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Old May 15th 14, 11:01   #21
Triple F
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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Yeah, isn't it amazing that Novo Babylonia is still up? After JMS' strenuous disapproval? I'm sure the 'sue you back to the stone age crowd' would have expected him to run off to inform Warner Legal about those infringers but that doesn't seem to have happened, does it? Believe me, there's no legal department in the world that, if notified, would have failed to send a C&D letter out. That's what they get paid for. And the five minutes of negative publicity would be meaningless to them. Continuing the actual discussion.....................
Jan
It’s interesting that your view of things so singularly revolves around jms, and what he might or might not have done. Did it ever occur to you (despite jms’s stated views on the subject) that Novo Babylonia is still producing episodes – not because jms hasn’t reported them – but simply because Warner Brothers see the value in what they're doing and don’t want to take any kind of action against them. Which does fit in with what THEY (Warner Bros. with a legal department, not jms who brings up lawyers and copyright infringement) has said about fan made material.

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Warner Bros. definitely appreciates the enthusiasm and respect of its fans. We will continue to monitor the use of Warner Bros. properties as used in fan films. However, we will only consider taking action against such films that are either commercial in nature, are commercially exploited or otherwise engage in or depict inappropriate activity.
And BTW, Jan. The original topic is about the lack of fan made movies and the like, and jms’s very public disproval of such things is (at least partially) relevant, or at the very least worthy of discussion, when it comes to the question of why there isn’t any.

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Old May 15th 14, 11:53   #22
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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It’s interesting that your view of things so singularly revolves around jms, and what he might or might not have done. Did it ever occur to you (despite jms’s stated views on the subject) that Novo Babylonia is still producing episodes – not because jms hasn’t reported them – but simply because Warner Brothers see the value in what they're doing and don’t want to take any kind of action against them. Which does fit in with what THEY (Warner Bros. with a legal department, not jms who brings up lawyers and copyright infringement) has said about fan made material.
Nope. Doesn't occur to me at all because, as I stated above, if WB legal ever had official notice, they *would* automatically and without hesitation, send out a C&D letter. They wouldn't check with anybody higher up, it would simply be sent. That's what they're there for. I can't seem to access the Novo Babylonia site at the moment but if I recall correctly, it had the same problems yours had - lack of acknowledgement of WB's copyright and trademark ownership.

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Warner Bros. definitely appreciates the enthusiasm and respect of its fans. We will continue to monitor the use of Warner Bros. properties as used in fan films. However, we will only consider taking action against such films that are either commercial in nature, are commercially exploited or otherwise engage in or depict inappropriate activity.
You've posted this twice now with no link or attribution. Where exactly did it come from? Who exactly are you quoting? What's his/her authority?

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And BTW, Jan. The original topic is about the lack of fan made movies and the like, and jms’s very public disproval of such things is (at least partially) relevant, or at the very least worthy of discussion, when it comes to the question of why there isn’t any.
<shrug> Well, I've seen him at least somewhat complimentary toward the Star Wreck parody. I never said anything about how relevant or irrelevant his attitude might be. I addressed one misstatement about that 'sue back to the stone age', that's all.

My personal opinion (as previously stated) is that there just aren't enough fans with the drive to do so. What I've seen is that there are probably plenty of fans itching to try their hands at CGI but not nearly as many wanting to do sets and costumes (though I've seen some fabulous ones) and acting.

Jan
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Old May 15th 14, 14:35   #23
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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<shrug> Well, I've seen him at least somewhat complimentary toward the Star Wreck parody. I never said anything about how relevant or irrelevant his attitude might be. I addressed one misstatement about that 'sue back to the stone age', that's all.
That's my cue!

JMS is very, very big on "Writer's Rights." He takes basically the same stance that Harlan Ellison does: That the writer is the first and most fundamental part of the visual-medial creative process, but gets the smallest chunk of change out of it, and has the least legal protection of anyone along the line. I can't see as I disagree with him about that. I personally know writers who've had 30, 40, 50 year careers but haven't been able to quit their day jobs, or are living hand-to-mouth the whole time. (Paraphrasing Larry Niven: "At no point in its history has Science Fction been able to support more than two or three writers as their sole source of income. The only reason I can do it as a full-time job is that I was rich to begin with.")

As such, (I presume) JMS is EXTREMELY opposed to anything that might conceivably erode such few rights and protections as writers have. Not just for himself, but for the community as a whole. Hence these guys are generally portrayed as very sue-happy, but they're not. They're taking a stand that benefits everyone in their industry. Unless it's PD, if you're going to use a character for your own needs, you really should pay for it, or at least ask permission. I totally agree with that.

For fan fiction.

I see Fanfilms as a different thing entirely. The writing is only one part of the equation, and the only part that really is really questionable to them. The setting is probably an intellectual property infringement, but increasingly studios don't give a crap so long as they're credited and it's not an embarasment ("Say, Mr. Spock, is it true what they say about the length of a Vulcan's ears?" "The most logical course would be for you to examine the evidence for yourself." "I thought you could only do that every seven years." "Indeed. But that only applies to women.") in which case said studio would jump all over that sh!t to shut it down. And of course most fan films use canned source material that IS copyrightten. Copywrighten? Copyrighted? Whatever.

But MOST fan films use original characters in a well-know setting, so that mostly sidesteps 1, setting is generally ok if ackowledged, and the non-commercial nature generally causes people to overlook the music thing. I see 'em as a labor of love, and a tribute to something that means something to people on a very deep level.

So whereas I get Those Guys opinions, and they're not without merit, I think they're somewhat misguided, you know? I think opposing fan films does more harm than good to a franchise.

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My personal opinion (as previously stated) is that there just aren't enough fans with the drive to do so. What I've seen is that there are probably plenty of fans itching to try their hands at CGI but not nearly as many wanting to do sets and costumes (though I've seen some fabulous ones) and acting.

Jan
Part of the problem is numbers, as has been said before: There just aren't as many of us as there are Trekies. We don't even really have a name. And Trek has been so overexposed for such a long time that even as-yet-undiscovered tribes in the Amazon know what it is and how it works. It's easily digestible. B5 is a much more densely-packed, nutritious nut, but much harder to crack.

When I wrote (Most) of a script for a fanfilm, I was stuck with a basic problem: Do you try to insert something into B5? That'd be stupid. Do you write a sideline story? "This is what was happening on Mars at the time" That's kinda' dull. Do you write a prequel or sequel? Ugh and ugh. Do you write a spinoff? That has the most potential, but it's also got the most chance of being 'why bother.' Do you do an endless series of Mack-and-Bo styled adventures set on other parts of the station? Groan.

Whereas you can just plug anything into any point on Trek or Stargate or even Dr. Who, and it works, you kinda' can't do that with B5.

The most consistent idea is to do a ship-based show set on an Omega class, or maybe an Explorer class, doing a planet-of-the-week formula. Essentially doing Trek in a B5 universe. Which isn't bad, I'd like to see it, but it lacks an immediate sense of "Oomph!" you know?

So anyway: You've seen good uniforms? Where?
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Old May 15th 14, 14:38   #24
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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You've posted this twice now with no link or attribution. Where exactly did it come from? Who exactly are you quoting? What's his/her authority?

Jan
Sorry, your right. Funny why I didn’t, because I’ve got a tendency of normally always providing links – to the point of being a bit anal about it. Relates to the showing of fan made movies at a comic con back in 2004. They weren’t being shown that year because the con was charging people to see them – which highlights just how important the non profit thing is to them. If you do a google you’ll also see that other (fan) film makers for stuff like Green Lantern and Batman, etc. are well familiar with it, and is now widely viewed as their official policy.

http://www.superherohype.com/news/86...sses-fan-films

As far as Star Wrek is concerned, yeah your right – I spoke to one of the makers of it who mentioned jms actually asked for a couple of copies to be sent to him. Which is why I was a bit surprised he reacted as he did about Novo Babylonia, or even those who write fan fiction. I really do understand his requests that he’s never directly shown story ideas and the like. But seriously. The show is 15 years out of production, and besides, if Warner are OK with fan made projects creating new stories, then why can’t jms. If any sort of problem arose from that in the future wouldn’t it be Warner who would get it in the neck rather than jms.
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Old May 15th 14, 14:57   #25
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

I think everyone has made some great points. It’s interesting that JMS wasn’t overtly hostile to Star Wreck, possibly because of the parody element to it? He has a kinda goofy schoolboy sense of humour, and I get the impression it might have appealed to him.

Honestly, if a fan film was well executed, and stayed mostly out of established canon, I think JMS might very well be okay with it. Conversely, if he saw it as tarnishing the B5 legacy, then he’d also be totally entitled to throw his toys out of the pram.

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Old May 15th 14, 15:23   #26
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

Here’s a kind of related story which shows how far the pendulum is swinging, where Warner Bros. (god love them) are now cashing in on fan fiction, via sales through kindle books. Though the fan authors get a cut as well.

http://www.zdnet.com/amazon-teams-wi...el-7000015747/

It’s currently only one division of WB television, but taken with other things that have been said and done in recent years it’s clear how attitudes have changed with the growth of the internet, along with the quality, popularity and number of various fan made projects. It’s inevitable that they’ll use it as a new revenue stream, and as long as other “independent” fan fiction doesn’t make money they’ll continue to allow it as it encourages interest in their IP’s.

edit
As to whether or not knowledge of this change in attitude will filter down to B5 fans who might want to create stuff in a timely manner, who knows. But if jms (who is still very much the person who many fans look to for advice, opinions etc.) continues to pull out copyright infringement like a gun whenever the topic comes up I can see it will be a while, to say the least.

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Old May 15th 14, 16:10   #27
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
Here’s a kind of related story which shows how far the pendulum is swinging, where Warner Bros. (god love them) are now cashing in on fan fiction, via sales through kindle books. Though the fan authors get a cut as well.

http://www.zdnet.com/amazon-teams-wi...el-7000015747/

It’s currently only one division of WB television, but taken with other things that have been said and done in recent years it’s clear how attitudes have changed with the growth of the internet, along with the quality, popularity and number of various fan made projects. It’s inevitable that they’ll use it as a new revenue stream, and as long as other “independent” fan fiction doesn’t make money they’ll continue to allow it as it encourages interest in their IP’s.
That's very cool, especially for anyone who wants to have a serious stab at some fan fiction set in the B5 universe. There must be loads of it already, but I wonder how much of it is up to scratch?
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Old May 15th 14, 16:19   #28
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
Sorry, your right. Funny why I didn’t, because I’ve got a tendency of normally always providing links – to the point of being a bit anal about it. Relates to the showing of fan made movies at a comic con back in 2004. They weren’t being shown that year because the con was charging people to see them – which highlights just how important the non profit thing is to them. If you do a google you’ll also see that other (fan) film makers for stuff like Green Lantern and Batman, etc. are well familiar with it, and is now widely viewed as their official policy.

http://www.superherohype.com/news/86...sses-fan-films
Thanks. Interesting scenario, and a bit convoluted since Comic-Con (I'm assuming it was San Diego Comic-Con) does charge admission, of course but it's a non-profit organization.

I'd be very interested in any updates to this, given that it's ten years old. But it is good news for fans.

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As far as Star Wrek is concerned, yeah your right – I spoke to one of the makers of it who mentioned jms actually asked for a couple of copies to be sent to him. Which is why I was a bit surprised he reacted as he did about Novo Babylonia, or even those who write fan fiction. I really do understand his requests that he’s never directly shown story ideas and the like. But seriously. The show is 15 years out of production, and besides, if Warner are OK with fan made projects creating new stories, then why can’t jms. If any sort of problem arose from that in the future wouldn’t it be Warner who would get it in the neck rather than jms.
I don't think so, but I'm no lawyer. The problem would be the risk of a plagiarism suit in JMS' case, if he were ever to write a feature film (most likely scenario, IMO) with elements that showed up in any kind of fan project. WB would only be obligated in cases of trademark and copyright infringement. It stands to reason that whoever commissioned JMS to write said script would probably be named in said suit, too, but since the only example we have to date is the ill-fated TMoS feature script, it doesn't need to be WB at all.

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I think everyone has made some great points. It’s interesting that JMS wasn’t overtly hostile to Star Wreck, possibly because of the parody element to it? He has a kinda goofy schoolboy sense of humour, and I get the impression it might have appealed to him.

Honestly, if a fan film was well executed, and stayed mostly out of established canon, I think JMS might very well be okay with it. Conversely, if he saw it as tarnishing the B5 legacy, then he’d also be totally entitled to throw his toys out of the pram.
I think you're right about the parody aspect of Star Wreck. Obvious parody is protected by copyright laws.

One of the important aspects of a plagiarism suit is showing that JMS had access to the material. That's why he's always insisted that fanfic be kept away from anywhere he's known to hang out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple F View Post
Here’s a kind of related story which shows how far the pendulum is swinging, where Warner Bros. (god love them) are now cashing in on fan fiction, via sales through kindle books. Though the fan authors get a cut as well.

http://www.zdnet.com/amazon-teams-wi...el-7000015747/

It’s currently only one division of WB television, but taken with other things that have been said and done in recent years it’s clear how attitudes have changed with the growth of the internet, along with the quality, popularity and number of various fan made projects. It’s inevitable that they’ll use it as a new revenue stream, and as long as other “independent” fan fiction doesn’t make money they’ll continue to allow it as it encourages interest in their IP’s.

edit
As to whether or not knowledge of this change in attitude will filter down to B5 fans who might want to create stuff in a timely manner, who knows. But if jms (who is still very much the person who many fans look to for advice, opinions etc.) continues to pull out copyright infringement like a gun whenever the topic comes up I can see it will be a while, to say the least.
I'd heard a little bit about this. I haven't looked into it in any depth but after WB and Amazon take their cut, I wonder what the author of the fanfic will end up with.

Jan
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Old May 15th 14, 16:24   #29
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

Read that it's something like 30% or retail.

@Ubik
As far as I know there is (or was) quite a bit out there – but haven’t the foggiest with regard to quality, never read any. So Republibot, rather than producing stuff anonymously or under an assumed name, we’re just about at the stage (when Warner inevitably roll this out for all tv shows) where you personally can legally publish AND get some greenbacks for it
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Old May 15th 14, 23:08   #30
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Re: B5 Fan films / episodes... Why aren't there any?

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I think everyone has made some great points. It’s interesting that JMS wasn’t overtly hostile to Star Wreck, possibly because of the parody element to it? He has a kinda goofy schoolboy sense of humour, and I get the impression it might have appealed to him.
Honestly? If I had to guess? I think he asked for copies because it shows Earthforce pounding the everloving HELL out of Starfleet.

Yeah, yeah, I know it's ultimately a draw, but Earthforce was ten-for-ten on style in that, and Starfleet just couldn't come across looking badass in that conflict. So if I had to guess, it's just that simple: He wanted to she his babies beat up the fan favorites. And the FX quality is WAY better than B5 itself was ever able to manage.

That sounds petty, I know, it's not. It's not petty, it's cool. And it sorta' feeeeeeeeeeeeels right, you know?
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