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Re: New LotR-based movie: The Hunt for Gollum

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  • Sarah Beach
    The problem with the filmmakers citing the STAR WARS fanfilms as precedent is that Lucasfilm actually ALLOWS them to be made. Heck, Lucasfilm even sponsors a
    Message 1 of 19 , Sep 24 2:09 PM
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      The problem with the filmmakers citing the STAR WARS fanfilms as
      precedent is that Lucasfilm actually ALLOWS them to be made. Heck,
      Lucasfilm even sponsors a Star Wars fanfic film (short) award at the
      San Diego ComicCon each year. So it is NOT a good example of "Well,
      if they can do it, so can we in this other property's playground."

      Alas, I think the filmmakers, though they may be "pure-hearted", are
      a bit naive about the possible ramifications.

      I do hope that if something does get stirred up about it all, they
      come through unscathed.

      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Cunningham" <vargeisa@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > I have been in touch with the two main producers of this project,
      primarily
      > as a fan and because this independent has been receiving some very
      positive
      > coverage in several genre-related magazines. Naively or otherwise I
      thought
      > this to be a number of Tolkien aficionados with a cinematic and
      stage
      > background (and therefore some knowledge of copyright issues)
      expressing
      > their appreciation for the professor's works and, to a degree,
      Jackson's
      > cinematic interpretation of such. The producers are aware of these
      concerns
      > re copyright but raised the issue of the 'fan film' which may
      inhabit its
      > own genre and as such not fall under the legal remit of a large
      scale,
      > widely distributed, money making enterprise.
      >
      > It's certainly not going to win any Oscars (or praise, it seems)
      but in
      > conversation with those involved the over-riding factor is that
      they are
      > purely fans and the feature is a labour of love and affection for a
      masterly
      > work that fires a creative spark in many of the folk who explore
      the world
      > between its pages.
      >
      > I've pasted the response from the producers who sought to address
      the
      > copyright issue.
      >
      > Michael
      >
      > -----
      > I appreciate your editor's concern and he might be right. We
      haven't heard
      > anything from The Tolkien Estate but I can't see that we pose them
      any
      > serious threat. Hopefully we're helping to keep Tolkien's work
      alive. Anyway
      > this is question we get asked a lot and it's very important to make
      clear
      > that we feel there isn't a serious issue here. Let me explain why.
      The film
      > is non-profit and we're just a bunch of Tolkien fans making this in
      our
      > spare time as a labour of love. Here is an FAQ that explains more.
      It's also
      > worth noting that since many Star Wars "fan films" have been made
      and widely
      > publicised, the fan film has become recognised internationally as a
      genre in
      > itself.
      >
      > How are you managing to make this with characters created by
      Tolkien when
      > the intellectual property rights are held elsewhere?
      > A very fair point. The answer is that we are a non-commercial film
      club and
      > the project is entirely non-profit. We certainly do not intend to
      breach
      > legal copyright and if we were to sell the finished film or
      anything related
      > to it then this would indeed be illegal. However this project is
      non-profit
      > and any videos and media generated will always be available freely
      and
      > openly over the internet. Nobody is or ever will be profiting
      financially
      > from this project. No products are being made or sold. The project
      is funded
      > by the fans who are taking part in it, a group of individuals
      collaborating
      > for fun. We're working on this project based on Lord of the Rings
      because we
      > love the material and as a way to showcase our technical film
      making skills.
      > If the copyright owners are concerned, then legally speaking we
      plead that
      > we are only a bunch of Tolkien fans practicing our film-making
      skills and
      > documenting the results online.
      >
      > ------------
      >
    • David Bratman
      ... If they think this, they have mistaken probably too small to be worth suing for legally immune from being sued. They are also fantastically kidding
      Message 2 of 19 , Sep 24 4:15 PM
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        >From: Michael Cunningham <vargeisa@...> wrote:

        >The producers are aware of these concerns
        >re copyright but raised the issue of the 'fan film' which may inhabit its
        >own genre and as such not fall under the legal remit of a large scale,
        >widely distributed, money making enterprise.

        If they think this, they have mistaken "probably too small to be worth suing" for "legally immune from being sued." They are also fantastically kidding themselves if they don't realize that posting something on the open Web is not a synonym for "wide distribution."

        And you quote them:

        >We haven't heard
        >anything from The Tolkien Estate but I can't see that we pose them any
        >serious threat. Hopefully we're helping to keep Tolkien's work alive.

        This is amazingly arrogant. The Tolkien Estate and their legal licensees get to decide what's to be released to keep Tolkien's work alive. Fan film makers don't get to decide that.


        >The answer is that we are a non-commercial film club and
        >the project is entirely non-profit. We certainly do not intend to breach
        >legal copyright and if we were to sell the finished film or anything related
        >to it then this would indeed be illegal. However this project is non-profit
        >and any videos and media generated will always be available freely and
        >openly over the internet.

        This is so inaccurate it's not even funny. Disavowing any intention of making a profit is not a "break copyright free" card.

        >If the copyright owners are concerned, then legally speaking we plead that
        >we are only a bunch of Tolkien fans practicing our film-making skills and
        >documenting the results online.

        Doing whatever you like with Tolkien's characters privately, for your own amusement, is one thing. Documenting it online is quite another. If that's really their intent, they should make up their own Tolkienesque story and film that. If they didn't do that because nobody would watch it, that only proves how much they're piggybacking on Tolkien's fame. It might seen, or even be, silly to worry that this little film could harm Tolkien's reputation and future earnings, but again: they don't get to decide that.
      • John D Rateliff
        ... Thanks for posting the link, Ellen. News to me that any such project was in the works, much less that it was nearing completion. As for whether they can
        Message 3 of 19 , Sep 24 7:14 PM
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          On Sep 23, 2008, at 4:58 AM, Ellen wrote:
          > My question is this: can the filmmakers get away with blatantly
          > using Tolkien's world and characters in a movie?

          Thanks for posting the link, Ellen. News to me that any such project
          was in the works, much less that it was nearing completion.
          As for whether they can get away with this, I wdn't bet on it.
          It's one thing to post a piece of fan fiction; the Estate might be
          willing to let that pass. But a film is something else, and Tolkien
          Enterprises is famous for bringing the hammer down on anything that
          poaches on their turf. Nor are major studios like New Line inclined
          to turn a blind eye to competition in any shape or form. I think
          they've probably taken the Lovecraft independent film phenomenon as a
          model, not taking into account that Lovecraft's work is out of
          copyright. Then too, the $30 donation in return for a cd somewhat
          undercuts the 'not-for-profit' claim.
          And wasn't there someone else a while back working on a
          Tolkienesque film?

          Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:
          > Actually, the visuals in the trailer are quite impressive. As is
          > the music . . . Though I will say the clips from the soundtrack
          > sound *strikingly* like Howard Shore!

          It was pretty clear that their goal was to make their piece seem as
          much like Jackson as possible, right down to the sweep across snow-
          covered mountains. Hence, the Shore-like music (which I thought they
          did a better job on with the first clip than the second). I was
          impressed by how beautiful the natural settings were; someone in the
          project has a good eye for cinematography.


          David Bratman wrote:
          > Have you noticed how nearly all fan-art depictions of LOTR
          > characters now look like Jackson's actors, whether the artist meant
          > to depict them or not?

          No, I hadn't, but that very issue (film-inspired art) is being
          debated in the latest AMON HEN (#213).


          On Sep 24, 2008, at 11:20 AM, Steven Sams wrote:
          > Where would the bridge film material come from again? What stories?


          Presumably from the Appendices. I'm sure they'd love to use material
          from UNFINISHED TALES, but they'd have to negotiate a separate
          license from the Estate to do that (unlikely, I shd think).

          On Sep 24, 2008, at 11:25 AM, Michael Cunningham wrote:
          > Possibly they should have been mindful of the Damnatus outcome.

          Ouch!. I'd forgotten that one. Good example.

          On Sep 24, 2008, at 9:19 AM, ccampboyle wrote:
          > If you check their website more carefully, you'll see this is not
          > feature-length; it's a 30 minute short.


          I'd missed the detail of thirty minutes, but they do refer to it
          several times as a short, so it's definitely not a full-length movie.


          On Sep 24, 2008, at 9:33 AM, David Bratman wrote:
          > I'm sorry; my eyes glazed over from the clips. Concern for
          > continued personal health caused me to stop there.


          Sorry to hear it; get well soon.

          --John R.
        • WendellWag@aol.com
          There s really no point in us discussing this. They re violating copyright law, but it s not our job to enforce the law. Somebody here notify the Tolkien
          Message 4 of 19 , Sep 24 8:08 PM
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            There's really no point in us discussing this. They're violating copyright
            law, but it's not our job to enforce the law. Somebody here notify the
            Tolkien estate about this website. The estate will decide how to proceed against
            these people. Our discussing this accomplishes nothing.

            Wendell Wagner



            **************Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial
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          • aveeris523@aol.com
            If by the bridge film you mean the connection between The Hobbit and LOTR , the essay The Quest of Erebor in Unfinished Tales might be a good start. Steve
            Message 5 of 19 , Sep 24 10:16 PM
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              If by the "bridge film" you mean the connection between The Hobbit and LOTR ,
              the essay "The Quest of Erebor" in Unfinished Tales might be a good start.
              Steve Gaddis


              **************
              Looking for simple solutions to your real-life
              financial challenges? Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information,
              tips and calculators.
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            • Michael Cunningham
              Not my intention to linger on this but...another fan film in production was highlighted to me: http://www.bornofhope.com/index.html They have a disclaimer, but
              Message 6 of 19 , Sep 25 7:08 AM
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                Not my intention to linger on this but...another fan film in production was highlighted to me: http://www.bornofhope.com/index.html

                They have a disclaimer, but that may be all it is. I suppose one may be looking towards a stated case being published if any legal action is taken to prevent future enterprises. As for me I think I'll just stick to music!

                Michael


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: WendellWag@...
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 4:08 AM
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] New LotR-based movie: The Hunt for Gollum


                There's really no point in us discussing this. They're violating copyright
                law, but it's not our job to enforce the law. Somebody here notify the
                Tolkien estate about this website. The estate will decide how to proceed against
                these people. Our discussing this accomplishes nothing.

                Wendell Wagner

                **************Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial
                challenges? Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information, tips and
                calculators. (http://www.walletpop.com/?NCID=emlcntuswall00000001)

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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              • William Cloud Hicklin
                ... The Hobbit and LOTR , ... be a good start. ... Except, Steve, New Line/Time Warner/Zaentz have *no* rights to Unfinished Tales, nor to any other Tolkien
                Message 7 of 19 , Sep 25 9:10 AM
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                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, aveeris523@... wrote:
                  >
                  > If by the "bridge film" you mean the connection between
                  The Hobbit and LOTR ,
                  > the essay "The Quest of Erebor" in Unfinished Tales might
                  be a good start.
                  > Steve Gaddis
                  >
                  >

                  Except, Steve, New Line/Time Warner/Zaentz have *no* rights
                  to Unfinished Tales, nor to any other Tolkien writings
                  outside the covers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
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