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April 13 2011

San Antonio Browncoats hit with Cease & Desist order for Buffy/Firefly screenings. 20th Century Fox "singled out the planned Buffy screening Friday at the Overtime Theater and the Firefly screening April 27 at Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes, noting "the unauthorized public performance of a copyrighted work constitutes copyright infringement"".

Oh, jeez. Their comments about FOX are not helpful.
Didn't we already know this? Is this a case of a fairly new person in charge not getting fully briefed or not doing his/her research? Shame that it will disappoint so many people.
It's actually irrelevant how new they are or aren't. FOX owns the show, you can't show it publicly without their permission. That's always been true, and it's true of every single show or movie not released under, say, a Creative Commons license.
Well, I meant getting briefed about not being able to show them or about who to contact for a license and then getting told not to show them. Either way, not showing them.
Wait, if they can't give out a license to show television episodes, then what's going on with the OMWF-screenings? I always assumed those are being done legitimately.
FOX has generally managed to obtain waivers from the guilds (it was mainly a SAG issue, if I recall) to grant licenses for non-profit OMWF screenings at conventions and the like.
OMWF screenings are also few and far between now for licensing reasons.
This is part of CSTS? Did the San Antonio group go rogue? This had been well known for years that Firefly and Buffy aren't allowed due to SAG issues. Not 20th. SAG.
I've noticed a few groups have been screening Buffy and Firefly, I guessed they didn't have permission.

Fox are in the right here. Sucks for the peeps involved, but you can't just start screening things in theatres and advertising it online like that.
It's not part of CSTS. They've been regularly showing episodes at the Drafthouse there.
I've noticed a few groups have been screening Buffy and Firefly, I guessed they didn't have permission.

There was a group in Seattle that actually ran a Kickstarter campaign to rent a theater to screen Firefly episodes. They never answered my questions about licensing.
Oh man. They took $1500 of fan money for that? Fox will end up shutting it down.
It's already happened.

ETA: I mean the event, not the shutting down of it.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-04-13 08:23 ]
The only FOX sactioned screenings of OMWF I know in USA is at Comic Con San Diego. We haven't been able to have any legal screenings in LA even for charity. All because they didn't include public screening rights in the guild contracts. I was told by the suits that omwf can only be shown at no cost to the attendees and FOX still expects to be paid as if for any other public screening. Slayerthon has permission to screen Buffy and Angel eps only because they don't charge admission. And one year even Buffy eps was off limits (that got fixed). All this because too many for-profit screenings happened where FOX didn't get paid and/or episodes that had no public screening rights were screened. FOX then down the hammer on all of fandom after that.
Slayerthon has permission to screen Buffy and Angel eps only because they don't charge admission.

My assumption -- and someone correct if wrong -- is that not only do they not charge admission, but there's no commercial activity taking place. I don't think San Antonio Drafthouse charged admission either, but they made money from beer and food sales.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-04-13 08:38 ]
I think people don't understand that every time this happens (without permission) 20th owes SAG residuals. 20th has to pay for this rogue shit. WTF are people thinking?
They shouldn't even have to think beyond, "This property isn't ours."
I can't believe they are upset. Not like they had obtained a license to have it pulled. Sorry to say but they deserve what comes Gotham for trying this on. Likely the paying fans had no idea about the SAG issues or that SA BCs didn't have the rights. The majority would have assumed it was all legit. Way to make the browncoats look like a bunch of thieves. Pretty sure San Antonio has had Csts events before so I can only assume that this was willful theft in the hopes of not being noticed. The CSTS handbook clearly says eps are not available for licensing. Past experience has me fearing that they are not the only group doing this
In summation: This is why we can't have nice things.
It's true, we can't be trusted. I for one look a bit shifty and that's just one example.

Silly buggers basically. What did they think would happen ?
I don't think we should be that harsh on the peeps involved. They probably didn't realise what the deal was (or in this case, wasn't).
'Silly buggers' is hardly harsh. That said, "If you don't own the copyright then you need permission to show it" isn't exactly arcane knowledge (the notice is there on most DVDs) and of course ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. That said, without knowing them (or even being able to read the post since it seems to have disappeared) I doubt very much there was any malice intended on the part of the organisers, they're not bad people they just made a daft mistake. No big deal.
Well, not quite. They made a mistake for sure (one easily avoided by understanding the concept of "property"). But then they compounded it by inappropriately playing the victimized Browncoat in the press, conflating 20th with FOX, and trying to make it seem that 20th has done something untoward. That's more than just a daft mistake. It's irresponsible.
Well i'm happy to take your word for that B!x but as I say, the post seems to have gone to bit heaven so not having read it I can't really judge them on that basis (and to be honest, I don't care enough to go looking for other press on the matter, it's a bit of a non-story IMO).

Wouldn't surprise me in the least though, being embattled, plucky underdogs doing the impossible/fightin' The Man has become such a large part of the fandom's self-identity that it crops up even with absolutely no reason.
Yes, the SA Browncoats were naive and obviously didn't know about the licensing, and yes, their comments regarding Fox were unhelpful to say the least, but this was scheduled at a cinema which is part of the Alamo Drafthouse group - did the cinema management not consider such issues as this and ASK the group if all was in order before allowing it to be advertised? Any commercial cinema worth their salt knows that situations like this can cause issues with distributors/studios when trying to book new product.

It has been commented that "Firefly" eps have been "regularly screened" at The Drafthouse - if it is at this Westlakes site, then the question has to be were these screenings advertised as a part of their normal weekly programming which means that any "fault" or blame has to be shouldered by the cinema management as they would have perfectly have well known that a licence would have been required.
Webwych, there's a whole load of cases of cinemas in the US screening Buffy, Angel and Firefly stuff without licensing. Hell, even performance theatres have had stuff on stage there without any attempt at licensing before. Tough times.
Without knowning all the extenuating circumstances, I would be hesitant to criticize the SA Browncoats. They are a very active community that was extremely supportive in promoting Serenity and have done much to raise funds for Equality Now.

Let us just look at this as a lesson to be learned about screening in our local areas and continue to support our Browncoats globally.
It's back now QG, ta though. Previously I was getting a "Problem loading page" error.
Sehr gut.

(Today is my "Throw In Occasional German phrases Randomly Day". Tomorrow will be "Mispronounced Ungrammatical French Day". I'm a veritable cornucopia of incomplete knowledge. ; > )
@webwych absolutely agree. The cinema could be held liable too as they inevitably charge for use of the cinema and equipment and make a profit. I am surprised that they did not check this. This conbined with SA Bc's participation in CSTS in the past where it is STRONGLY advertised that eps are not to be shown and neither are special features on the serenity DVDs really makes me question whether this could ever just be a naive mistake. It's almost come to the point where CSTS has to have a register of the cities and mark it off with universal that they have licensing sorted, but there will always be events which decide to play extra stuff, and hope they get away with it.

It may even be that they tried to get licensing. I remember trying once (albeit from Australia not the US, and before word came down that eps were simply a no go) to get licensing rights. I was bounced around from department to department, told to ring Fox in the US, and quoted commercial rates of $1000's of dollars per 30 seconds of the ep. Needless to say, I gave up. Perhaps that is what happened here, but instead of doing the right thing and not playing them, they just went ahead with it? Still am surprised at the cinema not checking this sort of thing out.
Someone sent me a tweet to say

When I went to Oxford UK CSTS screening they also screened the Firefly pilot. The tape was provided by Fox so I assume it was legit

You mean just because we are nice, friendly browncoats - we can't just do whatever we want? ;)

Sucks for the people who were planning to attend.
it sucks that this issue continues to pop up. Boo.


And not to go TOO far off topic, I just saw this and wondered if this is our very own kilt-clad gold mod extraordinaire?? (pic 14)

Simon, is that you getting some love from the one and only Heidi MacDonald?
Simon's from Northern Ireland, the flatter, more westerly part of Scotland ;).

(he's also Fraser rather than Frazier)
@Marsia The Whedonverse track at Dragon*Con also has permission to show OMWF, and they do it in a Rocky Horror Picture Show style, so it isn't only SDCC. They've also been showing Dr. Horrible with permission done in the same style, but I've been wondering if that falls under the new restrictions the Dr. H folk have announced.

What kills me is that once we saw this being advertised, I reached out and asked how they had gotten permission and if FOX was more open to public screenings and didn't receive a response. You'd think that might have tipped them off.
Simon's not that old advanced in years either! {{don't kill me, not an ageist [I should talk], but I am a kilt lover}}
Where's the "like" button for this Simon-in-a-kilt pic?
I don't think that's our Simon. Doesn't look like him to me, anyway. Also the last name is spelled different.
Some bright MBA-type needs to mail an analysis to all the players - SAG, Fox & Browncoats.

By making licensing hard, the folks who could get paid actually don't get paid, while annoying their customers & creating bad-will. Truly clever.

AIR the post-strike SAG contract provided relatively small residuals for digital "new media", with larger residuals for things like public performances. So in the new multi-media world, the incentives are exactly backwards for getting the most content to them as want it, and cashey money to them as provide it.

With digital technology the content machines need to switch their approach from control of limited (planned & expansive to provide) access to their property to distribution of broad, (ad-hoc & cheap to provide) access to their property.

This is a market failure. There's no reason doing a screening of any property shouldn't be standardized, simple and broadly available.
Do you really think this is the consequence of not being able to get a licence? That assumes that the group would have got a licence if they could as opposed to just showing something because they wanted to regardless of legal elements.
Well, it's a consequence of not having a license. None of us know whether they even bothered to try to get one.
I don't think that's our Simon. Doesn't look like him to me, anyway. Also the last name is spelled different.

Sure he's got a different face, build and nationality but you never know. Quite a lot of his DNA is probably the same for instance as well as his first name. IIRC they both have the same number of heads too.

(googled about a bit to find out who the guy actually is and the surname in the photo blurb's misspelled, they're both Frasers - no 'z' - so I was wrong about that. FYI, the Simon Fraser in the photo (before losing a kilo or two). 6 degrees time, i'm pretty sure Simon has said he liked 'Nikolai Dante' at some point in the past. Small world right ? ;)
So you're saying Glory isn't Ben? Now I'm confused.
Oh not a bit of it - i'm saying not only is Glory possibly somehow connected to Ben but Simon has known about it for years (though i'm not sure about Simon, that guy doesn't seem so plugged in).
So what you're really saying is that Simon is the original personality and that picture linked above is a Simon transferred into a different body through Dollhouse technology. Gotcha.
Exactly Emmie. I just didn't want to actually say that with words in case Rossum were eavesdropping so instead I said it by not saying it with words.

It's a technique called 'zenplanation'. In my head.
You're all hi-larious.
You just now noticed!? {{Note to self: Need more work on comedic quips, asides, and general har-har's))
I noticed at the time but decided to have a dignified silence.
You're all hi-larious.
Simon | April 14, 07:18 CET


Ain't we just?

;D
As a note - Austin Browncoats ran both CSTS events in San Antonio.

We've been really upfront with that specific San Antonio theatre that Firefly episodes cannot be aired and explained the reasons why. The theatre manager definitely knew screening the episodes wouldn't be allowed by FOX based on their current restrictions.

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