,000 fanworks.
Their board of directors is elected by the members. Membership costs a minimum of US$10 a year but you do not have to be a member to upload to and comment on the site.
So it can work.