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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Angel's lame! His hair goes straight up, and he's bloody stupid!"
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October 12 2007

Cancelled Buffy/Firefly screenings get media coverage. As the controversy rumbles on, a couple of mainstream media articles have surfaced. There's an interview with a senior regional marketing manager of Landmark Theatres and also a New York Magazine interview with the Buffy Sing-Along website owner. Update: Associated Press is now running with the story and Joss posts about it as well.

After reading the first article, I thought the exhibitors should be able to sue Fox for the expenses they incurred (not that they would since they would not want Fox as an enemy) but after reading the second one, it sounds like the exhibitors were probably never given anything in writing. It still really stinks for people to be given permission, incur expenses and then have that permission pulled at the last minute with no explanation. Bad business no matter how you look at it.
I'm wondering how long it will be before that wonderful "making of" Video will be pulled from youtube!
I wonder if there's some way around FOX. Like, a group of people rent a screen for a night and bring their own copy of the episodes. I have no idea if that would work or not.

It's a real bummer. I missed out on the Dallas screening a few weeks ago.
I wonder if there's some way around FOX. Like, a group of people rent a screen for a night and bring their own copy of the episodes. I have no idea if that would work or not.

Arguably, this might be considered a "non-theatrical" screening, but it still requires a license. (It's currently unclear whether non-theatrical licenses are still available.) Basically, the only way you can screen without a license is in the privacy of your own home.
This is such a bummer. The OMWF sing-a-longs were so fun, such a great new celebratory way in which the Buffyverse was living on and gaining new converts. I understand the necessity for ironed out legal agreements over copyright. I understand that Fox owns Buffy. But I hope that whatever has caused all this fun to be shut down so suddenly and unceremoniously after many months of well-publicized existence will be worked out. In the meantime, Clinton McClung, who scrupulously sought to play fair and got assurances of legality, should recoup some of his currentl osses by charging Fox for generating lots of publicity for their property known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I kid, but with a most bitter smile on my face.
Honestly, the fact that after carefully playing by the rules, he's in debt - and was likely hoping to re-coup and re-group with upcoming showings - I find more than a little disturbing.

*thinks out loud...*

I dunno - I'm crap at this - but I wonder if something couldn't be done?...
Hey Theonetruebix, if you are showing it at a private venue you are okay. If I rent a ballroom for 50 of my closest Browncoats and I bring my DVDs, and I don't charge anyone, I'm okay. The Sing-Along charged a fee, that's the difference.
Dietcoke, nothing I read about licensing says that. For example, a private club showing movies needs a non-theatrical license, which is a comparable situation to privately renting a ballroom. Charging a fee is irrelevant.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2007-10-12 18:36 ]
Thank God I got to see it here in Dallas a few weekends ago. That would have crushed a bad way.
I hope the fans who had planned on seeing Buffy at the Tivoli this weekend will go to the free Serenity screening instead, and that Landmark will do this at all the planned Buffy showings. It'd be a great opportunity to strengthen Whedonverse ties. :)
Yep, charging money or being a private club is irrelevant (at least under UK law). Over here, the warnings on DVDs explicitly mention that it's illegal to show films in public even including places like schools and (bizarrely) oil rigs.

And i'm with QuoterGal (in that i'm crap at these things, with, in my case, the added consideration of also being lazy and apathetic ;) but if this chap (or someone on his behalf) were to set up a Paypal account or whatever, i'd chuck him a fiver. Seems a bit off that he's in personal financial trouble because a) he was trying to give folk a good time and b) corporations suck.
Any showing in the public is subject to licencing. I work at a college library, and we don't allow students to watch movies on the library floor--with headsets, in study carrels--because it's considered a public showing. Most of these movies are required viewing for classes, and we can't even claim Fair Use.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2007-10-12 21:33 ]
I'm hoping this gets settled quickly. I have no doubt that if it does and Fox allows the performances again for a reasonable rate, the gentleman in question will have audiences to fill the houses and be out of debt. Time is the problem.
Well the story is now being carried over the wires. Which is good.
That wire report is confusing, because it focuses on the singalong, and Fox's argument doesn't appear to necessarily apply to the original cancellation we heard of, Parkway Speakeasy's monthly events.
Sadly, I can back b!x up on this: we got reemed for allowing Bronzers to do a sing-a-long of OMWF in our 'official' suite at the PBP. Sigh... sometimes, the world is just a huge pain in the butt. :-P
One thing of interest, however:

Chris Alexander, a spokesman for the studio, said that "significant payments" would have to be made to Hollywood unions for the show to be screened in movie theaters, which is a highly unusual arrangement anyway and usually reserved for situations like one-time charity events.

Of interest because OMWF showings have already been incorporated into some Can't Stop the Serenity events. So perhaps there's a slim chance that such a thing could still happen, for those cities interested, in which case there'd at least be some way for such OMWF showings to occur.
Oh lord..
First the RIAA suing that woman...
Now this.
These people NEED to stop this crap.

It's horrible.
As of this Time Stamp, the story is on Yahoo!'s home page.
These people NEED to stop this crap.

Thing is, if I had a higher degree of trust in Fox, I would tend to agree with the rationale as given in the AP article: The people who make these television shows aren't getting paid as if the things will run in theaters. If they are being shown to the public in theaters, I think there's a legitimate issue to address.

I'm just not convinced yet that Fox will address it in such a way as to actually result in the people who make the shows getting more money, rather than the company getting more money.
I'm confused. If Mr. McClung got some type of licensing arrangement, how exactly are the sing-a-longs going beyond that arrangement? Am I missing something here?
Well that wire article sounds even worse. Damn.
deepgirl187, my assumption at this point is that the deal between Fox and Criterion, when first constructed, never directly envisioned theatrical showings of TV shows of the type or at the scale that we've been seeing the last couple of years. And so, and again this is my assumption, that deal likely never expressly addressed the matter -- probably not explicitly allowed but not explicitly disallowed either.

But I suppose we'll have to wait and see if Criterion has anything to say about Fox's statement.
I also saw this on Yahoo. So, according to the spokesman, it's the unions' fault? The fact that this comes just as the WGA is pondering a possible strike makes me think the two are connected, while we suffer for this.
Reluctantly I do see 20th/Fox's point. Residuals must be very different animals depending on whether they're for a TV series or a theatrical film. I bet it's not even covered in their contracts.
Well, now that this has made the wires, something can be done. I bet the unions can make an arrangement, too. I remember that there used to be a "Sound Of Music" sing-a-long, where people could sing along with the music. That was done in a few cities. The OMWF shows are different, but clearly something can be done.
"We have to protect our interests, and that's what we're doing," Fox spokesman Chris Alexander tells the Associated Press. "There are plenty of legal ways for fans to enjoy Buffy, but this particular event is not going to be possible at this time."

Ugh. That's all I can say to that. Ugh.
This is yet another example of the entertainment industry not having kept pace with the needs of the viewing public.
The same with file sharing, this problem has been brewing for years and it was never considered a priority by the companies until it translated to $$$$ terms.
The sad thing is that those screening the shows or running Sing-A-Longs are doing nothing but building support for shows that should, technically, be dead in the water. Support that shows there is still a market for merchandise and comic goodness. I believe that there's an analogy about noses and faces that covers it well...
I'm glad that I was able to make one of the last showings of the OMWF sing-alongs last month in San Francisco, and saddened that the guy who ran the whole shindig -- who put his own money and efforts into it -- is getting screwed. It's just an unsavory situation all over.
I do find it annoying, though, that the press is picking this up as "Fox cancels the musical" rather than "Fox cancels everything". There's a much wider impact here than just the touring OMWF show. (As evidenced, of course, by the fact that we first learned of this not because of the Musical, but because of the Buffy/Firefly stuff in California.)
Americans in general are afflicted with Rampant Lawyerism.

Rampant Lawyerism (RpLsm) is an odd disease in that one does not know he/she is suffering from it until they are having too much fun celebrating something they enjoy and feeling far too good about said fun. Sufferers of RpLsm usually have to be informed by mail that they are afflicted at all.

The disease is transferred by what are known as Cease and Desist letters* which copiously refer to such concepts suchs as 'property', 'intellectual property', 'ownership' and 'copyrights' or 'trademarks'... words that inhibit the body's natural ability to produce fun by viciously attacking the fun gland itself.

Those afflicted with RpLsm are not actually carriers. Actual carriers of the disease (or more accurately couriers) are strangely unafflicted themselves though they are spreading a nasty ailment. This is not due to some kind of natural resistance to the disorder so much as a total obliviousness to it. RpLsm couriers deliver this disease directly to those who become afflicted to it (usually in a manila envelope in a leather briefcase).

RpLsm can afflict you regardless of whether or not you open the door when the courier rings or whether you are even home.

Many believe this makes RpLsm the creepiest of all diseases.

*Point of interest: Cease and desist is an anagram of a diseased scent. That smell... wait for it...
Re: Public exhibitions

I wonder if the theory that an exhibition in a closed venue is public has ever been challenged? That is, if the attendees belong to some sort of group and the exhibition is not open to the public at large. Might be a loophole, here. After all, at least one U.S. State Supreme Court has ruled that sex in a public place is not automatically public sex if the participants take measures to exclude the public (e.g. locking the bathroom door). By extension, might not an exhibition in a public place be private if it is restricted, say, to the "OMWF Fan Club"?

Just wonderin'
Every article makes this more confusing. Is there some pre-existing arrangement with the WGA that gives them a slice of TV shows shown in theaters that they're just now claiming? Or is Fox assuming that the there will be a new agreement with the writers that will cost them more? Or are the writers a complete red herring? I wish the WGA would weigh in on this. Or maybe just one of their members who post here from time to time?
Wm54, those situations, while amusing, really aren't comparable. The issue here is that it's someone else's property being screened for a group of people outside the home, which inherently raises issues of copyright and licensing.

dreamlogic, we still don't even know if this has anything whatsoever to do with the WGA issue.
Well, yeah, that's what I meant by "red herring."
There's an article on E!Online as well... kinda random picture they chose to go with it.

This is hugely depressing. I will do everything in my power to find out the exact reasoning for this and try to convince those responsible what a mistake it is. Of course, the words "my power" might confuse my gentle readers into believing I have any. I don't know what I'll be able to do, and I've no idea even where to start. Nor do I think this was done maliciously or capriciously. But it's lousy news and it's bad business. I'm hoping the latter element might prevail. I'll keep you posted.

As ever, -j.
dreamlogic, you'll notice though that the AP article with the Fox quotes never mentions the WGA. It just mentions "Hollywood unions" more generally.

I'm still willing to bet that they are right on the general idea, that someone perhaps is not getting the money the ought to when TV shows are screened in theaters.

The open question is still why this is all happening right at this particular moment.

And I notice that once again that E! article is one that makes it sound like the Buffy Musical thing is the only event affected or at issue. It's driving me crazy.
No. 1 on the WGA/whedonesque member wish list!

I wish I had a million dollars.

Thanks, Joss. So even insider-type people still don't know what the exact reasoning is. Good to know you're trying to find out.
Do network executives salivate at the prospect of ticking-off their customers? Maybe its like when they shoved geeks into the lockers back in highschool? You know, bully adrenaline, and complete ignorance when it comes to subtlety and making money.
I'm wondering now if the WGA thing didn't just alert Fox to look closer at what Criterion is doing. Somewhere in the last couple days I saw something about Criterion being a "non-theatrical distributor". If that's what I think it means and they've gone beyond the terms of their contract with Fox (which seems likely now), Fox must go back through all of their dealings with Criterion and find out if they owe or are owed additional compensation for the theatrical showings.
Fox... *sigh*
FOX is just so evil on so many levels aren't they?
Politics, entertainment, etc. Sigh.

When they cancel this because they think they aren't getting enough profit, we're not talking about some small artist getting paid properly, we're talking about not big enough bonus checks for corporate people. Unbelievable. May the children of the people who are responsible for this grow up to despise them for the spiteful people they are.
When they cancel this because they think they aren't getting enough profit...

Except we don't know this is the case.

To be fair, if it was just "Fox wants to make more money", wouldn't they simply re-do their contract with Criterion to increase the license fees? That's all they'd have to do.

Something more complex and nuanced than "Fox wants more money" has to be going on here.
Thanks for looking out Joss.

Off topic but as long as I've got your attention, we are LOVING all the comics! Thanks!
Something more complex and nuanced than "Fox wants more money" has to be going on here.

More complex, probably, more nuanced, I doubt it. I don't mean I think that they're doing anything "maliciously or capriciously." But I wouldn't put it past them freezing everything, to give themselves more time to figure out for absolute certain that they're not missing out on a penny, and not risking any money, and not caring if it hurts people that they might have a contract with. I don't think that's malicious, but what they're expected to do by their parent company management and stockholders.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2007-10-13 06:56 ]
Somehow I missed the statement below by the event founder but it seems naive to think that FOX are stopping it for any other reason than to ask for MORE money. Do they somehow think FOX will be more relaxed or not charge more after they do the accounting? FOX should be grateful someone came up with a way for them to milk more money out of the franchise, how many other half-decade old TV series generate new revenue for them?

I donít yet have an official written statement as to why exactly this has happened, but from my understanding the circumstance around the suspension of the rights for our screenings isnít greed or anything like that - so please donít use this as an excuse to lash out at Fox. Basically, the idea of presenting television shows in a theatre is so new that there are a lot of details that still need to be resolved around payments of residuals, deals with the guilds and unions, etc (I donít know any specifics, but these are some of the issues that usually come up). Both Fox and Criterion need to fix some of these issues before they can continue to do any theatrical screenings.

My constant request to have OMWF released on HD-DVD will get washed out in the sea of uproar over this, but if it somehow came to be, I think we could go back to having small parties in our own homes and leave the corporate nonsense out of this.
The good thing about this is the amount of press it's now getting.

I don't think that's malicious, but what they're expected to do by their parent company management and stockholders.

I really do think this is the case. This is a problem firmly rooted in the business world, it appears.
So even insider-type people still don't know what the exact reasoning is.

Possibly because the reasoning isn't exact to begin with ? I think this may be slightly knee-jerk and if Fox sat down and worked out the gains from these showings they'd realise they're making money (course, some of the gains are a bit nebulous - mindshare, fan's goodwill etc. - but i'm sure they have surveys to track that stuff and at least a rough idea of what it's worth to them).

It does seem reasonable though that the possible strike (which, from what I gather, is largely over residuals) has caused Fox (and probably other studios) to try to figure out what residuals they might be held accountable for and tighten up on them, either as a general accounting practice, a sort of battening down of the figurative hatches, or for use as a negotiating button with the WGA ("No you can't have X on DVDs but we'll give you Y on DVDs and Z on public showings. Those are getting really big, honest - just look at all the kerfuffle over the Buffy shows").

Either way, I don't blame Fox for this in the same way I don't blame a cat for killing birds - they're just doing what they do. Fox is a large corporation, large corporations exist solely to make money, anything else is just a by-product of that and they're obligated to look out for individuals only in so much as it might cost them. So it goes.

(note, I don't equate Fox with their employees, present, future or past - cheers for weighing in Joss ;) - many of whom i'm sure are trying to make great TV/films/widgets. It's, largely, not them that decides these things - it's some old dead Scottish dude's invisible hand ;)
I'll keep you posted.

That would be greatly appreciated.
Last night I had the unfortunate job of telling my friend that we had missed the Buffy sing-a-longs. It has taken her more than a year to watch all of Buffy and Angel (she is on mid-season 7 and early season 4 respectively.) One of the things we wanted to do as soon as she finished was hit a sing-along in NYC...which was going to nicely coincide with her birthday. Being new to the Whedon love, she was not used to the whole, fans have a great idea and run with it and Corporate America comes in a squashes it in as sudden and insensitive a way as possible, thing. Of course we met working in the bowels of Corporate America, so she understood immediately, but was really upset.

She is one of those fans that got introduced to the Whedon-world when she went to a Serenity screening on Joss's birthday in 2006. She loved the movie but was also intrigued by the joy of the fans. She was still sure after watching and loving Firefly that she would never be interested in a show about a high school girl who kills vampires, but she started watching it anyway. Within a short time she started buying the DVD's and making plans to watch them again with her daughters when each of them were old enough.

All these "events" are the kind of thing that companies used to try to do themselves to generate interest in things...and that is one reason that unions get touchy about making sure their members get compensated. However, there has got to be a better way to handle it than this.
Let me preface this by saying this is not a defence of FOX or their actions but it is an understanding of what I believe to be some of their reasoning behind their actions.

Is it about money? Yes but it may not be in the form of profit as you may think but in the way of protecting what it owns the rights too.

Is it about the union negositations? Perhaps the bouts of contract negosiations did impact their descision but being the root cause I doubt it.

Has this happened before? Yes. Like every year or two FOX tends to smack down the verse for something and they are not the only studio doing it. I mean wasn't it the same time last year (October 2006) 11th hour got a C&D about her Serenity creations from Universal. Also around that time (Sept. 2006) FOX was smacking down on Firefly merchandise. Then back in October 2005 a live preformance of OMWF was halted by FOX.

So what's it about? It's about POWER (to quote Buffy), in this case the power of copyright and how not taking action against infringement may cause problems that may impact the rights of the property for it's holder. As they say, "Give an inch and they will take a 100 miles." Copyright violations are hard to defend unless you are willing to protect it aggressively, which is what the studio's team of lawyers is there to do. It sometimes unintentionally hurts those who are doing nothing more than their own promotion of what they love (ie fans). But the studio has to be concerned with the bigger picture of all their copyrights, if you give to much leeway on one it may turn to bite you in the back side. Just ask Paramount how much it has spent defending the Star Trek copyrights over the years, not against fans as much as other companies (mostly overseas) that make cheap knockoffs and are out to make a profit.

Are their other factors? You bet, remember when tv shows on DVD first came out, the big to do over music rights on those shows. How the record companies all clamored about it falling under a new medium contract like that of a cd. Forcing the studios to buy new licenses and pay royalities to the artist whose songs they used or remove the song from the episode. Here once again we have a similar issue, they have licensing deals for airing movies on tv but I doubt they have it the other way around for tv shows to be shown in movie theatres. Because when does that ever happen , tv is typically film in a different format, so once again the verse breaks new ground and feel the pain of going outside the Hollywood contract model. Again moving from one type of media format to another can be a legal headache and depending on various contracts it may or may not be covered, it's a grey area. So in their interest it's best to kibosh everything until the small stuff can be sorted out.

So I agree with bix, this whole sitch is probably a heck of a lot more complicated, complex, and nuanced than we will ever know.

But it still sucks and it will happen again in about a year from now.

[ edited by RavenU on 2007-10-13 15:00 ]
One of the differences in this case seems to be that in the case of the Buffy sing-a-longs at least, specific approval was sought and granted from the entity that was supposedly officially representing Fox. I agree it is going to turn out to be a complex and nuanced problem, but I do not see how it can be a matter of confirming copyright rights when Fox's rights were confirmed when permission was sought and given. Until Fox's comment about protecting their interest, it seemed much more likely that it was that Fox did not want to be in the position of promoting/making money off something after it was pointed out to them that other parties should be getting a cut who were not. That made sense in a legal liability kind of way. But with Fox saying it is protecting its interests, I'm not so sure.
That is why I put the "Are their other factors?" point in my last post, because in this case it maybe it is better to ask forgiveness than seek permission. FOX can plead ignorance to an extent and get away with the licensing of the theatre showings. Since there is no president for it but when it is pointed out to them by people who may have invested interest they pull the plug. The copyright law actually gives them permission to revoke any license at any time for any reason. So that's what happened in this case. Like I said this is not the first time and it wont be the last.

Just a minor thought if you are doing anything that may draw legal attention in the future, don't do it between Sept-Nov and FOX may not notice. Since they seem to be sending out the C&D's in Sept and Oct every year.
Two thoughts occur to me:

1) Our fandom works against us in this matter. The more we rail and clamor about how unfair this is and profess our admiration for all things Whedonesque, the more empowered the Fox execs and lawyers will be to say, "It doesn't matter what we do, they're never gonna stop buying the property (ie; DVD's, CD's,
books, etc.) Never doubt that good lawyers and accountants get paid good money BECAUSE they do their jobs in a very focused and unemotional way. Which means that from a job function point of view, they've done the exact right thing (though it sucks to say that), and every time we protest we are reinforcing that decision.

2) There is a way to save these events. Fox is not being entirely unreasonable in saying they should get paid something for the public exhibition of their property and that their property rights need to be protected. There is a way to negotiate what licensing fee is required per showing and increase the ticket
price accordingly. I don't know if this negotiation will happen. I don't even know if the fans would be willing to pay more for their tickets for this to happen, but I would.
In other words, logically enough, just because they're vil doesn't make them wrong. (Alhto casting News Corp. in the role of Elric is a bit of a stretch, I grant.)
Yes, Bix, I was being facetious (although a literal reading of the law might support it: "a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances" - ain't we all social and acquaintances? - case law and supporting materials say otherwise.

The case would be much clearer for a motion picture since there is a relatively painless and not very expensive (at least when admission isn't charged) way to obtain an "umbrella" license for public showings. Doesn't look as if there's an equivalent for non-theatrical materials, though.
Why, there's Joss! Hey, BPD, don't get ground down by the PTB. And thanks for the reminder of your fanlove, of which you have more than one variety. Buffy singalongs are good rituals of fun.
Actually, I could use a good Buffy-fan lawyer who could talk to me about all this. No, no, not to sue anybody, but to find out what I should do next, business wise and everything. Anybody know anyone, drop my a line off-list.

PS - I'm in the NYC area.
Oh, and everyone, I want to thank you for your support - Joss especially, since I haven't been in contact with him at all. It's sweet that he knows about the shows and is concerned about our abrupt and unexpected halt.

And yeah, just so you all know, I was trying to do this all officially and make it profitable for everyone (the studio, etc), but now I am indeed in debt. I invested everything in making this show good and working to spread it around the country in hopes that it could soon stand on its own so I could re-coup my investment. And now...well...poopy.

But most of all, I'm just sad that I won't be dancing and singing with the fans for a while. And I just bought a nice blue Zoot Suit so I could start training to be a dancing demon, too. Double poopy.
I'm so sorry, but you'll need to cool your heels for the time being.
I think it is really unkind to automatically assume that Fox (not the network for those of you still insisting on making that mistake) is doing this to get more money. They may well be doing this to make sure they are able to pay money out to those who should be getting paid residuals.

We always jump to blame the people who made Buffy, Angel and Firefly possible in the first place. It gets old and predictable.
Greetings and commiserations, Buffy SingALong :(
Buffy SingALong, indeed double-poopy; and triple and fourple and fiple-poopy.

But surely, as there's $$$ to be made, this will NOT be a permanent state of affairs, and you will be able to wear your blue (I hope you make sure a photo of that gets uploaded and well-announced).

And to think that the night before learning of all this I was telling a Brand New baby fan (friend I lent Buff to -- who's going to show WMWF to a couple of friends Mon. night) about them.

She and I watched it on her big screen, me singing my little guts out, when I went to pick up season 6 from her.

She's also promised I can watch some Serenifly on her super-duper screen, too. (I'll lend her the whole thing AFTER I get 7 back from her.)

Despite silly setbacks, the verse still grows....
Multiple Poopys indeed, Buffy SingALong, this is indeed a sorry state of affairs, and I'm double sorry that you are caught in the financial middle of all this *sigh* wrangling and land-burning and sea-boiling, to mix my metaphors, which has taken the sing-a-longs from we and thee.


Whomever is protecting whatever interests and the relative merits of whichever, these little "protect our interests" flurries are always so shortsighteded, incur so much ill-will from the very folks that are their cash-shelling customers, and seem to result in the shutting down of Music - so you have to look at the end result as being part of the action, however "unintentional."

I trust poor Fox will recover from any fan "unkindness" - as they only care remotely in a PR dollars-and-cents sense, anyway, and probably have a formula to calculate potential revenue loss per cubic pound of ill-will.

I sincerely hope that Jossir can help, and take it right kindly that he posted to let us know he was trying, and that he sees it as bad business, as well.

*puts OMWF in her computer to watch for relief and release.*

ET: fix typo

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-10-13 21:25 ]
FWIW, I've gotten a reporter who has been covering the Writers Guild story interested in the question as to whether or not this is related, so we might finally get an answer to that.
Yes bix, please.
Without naming names, someone a bit more familiar with the industry than I am said that he does NOT believe this is directly connected to the impending WGA strike. His belief is that if it were, Fox would be going about 'business as usual' and assuming the position that these screenings are NOT something which would be included in any kind of bargaining 'package.' By pulling the screenings, they are actually drawing attention to them and more or less making them fair game in negotiations. That's not to say the issue wasn't already raised by the writers, etc. but...

I don't happen to *agree* with him *grin*, but he does know more than I do so...

*there there*s to Buffy SingaLong... I'll keep hoping things will work out, at the very least for YOUR sake and for the sake of those who are doing "Can't Stop the Signal" events!
The CSTS events are irrelevant to this issue (unless a particular city is showing TV episodes in edition to the movie), since the movie is a movie, not a TV show, and is from Universal, not Fox.
So, if I'm reading that correctly, it's cool for the BtVS "Slayage"?
Minds eye, something to remind.....some brilliant minds to figure our way out of this briar patch.
Dangit, dangit, dangit!! I haven't been able to catch one of the shows yet and they're on the extremely endangered list now? (Never say never, til there's an official never-again.) Rats and Egads!!
*pouty grump face*
I've been to six or eight of them here in Austin (I think I missed two in the years the Alamo has been doing OMWF) and I'm not ready to give up on them. I'm jonesin' for another taste.

If Fox can figure out how to make money on it, things will probably work out. The only danger I see is that the cost of figuring it out and handling the paperwork might not be worth the revenue. (Come on Fox, it's a new market, take a chance you could score big! Come up with a catalog of TV-for-theaters!)
It's, largely, not them that decides these things - it's some old dead Scottish dude's invisible hand ;)

The old dead Scottish dude actually took a dim view of corporations. He was distrustful of the combination of managers without an owner's responsibility and owners without control. He thought the Crown should create only a few for specific purposes in the national interest, and keep them on a short leash. Smart guy.

The copyright law actually gives them permission to revoke any license at any time for any reason.

Could you expand on this, RavenU? What's the difference between them and, say, an author who sells film rights, then watches helplessly as his or her work is turned into dreck? They're both copyright holders, but obviously the contracts are very different.
And if I may throw a question in there edgewise, Joss is the creator of "OMWF", what 'rights' does he still have with this classic?
Yep, true dreamlogic, I doubt he'd get on all that well with most of his modern day supporters (who tend to emphasise the "laissez faire" elements of his views and just gloss over his support for public education and progressive income tax as well as his belief that justice and empathy for others was - or should be - at the very root of capitalism and, in fact, drive the very "invisible hand" he's so famous for). Smart guy indeed.
Ah, okay, b!x, gotcha. Not being a Browncoat myself, I just assumed "Firefly" episodes were in the mix as well, but I stand corrected and my misplaced sympathy is withdrawn. ;-)
dreamlogic wrote ; Could you expand on this, RavenU? What's the difference between them and, say, an author who sells film rights, then watches helplessly as his or her work is turned into dreck? They're both copyright holders, but obviously the contracts are very different.

Look at it like buying something verses leasing it. A studio buys the rights to turn a novel into a film, the author enters into a sellers contract. They are not losing their copyright on the original material, but selling the option of the idea on which that material is based. Depending on the author and the contract, they may or may not have the right to resind the deal. Thus it is a sale.

On the otherhand in the case like this, FOX is not selling the rights, it is leasing the rights to it's property through licensing and like with most leases, they can be revoked by the holder at anytime for any reason.

Madhatter wrote ; And if I may throw a question in there edgewise, Joss is the creator of "OMWF", what 'rights' does he still have with this classic? .

Not to many I am afraid, since Joss was working for FOX at the time it falls under "Work for Hire". Which means FOX was paying him to work for them and anything he came up with while working there becomes the property of FOX, under 'intellectual property laws'.
OzLady, Firefly episodes are in the mix, just not the movie. Different companies.

Any true Whedonite is also a Browncoat. More shiny 'verse, just a different one.
RavenU wrote: On the otherhand in the case like this, FOX is not selling the rights, it is leasing the rights to it's property through licensing and like with most leases, they can be revoked by the holder at anytime for any reason.

Not exactly. The licensor's right to revoke any intellectual property license depends on the specific terms of the license agreement between the licensor and the licensee. And people can negotiate whatever deal works for them including variations on (1) a perpetual, irrevocable license that can never be taken back under any circumstances, (2) a license for a specific period of time that automatically expires at the end of the term, or (3) a license that is perpetual (meaning that it never automatically expires) but which can be terminated by the licensor if the licensee doesn't hold up their end of the bargain, such as by paying the required royalties.

RavenU wrote: since Joss was working for FOX at the time it falls under "Work for Hire". Which means FOX was paying him to work for them and anything he came up with while working there becomes the property of FOX, under 'intellectual property laws'.

Again, what, if any, rights Joss retained in his original work depends on the specifics of his contract with FOX. You are correct that in the absence of a negotiated contract to the contrary, whatever copyrightable material Joss created for FOX while in their employ would be owned by FOX under the "work for hire" doctrine; however, it's also not unheard of for people to negotiate special deals. But I wasn't there when the deal was signed and won't speculate what he did or didn't get.
History holds true. We never learn from our mistakes, do we? Sigh.
Any true Whedonite is also a Browncoat.

I see myself as a Firefly and Serenity fan but not a Browncoat. And not all Browncoats are true Whedonites.
Honestly, I don't quite identify myself as a Browncoat, either - I'm a huge fan of Serenifly, especially Firefly, but I don't set out to "convert" people nor attend much in the way of related events... I do see myself as a Whedonite, I guess, being pretty fond of all things Whedon and Joss, a huge Buffy fan, and a somewhat less devoted fan of Angel, and loving SugarShock et al.

I would, however, identify myself as a Browncoat if Browncoats were being picked on or lambasted just for loving Serenifly after all this time, 'cause, well, you just got to, in that case...

I am waiting patiently for that which will be the truly ginormous and awesomest Goners.
I am a laid-back browncoat. I'm not one to go up to strangers or send emails, but I'll tell people I've met about the series/movie.

I'm also waiting impatiently with QG, all fidgety and flibberty, until she gets fed up and kicks me. Which she will, you know that!

b!X is sitting behind me, kicking my chair. *pinches b!Xy* :D
That's 'cause you are a Gonerian, QuoterGal. (I just said that to upset Bix, or something). I'd consider myself a Browncoat. but I doubt I define it the same as other peeps.

It's difficult to know what kind of agreement 20th had with Criteron, and what agreement Criterion had with the Buffy Singalong dude. But if somebody ended up out of pocket, those agreements probably need checking.
I don't kick chairs. And stop spreading Goneria.

gossi's spreading a ITM (Infranetally Transmitted Moniker.)

Maybe you don't kick chairs, b!xy, but your head does blow up real nice. ; >

Cabbie, I would never ever kick you - I'm a pincher, just like you are. Mud is our Royally Appointed Shin-Kicker, and can't nobody kick a shin like Muddy.

I wish we could sic 'er on the FOX lawyers...
Elsewhere online, someone asked what fans of Joss Whedon or Buffy were called. I couldn't think of any and posted back Whedon fans or Buffy fans.

Is Whedonite more the official term? Anybody know the Buffy fan term?
Well we know the term isn't 'Viking'.
There's a whole lotta terms for every group - I'm fond of the"Buffista" name, but maybe that's 'cause I like their site.

And for Goners, of course, when I'm in one side of my brain, I like "Gonerians," and when I'm in the other side, I like "Gonerses." When I'm not in my right mind at all, I like "Gonersarianizites."

I like "Whedonites" (from the land of Whedonia, Hail, Hail) for fans of the works of Joss Whedon, though some just use "whedonesquers," as in this site...

And when I think about the sing-a-longs getting cancelled, I prefer the names "Whedon's Army" or "OMWF Avengers."
Any true Whedonite is also a Browncoat.

Hey, I didn't fight in no war. Best of luck, though...
Could go "Wheddies"... but then you get into the bullies taunting, "I didn't eat my Wheddies, today... oh, wait. Here comes one now!"
When I think of whedonesquers, I think of people who frequent this site. Whedonites seems more clearly fans of Joss's no matter whether they hang out here or not. Whedonphiles seems too kiss-ass. Yeah, I'd go with Whedonites.

I really like Serenifly and have the DVD's, but can't call myself a browncoat. I don't know what that says about me...
Goodness! This site needs a glossary. So what, exactly, is a Browncoat? I just thought is was fan o' the Serenifly verse.


For Buff fans: Slayoids, perhaps? Slayadichio as a collective noun?

i must be tired...
LOL at "Slayabouts". :D

"Whedonites" are acolytes of a cult devoted to the study of "Whedonism".

Whedonism is the philosophy that while pleasure may be the most important pursuit of mankind, dark comedy and unforeseen deaths are much more likely once Joss gets his hands on the script.
I prefer to call us Whedonists.
But I have to support QG's term because otherwise she'll pinch me.
Well, like I say, everybody tends to define Browncoat differently. I haven't, for example, given Firefly on DVD to my friends. Or family. Or work mates.
I don't really consider myself a Browncoat because to me, it implies a certain connection with fandom that I don't really have. Doesn't mean I like Serenifly any less. I just tend to stay on the fringe of things.

As to the matter at hand, I was glad to see a significant mention of the Season 8 comic in the E! Online article. No great loss without some small gain, as they say.
Just Another Firefly Fan here.

I don't really identify myself as a Browncoat partly because plenty of folk 're keen to put us all in boxes of one kind or another, don't need to do it myself (and "Browncoat" seems more "boxy" than "fan of Joss Whedon & his creations"), partly because i'm not really that active in the fandom and partly because, although I love the Sereniverse, I see myself as more a fan of J-dub than any specific work of his (though obviously I prefer some over others).

(also, if I join one more club or association the Lone Wolves & Iconoclasts Union may kick me out - they're sticklers for the rules)
Joss' post got picked up by Sci Fi Wire.
I think I'd classify as a Browncoat under most any definition, favorable or not :)

The part of this I'm not seeing addressed: Buffy Singalong, how far in debt are you? And could you use some help? I'd be willing to send you the ticket price and watch it in my home while thinking positive thoughts...
I guess "worshipers of Joss" would be a bit over the top? :)
And Yay for the SciFiWire coverage.

[ edited by Shey on 2007-10-15 14:00 ]
I like Whedonites myself. I call myself a Browncoat but so far Buffy is still my favourite Joss creation.
Until Goners of course. Then I'll be a Gonersarianizite.
And Shey, "worshippers of Joss" is just not zippy enough. Otherwise, yeah, I think it would just about cover it. ;)
Josshipper ? Whordenite ?

Or WoJs ? just posted a story about the shutting down of the sing-a-longs. It's on their main web page, under the "Entertainment" section.

The more I am confronted by this, the pissier I feel. It really is such a shame. Let's hope things get worked out.
Lioness- Please can we not pick "Gonersarianizite" to go by?
Too hard to spell? But QG likes it!
* :> @ Lioness.*

I like it when I am mad north-north-west, but when I can tell a hawk from a handsaw, I think it's a little long and a teensy wackola.
I think it's got to be the Writer's (WGA) contract negotiation and impending strike. They are demanding more income/royalties from newer presentations such as online streaming and dvds.

That probably means Fox Home Entertainment has required Criterion -- or Criterion has decided on their own -- to halt all licensing contracts that receive revenue from media such as dvds until these negotiations are settled BUT who knows. I don't see why they couldn't keep current contracts valid.

There are a lot of articles out there, here's something from NPR:
Steve Inskeep and Kim Masters. Hollywood Writers May Strike over New Media. NPR: Morning Edition, October 16, 2007. Audio file available.
The writers, represented by the Writers Guild of America, want a bigger share of the profits from DVDs as well as other new-media productions of their work for cell phones and other handheld devices.

The entertainment business is being dramatically changed by new technologies, and that, screenwriters say, entitles them to a bigger share of the profits once their work is streamed, downloaded, or issued in any other format.

But members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers - the studios - contend that nobody knows what kind of revenue these new technologies will generate.

The studios offered to conduct a study analyzing the impact of the new media, but the writers rejected that idea. The writers maintain that they should get a piece of anything the studios make from new media.

ETA: Although I just read the AP story and it claims
Lawyers for Twentieth Century Fox Television, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., told a licensing company that had given the green light for the sing-along events that it had gone beyond limits of the show's licensing agreements.

I don't know what to think. Does 20th C. Fox Television even have anything to do with FF/Buffy DVD licensing? I thought it was Fox Home Entertainment that covered that...


[ edited by slgn* on 2007-10-17 19:45 ]
Saje: "Josshipper? Whordenite?"

How about just Whedon fan?

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