In recent days, there have been a number of posts on tumblr about third party apps that host AO3 fic on them. A lot of people are worried and even more people are pissed.
There is no need to send in emails to AO3 Support or to the Policy and Abuse team. They are fully aware of the situation and are probably drowning in emails right now.
Here’s what I know and what you can do about it.
Fluff app / Fanfiction Pocket Archive Library app / Archive Track Reader app:
These apps work as a sort of skin for the AO3 site itself. They don’t download works and redistribute them. They provide an access point to AO3.
The developers of these apps are making money from the app itself (through tips and subscriptions - both voluntary), which wouldn’t exist without the free content created by AO3 authors. Since people post their work to AO3 because it is free to access and hosted without ads, authors are understandably angered by this.
Because these apps are basically just a portal to the site, a DMCA notice will not apply in this case. All works currently hosted on AO3 will show up on these apps, because these apps are simply letting you view AO3 through their interface.
Woodsign company apps (including MCU, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Creepypasta, and more):
These apps seem to curate some fic from the various fandoms and rehost it. They allow users to read offline, so it’s possible they are redistributing it. In this case, a DMCA takedown might be effective.
This app developer is also making money by hosting fanfic that was written and posted for free on AO3. They have put up a paywall so that you can only access the complete fic if you pay for it or rate the app in the App store.
If you want to post a negative review, consider saying things like:
* these fanworks are free already at archiveofourown.org
* you can kudos, comment, bookmark, subscribe, and mark to read for later for free with an archiveofourown.org account
* you can also download fics to read later in various file formats - both pdf and formats that are usable by ereaders
* archiveofourown.org is a website with full mobile browser accessibility. Anything you can do in this app, you can do on the site - for free, and without ads
* the Archive is a fully-licensed non-profit organization run by volunteers, unlike this for-profit app
There is no official AO3 app. The website is mobile friendly and if you want to have quick button access to it, you can Add to Homescreen on your phone and you can click in just like you would on an app. None of these third party apps can provide you with AO3 support. Only AO3 can do that. The best version of the site will always, always be the site itself.
If you’ve read this far, please signal boost so that AO3 Support can get fewer tickets. And if you love AO3, consider donating to them. They accept donations year round, not just during their pledge drives.