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RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 3:41:48 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
No, not drunk.  But doesn't all this nonsense piss you off too?

I guess it takes a certain type of person to empathise with a large corporation over a fan's simple (and purer) desire to just see a movie and it must take a certain type of person to equate greed with profit - they aren't the same thing at all - and one of the problems with the world is that certain companies are not happy with simply making a fair profit, but somehow think they deserve more than that (i.e. greed).  Don't brand me naive either - I know the way the world works, but if you have learned any wisdom in your life then you must surely see that 'the way the world works' does not always mean that it should work like that and meekly accepting the status quo only ensures that things will never improve.  We may not have the power to change things ourselves individually, but we do have the freedom to voice our displeasure - and that's what I'm doing. 

You don't seriously think Fox hold the moral high ground or moral 'right' here, surely?  They never had any intention of making the movie, only spent $1m on developing it the entire time they had it and while they may be entitled to something ($1m + inflation sounds about right) then I don't see how a legal loophole which failed to be closed (rather than a wholesale deliberate ignoring of existing rights, which is what you seem to be implying) equates to Fox deserving a sizeable proportion of the profits from the work which WB financed.  I'm not saying WB are any less corrupt and greedy than Fox btw, but that was never my point anyway - just that the legal shenanigans are just downright fucking annoying for us (me) as fans.

Stick the legal rights and wrongs where the sun don't shine, frankly - I don't care - I just want to see the fucking movie.

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 31
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 3:46:42 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
quote:

ORIGINAL: Stewie_Griffin


quote:

ORIGINAL: KeithM


Movies would be much better without studios, frankly.



Who would finance the movies then?


I do hope that was tongue in cheek or you need a course in irony recognition.

(in reply to Stewie_Griffin)
Post #: 32
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 4:07:32 PM   
Mr Terrific


Posts: 1639
Joined: 15/7/2006
quote:

No, not drunk. But doesn't all this nonsense piss you off too?

I guess it takes a certain type of person to empathise with a large corporation over a fan's simple (and purer) desire to just see a movie and it must take a certain type of person to equate greed with profit - they aren't the same thing at all - and one of the problems with the world is that certain companies are not happy with simply making a fair profit, but somehow think they deserve more than that (i.e. greed). Don't brand me naive either - I know the way the world works, but if you have learned any wisdom in your life then you must surely see that 'the way the world works' does not always mean that it should work like that and meekly accepting the status quo only ensures that things will never improve. We may not have the power to change things ourselves individually, but we do have the freedom to voice our displeasure - and that's what I'm doing.

You don't seriously think Fox hold the moral high ground or moral 'right' here, surely? They never had any intention of making the movie, only spent $1m on developing it the entire time they had it and while they may be entitled to something ($1m + inflation sounds about right) then I don't see how a legal loophole which failed to be closed (rather than a wholesale deliberate ignoring of existing rights, which is what you seem to be implying) equates to Fox deserving a sizeable proportion of the profits from the work which WB financed. I'm not saying WB are any less corrupt and greedy than Fox btw, but that was never my point anyway - just that the legal shenanigans are just downright fucking annoying for us (me) as fans.

Stick the legal rights and wrongs where the sun don't shine, frankly - I don't care - I just want to see the fucking movie.


These huge Mega corporations are forever screwing each other....no that's too nice a phrase...butt-raping each other. Nothing new there. They don't actually care all that much for the film. They see it as a product to be profited off of. As for the fans they reckon as long as they buy the product..they can can go take a flying fuck. Its about making money in the end.


_____________________________

..."lost like tears in the rain....."

"He claims he is a man. And one of the things about being a man is getting knocked on your ass and learning from it."

http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_terrific

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 33
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 4:18:26 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: KeithM

No, not drunk. But doesn't all this nonsense piss you off too?

I guess it takes a certain type of person to empathise with a large corporation over a fan's simple (and purer) desire to just see a movie and it must take a certain type of person to equate greed with profit - they aren't the same thing at all - and one of the problems with the world is that certain companies are not happy with simply making a fair profit, but somehow think they deserve more than that (i.e. greed). Don't brand me naive either - I know the way the world works, but if you have learned any wisdom in your life then you must surely see that 'the way the world works' does not always mean that it should work like that and meekly accepting the status quo only ensures that things will never improve. We may not have the power to change things ourselves individually, but we do have the freedom to voice our displeasure - and that's what I'm doing.

You don't seriously think Fox hold the moral high ground or moral 'right' here, surely? They never had any intention of making the movie, only spent $1m on developing it the entire time they had it and while they may be entitled to something ($1m + inflation sounds about right) then I don't see how a legal loophole which failed to be closed (rather than a wholesale deliberate ignoring of existing rights, which is what you seem to be implying) equates to Fox deserving a sizeable proportion of the profits from the work which WB financed. I'm not saying WB are any less corrupt and greedy than Fox btw, but that was never my point anyway - just that the legal shenanigans are just downright fucking annoying for us (me) as fans.

Stick the legal rights and wrongs where the sun don't shine, frankly - I don't care - I just want to see the fucking movie.



It doesn't bother me because I know I'll see it one way or the other. Of course, I'd like to see it now but I have other things to be getting on with in the meantime.

As for the legal back and forth, that's nobodies business but the people involved. It might be an idea to save your outrage until something concrete happens one way or another, i.e. if the release date is moved. At the moment you are getting worked up about nothing.

I also don't see it as a moral issue whatsoever. You and I are just hearing about all of this now. There is no way WB were unaware of the legal position.

Your final line is very telling. You don't care about the morality of it all, you're just chucking your toys out of the pram because you might not see it on the day it's supposed to be released. Nothing has been said about moving the release date. Whatever settlement they come to will be their business and I'm sure WB are determined to meet the release date.

Calm down until their is something to get upset about!

_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 34
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 5:55:01 PM   
Mr Terrific


Posts: 1639
Joined: 15/7/2006
Da CHUD take.

http://chud.com/articles/articles/17576/1/WHAT-SORT-OF-ALAN-MOORE-BLACK-MAGICK-IS-THIS/Page1.html


_____________________________

..."lost like tears in the rain....."

"He claims he is a man. And one of the things about being a man is getting knocked on your ass and learning from it."

http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_terrific

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 35
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 7:24:07 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
Calm down?  Fuck no.  Where's the fun in that? 

I'm hardly bursting blood vessels here - just typing words.

(in reply to Mr Terrific)
Post #: 36
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 7:33:52 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
Also... your reasoning re: not getting pissed about anything until it actually happens...

Come on - you don't really believe that do you?  That's like someone telling you they're going to punch you in the face and not doing anything until after they've done it...
It's like the government telling you they're going to put up taxes and not protesting until they already have.  Fox has made clear their intent - to delay or stop the movie (and your reassurances to the contrary mean diddly in all honesty - even though I know you're probably correct, I'm not prepared to stay meekly quiet just because you think it'll all work out for the best in the end...), so it's only natural to react to the intent, not wait until the damage is done.  Doesn't matter if venting on a movie forum is ultimately futile and has no bearing on what actually happens - who doesn't feel like moaning when outside forces threaten to spoil one's buzz?

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 37
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 7:58:06 PM   
Ghidorah

 

Posts: 2913
Joined: 6/10/2005
Over the years Fox reputation has taken a beating thanks to it ever growing sloppy films and shit in my eyes sequels. While some of their films has been good but they haven't released an excellent one in years. When the World Stand still is a brilliant example. Reviewers were not allowed to publish their review until the pre release date and the film got a massive hammering. Fox went to such a length to hide the fact the film sucks in most people opinion.
Another good example when AVPR and XMen 3 script got stolen and reviewed. The critics slam the scripts to the ground and Fox spoke out that scripts were early ones and the films will be loosely base on them. That was utterbullshit because the examples pointed out by the critics were present in the films. We have the cinema worker who saw X men 3 early, gave it a bad review on a message board and Fox got him fired.

The best example how Fox treat the cinema goers is AVPR and that film sucks big time. It was just plain bad and no wonder because the script was shit, low budget, no actors or actresses and first time directors. How the fuck did they screw this one up? The answer is the didn't care they just wanted to get as much money possible, create a cheap film and use Alien vs Predator to get people in to see it.

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 38
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:05:22 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: KeithM

Also... your reasoning re: not getting pissed about anything until it actually happens...

Come on - you don't really believe that do you? That's like someone telling you they're going to punch you in the face and not doing anything until after they've done it...
It's like the government telling you they're going to put up taxes and not protesting until they already have
. Fox has made clear their intent - to delay or stop the movie (and your reassurances to the contrary mean diddly in all honesty - even though I know you're probably correct, I'm not prepared to stay meekly quiet just because you think it'll all work out for the best in the end...), so it's only natural to react to the intent, not wait until the damage is done. Doesn't matter if venting on a movie forum is ultimately futile and has no bearing on what actually happens - who doesn't feel like moaning when outside forces threaten to spoil one's buzz?



Well, it's not actually like either of those things and of course I would react differently if someone said they were going to punch me in the face. I'm not staying 'meekly' quiet about it. I'm just not going nuts about a possible delay to a movie. I'd rather it wasn't delayed but I'm not prepared to get angry about something that I cannot influence in any way. All this can ultimately mean for me is that I may or may not be going to the cinema on March 6th. That's it. I can't influence WB or Fox in any direction and either can you.

Fox and WB are just posturing to apply pressure to each other. Ultimately a financial deal will be worked out and the film will more than likely be released on March 6th.



_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 39
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:12:55 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
To back Ghidorah's point up - yes, every company wants to 'get as much money as possible', but some go about that by providing a quality product that people are happy to pay for - others, like Fox, don't give a damn about the product's quality or the customer experience (not that they've never produced anything good, just that those were more than likely good anyway despite Fox's involvement, not because of it) - they just churn stuff out and hope (as it seems that have no expertise or judgement in these things) that they sell enough to break even.  And as G said, they've even been failing to do that rather spectacularly recently - hence this move in trying to grab a piece of the Watchmen cake.

I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes (or already was) Fox's strategy - buy up the rights to everything they can get their hands on, sit on it doing nothing, wait for someone else to make it (either licensing them the rights for an exhorbitant fee or suing after the fact) then voila, money for nothing.  Frankly, the judge should have made a common sense ruling and stated that if a license is not actually used (and shows no likelihood of being used in the near future), then if another company is prepared to front up and invest in the property then said value of existing 'dormant' license should have a capped 'value' ($1m sounds about right).  Imo, putting the brakes on 'speculative' rights buying might be for the better - they should have a 'use by' date at the very least...

And don't forget the worst case scenario which I mentioned when this first came to light (and CHUD brought it up too) - that Fox or WB may consider making changes to the cut in order to try to reduce the rating and boost sales...  (that would be utter madness, frankly, but you just never know with this lot do you?)

(in reply to Ghidorah)
Post #: 40
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:20:12 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: KeithM
Frankly, the judge should have made a common sense ruling and stated that if a license is not actually used (and shows no likelihood of being used in the near future), then if another company is prepared to front up and invest in the property then said value of existing 'dormant' license should have a capped 'value' ($1m sounds about right).


A lot of properties will have a time limit on them and the rights revert to the original owner eventually. Not all deals are like this.

Your legal thinking is a little odd KeithM. Just because someone isn't using something they own the rights to doesn't mean a judge can force them to sell. It's still their property. They own the rights to it! Is that so hard to understand? It may annoy you but...... so what? Who are you to complain about who does what with their properties? They can do whatever the hell they want with it.

In this case Fox owned the right to distribute the movie.

Also, why does $1m "sound right" to you? What are you basing that on?

_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

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Post #: 41
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:27:03 PM   
Mr Terrific


Posts: 1639
Joined: 15/7/2006
quote:

Your legal thinking is a little odd KeithM. Just because someone isn't using something they own the rights to doesn't mean a judge can force them to sell. It's still their property. They own the rights to it! Is that so hard to understand? It may annoy you but...... so what? Who are you to complain about who does what with their properties? They can do whatever the hell they want with it.


WB are at fault too. They new this when they started making the film...its a mess.


_____________________________

..."lost like tears in the rain....."

"He claims he is a man. And one of the things about being a man is getting knocked on your ass and learning from it."

http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_terrific

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 42
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:39:10 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mr Terrific

quote:

Your legal thinking is a little odd KeithM. Just because someone isn't using something they own the rights to doesn't mean a judge can force them to sell. It's still their property. They own the rights to it! Is that so hard to understand? It may annoy you but...... so what? Who are you to complain about who does what with their properties? They can do whatever the hell they want with it.


WB are at fault too. They new this when they started making the film...its a mess.



Absolutely.

_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

(in reply to Mr Terrific)
Post #: 43
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:39:48 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert
Well, it's not actually like either of those things


Then you've missed my point - which was Stated Intent - Action - Reaction is not the way we generally deal with stuff - it's rather Stated Intent - Reaction - Action - Reaction.  Perhaps my metaphors were just bad, but I hope that clears up what I meant.

Also though, please don't mistake the odd strongly worded typed forum posts as being the same thing as 'anger' - this isn't anger, this is... SPARTA!!! (sorry, lost my bearings there) - I mean this is gut reaction, a bit of emotion and calmly reasoned thoughts all rolled into one short paragraph or two - if it was genuine 'anger' I wouldn't be typing during my rage (or at the very least my speeling wood bee atroshus).  I'm well aware of how important this is in the big scheme of things (e.g. Israel bombing Gaza>Fox suing WB), so be aware that I'm aware of that and let's get back to the ranting (in perspective). ;)

Even if Fox end up losing on appeal, or nothing happens with the cut or release date, apart from Fox getting their name on the credits and a slice of the pie perhaps, it's STILL galling to have this kind of shit happening on a movie you never thought would happen after 20+ years of speculation and then when it finally does, not only do we have to worry about the guys making it not fucking it up, but we also have to worry about Alan Moore's curses and Rupert Bloody Murdoch's Bloody Fox Corporation getting their grubby little fingers in the pie and screwing it all up too!

If that ain't worth a reaction then, in the general nerd scheme of things, I don't know what is!





(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 44
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 8:49:03 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland
I guess these things just don't bother me.

_____________________________

You're killing Independent George!!!!

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 45
RE: Fox are arseholes. - 30/12/2008 9:05:39 PM   
KeithM


Posts: 862
Joined: 31/7/2008
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert
A lot of properties will have a time limit on them and the rights revert to the original owner eventually. Not all deals are like this.


All deals should have a time limit then.  Simple solution to what people go out of their way to make complicated, and that especially includes copyright lawyers.

quote:

In this case Fox owned the right to distribute the movie.


Says the judge in a "surprise ruling" (NY Times words - link seems to have gone awol though) - which at the very least indicates that Fox's 'right' to distribute is debatable at best...

quote:


Also, why does $1m "sound right" to you? What are you basing that on?


Two reasons:
1. It's what Fox have apparently spent on developing the property since they've had it (again, forget the source, but I didn't make it up, honest ;))
2. It's One Million Dollars :littlefinger:, duh


quote:

Your legal thinking is a little odd KeithM. Just because someone isn't using something they own the rights to doesn't mean a judge can force them to sell. It's still their property. They own the rights to it! Is that so hard to understand? It may annoy you but...... so what? Who are you to complain about who does what with their properties? They can do whatever the hell they want with it.


It's not me having the problem understanding here.  Understanding something (which I absolutely do btw - is there something about my posting which indicates I might have a low IQ?) does not equate to agreeing with it.  Why can't you understand that?  You seem to be advocating (a) Never pushing outside one's boundaries or station (b) never reacting to things until they've already happened, despite having forewarning of intent (c) against voicing disapproval against anything which just happens to be legal and (d) implying that just because something is legal it's automatically right and thereby invalidates any objection.

Larry Lessig's legal thinking was regarded as a little odd too - but he didn't just accept that just because things were the way they were, that must automatically mean that they must be right and should stay that way (and luckily legislators throughout history have also realised this and made the odd change to the law when it too often clearly defied common sense).  We're seeing just this kind of 'odd legal thinking' being applied out of necessity as the 'old way' increasingly stifles creativity and new ways of doing things which have the intent of redressing the balance between the old 'read-only' cultural advocates (i.e. those that want to just buy up the rights to things with the express purpose of denying anyone else the chance to actually do something creative with that 'property') and the new 'read-write' cultural philosophy towards copyright and intellectual property - i.e. something much more creative and fluid, where there is more emphasis on free exchange and use of cultural ideas (i.e. 'properties') and the merit of the creations themselves.  In other words, if for example, Watchmen was licensed under some Creative Commons type agreement, any company could make a Watchmen film - and the market would decide who earned the most money - the best, obviously...

I know that all seems radical, but my point is that my 'odd-ideas' about copyright are not pie in the sky nonsense, they're actually based on new paradigms already suggested by smarter people than either you or I.


(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 46
The real villain... - 31/12/2008 6:13:52 AM   
vineethchacko

 

Posts: 42
Joined: 26/2/2008
KeithM makes some good points - the fact is that so many aspects of copyright and IP law need a lot of work. The understanding of these has only recently taken off. This particular case of turnaround rights and the "changed elements" clause is not simple at all. Lawrence Gordon appears to be the villain here. He bought the rights from Fox (Fox contends not all the rights) and sold it to WB. Gordon made it clear to them that he owned all the rights when he sold it to WB. WB at first did not know about Gordon's two deals with Fox but when they were made aware, they contended the distribution right had passed from Fox. The judge's decision makes it clear that he has already come to a conclusion on this. A settlement is still possible before the case begins in January but the stance of the two sides probably means litigation. All in all, March 6, (I desperately hope it comes out on the date) seems unlikely.

(in reply to KeithM)
Post #: 47
RE: The real villain... - 31/12/2008 8:26:58 PM   
losthighway


Posts: 3248
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
Having just read an article over at /Film, it would appear that Watchmen has indeed been delayed indefinately!  Looks like that graphic novel will be getting an airing afterall!

_____________________________

The secret to becoming a star is knowing how to behave like one.

(in reply to vineethchacko)
Post #: 48
RE: The real villain... - 1/1/2009 6:01:26 PM   
Dpp1978


Posts: 1159
Joined: 2/4/2006
This thread has everything. Right wing conspiricies, corporate greed, an occasional piece of cogent analysis muddled in with idealistic musings. It's nothing if not entertaining.

There are no good guys in this scenario. I read the court documents from the first trial in August and have been following this mess since before then.

Fox bought the rights (from DC which is ironically owned by Time Warner) to Watchmen in the late 80's. Work started by Larry Gordon's production company ( which was then under an exclusive contract with Fox). The budget required was obscene and the production stalled.

In 1991 Gordon's contract was ended by mutual agreement. As part of the severence he was allowed to take a few titles including Watchmen, but only under certain conditions, primary of which was that Fox retained distribution rights should in future it go into production. This was framed in the usual opaque language lawyers love so much.

Of course this means everything depends on the interpretation of the document. One interpretation is that the agreement was merely an option to acquire the rights in the future (ie first dibs to Gordon to buy them if he chose to). If that is the case, as Gordon never took up the option Fox will still own all the rights. Another interpretation is that Fox gave Gordon all the rights, but retained the right to distribute. If that is the case Fox still has the right of first refusal. Warner's view was that Gordon got all the rights, but I cannot see for the life of me how that can be. It appears neither can the Judge.

The document containing the above agreement was the one Warner claimed to derive its rights to Watchmen from.

To add another layyer of confusion in 1994 a separate agreement was undertaken between Fox and Gordon, containing further conditions Gordon must comply with to exercise his option. .

This document reads even worse from Warner's position as it gave Fox the right to reassess its position every time an element changed, and opt to finance the project internally. A new director comes on board; Fox gets first right of refusal. A new script treatment; Fox gets first right of refusal. And so on it goes. Of course they retained the right to distribute from before.

Warner claimed ignorance of this. However due dilligence dictates that when someone purports to sell something the purchaser should bloody well make sure the seller has the right to sell it. If they don't they will still be bound by any pre existing rights, and any rights they obtain can be usurped. This is the crux of the Caveat Emptor ("let the buyer beware") doctrine, and only in very specific conditions will this be undermined

The first step in any investigation is to trace the chain of ownership to a good root of title. Here the original 80's Fox acquisition is absolutely certain, everything after is questionable. Warner should have at least asked Fox what rights it claimed at this point; it appears it didn't. If Fox had refused to play ball at this point it would look very bad for it later if they tried to rely on the document.

Later when Fox sent notice of its purported rights this should have set alarm bells ringing, but all they did was sent an incredibly patronising letter back to Fox and carried on their merry way. All of this occurred before Fox went to court in mid February. to claim they sat back and waited until Warner had reached post production is not only wrong it would be legally stupid. If you sit on something in such a way as to unreasonably inflate the claim you are liable to have this used against you. Then awards will be reduced and in extremem cases the entire claim can be struck out.

Fox then had no choice but to issue proceedings. If they didn't they would not be looking out for the company's best interests, and the shareholders would be able to file suit against them.

Warner really should have seen this all coming, especially seeing as the lawyers they employ charge enormous fees, and are supposed to be among the best. It's possible they did and took an educated risk that the potential profits outweighed any expense incurred by continuing.

That isn't to say Fox is without blame; and they certainly can't claim to be the good guys. They didn't pursue the issue any of the myriad times it almost got off the ground before; at least as far as we know. This very issue may have directly contributed to the project's previous collapses. It also does smell a little greedy from the outside. Fox certainly has done little to appear to be anything other than a greedy manipulative entity over the last few years. But to label them the bad guys in this situation is just wrong.

The worst part of this whole mess is that Larry Gordon would probably have been within his rights to exercise his option at any time up to the point where production started. This would have likely cost less than a couple of million dollars and would have averted this whole mess. Now the legal costs alone are likely to be more than that.

Warner's moral position here is in no way better than Fox's. Fox is merely asserting the rights it bought and paid for, and claims to still have. DC which is part of the same parent compay as Warner has been at odds with Alan Moore since the 80's over Watchmen, and in particular with respect to his rights to royalties. DC is certainly no stranger to rights issues; they recently lost a case against the heirs of the creators of Superman.

Whatever happens from here it seems that Fox has a very strong position from which to negotiate. If they do get the injunction they seek, and the judge here has granted them before in similar cases, Warner will be forced to settle.

Everything we are reading from both sides at the moment is posturing, and while it isn't impossible that this will be resolved soon, I won't be holding my breath.

I hope I'm proven wrong on this.

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 49
RE: The real villain... - 1/1/2009 7:57:35 PM   
Mr Terrific


Posts: 1639
Joined: 15/7/2006
quote:

This thread has everything. Right wing conspiricies, corporate greed, an occasional piece of cogent analysis muddled in with idealistic musings. It's nothing if not entertaining.

There are no good guys in this scenario. I read the court documents from the first trial in August and have been following this mess since before then.

Fox bought the rights (from DC which is ironically owned by Time Warner) to Watchmen in the late 80's. Work started by Larry Gordon's production company ( which was then under an exclusive contract with Fox). The budget required was obscene and the production stalled.

In 1991 Gordon's contract was ended by mutual agreement. As part of the severence he was allowed to take a few titles including Watchmen, but only under certain conditions, primary of which was that Fox retained distribution rights should in future it go into production. This was framed in the usual opaque language lawyers love so much.

Of course this means everything depends on the interpretation of the document. One interpretation is that the agreement was merely an option to acquire the rights in the future (ie first dibs to Gordon to buy them if he chose to). If that is the case, as Gordon never took up the option Fox will still own all the rights. Another interpretation is that Fox gave Gordon all the rights, but retained the right to distribute. If that is the case Fox still has the right of first refusal. Warner's view was that Gordon got all the rights, but I cannot see for the life of me how that can be. It appears neither can the Judge.

The document containing the above agreement was the one Warner claimed to derive its rights to Watchmen from.

To add another layyer of confusion in 1994 a separate agreement was undertaken between Fox and Gordon, containing further conditions Gordon must comply with to exercise his option. .

This document reads even worse from Warner's position as it gave Fox the right to reassess its position every time an element changed, and opt to finance the project internally. A new director comes on board; Fox gets first right of refusal. A new script treatment; Fox gets first right of refusal. And so on it goes. Of course they retained the right to distribute from before.

Warner claimed ignorance of this. However due dilligence dictates that when someone purports to sell something the purchaser should bloody well make sure the seller has the right to sell it. If they don't they will still be bound by any pre existing rights, and any rights they obtain can be usurped. This is the crux of the Caveat Emptor ("let the buyer beware") doctrine, and only in very specific conditions will this be undermined

The first step in any investigation is to trace the chain of ownership to a good root of title. Here the original 80's Fox acquisition is absolutely certain, everything after is questionable. Warner should have at least asked Fox what rights it claimed at this point; it appears it didn't. If Fox had refused to play ball at this point it would look very bad for it later if they tried to rely on the document.

Later when Fox sent notice of its purported rights this should have set alarm bells ringing, but all they did was sent an incredibly patronising letter back to Fox and carried on their merry way. All of this occurred before Fox went to court in mid February. to claim they sat back and waited until Warner had reached post production is not only wrong it would be legally stupid. If you sit on something in such a way as to unreasonably inflate the claim you are liable to have this used against you. Then awards will be reduced and in extremem cases the entire claim can be struck out.

Fox then had no choice but to issue proceedings. If they didn't they would not be looking out for the company's best interests, and the shareholders would be able to file suit against them.

Warner really should have seen this all coming, especially seeing as the lawyers they employ charge enormous fees, and are supposed to be among the best. It's possible they did and took an educated risk that the potential profits outweighed any expense incurred by continuing.

That isn't to say Fox is without blame; and they certainly can't claim to be the good guys. They didn't pursue the issue any of the myriad times it almost got off the ground before; at least as far as we know. This very issue may have directly contributed to the project's previous collapses. It also does smell a little greedy from the outside. Fox certainly has done little to appear to be anything other than a greedy manipulative entity over the last few years. But to label them the bad guys in this situation is just wrong.

The worst part of this whole mess is that Larry Gordon would probably have been within his rights to exercise his option at any time up to the point where production started. This would have likely cost less than a couple of million dollars and would have averted this whole mess. Now the legal costs alone are likely to be more than that.

Warner's moral position here is in no way better than Fox's. Fox is merely asserting the rights it bought and paid for, and claims to still have. DC which is part of the same parent compay as Warner has been at odds with Alan Moore since the 80's over Watchmen, and in particular with respect to his rights to royalties. DC is certainly no stranger to rights issues; they recently lost a case against the heirs of the creators of Superman.

Whatever happens from here it seems that Fox has a very strong position from which to negotiate. If they do get the injunction they seek, and the judge here has granted them before in similar cases, Warner will be forced to settle.

Everything we are reading from both sides at the moment is posturing, and while it isn't impossible that this will be resolved soon, I won't be holding my breath.

I hope I'm proven wrong on this.


Thanks for straightening things out. What a mess!


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(in reply to Dpp1978)
Post #: 50
Batman 1966 - 2/1/2009 10:36:38 AM   
ROThornhill

 

Posts: 5
Joined: 25/3/2008
Rumours are that this is as much (if not more) about the DVD release rights to the Adam West Batman TV series. Fox made it but Warners own the characters. Only the 1966 movie has had a DVD release.

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Post #: 51
RE: Batman 1966 - 3/1/2009 11:57:34 PM   
Dpp1978


Posts: 1159
Joined: 2/4/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: ROThornhill

Rumours are that this is as much (if not more) about the DVD release rights to the Adam West Batman TV series. Fox made it but Warners own the characters. Only the 1966 movie has had a DVD release.


I'm not completely sure about this, but I read somewhere that the sticking point with the Batman TV series is not with Warner but over a dispute with the family of one of the producers. As the series pre-dates Warner's aquisition of DC and it's properties they only obtained whatever rights DC retained, and just because they have control of the rights going forward does not mean they get retrospective control of the rights previously assigned.

That being said I've also read it was because the music rights belong the composer, and he wants an exorbitant fee to license them.

It happens a lot as until recently only broadcast rights were bought for TV shows as there was no market for selling them direct to consumers. This means they can't use the music on DVD without buying a different licence. Some shows have replacement music as re-licensing the original tracks used when originally broadcast is just too expensive given the niche market for older TV shows. Miami Vice is a good example of this.

Either way the Batman TV show is unlikely to be a factor here, but I could be wrong.

If it was Warner's ownership of the characters in issue the Movie would have been caught up in the mess as well, but it appears whatever the issue with the show, the Movie was part of a separate deal with different rights packages, which is why it was able to be released..


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Post #: 52
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 6:50:26 PM   
thedrin

 

Posts: 562
Joined: 9/1/2007
From: Ireland
I confidently predict that when the film is released, those most enraged by a delay to the release date, or the possibility of a delay to the release date, will be the most likely to wish that Fox had ensured that this film never seen the light of day. In other words, following its theatrical release, the backlash of disappointment against Watchmen will be epic compared to the backlash against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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Post #: 53
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 7:36:02 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: thedrin

I confidently predict that when the film is released, those most enraged by a delay to the release date, or the possibility of a delay to the release date, will be the most likely to wish that Fox had ensured that this film never seen the light of day. In other words, following its theatrical release, the backlash of disappointment against Watchmen will be epic compared to the backlash against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.



Let me guess; you think it's 'unfilmable'/would be better as a mini-series/should have been directed by Gilliam/if they have to sacrifice even one frame of the comic then it will be an abomination and will lead to The Rapture?


Why not wait until you've seen it before making predictions?

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Post #: 54
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 7:52:35 PM   
Olaf


Posts: 23699
Joined: 26/2/2007
From: 41N 93W
You left out Option 4, "Greengrass Should Have Directed It"...

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Post #: 55
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 8:14:16 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olaf

You left out Option 4, "Greengrass Should Have Directed It"...


I knew I'd forgotten something!

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Post #: 56
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 8:29:35 PM   
Mr Terrific


Posts: 1639
Joined: 15/7/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: thedrin

I confidently predict that when the film is released, those most enraged by a delay to the release date, or the possibility of a delay to the release date, will be the most likely to wish that Fox had ensured that this film never seen the light of day. In other words, following its theatrical release, the backlash of disappointment against Watchmen will be epic compared to the backlash against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.



Let me guess; you think it's 'unfilmable'/would be better as a mini-series/should have been directed by Gilliam/if they have to sacrifice even one frame of the comic then it will be an abomination and will lead to The Rapture?


Why not wait until you've seen it before making predictions?


Wibert, I don't think he is claiming it should never be made. I think he is saying alot of fanboys will throw their toys out of the pram if it does'nt get released on time and take their anger out on the film.

It has got a lot of hype and some people are gonna be disappointed no matter how good it is also. Valid points.


_____________________________

..."lost like tears in the rain....."

"He claims he is a man. And one of the things about being a man is getting knocked on your ass and learning from it."

http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_terrific

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 57
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 8:33:09 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland
I got the impression that he was speaking as someone predicting the film would suck. If I'm wrong I'll happily apologise to Thedrin.

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Post #: 58
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 8:36:00 PM   
thedrin

 

Posts: 562
Joined: 9/1/2007
From: Ireland
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert


quote:

ORIGINAL: thedrin

I confidently predict that when the film is released, those most enraged by a delay to the release date, or the possibility of a delay to the release date, will be the most likely to wish that Fox had ensured that this film never seen the light of day. In other words, following its theatrical release, the backlash of disappointment against Watchmen will be epic compared to the backlash against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.



Let me guess; you think it's 'unfilmable'/would be better as a mini-series/should have been directed by Gilliam/if they have to sacrifice even one frame of the comic then it will be an abomination and will lead to The Rapture?


Why not wait until you've seen it before making predictions?


You'll note that in my previous post I didn't state whether or not the film would be any good. I'm saying that it'll never match the levels of hype. Indiana Jones did turn out to be pretty decent but a large part of the 'Internet Moral Majority' seems to have declared it unwatchable.

But, yes, I don't expect it to be any good. Reason: Zach Snyder. I've no faith in his ability to produce a good adaption of this book.

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 59
RE: Watchmen Caught In Legal Confusion - 4/1/2009 8:37:35 PM   
thedrin

 

Posts: 562
Joined: 9/1/2007
From: Ireland
quote:


http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_terrific
quote:

ORIGINAL: Wilbert

I got the impression that he was speaking as someone predicting the film would suck. If I'm wrong I'll happily apologise to Thedrin.


I do expect it to be a poor film, but I wasn't saying that in my first post.

(in reply to Wilbert)
Post #: 60
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