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August 03 2008

Could Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog be the breakthrough innovation that saves Hollywood? New media writer Scott Kirsner blogs for Harvard Business Online that "Joss Whedon may be the 21st century's answer to Walt Disney."

On his own blog Kirsner briefly responds to the "unfair comparison" of Dr. Horrible to a television show by The New York Times critic, and pushes the notion that Joss should release the financials to help indie producers.

Okay, while I liked Dr. Horrible, there IS such a thing as too much praise.
Mhm while its nice part of the reason was Joss has a huge fanbase which flocked to watch this.

If it had been a similar thing by some random person it may have gradually picked up and stuff but a large part of the success is Joss has built up (and deservedly so) an army of fans...

Still. Nice to read nice things eh?
I'd line up to go to Whedon World.
Whedon World- holy flying spacecars and stakeable vampires!
Not too sure about those communal showers in 'Hotel Whedon', though.

'Breakthrough Innovation' may be just a tiny step too far, but I certainly hope Dr H has made the networks and studios sit up and take notice of the ginormous, untapped market just begging for quality productions.
I'm glad he recognized that this isn't just a new way to sell an old thing.
Well, better to compared to Walt Disney than to Sarah Silverman. I'm still a little nauseous over that.
The comparison to Walt Disney might be a bit of a stretch. Walt pioneered technology that hadn't before existed. Whilst Joss is ingeniously using technology, that already exists, in a very creative way.

However the part about rethinking entertainment creation and delivery is of course right on. He's developing a model that combines both "free" and "pay" in a new way, certainly is brilliant and is getting traditional Hollywood's attention. He's blazing a trail of using two powerful aspects of online media, and making them work together rather than be at odds with each other.

Joss may be redefining movie moguling. Hey, new word!
There we go.

"The movie industry (like every big and successful business) has a deep motivation to preserve what has made it successful in the past, keeping existing business models intact and maintaining individuals' status in the entertainment ecosystem."

and

"Rather, with Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, he's playing with a totally new creative form -- a humorous musical about superheroes, told in fifteen-minute installments."

Wheeeee! The very thought of Whedon World is hi-larious. "And be sure to stop off at Whedon's Sunnydale Adventure Park - "Explore Your Nightmares."

There's lots of clowns.
The reason he got such prominent placement is that he has a rabid online following which preordered him right into the #1 spot. That's one of the reasons why it won't be easy to follow in his steps, but it won't be impossible. I could see Ron D. Moore or JJ Abrams getting the same result.
Quotergal -The waterpark could be called Moist. The fun bags can include Xander eyepatches, wooden stakes, yellow crayons. You can eat at the Stakehouse and have a drink at the Bronze. There's a vengeance wishing well. Don't like the sound of the Hammer ride though.

[ edited by Jossaholic on 2008-08-03 10:30 ]
@Jossaholic: Gachnar's "Fear Itself" ride - the First's Hall of Villains - Cheeseland - Kingman's Bluff Temple of Satanic Doom featuring Dark Willow - and the beloved Hokey-Pokey Dancers.

Why isn't this happening? Are there plans for Whedon Land in the works? Do I have to do everything myself?
Wait, but Joss doesn't hate Jews...
Oh look, Serenity set we can tour/have weddings/have shindigs and where Firefly like episodes are being filmed.

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2008-08-03 03:45 ]
QuoterGal - No, you don't have to build it yourself, I can help you. The plans are in my head as well as the plans for world domination
(must not confuse the two). Was I typing that out loud? Oops. Please ignore last comment. *whistles to herself*

Cheeseland sounds fab. Amy the Rat and Captain Hammer could be frequent frequents.
And also, guys, there's free beer over at the Stingy geek thread. Downloadable on iTunes! check it out! ;)
I visit the Cheeseland. It does not visit me.
Rabid. They keep calling us rabid. I've had my shots....
Does Hollywood really need saving in the first place? It's not in trouble! The people who do the work are the real Hollywood- not the studios or the suits or the ones who write the checks.
I'm hoping Joss will be writing some checks soon.
Coincidentally, across the pond, UK's The Observer has a story in the print edition today (Sunday) "Horribly good internet plot to kill off TV". For better or worse, the article continues to present Dr Horrible as an "online TV show."
But with a new Internet video series he launched in July, he's demonstrating that he has Walt's willingness to explore new technologies and new business models.


Why so serious?
@Whedonage I couldn't find that wording but I did find this in the second paragraph "It is a TV show that has never been shown on TV, an internet video that looks nothing like an internet video" which seemed spot on to me.
The Guardian/Observer have some smart people writing.
(linked from Whedonages link)

Filesharing Tv

Although there is a counter-argument, which is the "filesharing encourages people to buy the real thing" one. Now, many people think that's rubbish. But there may be a data point in its favour. It's this: The Wire, the much-feted programme that nobody watches, is all over the filesharing networks. Yet the DVDs from the four previously aired series are firmly in the top 10 DVD bestsellers at Amazon. How does that work, then? Either all those folk haven't heard of filesharing for video (possible), or they want the extras that the filesharing networks can't give them. Or they want the quality.

You know, if the TV production companies wanted a plan, they'd put low-quality versions of their work out on the filesharing networks timed exactly with their showings on TV. People would download them, sure, but then they could be tempted to see a higher-quality one ... on DVD. I know, sounds mad.

But it's time for the mad men and women in TV-land to get a clue about how the internet is changing everything. It was OK in the 1960s to work with tape and send things by sea. Nowadays? Won't work. Rip up the old ways and build on the new ones.


And I don't think they are smart just because I agree with them but it helps :)
Joss got some special treatment from iTunes- one of those articles says that independent content providers as a rule must give away their content for free if they want to use iTunes to distribute it. This applies to both music downloads and video downloads.

What that means to me is that an independent content provider could most likely not have done what Joss has done here, not in any area of the project. It's not likely that anyone not firmly established in the industry could have attracted the talent on both sides of the camera for nothing up front and unknown back end, gotten the Universal Lot for even a day so cheaply, and so on and so forth.
It doesn't stop there either. Press coverage, Comic Con presence, media interviews, everything on down the line that everyone's so excited about would not have happened for an unknown.

So, while it's a future for certain established names, it's an avenue as available to the indie producer as is the current big studio system. Which is to say, 'Well, here we go again'.
I'm in the "Hollywood doesn't need saving" camp. There was much hand-wringing in 2006 over declining ticket sales then we had some record years. Likewise, people are all het up over DVD sales declining but what's actually happening is growth in DVD sales is declining, they're still selling more year on year, just "less more" (and there could be a few reasons for that).

It's also interesting to me that in both this article and the one in the Guardian/Observer (written by their technology correspondent, not an arts reporter) it's the techies that "get it" rather than the media people. The media folk see a threat whereas the techies seem to see more of an opportunity. Makes Joss' experiences in Silicon Valley all the harder to fathom.
Ed R, while I agree with the conclusion that the average indie filmmaker with less name recognition than Joss probably could not replicate the Dr Horrible hoopla, some lessons could be learned.
John August wrote some interesting things about his independent distribution experiences and conclusions on his blog.

The Nines post mortem

IMDb searches for The Nines peaked at #11 on January 20th, 2008 ó two weeks before the DVD was released. Thatís because it finally got leaked on BitTorrent. Suddenly, that college student in Iowa and that programmer in Arles could finally see the movie.
Letís try a thought experiment: what if The Nines had leaked shortly before the theatrical release, say, August 19th? At that point, we were number 836 on IMDb, and that was during a concerted publicity campaign which would ultimately get us as high as 47 on the chart.

Would the leak have helped us or hurt us?

Given we were only playing in two cities in the world, I canít think it would have hurt us much. And if there had been a legal and easy way to let people watch the movie ó say, through iTunes ó I think we could have capitalized on the attention. The pirated version was going to be available on or before the release of the DVD regardless, so one might as well benefit from it as much as possible.

To my thinking, leaking a decent-quality, watermarked version7 would have greatly increased the awareness and discussion of the movie, which could have paid off if the DVD and/or iTunes version were available shortly thereafter.

...

If I had to do it all over again, I would have made the same movie but completely rethought how it went out into the world. I would have challenged a lot of the standard operating procedures, which seem to be part of an indie world that no longer exists. The Nines would have likely made just as little at the box office, but could have made a bigger impact on a bigger audience. Ultimately, I think thatís how you need to measure the success of an indie filmís release: how many people saw it.


The use of filesharing to increase awareness of independent productions makes sense to me.

Saje, after some thought I got the feeling that Joss did have the wrong answers to some questions, the money men doesn't crank up the machine for a one off artistic 'event', Joss did not provide the 'big money to be made if we react quickly' factor.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-08-03 13:14 ]
I'm watching with interest how the Dr. Horrible gang are dealing with all the extras that come now with the release of a show. The Tshirts, the ring tones, (the tiny toy available at McDonalds?).

The quote that jpr shared about filesharing is only part of the equation. Can they still make enough money to pay the cast and crew while not cracking down on all the fan created stuff out there?
And can they make enough without the fans having to buy multiple copies of everything to support the effort?
purplehazel: The graphic is captioned "Dr Horrible, star of Joss Wheldon's online TV show"
Oops! So it is!
(the tiny toy available at McDonalds?)

People were complaining about downloading itunes to get the show, now I have to go to McDonald's to get my little Doctor and Captain dolls? Must we compromise all of our values to support Dr. Horrible?
The quote that jpr shared about filesharing is only part of the equation. Can they still make enough money to pay the cast and crew while not cracking down on all the fan created stuff out there?

Given Joss's comments way back when about the Grateful Dead culture in which fan-made product businesses happily co-existed with a band that made a HUGE amount of money over the years, I wouldn't be surprised to see him tolerate more of it than you'd see with a studio-owned project.

People were complaining about downloading itunes to get the show, now I have to go to McDonald's to get my little Doctor and Captain dolls? Must we compromise all of our values to support Dr. Horrible?

Did I miss a memo somewhere to the effect that in order to "support" a project you've got to buy every single piece of Dr. H. stuff out there? I enjoyed the project, have recommended it to many, bought it on iTunes and intend to buy the DVD. But if I don't want to own cheap plastic crap from McDonalds, I'm not buying it. (But my husband did buy and loves wearing his Hammer t-shirt.)
I don't think that is true, BrewBunny. They are shutting down all the fan based Cafe Press swag related to Dr. Horrible. And being a capitalistic whore, I think they are absolutely right to do so.
Not an exact quote, but I believe Joss' feelings about fan made items are fairly tolerant as they're a form of free advertising for his projects.

However... he did stipulate that the items should not duplicate official merchandise being sold. Creating t-shirts, buttons, etc. which incorporate the same official graphics really does impact the revenue earning for Dr. Horrible.

This project is a new experiment in discovering how viable an independently produced web venture can be. Fans are hurting the project by creating merchandise which duplicates the official stuff.
Ah, didn't realize that, Tamara. It would have been a nice opportunity to explore how unauthorized fan products could help increase the market for officially-licensed products in the same way that the Grateful Dead stuff worked, and similar to the way that they're exploring how the limited free availability of the show online can amplify iTunes and DVD sales. I could imagine a model where they allow fans to license the IP for a very cheap up-front cost on the condition that distribution is solely through something like Cafe Press or Zazzle, with a copy of all revenue reports going directly to Joss & Co. to make revenue audits and royalties easier to track. But c'est la vie. As a fellow traveler capitalist whore, I too think it's their right to control the profits from their own creation.

ETA: 11thhour, I totally agree that it's BS for fans to be knocking off the official merchandise. That's outright theft. What I had in mind was original fan-produced content that actually expands the universe of promotional products available to (and advertising to) the general public.

[ edited by BrewBunny on 2008-08-03 20:08 ]
Creating t-shirts, buttons, etc. which incorporate the same official graphics really does impact the revenue earning for Dr. Horrible.

Absolutely. However (and I have mixed feelings on this part) it's not just dupes of official designs that have been yanked from CafePress. It's everything. (Or, everything CP has caught up with so far.)
BrewBunny - It would be a very interesting experiment to create a portal on Cafe Press and allow fans to create merchandise for Dr. Horrible, in a shared profit kind of arrangement.

Such a portal would require a bit of work to set up, and perhaps an overview and approval of the graphics. But you've made a great point. Dr. Horrible is an experiment of discovering how strategies which have been thought damaging to project (free downloads), can instead enhance the visibility and profitability of a project.

As we both agree, the designs would need to be different than those being sold on the officially licensed merchandise. It would be cool to see what original designs the fans would come up with... as approved by Joss & Co. of course.

ETA: B!x - Perhaps Cafe Press is performing a scorched earth procedure right now... anything tagged with Dr. Horrible is being yanked. Cafe Press will pull a design because the written description refers to an intellectual property, even if the design is original.

[ edited by 11thHour on 2008-08-03 20:20 ]
11th, that would be an awesome idea. Let fan creativity blossom, but the creators are in the loop and get a cut.
I'd hoped that just the "officially licensed" designs were getting yanked but that is clearly not the case.
And to be clear - there no plans that I know of for toys at McDonalds. Or Wendy's for that matter. But if there are, you heard it here first.
Maybe jinx.com can handle the fan-created merchandise? They do have a submission process where their members are awarded a certain $ amount for accepted designs. If the Whedon camp agrees, they could open the floodgates for Dr. Horrible designs that use words and pics from the video and related creations but don't exactly mimic the Whedon-created designs. I was actually thinking of submitting one there.
11th, wouldn't that entail Joss et al having to basically set up a licensing division? The amount of work that would take is not little. I'm just saying. I know that fans have this deep need to participate in the franchise (I know it, I just don't at all understand it), but fans profiting off phrases like "The Hammer is my penis." that they had no hand in creating just raises my hackles. They don't have the right to make money off of something that is not their creation.

Homagey (did I create a word) is one thing. Direct rip-offs just because the Whedon clan hasn't got around to it yet, is another.
11thHour, I count my lucky stars that you're still plugging away on this issue. From the bottom of my heart, thank you :)
Tamara - Yes, such a portal would involve some work in setting up, and would need to incorporate an approval process, which I mentioned in my original post. Portals have been done on Cafe Press, Snakes on a Plane for example.

I'm not sure just how much work is involved, but once the portal is created, Cafe Press handles all the printing, stocking, shipping, customer service, etc. The only work for the Dr. Horrible gang would be to approve the graphics used.

As to fans profiting off elements from the movie, well if the design is original and good ("good" is a must), then isn't fair for the fan to get some payment for their original work? It's a shared profit arrangement anyway, because Joss & Co. make money too. Since it's a design that wouldn't have existed anyway without that fan, it's found money for the Dr. Horrible gang.
Tamara, I don't know that 11th's idea would necessarily entail the creation of a full-blown licensing division responsible for negotiating individual licensing contracts with each prospective vendor, which would entail significant transaction costs both in setting up the initial deal and in subsequent tracking of sales and product/service quality. I can imagine a way to come up with a simplified contract that makes things easier on the IP owner's end by giving them far more rights and control over the resulting fan-produced product than in a typical one-off licensing deal. I doubt the simplified contract would afford the fan-creators as much rights or $$$ as one would expect in the typical arrangement, but it would afford them the benefit of allowing them access to a legitimate marketplace that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to get into without a more substantial up-front investment.

[ edited by BrewBunny on 2008-08-03 20:47 ]
11thHour: A brilliant notion-- I'm wondering if anyone has explored such an option for fandom in the US. It would need some sort of alternative licensing arrangement, that allows revenue sharing with the creative source. The concern that any Intellectual Property-types have is if non-licensed materials are allowed to proliferate, then protected trademark status can be lost.

In the UK, the "Open Rights Group" tracks such issues. They've been pushing for a reform of UK copyright law, particularly in the wake of what transpired earlier this year, when the Beeb went after a Doctor Who fan who posted knitting patterns to make characters out of yarn-- claiming that such designs infringed on their intellectual property.
I just see a full time person having to vet designs. Would it even be worth it? Is it a profitable arrangement? Maybe that same person could also be hunting down and quashing illegitimate designs. I don't know. It just seems like a ridiculous amount of trouble and expense for very little in return. And I still don't like the idea of fans feeling like they own part of the franchise. I hate that.

BrewBunny, I don't know how it would work without at least one full time person. Probably a lawyer with a design background. In other words, NOT CHEAP. Whatever they did, it would involve lawyers, contracts, oversight, auditing, accountants, etc. etc.

It all sounds cool and bohemian, but would be a lot of frickin work in practice.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-03 20:51 ]
Whedonage, It's not so much that the IP owners would be allowing unlicensed products to be sold, but rather that the licensing process and license terms would be modified to make the process simple enough to get more fan-content out there in the legitimate licensed marketplace.
And I still don't like the idea of fans feeling like they own part of the franchise.

The reality, however, is that culture is not an artifact solely of the creators. It's an artifact of the space between creator and audience. That space IS a shared space, and the entire endeavor falls apart if that space isn't inhabited.

The downside/dark side of that is outright fan entitlement (and everyone knows where I stand on that issue). But there's room within that space before that extremity to find a healthy mix. 11th makes the very salient point of bringing up Snakes on a Plane. (Those who don't know should see here for the story.)

It is, of course, entirely possible that it wouldn ot work. But to dismiss it out of hand rather than taking the time to work through the concept seems a little silly.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-08-03 20:54 ]

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-08-03 21:02 ]
Tam, Only having dabbled in IP licensing transactions, I don't know enough to comment on the time investment and profitability. But what I do know is that a *good* IP lawyer could design a contract simple enough to use in numerous individual licensing transactions, with the resulting sales to be conducted solely through specified vendors. Dumb lawyers love to show off by making deals more complicated, but good ones make them simple enough that those deals actually happen, and not just once, but again and again.

As for the need for IP police hunting down and quashing illegitimate designs, isn't that a need that exists anyway? And if so, why not have that IP cop invest their time in appropriating an existing revenue stream rather than simply squashing it out of existence?

[ edited by BrewBunny on 2008-08-03 21:02 ]
But does that space need to include merchandise? Can we just stop at fanfic (even though that makes me queasy)? Do people who enjoy new copyrighted content have a right to make money off that content simply because they enjoy it? Or do the creators have the right to enjoy all proceeds fro0m their labors? I don't think fans have any rights (nor should they) to profit off of others' creations without strict licensing deals in place. Those deals protect the fan/artist and the creators. I am not trying to dismiss ideas out of hand (like I have any say in it anyway) I just think it is a lot more work and detail than others may think it is.

edited to add: BrewBunny has more faith in lawyers than I do. In my experience, the one thing that all "simple contracts" have is loopholes. Lots and lots of loopholes.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-03 21:03 ]
TamaraC, even if one agrees that creators have the right to enjoy all proceeds, that hardly means they're REQUIRED to do so. It comes down to whether or not they see an ultimate benefit to an arrangement similar to that negotiated for Snakes on a Plane.

The reality is that fans do often come up with awesome designs for the things of which they are fans. There's no inherent reason why the creators themselves shouldn't find a way for (1) fans to enjoy the stuff fans have created that the creators didn't and perhaps never even thought of, and (2) everyone to make some money from it.
Tamara - You wild crazy optimist you! Get your feet on the ground. ;-)

Okay, on a more serious note, Math Girl... Yes, approving the submitted designs would take a bit of time, but it would not have to be done by a lawyer. I'm sure there are folks in the Whedon circle that have good eyes for design, and dancer's legs, and would be glad to help out with this experiment. Joss is trying to create a new business model after all.

Cafe Press is already familiar with how to set up a portal too, so no lawyers may be required at all. It's pretty basic, Dr. Horrible is the licensor and whatever they say goes. They can approve or pull a design, whenever. As to the accounting, Cafe Press already does ALL of that. They keep ongoing, detailed sales records which can be accessed at any time via your online account. It's all extremely above board. The records include info on domestic and international sales too... extremely useful info.

This idea combines both the "bohemian" and solid business practices. As to fans feeling like they own a piece of Dr. Horrible, well, don't fans do that anyway? And if needed, the portal can state that you lowly fans don't own a piece of Dr. Horrible, we're just allowing you to make designs for us and help us make money... MINIONS!

Besides, this set up is made for Joss.... what with his long standing experience with portals and all...
See, now you are talking a bit more in my dialect, 11th. :)

I know that my gut reaction to this is not inline with most folk here (remember capitalist whore). That cafe press set up does seem impressive if it works the way you describe it. I would definitely insist on the minion statement. I still see it as a lot of work and close to a full time job for someone. Just keeping track of it all. I'm sure the clan has plans for merchandising beyond jinx. They seem to have plans for everything, but I still don't see why fans feel the need to be involved. I think that is something that I may never understand.
Yep, as usual it's handy to have you express the extreme corporate viewpoint TamaraC so that we can try to find the middle ground without totally killing the idea just because it's "cool and bohemian" (which sounds like code for "new and untried" to me, surely the whole point of Dr Horrible in the first place).

Gotta say too that it tickles me a bit that studios and even, let's be honest, Joss aren't hesitant about asking us to promote their stuff for them, they don't mind profiting from our work apparently, don't mind benefiting from the extent to which people inhabit that shared space theonetruebix talks about. Quid pro quo Clarice, quid pro quo. But nobody eat anyone's liver.

I totally agree that people shouldn't be ripping off designs or profiting from others' hard work but I have to say, i'm a bit disappointed if there's been some kind of scorched earth approach to removing fan merchandise - Dr H, after all is supposed to be about acting without The Man™, not acting like him. Seems like finding a better balancing point somewhere in the middle of the shared cultural space should be part of the aim if you're trying to build a model reliant on cult/dedicated fanbases (cos making t-shirts etc. is the kind of thing that cult/dedicated fans do, possibly because we sweat a lot). If the new approach literally is just about shifting power from one set of hands to another well, to be honest, that doesn't sound very new to me. The king is dead, long live the king (I don't mean Elvis, you get that right ? Clearly he can't be dead if he's working in that chippy in Swindon like the Sport says).

(just to be clear BTW, i'm not ascribing malice to anyone involved, this seems more like the same teething problems as the international downloads - it's something for Joss and the Gang to learn from for the future)
Madhatter -
11thHour, I count my lucky stars that you're still plugging away on this issue. From the bottom of my heart, thank you :)


It's what I do darlin'... it's what I do...

;-)

Brewbunny - You make an excellent point about some lawyers making things more complicated than they need to be. Probably having something to do with justifying their existence in situations where their services probably aren't required.

As to Cafe Press specifically, they already have established the rules of participation for their shopkeepers. It basically comes down to you retain full rights to your designs, but you can't use the intellectual property of others. They go into more detail of course, but there's the gist of it.

There's also constant visibility of the products and designs, and Joss & Co. would have ongoing rights to allow or deny any design at their sole discretion. Cafe Press could also continue to pull counterfeit designs, or derivative work that is not approved and a portal participant. Also, if a fan creates a good design that didn't go through the portal process, that person could be directed to the portal and arrange to participate via the official route.
I'd prefer to characterize TamaraC's viewpoint as one grounded in the practical realities of the industry in which Joss & Co. work, rather than "extreme corporate," which conjures images of old, rich, white republican guys in suits riding techno-colored dirt bikes down Wall Street.

As for my faith in lawyers, it's not so much faith as the knowledge that there are in fact a few out there who do realize that their job is to be a faciliatator to people making money, not an obstacle. Admittedly, those lawyers are in the minority, but they do exist.
I'd prefer to characterize TamaraC's viewpoint as one grounded in the practical realities of the industry in which Joss & Co. work ...

Well, you characterise it that way then ;). Extreme corporate is only a negative idea if that's how you see it.

My point is, this is trying to do something new, which means it needs a mix of people that are grounded in the old way of doing things and people that are maybe slightly less prone to immediately assuming everything needs an entire department of lawyers, accountants etc. to accomplish. There has to be a balance between "let's put on a show in the barn !" and "Let's not, health and safety would never allow it and accounts doesn't think straw is deductible".
Saje, you know what is funny? My views are far from an "extreme corporate viewpoint." Really. I just like to temper pie-in-the-sky ideas with a little dose of reality and practicality.

From my perspective, one of the main reasons for Dr. Horrible is to prove to the studios (and other creators) that money can be made outside the studio system. So, the part where Dr. Horrible makes a sizable profit is very very important. That means making profit off of iTunes, Hulu, comics, soundtracks, DVDs and merchandizing. Profit. Lots and lots of profit.

Otherwise this is just an interesting little experiment and will do nothing to change that status that isn't quo.
Yeah but if it makes a profit by doing everything exactly the same, what's changed (and what's the point) ?

Your viewpoint seems quite corporate to me BTW though i'm sure a) your intentions are good and b) there're people that are much more corporate out there. There's a difference IMO between tempering blind enthusiasm and telling people something won't work because of the way things currently work. Changing the way things currently work is kinda the point right ? And part of that is by doing things that couldn't be done within the current system ?
That means making profit...

Yes. And by not partnering with CafePress for a portal akin to the one for Snakes on a Plane, they would actually be DENYING themselves additional profit.
There has to be a balance between "let's put on a show in the barn !" and "Let's not, health and safety would never allow it and accounts doesn't think straw is deductible".

*snort* I can so totally see that happening!
If only it was a hay barn, you can write that stuff off until the cows come home.
Tamara posted:
See, now you are talking a bit more in my dialect, 11th. :)


heh... Speaking your dialect is helped by donning my virtual black PVC catsuit, and 6" steel tipped stiletto heels...

;-)

The "capitalist whore" in you is just another way of saying that you are protective of the earning power and integrity of an intellectual property. Even well meaning fans can mess with that... and of course they must be punished, punished hard.

However, even though you don't understand fans' need to be involved (which btw, your not understanding does puzzle me a bit), the fact is that this phenomenon exists... whether it is something you can identify with personally or not. So, since it does exist and is persistent, why not find a way to turn it to an advantage? It is a source of energy, if you will, and can be directed in a positive way. Better for an IP holder to expend its resources quashing only the most damaging activities, and make good use of the positive ones.

After all, if there are fan activities which can be directed to helping to create additional revenue, and free promotion, for the IP owner, why not find a way to make that work? Any good capitalistic whore worth her bullwhip can appreciate that.

;-)
Saje, maybe the Cafe Press thing would work. Maybe it would be a huge headache and not worth the time and effort needed. My point is that someone has to be willing to dedicate the time and be an administrator of these types of projects. They can't just wave a magic wand.

Yes, b!x, it could be a possible revenue stream, but is it the optimal revenue stream? What other streams might they be forgoing by participating in that model? Are there projects that they already have in the works that may fulfill this demand? Do they need to go into partnership with fans? Do they even want to?

I don't have the answers, but I also feel like there are a lot of questions that aren't getting asked in this discussion.

11th, I do get the contradictoryness (look another new word) of me saying I don't understand fans wanting to participate in the franchise. What I mean, is that I don't understand fans wanting to make money off of the franchise. Creating homage art and the like, I totally understand to a point (I'll never in my life understand fanfic). Wanting to use someone else's IP to make money without recompense is what totally baffles me. I don't understand how anyone can possibly think that they have an ethical leg to stand on in that instance. Or how they look in a mirror.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-03 22:14 ]
you can write that stuff off until the cows come home.

And then all you need is a subsidiary where the cows never come home.
Actually, I think we're doing a fairly good job asking the questions in this discussion. (It would be silly to expect we'd have asked every single one of them at the START of the discussion, otherwise what would be the point of trying to have the discussion?)
If I personally funded a highly successful web project, I wouldn't be too overjoyed at seeing people flog unofficial gear.
b1x, good point. I'll just keep throwing in my unanswered questions to further the discussion then.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-03 22:17 ]
See, that's what I meant by extreme corporate viewpoint, it's the good extreme ;).

If I personally funded a highly successful web project, I wouldn't be too overjoyed at seeing people flog unofficial gear.

And nor should you. But up to now the response has been to lawyer-slap said fans into oblivion, seems like it's worth considering other ways of doing it rather than following the same old playbook. I do actually wonder for instance how many fans would be happy to donate designs in return for a few free t-shirts, seems like some people (but i've no idea of proportions) just want to have the designs to wear themselves and might even be happy to pay Joss et al for the privilege (personally i'm frikkin' desperate to pay the guys for all their hard-work but so far there isn't even so much as a PayPal button on a website somewhere, never mind iTunes etc.).

Thing is, we're quick, much, much quicker than the studios and (because of experience) even Joss. Just look at how quickly the guys threw fans4writers together or how quickly these bootleg t-shirts have appeared. Why not leverage that speed and agility instead of rolling over it with a big legal steam-roller ?
"Do they need to go into partnership with fans?"

TamaraC, I'd say that in this case, they already are in defacto partnership with the fans. There wouldn't be the mass media attention-- and thus potential big money profits-- if not for fans' involvement in promoting, extending and evangelizing Dr. Horrible-- which was primed by the Whedon collective. While I can understand the insistence on protecting the rights of the artists to control their creation and profit from it, would you say that the concerted promotional effort of fans should be valued "free"?
I'm hoping that before the stuff on Cafepress came down, attention was paid to what sorts of things were up there. What catch phrases seem to have struck a chord, what characters were being promoted?
We know that more designs are coming to Jinx. It would be nice if these reflected fan wishes. Yet, if they do, isn't the fans' creativity being used for free?
We are all in this together - creators and fans alike- and while I firmly believe that we should not be making money off of their creativity, I think that talented fans should be allowed to create as well.
There wouldn't be the mass media attention-- and thus potential big money profits-- if not for fans' involvement in promoting, extending and evangelizing Dr. Horrible...

For the record and FWIW, I don't believe this is true. I think it's just part of the long-running mythology of this fandom's supposed reach and power.

...would you say that the concerted promotional effort of fans should be valued "free"?

No. ;)

(Or, really, it depends, because there are various ways for something to not be "for free" other than profit-sharing.)

I'm hoping that before the stuff on Cafepress came down, attention was paid to what sorts of things were up there. What catch phrases seem to have struck a chord, what characters were being promoted?

Good point.
But up to now the response has been to lawyer-slap said fans into oblivion, seems like it's worth considering other ways of doing it rather than following the same old playbook


Well if we ignore the old playbook, should fans be allowed to charge for fanfic? I've seen fandoms rise in up in arms whenever an individual tries to sell their fic. That attitude isn't going to change in a hurry.
Whedonage, who said that fan promotional effort was valued at free? Not me. I actually think it was worth quite a bit and although I would hesitate to put a value on it, I don't think something in 6 figures would be unreasonable.

I do believe that fans get a return on this investment of time and energy through enabling more projects like it to be created. I don't think you will find many folk who have promoted Dr. Horrible saying that they feel like the effort was not or will not be repaid in kind. You could make a different argument about those fans who spent many months promoting Serenity (yeah, I'm not bitter. too much)

I was talking about partnering with fans on merchandising and merchandising only. Please don't misunderstand me or twist what I say to be something else, that will just end up making us all testy.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-03 22:44 ]
Tamara posted:
Wanting to use someone else's IP to make money without recompense is what totally baffles me. I don't understand how anyone can possibly think that they have an ethical leg to stand on in that instance. Or how they look in a mirror.


I agree. Which is why the only way the portal should be set up is that Joss & Co. make money from the sales of the merchandise in the Cafe Press portal also. The portal would be established as an officially sanctioned outlet to purchase merchandise which incorporates actor likenesses, phrases, and other IP graphics from Dr. Horrible. If one uses material from the official source, then the IP holders need to be compensated, as with an license arrangement.

As to a fan being paid for the design, well there are a couple of reasons why this is a positive thing. First, it encourages people to make a design good enough so that others will actually pay money for it, which is an effective incentive. Plus, paid work has a better chance of attracting folks who have professional skills. Also, a good design does take time and it's only fair to give the designer some type of compensation for their original work... with an accent on the "original". Remember, this applies to designs that otherwise would not have existed. If Joss & Co. want to increase the variety of graphics, they'd either have to hire folks (costs money) or have one of their own do the work (still, their time is worth money).

On a side note, we're not talking huge bucks any way. There is a price to be paid for all the work that Cafe Press does. The amount that is shown for a product is mostly the "base price" that Cafe Press keeps for itself to cover all the production, website and accounting expenses. Shopkeepers are usually only making a few bucks on each item... literally. The Cafe Press portal idea isn't necessarily about generating huge amounts of money, although it could add up, rather it's about directing fans' energy toward funneling money to Joss & Co. than away. It encourages the fan following, and it puts more Dr. Horrible merchandise out there that does help spread the word, which is a form of guerilla marketing.

Again, this about Joss & Co. exploring a new business model and seeing how it works. The control would always remain with them. If they decided at some point that the portal wasn't working the way they hoped, they could pull the plug... but unfortunately they'd be faced again with having to expend time and energy policing fan made merchandise that no longer had an official (and monitored) outlet.

On another thought, the portal idea may be affected if Jinx has an exclusive t-shirt agreement with Joss & Co. By exclusive I mean going beyond the graphics themselves, the sale of Dr. Horrible themed t-shirts period. However, Cafe Press does offer A LOT of merchandise besides t-shirts, so it may be possible to create Dr. Horrible canvas bags, mugs, etc., as approved by the licensor.
11th, within those strictures, I think it is a feasible model. It also sounds very different from what was being proposed earlier in this thread. Was I just reading it wrong or did it seem a lot more of a free-for-all?

I could see this cafe press model as an option for Dr. Horrible, but only one of many and you are right, Jinx may have some exclusivity rights that may supercede Cafe Press.
Sounds like the initial idea, broadly (they were always going to vet designs which means they'd have overall control, they were always going to make money from it etc.).

Well if we ignore the old playbook, should fans be allowed to charge for fanfic? I've seen fandoms rise in up in arms whenever an individual tries to sell their fic. That attitude isn't going to change in a hurry.

I'm not saying "ignore the old playbook", i'm saying they don't need to use every play in there. And anyway, ignoring the old playbook doesn't mean "anything goes", that's a false dichotomy (i.e. we can come up with a new playbook that's acceptable to fans and creators).

Personally I don't think individuals should profit from fanfic but if the creators wanted to effectively licence their characters for fanficcers to use then why not ? (and that's closer to this t-shirt portal idea anyway).

I do believe that fans get a return on this investment of time and energy through enabling more projects like to be created.

Surely it's paying for it that does that ? The oft-mentioned profit ? You can tell as many people as you like, if nobody pays then we won't see any more. So fans actually get a return on their ... money spent ;).

For the record and FWIW, I don't believe this is true. I think it's just part of the long-running mythology of this fandom's supposed reach and power.

Well in all fairness then, maybe it's time Big Purp stopped perpetuating that myth by asking people for help with spreading the word ? Don't get me wrong, i'm happy to spread the word but if it's a) actually ineffective then I won't bother or b) effective then it seems fair that that participatory relationship be taken into account. Right now it feels a bit like we're all in it together until it's time to get legal on our collective asses.
Saje, you keep mentioning legal measure or the implied threat of them. Do we actually know if there has been any action taken other than the legitimate IP owners asking Cafe Press to remove unlicensed Dr. Horrible products?

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-03 22:59 ]
Here's a question:

Now that there might be an approach to the shared space, where everyone is a winner, has anyone approached the Dr. Horrible team? Like, on Twitter?

I say this because they too, are gods! humans and may not know about the Cafe Press fan-share-profit approach. They didn't know about Cafe Press to begin with until fans Twittered them about it.

ETA: Nevermind. That's what I get for not checking Twitter first. Thanks, bix! Thanks 11th for the idea!

[ edited by korkster on 2008-08-03 23:13 ]
korkster, I pointed them to the start of this discussion earlier in this thread, via Twitter.
Jinx does have things besides tees, even toilet paper. ;)
Do we actually know if there has been any action taken other than the legitimate IP owners asking Cafe Press to remove unlicensed Dr. Horrible products?

Err, why would CafePress remove them except for the implied threat of legal action ? It's having that implied threat in their back pocket that makes being a "legitimate IP owner" possible in the first place.

And it's not the bootleg stuff being removed that I have issue with, it's the sweeping brush (apparently ;) used. Same old same old, there's no wiggle room for fan inspired stuff (which isn't a rip off of official merchandise) and no (apparent ;) attempt to find middle ground.
I wonder if this may have turned out differently had they initially seen some original and creative designs that didn't infringe on any trademarks. They might have just gone "oh, cool!" like with all the other fan creations thus far. But no, the first thing they saw was direct rip offs of official merchandise marked way up, so their immediate reaction was to put a stop to it. I don't blame them for putting a hold on all this while they figure out what to do. Most stuff on cafepress just seems to be slapping a quote on various products and jacking up the price anyway. If there are truly good designs, then it could be worth exploring. I think this is just another hurdle that's going to take them time to figure out.
There is a fine line between "fan art" and pirated merchandise created solely to make a profit. It is possible that the Dr. Horrible team decided to get rid of all unofficial product rather than pick and choose and open that ridiculous can of worms.
hacksaway, there were some cool shirts at Cafe Press, like the Australia one, the car + head one, the "I do the weird stuff with [insert same, like Moist], and the like.

I think if we just give them a second to figure out this new world, it'll work out.
"For the record and FWIW, I don't believe this is true. I think it's just part of the long-running mythology of this fandom's supposed reach and power."

While I'd tend to agree that online fandoms (and other net collectives) rarely have direct, immediate effect on meatspace; within the Internet realm, I'd suggest that even a modicum of semi-organized fandom carries a lot of weight. Outside of the promotion done by fans and fan-oriented web sites (and the priming by Whedon & co), was there much mainstream coverage of Dr. Horrible prior to its launch? I've been racking GoogleNews to find some. There certainly weren't any ad placements in the traditional sense to whet non-fans' appetites. So where did enough people find out about the web series to crash the site initially?

Now, of course, due to its perceived success, articles are showing up all over the press, such as published in today's Charlotte Observer.

ETA: Just noticed that the Observer article is an edited form of the AP story from two weeks ago.

[ edited by Whedonage on 2008-08-03 23:36 ]
It is possible that the Dr. Horrible team decided to get rid of all unofficial product rather than pick and choose and open that ridiculous can of worms.

Yeah well that's the problem isn't it, so long as differentiating enthusiasm from criminality is seen as a "ridiculous can of worms" no compromise will be found, genuine fans' toes will be stepped on and the participation is a bit one way.

That said, we don't know what's going on behind the scenes, could be they're feverishly working on this as we speak. Or taking it all onboard for next time. What worries me is that they only know one way to do it and so that's how it's gonna get done in perpetuity because all other ways are viewed as impossible or illegal or ridiculous.

(and I also didn't see most of the stuff on Cafepress, could be 99% of it was clearly ripping off official products and completely deserved to go. Either way, i'm knackered. To bed ! ;)
The hammer + car + head one was awesome, except I still think it would have been more awesome without putting the actual dialogue underneath it.
They may or may not have been cool, but they won't get any leeway when they were trying to sell the official stuff too. I think there should be some middle ground, I just think that particular store hurt the whole situation a lot.
Whedonage, I of all people would hardly suggest that a "semi-organized fandom" has no power. But lots of things don't get any real maintream coverage until they actually are out/launched. That's precisely when each news organization wants to jump on the bandwagon and not miss out on the attention.
B!x, I think we're essentially saying the same thing. A noisy online fandom creates the perception of something being a Big Deal (such as getting "Internet famous"), which leads into more traditional off-line coverage-- even when the active fandom may in actuality not translate into as many people as it might imagine itself to be (if one were to anthropomorphise fandoms) ;)
I wish the Dr. Horrible site had a real blog where they could make their wishes known and get some feedback. Twitter is fine for "Hey, we're making new stuff so stop making yours!" but I can't imagine they really want responses there from hundreds of fans.
I wonder what legal considerations will be necessary to cover the fan-generated characters who apply for membership in the ELoE? I don't personally have any problem signing whatever ME requests - for me it is all for fun. And I don't assume my character is good enough to make that cut - that is a big IF. But it does raise a host of interesting issues.
Tamara posted:
11th, within those strictures, I think it is a feasible model. It also sounds very different from what was being proposed earlier in this thread. Was I just reading it wrong or did it seem a lot more of a free-for-all?


Well, I think that you were reading the initial posts from the protective viewpoint of a corporation for its valuable IP. Beats me where that comes from though...

However, once the idea was fleshed out better and protections and benefits for the IP holders were explained, then the idea could be better judged.

We're all entering a new era where use and participation of IP is being redefined. Whatever the new criteria evolves into, the basic rights of the IP holder need to be protected, but a little more leeway will need to be given if ultimately it does benefit the IP owner and the fans. Coming up with methods that allow both freedom and control will be tricky, but it will require being open to new ways of thinking.

As to the scorched earth policy employed by Cafe Press, well they sorta have to do that... at least initially. They can't risk being liable for permitting the sales of merchandise that violates someone else's IP. From what I've learned along the way though, certain original designs based on a property are allowed under Fair Use. (From what I understand, for example, phrases from a movie/TV show can be used.) However, if a shopkeeper refers to said IP by name in the product description, that could be deemed to as the shopkeeper 'putting forth' their merchandise as "official". This may not have been the shopkeeper's intention, but that's how lawyers will see it.
11th, within those strictures, I think it is a feasible model. It also sounds very different from what was being proposed earlier in this thread. Was I just reading it wrong or did it seem a lot more of a free-for-all?

I'm not sure which/whose post(s) you were focusing on, but what 11th went into detail on is exactly what I had in mind. And now knowing that something similar was done with SOAP, I'd be curious to know what the results of that experiment were.
Brewbunny - I'm actually prepared to discuss a Cafe Press portal idea because it's a notion that was tossed around between myself and another FF/S fan artist a while back. We had exchanged a great deal of correspondence on the subject, but various life situations stalled the idea.

So I had some research already gathered from prior investigation. Your suggestion of a similar notion was a good prompt to be able to discuss the idea in much greater depth. If the portal idea didn't (at least "yet") take off for FF/S, then perhaps it can be applied for Dr. Horrible. Actually, I think it could go A LOT smoother for Dr. Horrible because this is not a traditional studio project full of all kinds of barriers and resistance to a new business model. As has been stated in this thread, Dr. Horrible is based on being independent, rethinking business models, and trying new things. Joss also is someone who would be much more open to considering fan participation.

I'm not saying that he'd get behind "anything" the fans would want to do, but he'd approach the ideas with more creativity and openness... at least before mocking and crushing us that is...
Maybe the difference, BrewBunny, is in the perspective from which each of us views the problem. My admitted bias is in protecting those that create the product, finance the product, or own the product (not always the same people). 11th just may be coming from a perspective of an artist who passionately loves those products and wants to express her love creatively. 11th and I know each other personally so I can at times empathize with her way of thinking as she can with mine. We know what buttons to push as well. :)

What I heard (through the filter of my bias) was that the mean mean corporations and IP owners should stop being mean and let the fans make what they want since the fans have earned it. If my filter got that wrong then, my bad. If my filter didn't get that wrong then the folks making that argument are still dead wrong in my opinion.
TamaraC, I can't speak to the others, but if your filter is giving you a "mean mean corporation" vibe from *me*, it may be time for a cleaning. ;-)
Noted, BrewBunny. :) It was a general vibe, though and not the first time I've got that vibe here in the black.
TamaraC, you mean when the Buffy sing-alongs were stopped for instance? Yes, that vibe might have been present then!
TamaraC, you mean when the Buffy sing-alongs were stopped for instance? Yes, that vibe might have been present then!

There was a reason for this happening, however.
Lioness, do you have proof that that was a decision made only by 20th Century Fox and that there were no other players involved? Because if you know the full story on that, I'm sure there are many folk who would love to be clued in, including me.

I do think that a lot of conclusions have been jumped to based on little to no real information. Par for the course in fandom, unfortunately. Just blame the big evil mean corporation and don't bother with the pesky little facts.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-08-04 03:49 ]
Another reason for the CafePress portal: fans will continue to make Dr. Horrible shirts. The argument was made that someone would have to approve designs and that would take time. Well, someone has to monitor CafePress periodically now to find each new unofficial one and report it. If that's already being done, why not formalize an official avenue for such things? Increased fan good will, revenue that Mutant Enemy would not have gotten otherwise, and a guarantee that there will be more walking billboards out there.

If Joss and Co. choose not to, no worries. But it seems to me that they're looking for new paradigms and this is one way to capture monies off a source that would otherwise cost manhours to police against.
Just blame the big evil mean corporation and don't bother with the pesky little facts.

Are you saying corporations like Fox are never heavy handed or "mean" TamaraC ? Because that hasn't been my experience.

Like I said upthread, it's cool to have someone that will bend over backwards to defend corporations, it balances out the rest of us. But i'm not certain either "side" has the right to claim to be the most level-headed or "sane". There comes a point where it's not jumping at shadows or mindless anti-corporatism to assume the worst, it's learning from experience.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-04 10:08 ]
Saje, corporations are artificial constructs. They aren't capable of being "mean." They do however have individual people in them that are sometimes stupid and petty and who make blunders and mistakes. People, just like you and me, who sometimes screw up. A corporation is not some animal or evil robot to which you can assign malice. It just doesn't make any sense even though I understand it can make life much simpler to believe it.
Well, if the law can treat corporations as persons, so can we. ;)
The law, another artificial construct made up of fallible humans. :)
Saje, corporations are artificial constructs. They aren't capable of being "mean." They do however have individual people in them that are sometimes stupid and petty and who make blunders and mistakes.

Individual people that draw up corporate policy which (sometimes) institutionalises immoral behaviour.

But OK, in future assume when I say 'corporation' I mean "the people that work for a corporation, the corporate ethos that sometimes encourages them to act in immoral ways and the greed of both owners and politicians for either power, money or both that helps facilitate said immoral behaviour" ;).

Pretty sure you've talked about 'Fox doing X' or 'the legal department doing Y' in the past TamaraC though I could be wrong, happy to sit corrected if so ;). I.e. we all use 'corporation' as a short-hand for the people there and the atmosphere that (sometimes) encourages certain behaviours we'd all rather didn't happen. The German army during WWII was made up of individuals, most of them just normal, variously brave, cowardly, kind, nasty, strong, weak guys, same as on the allied side. We call the German army the "bad guys" though because of what they did as a whole (i.e. invaded other countries).
So corporations are Nazis now? Well at least it took 107 comments to get there.
Happy to assume that's a joke and if so, stop reading here ;). Otherwise ...

*sighs* No, corporations aren't Nazis, you get the difference between an analogy and an equivalence right TamaraC ? Or maybe only when it suits your purposes. The example happened to come to mind because i'm reading a book about Dunkirk at the moment which features accounts by allied and German soldiers, wherein, possibly amazingly to yourself, the German accounts are similar to the allied accounts and don't seem particularly more evil or bloodthirsty or less compassionate - and yet not many would contest that the German army were most definitely the "baddies" in WWII.

Incidentally, one of my pet peeves which seems to be more common among Americans for some reason (dunno why, you guys presumably have the same access to history books we have) - 'German army during WWII' is not equal to 'Nazi'. Many of them were just conscript soldiers, the same as the allies.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-06 11:57 ]
[ponders Saje's Dunkirk book excuse and German vs. Nazi distinction]

...okay, that's a very nice try at getting out of it--really, well done--but your previous post was a clear fulfillment of Godwin's Law. Alas.
Err, no, it really wasn't because Godwin's only applies to Hitler/Nazis which means that your claim is based on a false assumption (i.e. when I said "German army during WWII" I actually meant "Nazi" - I really didn't, honest - i'm even doing the Scout promise ;) and is somewhat circular to boot (you'll notice I didn't mention the holocaust as one the things that sets them out as "the baddies" but "invaded other countries", something the Wehrmacht incontestably were guilty of). So think of it as "a reason" rather than "an excuse" and you'll be closer to the mark. Besides, i've always seen Godwin's as more of a guideline ;).

As to the distinction, there's nothing to ponder - if you think "German army during WWII" = "Nazi" then you are, with the best will in the world, just wrong (no-matter how common it is in conventional American usage). Many were party members (especially officers and obviously especially the higher you went in the chain of command) and many probably approved of the SS' actions too. But not all by any measure.
Sure, but that's applying logic (and denotation) to a rule that's grounded in emotion (and connotation). There were hundred of analogies -- even hundreds of armies, come to that -- you could have chosen; you went with WWII Germany. It doesn't get much more loaded than that.
Sure it does, I could've used the Nazis ;-).

As i've said twice now, the reason I went with them was a) it's in my mind and b) specifically because I doubt anyone is going to say "Well, the German army during WWII were just misunderstood" i.e. we all agree what they did was wrong. My mistake was, I thought we also all agreed they were an army of largely ordinary men, just like the allies - turns out in the US (and maybe elsewhere) the German army is seen in the same light as some of the nastiest ideologues the world has ever seen.

Remember, the whole point of my example was that the German army wasn't solely (and my own feeling is even mainly) composed of evil members, it was, just like a corporation, composed of normal folk. We still see what they did as a whole as very wrong. In the same way it's valid to see what a corporation does as a whole as wrong.

Fair point though, if emotion clouds the issue to that extent, no amount of reason is going to convince anyone of anything (out of curiosity, which examples could I have used of an army we all agree were in the wrong that wouldn't send Americans into an emotional tail-spin ? Just for future reference ;).
I was kinda hoping that Whedonesque would remain Godwin free but alas not. Perhaps we could get back to the topic in hand.

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