Franchise, Fanbase, Copyright, FIGHT!!!!

As a long time GEEK who has grown up with many franchises it feels like right now we are arriving at a point in time where Fanbase, franchise and copyright are about to collide in some super spatial vortex thingy of doom. Back in the day as a kid if my parents could not buy me the official merchandise, i would make my own, create my own costume, build light sabres from toilet rolls.

later i was able to express my creative inspirations from the franchises with local friends to continue and strengthen the fan base by making short movies, building models out of clay, paper and what ever. And there was no thoughts of copyright infringing, i mean who would know, and why would they care?

We arrive to today where i find myself in a situation where my friends and fellow fans are no longer localised to my town, they are world wide. My craft is now digital with the ability to strive for great detail. Sharing is easier than ever before with fellow fans. 3D printing is just taking off allowing replication of the things we think are kool. And we do it because we love the franchises we want to keep these sci fi worlds alive in our conscience every day because we are such HUGE GEEKS.

But we have arrived at a point where we conflict with the copyright system and its gonna start to get real messy, not just in Second Life, but all over the place. Just last week i saw a report on how 3D printing was taking off, and they talked to some guy in the UK who printed out models from a site. One of them was Yoda.

It’s interesting times ahead as Copyright tries to take on an ever growing wall of fanboys who are more connected and creative than ever before eventually toppling the attempts of copyright. Either that or the fanbase is obliterated by improved copyright laws that cause fans to scatter to the wind and die out. Nothing remains the same, i learnt that from star wars.

Maybe Copyright and Fanboys can come to some kind of agreement, a compromise. Except copyright has no soul born from greed compared to Fandoms soul of shared love, camaraderie and creativity.

If you are a Fan and you love your starships, you are gonna have to be a lot more thoughtful from here on in with who you share it with, especially if you charge money for your hard work.

4 thoughts on “Franchise, Fanbase, Copyright, FIGHT!!!!

  1. Yes, I waiting to see how things progress with the Disney/Lucasfilm merger. Lucas has for years given tacit approval for fans to make their own Star Wars films as long as it was all done without selling for profit. Disney on the other hand are notorious for unleashing the lawyers at the drop of a mouse ear.

    It will be interesting to see where this goes.

  2. In the 80s and into the 90s, I used to buy all sorts of Star Trek and general sci-fi things at conventions and through mail order. Most of it was books filled with diagrams and technical descriptions of how this stuff was supposed to work, or blue prints and comparison charts of spacecraft. I saw lots of things like resin-cast phaser replicas, original-series communicators, and so on, which were also clearly made by fans in batches (i.e. churn out a bunch of identical ones from a mold), and being sold at cons. I’m pretty sure most if not all of these were Not Officially Licensed… but the fans were specifically ALLOWED to make and sell these things, they just weren’t allowed to be sold through regular book stores and the like. This WAS the standard we went by for decades. So far as I understand it, this sort of gentleman’s agreement came about when in the 1970s or so (before I got involved in organized fandom), Paramount had gone out stomping hard on those making Star Trek stuff without going through them first… and it had blown up in their face, since they were going after fans making, say, tear-off notepads with Spock’s pictor on the corner and selling them to other fans, where the one doing it was making them mostly to show their love of Star Trek… and Paramount discovered that their stomping on these things were actually harming fandom in general, were turning large numbers of fans against them, and even causing some of them to leave overall Star Trek fandom in discust… so they backed off, and reached an agreement that remained in place after that for decades.

    So, along comes Second Life, and so I am told, very early on, Paramount and the fandom community decided to go build a Star Trek community in SL, and more than likely it was built under the above standard, where the fans SHOULD be allowed to make and sell stuff, so long as they weren’t trying to pass them off as being “officially Paramount produced” or such, and as long as they’re not trying to sell them in brick and mortar stores. In other words, treat SL like a Star Trek con, with dealers room selling the virtual equivalent of those Starfleet Medical Manuals and of those comparison charts in manilla envelopes and stuff that I bought back in the 80s and 90s.

    This goes on for most of the history of SL, and then one day… BAM!!! Suddenly one of the more prominent and respected makers of Trek stuff (but also of lots and lots of other genre stuff) gets an out of the blue DMCA on some of the Trek items he makes, and SECONDS after the DMCA he gets his account disabled, apparently because he didn’t instantaneously act on the DMCA and take those handful of Trek things off the Marketplace. (A few days later he got his account re-enabled, and was then able to go in and remove the items from Marketplace.) Now, he sends off a request for clarification to CBS (who now own Paramount) about what kinds of Star Trek stuff can be offered in SL, and gets back a less-than-useful response, blathering about no unauthorized uses allowed but not giving useful details on what is and isn’t authorized in this context.

    Thing is, yes they have to protect their copyright and trademark and stuff, under the theory that if you don’t protect your owned copyrights and trademarks, you might lose your rights to them… but there’s better ways to handle it than the totally binary way they’re suddenly treating it now. That, and it is VERY clear they’re forgetting decades of tradition and decades of how Trek fandom HAD been allowed with Paramount’s blessing to handle things.

    • Thanks Nathan for that summery of the Trek episode, will be interesting to see what happens with that. I think at the moment the copyright side of these big corporate entertainment businesses has become a huge massive tumour that blocks out any sense or reasoning within the business. It’ll all end in tears. Maybe one day we’ll see a creative revolution of open source franchises.

      • Well, I actually DID see a kickstarter project to create a group-owned space-opera TV show in the tradition of all those old Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon type serials, but updated. Visually it looked very interesting, and the rocket ships were nicely bullet-shaped with fins. Lemme see if I can dig it up real quick… (starts rummaging around in his saved-URL-shortcuts folders…) Ah, here it is, its called Space Command, and it looks FANTASTIC!

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