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DVD custom DVD case's for B5 uk

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  • Doktor
    replied
    I have transferred my collection of B5 to the US Plastics cases (infinitely better at holding and releasing the disks) and used the alternate artwork to decorate them, and am examining my concience to see if I feel that I have in the least damaged WB's trademark, and come up empty.
    Well y'know, after we were dicked around in the UK by the change in packaging for season 4, I was seriously considering not buying the fifth season. Hell, I've still got it on tape if I really want to watch it. The thought of being able to replace the off-the-shelf packaging with custom artwork is the only thing bringing me back to the counter to make that purchase.

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  • grumbler
    replied
    I have transferred my collection of B5 to the US Plastics cases (infinitely better at holding and releasing the disks) and used the alternate artwork to decorate them, and am examining my concience to see if I feel that I have in the least damaged WB's trademark, and come up empty.

    Maybe I am amoral, but maybe the issue is kinda moot. Fan art is an homage to the series, not an attempt to steal it. Perhaps the law says that the homage is theft, but then the oldest known adage about the law (probably predating even "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers") is that "the law is an ass."

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  • bakana
    replied
    Boy, that JMS guy...he shore can write a lick, cain't he?
    Yup.

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  • Jan
    replied
    Boy, that JMS guy...he shore can write a lick, cain't he?



    Jan

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  • bakana
    replied
    as corporations go they have been surprisingly flexible and open in allowing JMS to retain creative control.
    Actually, that was one of the things JMS refused to sell.

    What propelled this current situation was a confluence of things: the importance of getting some foot-draggers to move so we could still hit the November play-date and other details, but *most* important was the issue of the creative focus, the long-term plan for the show, and control over what we felt the show could become. Without that, you've got nothing on a project like this.

    I'm leaving a lot out, of necessity, but from the foregoing it should be clear that what was at stake was the creative and organizational *heart* of the show, as well as other things.

    So at some point in the game, you've got to push all your chips onto the table and turn the game into winner-take-all.

    This was then conveyed. There was resistance. At 11:45 this morning, a call came indicating that if this was indeed the stance, then it looked like the project was dead in the water. My agents wondered if maybe there should be some flexibility. My associates were willing to stand by our decision.

    "Let it ride," I said.

    If it has to die, then let it die here and now.

    As the clock ticked on, I began to think about the people we'd involved in this project, the years of work, the dedication that so many have already shown B5 within the team of production staff we've brought aboard. Had my inflexibility ruined something for all of them?

    At 12:20, 35 minutes later, the phone rang again.

    They blinked.

    We're on...and all the provisos I'd held out for were accepted.

    It's a terrible thing to look into the abyss... and thus a wonderful thing when you realize that you're not going to fall after all, that you've somehow skated past the precipice and come out alive at the other end.

    The crisis is over, the situation fixed, and now at long last, we can settle down to the business of casting and building and rolling film.

    The "we" who won in this situation is, I believe, everyone...thanks in large measure to people at Warners and at the Television Consortium who believe in this project, have believed in it from the beginning, and understood what it was that was at stake...and came through for us at the end.


    And thanks as well to those here, who Quixotically volunteered to go forth and attack dragons in service of a place they had never even seen, which is, I suppose, the higest calling one can aspire to, to fight not for acquaintances, or the familiar, but for an *idea*.

    So once again, my utmost appreciation. That the goal was achieved without the necessity of firing a shot does not in any way diminish the thanks due the volunteers in this extraordinary company. When next we assemble, I hope, it will be in the cause of celebration.

    And today I have amended the B5 bible to include the following notation:
    "The Babylon 5 station is located in neutral territory, in grid epsilon, at coordinates 470/22/18."

    Onward!

    jms

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  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    Originally posted by Towelmaster
    And why Warner Brothers cannot release the seasons for each region at the same time is beyond me. I take it they're burning the DVD's manually? With a staff of twe people?

    BTW: This artwork that you mentioned that they sell; will it be possible to order slimline dvd-cases with Babylon-5 prints on it so I can shelve my original DVD-books and store the DVD's in new packaging? Otherwise I can't use this new packaging as I have the seasons in two different packaging-formats(and three different languages btw...(!!!)).

    TM.
    The DVD cases are empty, the problem in the UK (and maybe elsewhere too) is that they are sold in bulk.
    The custom artwork is a free download that you have to print.

    Note that if the artwork was for sale, with or without cases, it would be for sure copyright and trademark infringement, no excuses, and no other way to call it.

    As for UK vs US release dates: that decision is most likely in the hands of the UK division of WB. That final decisions would not be made by JMS of by WB headquarters.

    Studios decide to release at different dates in different countries, it's a business decision, and it's a fact of life we have to live with... that's why they mayde the DVD format a protected one with different incompatible regions, so that there is some geographical control.
    I suspect that if WB UK was convinced that there is enough demand for B5 to justify releasing at the same time that in the USA they would do it...


    WRTWORTHY:
    Don't let your resentment towards WB blind you to some facts:

    WB didn't try to cancel the series. B5 was broadcast as part of PTEN ("prime time entertainment network") which was a distributor of shows under the "syndication" concept (sold to independent local stations, thus B5 could be seen in a Fox affiliate in one city, a UPN station in another, etc.)

    WB was actually interested in the series continuing, the fifth season was negotiated with a cable channel (TNT) at the last minute. Without WB and TNT season 5 wouldn't have existed. It was JMS decision to try to finish telling the story in season 4. Check the archives and you'll find way too much info on that.
    I didn't know that the TNT deal for season 5 meant that it couldn't be shown in the UK. I think that you may find it better than you expect if you keep an open mind and have patience. It's a good thing you'll finally get it on DVD. Hope you enjoy it.

    Also realize that if WB didn't care about B5 the upcoming "The Memory of Shadows" movie wouldn't even be possible.

    And the fact is that WB owns Babylon 5. They don't have to answer to anybody, not even to JMS, about any decisions they take with respect to B5... but as corporations go they have been surprisingly flexible and open in allowing JMS to retain creative control.

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  • WorkerCaste
    replied
    Originally posted by WRTWORTHY
    May I point out you are missing the point, I have the DVD collection. I want my Collection looking perfect.
    [Snip]
    I want perfection, I want my B5 collection looking good and kicking Ass, I am not getting this From WB, so why should I give a dame about a company that only care's about Money and profit and not what it puts out? They have to answer for a Lot in terms of how they have treated the franchise,
    WRTWORTHY, I can certainly appreciate the feeling of being abused and of disappointment, but I don't think the discussion about property rights was missing the point. One of the big themes in Babylon 5 was taking responsibility for our own actions. The posters above were defining the situation from a legal perspective. This is good information to have, and having it you can make your own, personal decision. For me, I'm very particular about observing other's property rights. That doesn't mean that I haven't stepped outside the letter of the law in small ways before, but most of the time I'm strict about it. I can't settle taking something to which I'm legally not entitled with my conscience, regardless of whether anyone's likely to take notice, whether anyone might prosecute, or whether I don't see any actual harm to the owner. Admittedly, this is a small matter since no money is changing hands, but for me, I still wouldn't do it. Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

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  • Towelmaster
    replied
    Originally posted by WRTWORTHY
    May I point out you are missing the point, I have the DVD collection. I want my Collection looking perfect.

    However being in the UK, This was not to be, WILL YOU REMEMEBR that Season 4 box set is different from the Rest?, On the shelf it looks different and out of Place, Yet we are told to shut and like it,

    DonÆt get me started on release dates. <snip> You guys in the US have season 5, we are still waiting (November its out).
    Plus maybe if they invested in the Cover-art a but more we would not have to do it our selfÆs, and make our own up, oh also maybe if they had invested a bit more in the actual Box we would not have to do this, (considering the Box looks all worn only after times Of opening it up)
    Well said and damn right.

    I Actually have three disks of the first season that intermittently fail because the crappy "DVD-book"-packaging damaged them. Thank the Great Maker for the slimline cd-cases they are now using for season 4.

    It's very very annoying and very frustrating to lose all the artwork because the packaging doesn't do the job it's supposed to.

    And why Warner Brothers cannot release the seasons for each region at the same time is beyond me. I take it they're burning the DVD's manually? With a staff of twe people?

    BTW: This artwork that you mentioned that they sell; will it be possible to order slimline dvd-cases with Babylon-5 prints on it so I can shelve my original DVD-books and store the DVD's in new packaging? Otherwise I can't use this new packaging as I have the seasons in two different packaging-formats(and three different languages btw...(!!!)).

    TM.

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  • Doktor
    replied
    So are you going to order some of these cases? I'll have some off you for certain if you do.

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  • WRTWORTHY
    replied
    My Point I was trying to make is that YES SEASON 4 box set was diffrennt, Its not in a book format but instead every one of the SIX dvd's has its own case and the Box is stil cheap looking.

    However about WB Screwing the UK fans over, I also know they screw the US fans over just as bad and that WB just dont give a dame about one of the best shows ever made

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  • bakana
    replied
    The British boxes must have been different.

    My season 4 matches very nicely with the rest.

    Oh, and Britain hasn't Always been treated shabbily. I can remember when certain episodes were broadcast in England 4 Months before they were broadcast in the US.

    For reasons having to do with Rating Season. The episodes were held back until "Sweep Week" so the shows Ratings would go UP.

    Good Strategy. Frustrating for Fans.
    (Although, I have to admit I didn't have to wait Quite so long. I have an acquaintance who was able to obtain some Babylon 5 "Educational Materials" from England. A group of us examined these "EdMats" very closely at her house one evening...)

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  • WRTWORTHY
    replied
    May I point out you are missing the point, I have the DVD collection. I want my Collection looking perfect.

    However being in the UK, This was not to be, WILL YOU REMEMEBR that Season 4 box set is different from the Rest?, On the shelf it looks different and out of Place, Yet we are told to shut and like it,

    WB has screwed us over lots of times with the B5 franchise, DonÆt get me started on release dates, B5 movie set movie (which is going to be again different as it only includes the three films not all 5) the Merchandise etc etc, the List goes on, At the end of the day I donÆt Give a god dame if I upsetting some stupid copyright Laws as I have legally purchased the DVD's collection but maybe if WB even bothered about the Franchise and the Fans wants and needs, we would not have to go to such length's, you guys in the US have season 5, we are still waiting (November its out) Plus maybe if they invested in the Cover-art a but more we would not have to do it our selfÆs, and make our own up, oh also maybe if they had invested a bit more in the actual Box we would not have to do this, (considering the Box looks all worn only after times Of opening it up)

    Wb owe Us, we have been devoted Fans and we get nothing but poked in the Eye (DonÆt even get me started on the fact they tried to cancel the Show after season 4, so it changed all the storyline and in turn made season 5 the worse season) but I would not know as we donÆt have it out yet (I havenÆt seen Season 5)

    I want perfection, I want my B5 collection looking good and kicking Ass, I am not getting this From WB, so why should I give a dame about a company that only care's about Money and profit and not what it puts out? They have to answer for a Lot in terms of how they have treated the franchise,

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  • AmyG
    replied
    You're confusing apples and oranges. The test I suggested the use didn't pass was with regard to fair use as it applies to _trademark law_. The page you're pointing to is about copyright law. There's no question that the alternate DVD art is an infringement of Warner's copyright if it uses the same text found on any of the official box sets.

    As for the question of "is sponsorship implied?," it's a trademark issue, and it's the fact that the product is intended to look like official DVD packaging. It doesn't say in big letters anywhere (I'm assuming - again, I confess I haven't had time to scrutinize the art, I've just seen it passingly) "THIS IS NOT SANCTIONED BY WARNER BROS., AND IS AN AMATEUR, UNLICENSED EFFORT."

    That matter in copyright law about fair use and the amount of the use does _not_ stand on its own, it's important to not. The test of fair use is a combination of factors, only one of which is the amount of the use in relation to the portion of the whole work. And actually in this case, I think it fails that test miserably! In order for the illegal artwork to be at all useful to folks who own the DVD sets, it's got to have _most_ of the same information as the official Warner box art. Sure, it's only a tiny bit of the whole Babylon 5 series, but the infringement in question is with regard to the box art, only, in this case. And the recreated box art steals _most_ of the official box art, doesn't it?

    And "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work" would be negligible. People still should buy the DVDs. This however may not be true if the availability of that custom cover art facilitates the spread of pirated copies of the DVDs.
    Indeed.

    Now, if we're talking about whether I think this personally harms the copyright owner, I'm not sure. Having worked in this field for so many years, it's VERY hard to get off the intellectual property soapbox and see things as a "civilian." :-) But let me assure you that I regularly access sites that infringe all the time, so obviously I'm not a complete hard-ass about this stuff. :-)

    But from a purely legal perspective, it's definitely an infringement of both copyright and trademark.

    Cheers,

    Aisling

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  • Capt.Montoya
    replied
    Originally posted by AislingGrey
    Sorry, but you're dead wrong. The fact that these DVD art sets - using trademarked images - don't cost anything when obtained from the download site has no bearing whatsoever on the sec. 107 exception to US Copyright Law ("Fair use").
    [...]
    Second of all, fair use as it relates to trademark is different than fair use as it relates to copyright (and trust me, this use ain't fair under the terms of US Copyright Law - I worked enough infringement cases over enough years to say this definitively). Under trademark law, this use fails the test on at least one count: by its very professionalism and intent for the artwork to be used in connection with the official WB box sets, the creator of this unsanctioned artwork is suggesting sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark owner.
    Maybe I'm wrong, but not dead.
    I don't question your expertise... but you made me curious to search for more info on this, I found this page:
    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    I'm not sure the creator of the work is suggesting sponsorship, but due to your experience on this you may be right that it can be interpreted that way. I think that you're right that the non-profit argument may not apply since that custom art is not for educational purposes. I still think it's in a gray area where the WBs attorney's could decide to treat this as infringement.
    However I do think that the custom art passes the 3rd. and 4th. tests:
    The "amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole" is little.

    And "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work" would be negligible. People still should buy the DVDs. This however may not be true if the availability of that custom cover art facilitates the spread of pirated copies of the DVDs.

    Let me reassure you that I'm in favor of copyright, and I agree that many websites fall into unfair use while advocating fair use. I do believe many "fans" end up harming the authors or works they supposedly want to help by making material available on the internet. However I do not think that's the case here.
    If you can weigh more on this I'll be interested to read your thoughts.

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  • AmyG
    replied
    The custom DVD art sets at that website are not for sale, you can download them for free and have to print them yourself. Since it isn't for profit they don't need to have a license... this should be legal under "fair use" arguments.
    Sorry, but you're dead wrong. The fact that these DVD art sets - using trademarked images - don't cost anything when obtained from the download site has no bearing whatsoever on the sec. 107 exception to US Copyright Law ("Fair use").

    First of all, _either_ use (the free downloadable ones, or the ones you can buy) is both an infringement of copyright, _and_ trademark. The copyright is being infringed because the cover sets are most likely (and please note that I haven't examined them carefully enough to be sure of this) using the text from the official WB DVD box sets. That's copyrighted material. The trademark is of course the logo, the symbols, the character images, ship images, etc. etc.

    Second of all, fair use as it relates to trademark is different than fair use as it relates to copyright (and trust me, this use ain't fair under the terms of US Copyright Law - I worked enough infringement cases over enough years to say this definitively). Under trademark law, this use fails the test on at least one count: by its very professionalism and intent for the artwork to be used in connection with the official WB box sets, the creator of this unsanctioned artwork is suggesting sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark owner.

    I'm sure a trademark/patent attorney could wax even more philosophical about this than I could, but in any case, these materials are certainly an infringement of copyright.

    Aisling

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