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B5 commercials?

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  • #16
    Parody or satire is not a 100% defense against copyright or trademark actions - which is precisely why the targets of such things are often disguised, renamed or otherwise altered. A T-shirt reading "Mickey vs. Godzilla" might pass muster even at Disney World if the "Mickey" character didn't too closely resemble the classic image of the "real" Mickey.
    The T-Shirt in question depicted Godzilla breathing flames over a cityscape. In the forground is a sillhouette of Mickey, blackened and crispy. Steam rising from the body.

    Definitely NOT anything that Disney artists would ever be Allowed to draw. (Or be permitted to release if they Did. )

    What happened, according to the person who wore the T-Shirt to Disney World, was that a few minutes after walking through the gate, their party was approached by the Moustappo (Disney Security) and informed that the Disney Corporation would NOT permit that shirt to be worn on their property. They were escorted to an office where they were asked where they got the shirt and who from. Then, they were presented with a choice: Either exchange the shirt for an "Official" Disney shirt or Leave the park with No Refunds for their tickets. They swapped the shirt.

    A bit of background: It was a Convention T-Shirt for a con held in Orlando. The Artist Guest of Honor, Bob Eggleton, is a Godzilla fan and likes to draw Godzilla for fun. When he was told that he could draw anything he wanted to for the Con T-Shirt, he couldn't resist.

    And the rest is, as they say, History.

    So, no, the Art was legitimate Parody. But Disney's lawyers Always send out Cease & Desist letters. I suspect they print several dozen a day.

    I know they are in the top 5 lawsuit Targets in the US. Not quite as many as Wal Mart, but a strong contender. So they tend to be proactive at times. Besides, they find REAL Copyright violations at least once a Week in various tourist T-Shirt shops all over the state of Florida. Usually when the shirt falls apart in the wash and the angry tourists write Disney demanding a replacement or refund.

    The C&D letter didn't have much effect. Cons, as a rule, don't reprint T-Shirts. We certainly never did. Each year a New artist GOH gets a shot at fame & litigation...

    Last edited by bakana; 07-22-2004, 06:07 PM.


    • #17
      Oh, here's another part of the mess as far as the Blooper Reels go. From JMS

      You're still not getting it.

      You pay $30 bucks for a copy of the bloopers. To whom does that go? Does it
      go to the actors, whose images you are looking at, who worked day and night to
      create both the drama and the errors? No, it goes to a pirate.

      Profit IS being made. And that profit by all rights belongs to the people who
      worked hard to make it, not to the vultures out there who prey on both the
      shows and the fans alike.

      These people profit off something they never made, that they have no legal
      right to, that they illegally obtained. That you do not have a problem with
      that is profoundly astounding and disturbing.

      ([email protected])
      (all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
      permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
      and don't send me story ideas)
      >And who gets residuals? Producers? Writers? Star actors? Guest stars? Any of
      >the production staff?

      Residuals are not a part of ownership or copyright; they are deferred
      compensation, if the film or tv series does well, they benefit, if not, they
      lose. Everyone on your list gets residuals except production staff.


      >Now, I know you've previously stated that these bloopers would be
      >problematic to release, as it included "material not originally intended
      >for broadcast". Now, seeing as some of the bloopers are on the DVD, what are
      >the odds of ALL of them being released? I know *I* would pay good money for
      >a chance to see them all

      Thing is, and this is an important factor, they're not being released for sale
      per se, they're included as an added benefit. To release them on their own
      would mean selling them as a separate unit, and that would be problematic in
      terms of working out royalties and residuals. Which is why you generally don't
      see a lot of it on other shows absent some kind of prior arrangement or



      • #18
        Originally posted by grumbler
        Don't be. It is the kind of question I find interesting. I note that the lawyers have remained silent, while the amateurs have delivered decisive opinions on the law.

        I am in another forum with some pretty smart lawyers, and have put it to them. I don't have a stance of my own, because this isn't an area of the law I know much about, but I find it an interesting question. Around here, barn ads are used as decoration, and I am pretty sure that some of them have been repainted since the original ads expired. I'd be curious to know if this was violation of copyright.
        Okay, this is what the two guys who claimed some copyright experience said: commercials are not in the public domain. They are copyrighted just like everything else in the show "because copyrights are based not merely on the content but the arrangement of content as well." A web site could get away with presenting portions of the commericals as the objects of criticism, but would get into very murky waters if they presented them in their entirety and THEN commented, as they would be using the entire substance as it was originally created. The murkiness lies in the short length of the comericals and whether it could be argued that they were not long enough to meaningfully extract from them.

        My barn painting analogy didn't compare, as that is apparently trademark versus copyright territory.

        Both of them said it was a damned interesting question, though.
        I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.


        • #19
          I'd also expect that the Barn Painting thing is often about comapnies or products that either no longer exist or get regarded as "free advertising" by the companies involved.

          Certainly at one time, though, the Farmers WERE paid to put those ads on the side of their barns.

          I understand there are also a few farmers still "maintaining" the Burma Shave sign sequences on the side of their fields. Mostly out of nostalgia.


          • #20
            Quick comment.. there was a website that had the commercials on their website as well as various clips from B5 during the first and second season. I think it was called ISN... but not sure.

            I remember them getting shut down by WB for copyright reasons. I would assume anyone else doing so would get shut down also?


            • #21
              I think it was called ISN
              ISN is alive and well, thank you very much.

              p.s. welcome to the froum Milkman.
              Last edited by jal; 07-23-2004, 06:45 PM.
              "The trouble with being a cynic is that you eventually get labelled as a highly reliable fortune-teller"


              • #22
                Did you mean the TNT website? Which closed when Babylon 5 went to Sci-Fi.
                Andrew Swallow


                • #23
                  Originally posted by jal
                  ISN is alive and well, thank you very much.

                  p.s. welcome to the froum Milkman.

                  Haha.. well then... um... well.. i know someplace was getting shut down... or at least had a cease and desist letter posted oh so long ago... maybe that was your site... i really don't know... They had all the crappy (awsome at the time) quicktime previews as well as neat clips of the meaty parts of the episode.

                  But since i have no proof.. and therefore will exit this conversation.

                  OH. .and thanks. Been a while since i have been an active member of the b5 community. Im glad i found this site since i don't frequent newsgroups anymore.

                  Edit: Found it...

                  Thats the site i was thinking of.... unfortunately the link to the letter is no more.
                  Last edited by Milkman; 07-27-2004, 03:54 PM.


                  • #24
                    Just a quick interjection from someone who does have professional, career experience in the field of copyright (a/k/a ME!):

                    First off, sorry I didn't see this thread sooner. I would have been happy to weigh in on this.

                    Next: everything Joe DeM. said is correct. A copyright owner does indeed have the _right_ to pursue any infringements of their works (and a commercial is indeed a piece of intellectual property, subject to protection under US - and any other applicable - copyright law), but they do not waive their rights to their property if they choose _not_ to pursue every single infringement.

                    And, I also wanted to add one other thing. Regarding the quote: "If you post a commercial showing Delen talking to G'Kar, you owe Money to Mira Furlan & Andreas Katsulas for using their images," this is not necessarily correct. In fact, it's probably _incorrect_. Mira and Andreas don't get royalties for advertisements. Appearance in promotional adverts for the property is most likely a requirement of their contracts for the show itself, and most likely with a _specific_ waiver of royalties for airings _of the adverts_. The entity to whom a license fee is owed is the copyright owner - Warner Bros. - and the amount and nature of that fee is up to WB's sole discretion. They might choose to grant a gratis license, charge a huge fee, or deny permission for the use entirely. But you wouldn't contact the actors regarding such a use. If any compensation _was_ due them for their appearance in promotional advertisements, that would be between them and the studio holding their contracts.