Friday, October 21, 2005

Once More With Lawyers

Fox have closed down a planned fan performance of the well known Buffy musical Once More With Feeling at a fan convention, on copyright grounds, despite la Joss himself saying he was happy for it to go ahead. Illustrating yet again that the interests of the artists/creators themselves and those they assign rights to tend to be very, very different.

Should a fan musical really need copyright permision? It's well known that UK and US don't go for a "private non commercial copying" exemption as Continental countries like France and Germany do, and even if they did, a public performance would never , I expect, be seen as private copying. But as Kim Weatherall comments, there's no way this performance could do anything other than encourage people to buy profit-making official Buffy CDs, DVDs and other merchandise. There's no travelling official Buffy musical whose revenues can be cut into by fan knock offs (more's the shame!) Fox is simply cutting off its nose to spite its own fans here.

Some commentators have compared this unfavourably to the permissive attitude towards Rocky Horror Show peformances which take place all over the world with massive fan , er, interpretation of the plot and cast. But the point there is that every such performance also involves a public showing of the movie, so will usually involves a revenue stream, as almost all professional cinemas will abide by normal license agreements.

No comments: