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February 15 2007

20th Century Fox crack down on Firefly content on YouTube. If you were looking for the extended gag reel (which wasn't on the DVD), you'll get the message "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox".

Be interesting to see if this is a one off or if it'll spread across the Whedonverse fandom on YouTube.

20th Century Fox have started taking action against people uploading Simpsons and 24 episodes onto YouTube (link).

I was just going to mention that about 24. Seems like the Fox legal machine is back in full swing with it's anti-internet crusade. Fansite owners beware.
I didn't even know there was an extended gag reel. :(

Oh well, is there a disk you can buy that has it on it?
The_Joker, this was made for the cast and crew after the show was cancelled. It got out onto the internet at some point. A similar extended one was made for the cast and crew of Serenity - Nathan has shown it on a couple of occasions but that has not, as far as I know, gotten out there yet.
Slightly off topic but does anyone else have trouble getting onto FireflyFans.net? For months now I've not been able to access the site. I used to check it out on a regular basis and had assumed that it had either shut down or changed web address but from the link Simon has posted, I guess not.

Don't know if it makes a difference but I'm from the UK and my ISP is Virgin Media (or more accurately NTL with a fancy new name).
I think the Serenity extended gag reel 'escaped' at the Browncoat Backup Bash, but never made it's way online.

Anybody looking for the Firefly one should just search Youtube for "firefly bloopers" anyway -- as soon as a company tries to remove something like this, another 12 copies will appear.

Roxtar -- I think Fireflyfans.net and certain NTL caches don't agree. See this page for details.
Luckily YouTube is not the only game in town. This news at least got me motivated to get it on my compy before it disappeared completely. *whistles innocently*

And Roxtar, fff.net is still there but they had a spot of bother a few months back and Haken just about had to rebuild it over the course of a long weekend. And he built it way better! Are you by chance using an old bookmark? That's the only thing I can think of since I'm not particularly web conversant. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can point you in the right direction if it's nothing so obvious.

ETA: Ah, gossi snuck in before me. He always tries to steal my thunder!

[ edited by cabri on 2007-02-15 15:20 ]
I think Fireflyfans.net and certain NTL caches don't agree

See, they sent The Operative but all the Alliance really needed was a mis-configured caching proxy to stop the signal. All powerful totalitarian regime my arse.
Does anyone know the official 20th Century Fox position on fan videos? Are they seen as fair use or does the production company turn a blind eye to them?
Simon, the words "FOX" and "fair" don't ever seem to appear in the same sentence. ;-)
I don't think the big media companies would know fair use if it bit them on the ass. Then again, a lot of anti-IP folks think fair use covers everything under the sun.
Roxtar, yes! I haven't been able to reach FFF.net for the longest time, either. I once looked up the code of the error page I get, and that seems to claim that my IP address has been banned, but that doesn't make any sense. (unless, of course, Haken really didn't like my posted fanfic. :-P)
Thanks, gossi. I should have known that it was an ISP issue. With NTL it always is!

And, cabri, it's not a bookmark problem as even trying to look at the link above isn't working for me. Thanks for trying to help though. Hopefully sooner or later I'll get a chance to check out the new look at FFF.net. :)
Telltale, I wonder if somebody with an IP address that is similar to our own has been banned from the site and we are being blocked because of that? I see from the location on your profile that you aren't on the same ISP as me but it's possible that it has happened more than once, I guess.

It's a pain, whatever the reason.
Oh, so Fox doesn't care enough about the show to support it in any way when it was on, but they care enough to bother shutting down fans' innocent fun? Typical.
I think the Serenity extended gag reel 'escaped' at the Browncoat Backup Bash...

It did?
marpocky, you took the words right out of my mouth fingertips.
Can't say I'm terribly surprised at 20th C's actions. They, like other networks and studios, are coming down hard on youtube. I wish I knew about fan made content.

On the fff.net thing, there are a few who have to go through a proxy server / circumventor / anonymizer in order to reach certain sites. Have you tried on of those?

I've been blocked from ign.com for some time - says I've been banned from the site when I've never posted there or even had a screen name. I have no idea...and I really like scifi brain, too.
Oh, so Fox doesn't care enough about the show to support it in any way when it was on, but they care enough to bother shutting down fans' innocent fun?


I don't think the Fox network would care one way or another about Firefly clips being online. The production company on the other hand, well that's a different story. The whole issue is muddied cause the extended gag reel was never put on the DVD. I don't know how protective production companies are over unseen footage but I suspect that could be partly why 20th Century Fox are taking this action.
As one of the B3 organizers I can say the extended gag reel didn't come out there. You may be thinking of Tim Minear's fan vid he showed at B3 and then later posted to YouTube.
Maybe this whole "20th Century Fox is cracking down on video clips" has a positive outcome. Like a special edition of the Firefly boxset or something :D

What? It could happen....

As one of the B3 organizers I can say the extended gag reel didn't come out there


I heard along the grapevine that somebody at the event (I won't say who) had given it to a fan on DVD.

Anyway, the extended Firefly and Serenity gag reels both contain unlicensed music and such -- 20th never obtained licensing on the material for distribution. Example - the Firefly one includes another TV show themesong, and a bit of Star Wars, if anybody recalls. The Serenity one includes Fillion dancing to a mobile phone ringtone, that kind of thing.
Maybe this whole "20th Century Fox is cracking down on video clips" has a positive outcome. Like a special edition of the Firefly boxset or something :D

What? It could happen....
"The Serenity one includes Fillion dancing to a mobile phone ringtone, that kind of thing."

So that is what he is dancing too! Just out of curiosity, anyone know the song it was?
mavourneen - "On the fff.net thing, there are a few who have to go through a proxy server / circumventor / anonymizer in order to reach certain sites. Have you tried on of those?"

I would, if I had a clue what you were talking about. :D

Sorry, my knowledge of the way the whole internet/website thing works is pretty much limited to typing out an address and clicking on the go button. Beyond that I'm lost.

"I've been blocked from ign.com for some time - says I've been banned from the site when I've never posted there or even had a screen name. I have no idea...and I really like scifi brain, too."

Well, I've no idea if the problem I am having actually is the same as the one that you and Telltale seem to be experiencing but I do know that I was never a member of FFF.net so I certainly have never been banned from the place.

Unless of course there is more truth to the Minority Report movie than we know and I've been banned for a post I will make some time in the future. Those damn precog mods!
The Serenity dancing thing, is that where the gag reel goes silent? Makes sense if there's a ring tone and they don't have the rights to it.

Love Mal appearing in several places as the camera pans over Jonathan Woodwards cofin.
Oh, so Fox doesn't care enough about the show to support it in any way when it was on, but they care enough to bother shutting down fans' innocent fun? Typical.

I think you're missing a few vital points here.

1) The goal of enforcing copyright protection isn't to prevent fans' fun. It's to protect their legal right to profit from their own products. You might think of downloading video unlicensed video through YouTube as fun, but if a studio lets activity like this continue without enforcing their legal claim on their right to control their own intellectual property, they could lose those rights entirely.

2) The decision of whether or not to support a TV show that may or may not become a success is very different than the decision to protect your right to profit from a show that is already a success. The people making those decisions are also very different. As Corey from Multiverse has said several times, everyone he's met at Fox these days are huge Firefly fans - the idiots who made the cancellation decisions are ancient history.

3) Fox is not this bad guy in this scenario. The shameful aspect of stories like this is the fact that YouTube (and other similar sites, liek Google Video) do not have mechanisms in place to prevent copyrighted videos like this from being posted in the first place. Rather than providing a tagging system like CraigsList does, so that users can police the site themselves and report copyright violations, to keep the site's content legally above-board, YouTube instead takes a very strict stance on what is required (in writing, by the copyright holder) in order to get anything removed. Rather than being proactive about providing a service that only allows legal content, they provide a system that makes it far too easy to get illegal content onto the site, and far too difficult to get illegal content removed from the site.

If we want Fox to grant more licenses for Firefly-related products, and to be open to the idea of negotiating other potential extensions of the 'verse, we need the Firefly property to remain valuable to Fox. Undermining their ability to make money off their property and weakening their IP claims does not make the property more valuable.

Is there an argument for Fox themselves making select footage available online, or granting limited licenses to certain uses of their properties? Absolutely. But illegally distributing their content really isn't going to help anyone in the long run.
"But illegally distributing their content really isn't going to help anyone in the long run."

Well, it seems to be the only way to jumpstart sluggish dinosaur multinationals to rethink their strategies and adapt to the times they're living in.
The goal of enforcing copyright protection isn't to prevent fans' fun. It's to protect their legal right to profit from their own products. You might think of downloading video unlicensed video through YouTube as fun, but if a studio lets activity like this continue without enforcing their legal claim on their right to control their own intellectual property, they could lose those rights entirely.

There is no such thing as copyright dilution. You cannot lose copyright from lack of enforcement.
Well, it seems to be the only way to jumpstart sluggish dinosaur multinationals to rethink their strategies and adapt to the times they're living in.


There was finally a good in-depth study that refuted the RIAA's claims of lost profits recently (P2P effect on legal music sales "not statistically distinguishable from zero"). People who can afford to pay for something they find value in will generally pay for it. Those who can't afford it wouldn't anyway and file sharing doesn't account for the numbers they are losing, nor the decline that's been occurring on an ongoing basis. Lack of actual artist development and the hit machine structure do, however. Nevermind their ludicrous account systems.

People will support things they enjoy and find value in, however they can, if the outlet is provided for them to do so. If they have no legal means to obtain something, they sometimes look to quasi-legal or outright illegal methods to do so. Especially in the case of things like tv shows and songs which are played over the air for free. Giving things away gets wider exposure and results in more sales, this has been shown time and time again. We see it in indie music promotion (personal experience), tv shows (Friday Night Lights' ratings have risen to this week's all time high since the shows started being offered free to watch on the network's website), everywhere. I could rant, but I fear I'm halfway there already and I'm at work, so... :)
Gossi, you're not thinking of the SLiTHER gag reel that Nathan gave to a fan, are you? Tim also gave away some stuff, but I didn't hear about the Sernity Gag reel being one of those things.
Dizzy, you little rascal. Possibly. It begins with an S, so it's similar... Or something.

Whilst I would normally tend to support a corporate stance on copyright, whilst downloading the internet myself (hey, I'm not waiting 12 months for US TV to reach the UK), I wouldn't in this case. It's not as if 20th Century Fox (still stuck in the last century by name) are going to ever pursue licensing of new Firefly adventures. Like, at all. Nor are they exactly loosing money from fan videos and things. I will say, though, the extended Firefly one does include material they haven't paid for, so it's technically a little naughty to be distributed.

I reserve the right to be annoyed if they start demanding retroactive licensing fees from Allyson for that Variety advert, though. :oP
"But illegally distributing their content really isn't going to help anyone in the long run."
Well, it seems to be the only way to jumpstart sluggish dinosaur multinationals to rethink their strategies and adapt to the times they're living in.

It's the quicker, more seductive way, perhaps. But it's definitely not the only way. If you put a little ingenuity into it, there are perfectly legal ways of stimulating corporate innovation as well. We're already seeing this with podcasting, where the independent content providers lead the way and the studios are learning from their success and starting to follow their lead.

On the contrary, using progressive technology to illegally distribute the studios content is just going to convince them that the technology is bad for their business and give them incentive to take an adversarial approach to it across the board. Instead, technologists should be trying to find ways to present solid business models to the studios on how they can profit from progressive technology instead of losing business to it. iTunes is an excellent example of this.


It's not as if 20th Century Fox (still stuck in the last century by name) are going to ever pursue licensing of new Firefly adventures.

You haven't been reading the news lately, have you? Fox has granted a license for the Firefly MMORPG, which is definitely a new Firefly adventure. And if this license does well, chances are they'll grant more licenses. More licensing deals means more cool shit for us to buy, which leads to a more valuable franchise, and more temptation to keep the franchise alive long-term.
The Variety ad is a little hazy, since 20th asked us to sign releases for it to appear on the Firefly DVDs, we're not really sure how they see it.
Fox has granted a license for the Firefly MMORPG, which is definitely a new Firefly adventure.

Which has, funnily enough, happened despite the extended gag reel having been on YouTube (among other places) for quite some time. Presumably then, it hasn't damaged their ability to make money from the franchise all that much.

Surely the issue here is that 20th must be seen to be acting against copyright violators or else they run the risk of being sued themselves due to the illegal (for distribution) use of, say, hypothetically, the Millenium Falcon and Star Wars musical cues and 'The Love Boat' theme and credits template ? Like I said, hypothetically ;).

And it's good to see zeitgeist, that's there's now evidence for what i've felt all along i.e. that people are not criminals by default, despite how they may be treated by the RIAA and MPAA.
On the contrary, using progressive technology to illegally distribute the studios content is just going to convince them that the technology is bad for their business and give them incentive to take an adversarial approach to it across the board. Instead, technologists should be trying to find ways to present solid business models to the studios on how they can profit from progressive technology instead of losing business to it. iTunes is an excellent example of this.


Couple of things... If you've been following this, they decided to ignore the technology or behaved with hostility towards it to begin with. They weren't convinced that it was bad by peoples use of tech to illegally distribute. People presented them with business models to distribute it themselves legally and turn a profit and they weren't interested until they saw it getting positive results elsewhere. They are very entrenched in their current models and they tend to ignore or react with hostility towards new ones. Plus groups like MPAA and RIAA assume all of their customers are anxiously and excitedly awaiting chances to be criminals and treat them as such, which, ironically, encourages them to behave as such.

iTunes is an excellent example of a closed system of DRM and why its bad, but thats perhaps a topic for another time :)
I don't really see the point in removing videos like these. I think that if something is commercially available on a DVD and placing material from it onto YouTube then it would be fair to remove it, because this would obviously have a direct impact on sales. But in the case of this gag reel, it isn't available on any DVD and it is highly unlikely it ever will be, so I can only imagine that it will help promote the Firefly boxset and make fans appreciate the show even more.
It's all raises some wonderful issues about 20th Century Fox having the legal right to Firefly and the fans having the moral right to Firefly. Both sides have valid claims which can conflict each other and on occassion can be a bit morally superior about it all with their "we know best so Firefly is ours" attitude.

Let the fans make lovely fan videos and 20th Century Fox have the right to keep unaired material offline.

iTunes is an excellent example of a closed system of DRM and why its bad, but thats perhaps a topic for another time :)


It's going to be hard to talk about Intellectual Property and not mention DRM. The Australian laws tend to be a little loosey goosey when it comes to the legalities of uploading and downloading. Basically if anything is done for profit it becomes illegal, if you copy or broadcast content for educational, personal use (including lending to friends) or to archive content it is totally legal.

Where it becomes problematic within Australian laws is it has become illegal to circumnavigate DRM!!!

Bistards!
Fox seems to have a history with not catching up on these things until much later and then getting in a fuss about it all. Will this lead to fan videos getting shafted on Youtube though? Since it's all going to be copywrited content except for the Serenity film sections.

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