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10340RE: [probe_control] And all that Search...

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  • gf willmetts
    Dec 22, 2013

      Hello Paul and John

                  I think with the series out on DVD, we’ll have an even playing field for discussion, as well as, hopefully, for the two episodes we were never able to find even poor copies of.


      Hello Dino

                  Part of being an editor is being able to make sense to people.


                  Comparisons between Miles and Graiman is also a matter of a couple decades difference. Like a lot of Brits in the US, Edward Mulhare typified how your people perceive us although that’s pretty much a bad stereotype as we’ve seen so much of your culture over here, that we know you people better than you do. Devon Miles did have some comebacks in a lot of the shows just with a drier wit.


                  With the original KITT, the chassis is less important that the frame and motor it was built around. You only have to compare the Futura to the Batmobile variant to realise how little that was really changed and most of it was additional. If memory serves, wasn’t the hero KITT on display at the Universal Studio lot?? If you want another interesting fact, a lot of the times when you only saw a pair of hands driving KITT, they weren’t even Hasselhoff’s.


                  Re: Phaser. Well, that’s where is originally came from and why it can’t really be copyrighted. Paramount, like Lucas, want to ensure there is no infringement of their properties. As the USN had an Enterprise first, I doubt if they’re infringing although it would be interesting to see them taking Paramount to court over it. :-)

                  The term TARDIS is so iconic now that even when the word is ‘borrowed’ everyone knows the source and tends to see it as a bit of a homage acknowledgement. As to the rights to the police box, see the previous paragraph. The police were on to a loser because they gave up using the police box, which was primarily to ring the station and have a few supplies inside, in the early 60s.

                  With homages, once or twice is OK. Continually, using a device rather than dialogue, might constitute a violation. I suspect the continual use of the sonic screwdriver in ‘Doctor Who’ is more to do with merchandising these days. A lot of us over here think it’s being over-used. As there is no real sonic screwdriver, it’s very much a fabrication. Its design changes with each regeneration but not its function.


                  Re: Blanks. They are different. Mine are to do with being immune to being psionically scanned which is a very specific label if it comes up in someone else’s stories dealing with psionics. A totally different proposition. I had a think after last night’s email. Also in Psi-Kicks, the Psionics label most of their abilities starting with ‘S’ and one ability that is clearly in my stories alone is the ability to ‘share’ or acquire some ability off of others. I can’t copyright the word ‘share’ but its usage like that hasn’t become common like with Asimov’s robotic laws. I did the ‘s’ type when I saw so many coming out that way and re-enforced its use. Remember, I’m giving this as an example of how copyright works.


                  As to Star Wars and Battleship: Galactica. Of course they were different although the latter wouldn’t have existed without the former. Larson wasn’t stupid and made sure that they were different and went with the Egyptian motif and no Force malarkey. If anything, based off their costumes, Galactica was very much Buck Rogers in its approach. Clothes didn’t really get messy until after ‘Blade Runner’.


                  As to sounds. A lot of it’s in the public domain. How many of you have sound effects from various shows on your computer?? I even use a Droopy line to remind me if I haven’t turned on the mains to my laptop and the battery juice is running down.  A lot of the time, the studios will only kick up a fuss if the violators are making tons of money off their product or bringing the brand into disrepute. Even the lowest of cheapie studios are careful on how far they can go.


                  With submarines, it’s like boats, there are certain noises that are automatically associated with them but it’s pretty much like hearing spaceships in space. We’ve had many programmes over here showing real life submarine life and there’s less noise than you think.


                  One thing I am wondering about with the new UNCLE film is whether their pen transmitter will have a silent alarm cos it’s a dead giveaway when anyone is quietly infiltrating anywhere.




      ***************  Geoff Willmetts    editor, SFCrowsnest.org.uk  and other suffixes ****************
                 SFCrowsnest.org.uk is the biggest SF website in Europe and second biggest in the world 
                       and that's only because the first is a commerical site and they look to what we do!


      To: probe_control@yahoogroups.com
      From: LambuLambu@...
      Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2013 01:52:33 -0500
      Subject: Re: [probe_control] And all that Search...


      Perfect sense or sensible? Good question! Let's just say that I understand everything you pointed out.

      Dr. Graiman: I know he designed KITT (both, if the line spoken in the pilot is correct: Mike, upon learning of the new mustang KITT, "He built another one?!"). I refer to him as the Devon Miles of the 2008 series because - again falling back to the pilot - he states that he's starting "The Foundation" again, and when the series started he was a, shall we say, 'less refined' version of the proper, British Devon. Graiman's role was very similar, and I think the biggest difference between Graiman and Devon was that Graiman had a dry sense of humor with some sort of witty comebacks, whereas Devon never had any comebacks and was always frustrated when Michael tried to have a joke.

      Trans Am vs. Mustang: You are correct; they were constantly rebuilding the stunt TA KITTs after every jump, but the original series had the luxury of getting a trainload of "scratch-n-dent" TAs dumped into its lap. So the mechanics had plenty of time to rebuild a stunt car before it was time for that particular stunt KITT to make another jump, and need rebuilding. The 2008 series didn't have that luck. With the original series, there was only one hero KITT. There were I think two or three "road" KITTs that did most of the driving sequences that were filmed: the hero KITT was always towed on a small flatbed trailer, and was only driven when Michael pulled into, or out of a parking spot. I would guess the 2008 series was filmed in much the same way, and the one hero mustang KITT they had was sold at auction (by Profiles in History) for a relatively low price of $30,000 US. (I don't know what they did with the 1983 hero TA KITT in 1986 when the original show was cancelled.)

      Interesting "phaser" article. I was talking more of the term being used for a beam-type weapon rather than having to do with sound modulation. But in that same line, Paramount puts that registered trademark symbol after "U.S.S. Enterprise" on all of its products. This I find strange... how can you do that with the name of a ship? (Does Paramount plan to sue the US Navy for having a carrier named "U.S.S. Enterprise"?) Also, the tern, TARDIS: the BBC may say it has a copyright on that, but Google TARDIS; there are companies out there called TARDIS - granted those initials stand for something other than Time And Relative Dimension In Space, but those companies are still using TARDIS as their names. (The Police Box image I know the BBC owns the rights to, after winning the law suit against them from the Metropolitan Police, who claimed ownership of the Police Box.)

      The homage issue: does this mean if an author (or a show like 'Eureka' or 'Warehouse 13') has a character use a sonic screwdriver every once in a while (as opposed to 'Doctor Who' where the Doctor uses it almost continually) that it's a safe homage thing, and not a copyright violation? (And while the design is certainly copyrighted, is the term?)

      Blanks: You're not the only one with such characters. Remember 'Max Headroom'? They had people called "Blanks" - people who weren't "catalogued" (like Blank Reg). Those people had no record of themselves in any of the government files. Anyway, with there being any number of ways of characterising a "Blank", I don't see how you could run into any trouble using that term.

      That whole copyright thing is tricky anyway. George Lucas tried to sue Glen Larsen and the original 'Battlestar Galactica' over copyright infringement, and even though 'Galactica' got canned after Season 1, the courts threw the suit out saying that there was too much difference between 'Star Wars' and 'Galactica' for there to be any infringement, and that 'Galactica' had every right to continue on. (And what did we get? 'Galactica: 1980' as its replacement... Ew... yuck; but at least it let us see that the originals did find Earth.)

      Associated sounds: Again not sure how that works with the copyright thing. Sure, the TARDIS "wheezing" is unique and anyone hearing it knows what it is. (As Mickey says in one episode, "No other thing in the world makes that noise." - which is why I'd love to sick the BBC on that nasty movie company - and NO; I did not watch it. I was walking through the mess deck where they were starting the movie and I stopped ever so briefly, thinking, 'I know that sound!', only to turn around to look at the TV and see... things... I'd rather have not seen.)

      But take the SEAVIEW's control room sounds from 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea': never heard before, but jump ahead 10 years or so after the series ended and you have 'Man from Atlantis' and their submarine using those same sounds. The same could be said of 'Trek' and the sound of their warp drive, or Spock's scanner, or 'Lost In Space' and the Jupiter 2's engines. All have been used (and reused) in many TV shows. In fact, the other night one of the Science Channel's astronomy documentaries used that warbling sound from the LIS derelict space ship, and the original 1970s 'Land of the Lost' kids' show made extensive use of LIS sounds. (And the original 1980s 'He-Man' cartoon - as well as 'Futurama' and even 'Quark' - made extensive use of all 'Trek' sounds.)

      So, can you copyright sounds? I know physical designs, yes, and some terminology, but sounds?


      -----Original Message-----
      From: gf willmetts <gfwillmetts-2@...>
      To: Search Chat <probe_control@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sat, Dec 21, 2013 3:11 pm
      Subject: [probe_control] And all that Search...

      Hello Dino
            Perfect sense or sensible??
            Re: Graiman. I did look up IMDb, but principally to check on the actor’s name. I’m not sure if I’d classify him as the Devon Miles substitute, mostly because he designed the new KITT and Miles was only an administrator. Considering how the staffing got reduced by the end of its season, I suspect had there been a second season there would probably had been even fewer.
            Even with the train-load of Trans-Ams, they were forever rebuilding the chasses. With the new series, they would have had to have a few spare as well as the hero car. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to have a few fake cars for stunts.
            Re: difference between reference, homage and going too far. That’s about the size of it. Play with something too iconic and you’re in trouble. I suspect a lot of these series remakes and such are to maintain the copyright.
            Phaser as a name is somewhat like laser. I don’t recall anyone making them look like the Trek version. I just had a look at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaser_(effect)
            and from the looks of things, it existed before Star Trek.
            As to copyright. If its published and a lot of people have seen it, then your copyright on a particular item is usually safe. It gets a little complicated if two people come up with the same idea at the same time and have books out at the same time but that rarely happens. Before you ask, I do have something that is really mine. In my Psi-Kicks stories, I have people called Blanks who effectively can’t be read by Psionics, hence people are on sticky wickets if they name or have them based on Gaussian statistical curves as I described them because that falls under my ‘intellectual property’. Before you ask, yes, it nearly happened once when another author referenced them in one of the Best Of SF books and a curt polite warning about permission was sent. A lot of the time, it depends on if you’re making a profit on something or else all amateurs would be in trouble with their fan fiction.
            As to sound effects. Remember me mentioning that ‘Twilight Zone’ episode a couple months back. The most surprising sound was the UNCLE pen signal long before the TV series. There are a lot of generic sound effects but once they become associated with particular shows, then people stay away from them. The TARDIS noise was made up specifically for the show. You really should wash your films first.

      ***************  Geoff Willmetts    editor, SFCrowsnest.org.uk  and other suffixes ****************
                 SFCrowsnest.org.uk is the biggest SF website in Europe and second biggest in the world 
                       and that's only because the first is a commerical site and they look to what we do!

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