Here’s a roundup of stories on the stifling of fan production that might be of interest to fans:
- In “A ‘Trek’ Script Is Grounded in Cyberspace,” The New York Times discusses the case of well known sci-fi writer Norman Spinrad’s unproduced 1967 script for Star Trek being resurrected by the fan-produced Web series, “Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II.” Unfortunately CBS, the current rights-holder to Trek, barred the script from being produced, and is currently negotiating with Spinrad to sell licensed copies of the script. The article’s author nicely sums up the core conflict for fans: “At issue is the extent to which fans can participate in a franchise that has yielded more than $4 billion in merchandising as well as 11 feature-length movies that have grossed some $1.5 billion.”
- However, toymakers can apparently be more difficult to deal with than movie studios. In a rather bizarre case, an Australian hobbyist blogger was apparently tricked by an offer of free merch from Hasbro employees into giving up his street address, which the blogger believes the Hasbro legal team then used to send him a cease and desist about photos on his site of an unreleased Nerf gun, insisting that he reveal the photos’ source. Though the blogger refused to give up his source and informed the Hasbro lawyer that said photos were easily accessible via a targeted Web search, Hasbro followed up with concerns about his access to other unreleased products, and then allegedly sent a private investigator or lawyer to confront him about the photos and products. Hasbro has also upset Transformers fans with their decision to restrict fan art being sold at BotCon 2012. As one fan commented, “It sounds to me like Botcon is eating itself. What was a fan con became a company convention and is now a corporate presentation that we are graciously allowed to pay to attend.”
- For fans who have never profited from their fan works, the Transformers case may seem out-of-touch, but it isn’t always rights-holders crushing fan spirits. A story that celebrates fan art, “Fan Fiction Meets Graphic Design in the Groovy Online Subculture of ‘Alternative Movie Posters'” nonetheless distinguishes between alternative movie posters, “unimaginative commercial posters,” and “the creepy/sad DIY fan art thriving on the Internet” of the Mary Sue variety.
- At least some artists not only recognize the value of remixing works, but also welcome what it says about their art. In this video, Gwen Seemel notes that not all art gets copied, and that which does is more likely to endure. What’s more, no copy copies exactly, and copying isn’t predictive of her own future work. (No transcript available).
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