Talking about Marvel Trumps Hate on AO3

We love it when folks spread the word about Marvel Trumps Hate—the more people take part, the more money we raise, all of which goes to amazing charities!

We encourage all creators to shout from the rooftops (and their social media platforms) that they’re participating in the auction, so people can check out what’s on offer. We also really appreciate when creators acknowledge that their work was made for MTH to create awareness after the auction ends.

However, if you want to talk about MTH on AO3 specifically, there are a few things to keep in mind about how you’re talking about the auction and your involvement so that you don’t break any rules. We don’t want you to get into trouble!

You can:

  • Say that your work was created for Marvel Trumps Hate
  • Provide a link to the MTH Tumblr, Twitter, or website to explain why a fanwork was created (we also encourage you to post to the appropriate annual MTH collection and use the gifting function to gift a work to the person who won your fanwork)
  • Refer to your fanwork as a gift (NOT commission or charity/gift commission) for your winner

You can’t:

  • Say that you’re participating in a current or upcoming charity auction and link to your auction listing (or anyone else’s) in your author’s notes, footnotes, or elsewhere on AO3
  • Call an MTH work a commission anywhere on AO3—instead, say that it’s a gift for your winner for the Marvel Trumps Hate event
  • Solicit money by asking people to bid on you, encouraging donations to a charity and/or including a link to the charity or your auction listing, or mentioning that you take commissions (including charity commissions) on AO3

On platforms other than AO3, you’re welcome to talk up your offerings, link to the specific charities that you’re supporting through your auction offers, and share your (or others’) auctions by reblogging your auction post or linking to your auction listings on the MTH website.

Why shouldn’t you advertise charity auctions or use the word “commission” on AO3?

Using the right words matters.

MTH is proud to be inspired by other fandom charity auctions and positions itself within the long tradition of fans gifting fanworks and fan labor to each other. The auction event team members gift their time and talents to organize MTH, and fandom creators agree to gift their creative efforts in recognition of the donation that bidders make to the nonprofit organizations that are listed on our Supported Organizations page.

We want to make sure that people thinking about participating as creators and/or as bidders are 100% clear about what the auction involves and are confident about the integrity of the auction. One way of doing this is making sure that everyone knows how the money travels—directly from bidders to the nonprofit they’re supporting, without ever being touched by MTH creators or the event team.

That being said, AO3 is not an advertising space and has Terms of Service around commercialization of fanworks (Section I. D5) that forbids any form of commercial promotion on AO3, even if it’s for charity. This is not because exchanging money for fanworks is explicitly illegal but because the OTW legal team believes that one of the ways the archive can be protected legally, as both a collection of transformative works and as a nonprofit organization, is to have a firm “no commercial promotion” policy.

On charity events specifically, the TOS FAQ clarifies:

“The Archive will host fanworks of any origin, including fanworks created in response to charity drives or other challenges. A link to a charity drive to explain the origin of a fanwork is appropriate. Solicitation itself, however, should take place outside the Archive. We concluded that this policy was the easiest to apply fairly to everyone, given the wide range of possible solicitation activities.” (AO3 TOS Content FAQ).

If you’re reported by someone for soliciting on AO3 and found to be in breach of the TOS, you’ll be emailed by their team, asking you to remove all the “commercial promotion” material (i.e., all the money-related words like “bid,” “donation,” or “commission”) from the work, comment, bookmark, or profile in question. This includes tags, descriptions in author’s notes, and comments on works. The Policy and Abuse committee doesn’t screen fanworks; instead, all reports are made by users of the archive. That means that even though there may be places you violated these rules, the committee may not be immediately aware of it; however, as a violation can be found by a user and reported at any time, even from long, long ago, we encourage people to review the wording they used in reference to MTH—or any fandom charity events, for that matter—and make edits if necessary to be on the safe side.

Note: if this does happen to you, you can always appeal or ask for more time to rectify the issue so don’t be alarmed. All Policy and Abuse reports are handled by real people who are volunteers for the organization.

We ask that you follow these guidelines so that if you spread the word about Marvel Trumps Hate on AO3, you do so in a way that won’t cause you stress or trouble in the future.