Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hunt for Gollum

Have you heard about the new 'Hunt for Gollum' movie?
What you think from a film perspective and from the IP perspective?
NPR mentioned that the EFF is supporting it.
- Dad 


I saw a blurb about it on Slashdot. It is my understanding that it is a "fan movie"...similar to various Harry Potter/Buffy the Vampire/Twilight/You-Name-It fan fiction works that have been released on-line.  

Larry Lessig pointed out in 'Remix' what a mess the legal battle between J.K. Rowling and a creator of a fan fiction site (she was 14 years old) quickly became.  

In the end, I think authors (or in the case of this particular movie, the copyright holder to Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien's estate?)) should embrace fan created spin-offs, instead of attempt to quash any creative output based upon their fictional creations. Of course, there is a line, capable of being crossed, where fan-fiction works could become infringing. For instance, where the fan-fiction cease to be derivative, and borrows so extensively as to practically be a copy of the work. Or, where a series has not yet ended, an author can validly argue that any widely distrusted, fan published work could preempt any storyline or plot idea that the author would potentially utilize, thereby prospectively depriving the original creator opportunities to develop a work. Additionally, where the fan-created work is exclusively for a commercial purpose, the "line" should slide toward protecting the original creator.  

Yet, here, I would believe that whomever makes money off of the Lord of the Rings books, movies, action figures, tee-shirts, memorabilia, etc., etc., should not feel legally threatened by the "Hunt for Gollum" to they point where they would result to initiating prosecution (so long as it is well-done, and does not cast any characters in an outrageously unfavorable light, e.g. Samwise Gamgee kills Frodo in his sleep...LOTR fans cringe).  

While they won't make any money directly off of the release of the movie, this release will certainly drive sales of products that they do profit from.  

And besides, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery....

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