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July 03 2008

Slayathon barred from airing BtVS episodes by Fox. Due to ongoing litigation, Fox will not allow the Slayathon charity event to show any episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at this year's fundraiser. However, they will consent to let them show episodes of Angel. This is the 7th year for the Slayathon, which raises money for Make-A-Wish.

From Slayathon.org:

Because of Fox's ongoing copyright litigation surrounding "Buffy," they cannot grant us permission to show episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" at the 2008 Slay-A-Thon. However, they can allow us to show "Angel" episodes.

We are "revamping" our 2008 event and will show "Angel" exclusively this year. While we are disappointed, we appreciate Fox's willingness to compromise and continue their support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Please remember the most important part of Slay-A-Thon is the wishes we are able to grant for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

[ edited by Shiai on 2008-07-03 05:55 ]

I was unaware of any litigation with the series. Anyone know what that's all about?
Is this a movie-vs-series thing?
I'm guessing this is ongoing from when they pulled OMWF last year. I think all nonbroadcast uses of the episodes were canceled.
Yeah, this is weird. The last word we had, way back when, was that Fox had suspended all theatrical licensing for its properties. But now, somehow, this event is only being barred from licensing Buffy itself but not Angel?

Can someone, somewhere, PLEASE once and for all talk to the relevant powers that be to find out WTF the deal is with the licensing issue? To this day we do not have a clear and straightforward statement from high up as to what the actual deal is.
You've got to be fucking kidding me.
Aww, this is so sad.
While I respect Fox's right to protect their properties, this is very disappointing. I just wish I was surprised. Well, knowing the people who run and support Slayathon I'm sure this year's event will still be a success.
It would be worse if Angel was off-limits too, obviously, but that's just bizarre.
Yeah..why is this happening?
It's all part of Fox's ingenious plan to make lots of money by disallowing newbies to watch it's most favorite shows, thereby insuring that... um, fewer new viewers see the shows and... um, there will be fewer DVDs sales and...

Okay, I'm at a loss. How is this a good for Fox?
Understand, before we turn this into another "let's just bash Fox" thread, that some people claim this wasn't triggered by Fox but by someone or someones wanting a cut of the money being made. That's still not a solidly confirmed explanation (although it's come up more than once), but if true, putting a halt to screenings until the matter was settled would have been the only reasonable thing for Fox to do.

So, let's just keep in mind that since we don't know the actual and full explanation, some potential explanations are actually NOT of the "Fox is stupid" variety.
It's seemed to me all along like a legal thing where Fox threw on the brakes until they could sort some non-related stuff out. I do wish we had a clear explanation though.
I should note that I do have one source telling me that, setting aside the still-unsettled question of whether or not it was something like the WGA or SAG that sparked the entire thing to begin with, the public performance licensing matter in fact has been taken to the guilds.

That does nothing to tell us if that's where it started, but it does tell us, if it's the case, that the parties involves aren't just sitting on the issue but trying to get it worked out.

(All of that also does nothing to explain the exceptions popping up -- Buffy at Comic-Con, Angel at Slayathon.)
I know this might be the wrong thread to voice, but I'm kind of loving Fox right now. Whedon's show is being made, Glau & DB have work (and a fandom of their own), their on-line viewing is working much better, they listen to the "save the Dollhouse" craze and make re-assurances that all will be well, and they're bringing me all of my stars to Comic-Con.

So, we don't have news yet on why we can't show Buffy. We are getting Angel at Slayathon and Buffy at Comic-Con. And they're working things out trying to make it better.

(These may be blurring the 2 different Fox people, but in this case, I see them as both being positive.)

Honestly, how demanding can a person be? I, for one, am going to relax, check in to see if everything's good with the discussions, watch some more Bones on Fox, drool at Dollhouse pics, get ready for T:TSCC, and be happy that things are looking good, people.

*pats grass*

Come join me. It's better on this side, believe me. :)
I kinda wondered about the Slay-A-Thon in light of public exhibition licensing being pulled for "Buffy" and all Fox TV shows over the OMWF singalongs. There was some mention at that time that exceptions might be made for charity events, and when I saw the previous item about the Slay-A-Thon, my initial thought was, well, if it's okay for Make-A-Wish for "Buffy" and "Angel," why not CSTS and "Firefly"? Or is it just that no one *asked* (or knew who to ask) to get an okay for public ex of "Firefly" for a charitable event?

Still deeply puzzled as to why it's okay in this instance for ONE Fox show ("Angel") and not the other ("Buffy").... I guess the alternative is to have both of them pulled, but I sure hope that doesn't happen. This sounds like a fun thing for a good cause.
MaryQue, the question's been asked. Actually, it's been asked in various versions and of various powers that be, since this entire thing first happened. I guess what I wasn't specifying clearly enough is that we don't appear to ever have gotten any firm answer on ANY of the questions.

(If the Slayathon folk have heard something specific about why they can show one but not the other, I'd dearly love to hear what it is they were told. But, it should be noted, we'd also need to know who told them, because consistently throughout this thing, we've heard things from people who were merely speculating, but had their comments reported as fact.)
I bet the residual recipients are different on the different franchises. There must be something unique to Buffy that doesn't hold on the other properties and that is what is causing the kerfuffle.
I suspect that, after Fox discovered what was occurring with Buffy, they notified all parties involved in the series and the matter of possible compensations are still being looked into. It would be understandable that Fox would not want anymore charitable airings of BtVS until that matter is resolved.

For our new members in the room, this "Buffy" matter we keep referring to is this. Fox had agreed on the airings of the series for charitable, non-profit use. However, due to mostly honest misunderstandings of these terms, questions started to arise above covering the costs of these events. This all came to ahead when Fox learned that there were a group of actors performing an on-going "OMWF" tour for these events and they were being paid for their services. Though this group was able to show that their fees were just covering reasonable actor pay, the costs of continuing the tour, and that they were generating funds for the charities, it nevertheless left Fox in a legal bind. Whenever profits are generated, Fox is required to ensure that all groups associate are in agreement and properly compensated. Hence, they stopped the Buffy airings until this matter was resolved.

Now, why they are allowing the airing of Angel, my only guess is, since the Buffy fall-out, their legal eagles are now clearly defining what's allowed under union rules. Again, I'm just guessing that this is the case, but it does stand up to logic. It is also a good sign that Fox is still working to resolve the issue instead of just making a policy not to air their materials at all.

Since I'm on the roll with the guessing, isn't the rules of airing the shows at the 'cons different? They are meant as the sole enjoyment of the attending fans and are not meant to generate profits directly. I've the feeling we'll be discussing these topics much in the future due to the new guidelines going into effect (internet rights, ect).
Madhatter; I'll guessify along with you. While a con is an open event, its admission is technically considered a membership ina private club, evne tho it only exists for a weekend. The ticket allows the goer to attend a variety of events whicha re themselves technically free to anyone who gets in. It's comparable to the local Lions' CLub showing a film to their members at a meeting or banquet versus the owner of the Strand renting the same film and selling tickets to the performance.

While charity screenings have different detailed rules from performances for rpofit, they're still single performances and subject to that over-all class of rules.

And to continue, you're probably right as to the defining process; instead of holding all screenings in abeyance until every aspect is settled, once a specific part of the licensing issues is settled, they're letting performances which fit into that niche to go ahead.

Anybody else wanna play?
Aww, that's too bad.
A lot of the above speculation comes down to theatrical versus non-theatrical performance (and, potentially, some middling hybrid of the two).

But what that particular issue doesn't address (not that I'm saying anyone here should be able to address it) is how Slayathon got clearance for Angel but not Buffy. I can understand Comic-Con getting clearance for Buffy because there's likely always some kind of case-by-case basis under which a particular event can get cleared.

But I can't for the life of me figure out what it says that Slayathon has been allowed to show Angel but not Buffy. I can't conceive of an explanation/basis for the licensing crisis that would allow for that sort of "different rules for different shows" approach.
Would Buffy and Angel being produced/screened by different networks at various times play any part in this?

Buffy crosses over two networks (WB and then UPN), while Angel was with WB for it's full run.

It could be that UPN is the sticking point?

[ edited by JenskiJen on 2008-07-04 07:32 ]
A lot of the above speculation comes down to theatrical versus non-theatrical performance(s).

bix, kinda' lost me there.

[ edited by Madhatter on 2008-07-04 15:29 ]
Well, the good news is that Fox seems to still be trying to fix things and hasn't just chucked it all. That doesn't help with the immediate situation, but maybe things will return hugs and puppies down the road.

As far as why one and not the other, the WB/UPN thing is very plausible. Also, the contracts written for the two shows could be very different (Angel started later, maybe this kind of exhibition was covered in contracts by that time).

Hopefully it all works out and Buffy doesn't end up in limbo like some shows. (Blair Brown is reported to have said the reason her show "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" has never been on video is because of music copyright issues - at least we got a DVD.)
bix, kinda' lost me there.

There is a distinction between "theatrical" and "non-theatrical" licensing. For example, libraries, cruises, prisons, retirement centers that show films do so through a non-theatrical license. They (1) aren't in a theater and (2) are to limited or private audiences.

But most of the showings of television episodes in recent years have been (1) in theaters and (2) public.

One of the sticking points on all of this was whether or not Criterion USA (the company through which licenses to show, say, Buffy or Firefly were being obtained) ever had the right to grant theatrical licenses. So amongst the unanswered questions (such as, Who or what prompted the suspension of licensing) is: Should these showings ever have been licensed in the first place?

But to reiterate what a lot of people have said above: Whatever the unanswered questions (and there's a crapload of them still), Fox does appear to be trying to work its way to a solution. But we don't have any information about that either.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-05 18:47 ]

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-05 18:47 ]
WB and UPN would have no rights whatsoever to either show at this point. The shows were licensed to them for a limited time in a limited venue. The shows belong to 20th. WB and UPN have no claim.
Wow, that's kind of ridiculous. They're going to sit there and replace one Fox show for another because of some litigation that's going on with one of them! It's for charity people, it's not like the charity is trying to rip Fox off.

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