Power/Rangers Creators Vow to Fight 'Huge Blow to Fandom' After Their Short is Removed From Youtube
When Joseph Kahn released his dark, gritty and generally NSFW Power/Rangers short this week, it swiftly racked up millions of views across Vimeo and Youtube. But almost as swiftly as those views came in, the 14-minute short, which starred Katee Sackhoff and James Van der Beek, was promptly taken down after Lionsgate and Saban claimed it infringed upon their copyright of the original Power Rangers property. Now Kahn, along with Power/Rangers' producer, Adi Shankar, is vowing to start a legal battle against the two organizations stating that their take-down notice was a "huge blow for fandom".
It was announced last year that Lionsgate and Saban were to collaborate on rebooting the Power Rangers franchise in a new movie, which is slated for a 2016 release. When Kahn first uploaded the film to Vimeo, he stated that it was a "Deboot of the Power Rangers. My take on the FAN FILM. Not a pilot, not a series, not for profit, strictly for exhibition.", but it would seem the widespread fan acclaim for the film has provoked swift action from Lionsgate and Power Rangers creator, Haim Saban. Instead of recognizing that this fan video could generate some real excitement around one of their properties, Saban has opted to feel threatened by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Kahn's work.
As the takedown notices started rolling in, Kahn took to Twitter to lobby support from fans.
Saban is trying to shut POWER/RANGERS down. If you'd like to keep watching, tell them to stop harassing me http://t.co/Gb3KfwMbAX— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) February 24, 2015
Saban just pulled POWER/RANGERS off Youtube. Bad day for free speech, fair use, and Fandom in general.— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) February 26, 2015
Whether you liked the video or not, if you love original content, Kahn's case is one that should matter to you. Up until now, studios have largely ignored fan tributes to their properties, mainly because if they started to issue takedown notices for video loveletters to their properties, they'd look like total arses and seriously cheese of their fan bases. But this latest issue could be a watershed moment in defining a very iffy area of copyright law.
If this case were to go to court and Saban were to win, it would likely result in a far greater number of fan videos and fan interaction with entertainment franchises. Go to any Comic Con and you'll realize that it's fans paying tribute to pop culture properties that make this industry such a vibrant place. If studios strip fans of the ability to create parodies or tributes to their favorite characters, TV shows or Movies, movie tickets will continue to get sold, and money will still be made, but I can't help but think that the entire industry will be left worse off.
The more you think about it, the more you realize that in the case of the big studios who own the rights to these properties, that famous quote from The Big Lebowski is the most apt comment on this whole situation. "You're not wrong, you're just an asshole.".
Kahn will be hosting an AMA on Reddit at 5pm ET today