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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 24th, 2004, 11:08 AM   #16
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Always happy to oblige. :)

I have a computer-game developer client that is very tolerant of fan-art, fan-fiction, etc. Though it's a copyright violation by its authors, they are familiar with, and even supportive of, a number of fan websites. I don't know if this is typical, however.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 11:19 AM   #17
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I've done a little 'loose' investigation since joining this thread - it looks like "tolerated" is as good as it gets!

I wonder if the guys got permission to do Thumb Wars? If you haven't seen it - do so! It's a masterpiece and wildly funny!
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Old March 24th, 2004, 11:21 AM   #18
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Ian, it varies from creator to creator. Lucasfilm endorses fan films but only under the aegis of certain rules. As far as I can recall, if you make a Star Wars fan film, you surrender all rights to the work you do to Lucasfilm.

Other creators aren't so friendly. As I recall, the owners of Buffy were really tough even on fan sites.

You can do a search on a certain Batman fanfilm that came out last year which spawned a large thread discussing the pros and cons of fanfilms. It was very well made and basically a calling card for the professionals who made it.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 11:39 AM   #19
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Found it - now waiting for download, thanks Keith!

Of course, I would never endorse such a blatant infringement of copyright ;-)

BTW, here's a link to the official Steve Oedekerk web site preview of Thumb Wars. I can only guess that it is an authorised spoof as they are openly selling it on DVD!

http://www.oentertainment.com/Insane...ars/index.html

BTW, what is an Air China Pilot?! (Other than the obvious)
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Old March 24th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #20
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I haven't read that Steven Oederk material nor seen much of "Thumb Wars" but I think it falls under parody rather than fan film. These are fine otherwise "Hotshots", "Naked Gun", "Scary Movie" and all the other Zucker Brothers' parodies of other genres could not get made.


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Air China Pilot .. that should be in a faq somewhere. Anyway, a couple years back you were allowed to have your own handle on DVInfo. So I chose Airchinapilot (on several boards, in fact) because I hadn't seen it before and it was around the time of the China - U.S. Spyplane incident. So it is just an unusual handle which Chris lets me keep because of whimsy.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #21
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Thumb Wars almost certainly comes within the parody fair use exception to copyright infringement. It's pretty funny.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 05:05 PM   #22
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I feel that you could easily make a parody or fan film from work done by companies or writers like lucas, marvel, crichton, or king. Illegal or not. it seems to happen all the time. i feel that once u try to make cash and get it distributed you may get a cease and desist notice or worse. but if its with a writer who isn't as established in film adaptations as the big guys, image may be everything, and if somehow a film where made from that authors work, and it got out, and it were bad, then it could hurt that writers chances possibly to sell it. i get that now...

another question is, how different is this then using music for our short films? legally i mean. i have seen butt loads of short films, that use all sorts of popular music, non of which i bet have paid for those rights. Another thing is spec commercials. is that any different? how come all of the people that i know making spec commercials aren't getting their pants sued off?
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Old March 24th, 2004, 05:42 PM   #23
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Answer: They are all taking a chance.

With music as soundtrack getting rights to use it in a soundtrack is not hard and isn't that expensive. So 'fixing' it is not that hard if someone taps you on the shoulder (though certain artists simply do not want their songs used to sell certain products or any products). And if the song has to be pulled, then you can license another song and perhaps re-edit. Hard but not a film killer.

People who base their entire production around a copyrighted idea or property that they do not own are risking what we have already discussed in this thread. So their risk is very great as compared to ripping music.

In all these cases, the risk could be even higher if the wronged party decides to sue for damage.

I've seen many spec commercials too and for the most part, they are not harming the brand they are appropriating. However, you can bet that a work that maligns the brand will be reacted to in a strong way.

By the way, I know a local filmmaker personally who did a fan film on what was then an upcoming movie. It got a nice link on a major fan site and he got some attention from it. The film took existing material and animated it into a 'preview' for the film. He got a note from the studio that was promoting it saying basically: 'aw gee that was nice but please take it off'. As I recall, he even got a meeting with the studio and a tour. He still had to take it off but in the end it was amicable. But many copyright owners act much more forcefully to protect their brand. Corporations are jealous individuals who can act unfairly, throw their weight around and frankly only care about themselves. You take a risk when you mess with their stuff.
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Old March 25th, 2004, 12:21 AM   #24
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"i have seen butt loads of short films, that use all sorts of popular music, non of which i bet have paid for those rights."

If it was screened at a festival, the producers paid for the rights.
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Old March 25th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
I feel that you could easily make a parody or fan film from work done by companies or writers like lucas, marvel, crichton, or king. Illegal or not. it seems to happen all the time. i feel that once u try to make cash and get it distributed you may get a cease and desist notice or worse. . .
Parody comes within fair use, which is a defense to copyright infringement. In other words, the doctrine exists to preclude infringement liability IF, in fact, it truly is fair use. You still might get a cease and desist demand, and get sued as well, but the parody fair use defense would preclude liability. Of course, you'll have to pay someone like me a hundred thousand dollars or more (frequently lots more) to defend the suit and raise the defense. And whether or not you do it for cash doesn't matter one bit. Do a search on my name and copyright and you'll find lots of threads where I discuss this.

Quote:
how different is this then using music for our short films?
Enormously different. There are specific requirements for parody fair use, and they're fairly complicated. At minimum, however, to be fair use parody, the original has to be the subject of the parody (and it is in Thumb Wars), and no more of the original can be taken than is necessary to "conjure up" the original (the so-called "conjure up test"). Again, Thumb Wars satisfies this test. Copying music to use on your video is not parody and doesn't come within fair use.

Quote:
i have seen butt loads of short films, that use all sorts of popular music, non of which i bet have paid for those rights.
You'd lose the bet. They all had permission. If they didn't, the cease-and-desist is already in the mail.
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