20th Century Fox removes popular Star Wars tribute Returning to Jedi from Youtube

Returning to Jedi, a fan documentary by Jamie Benning, was removed from Youtube due to a request from 20th Century Fox this week. Benning’s ‘filmumentaries,’ — Star Wars Begins, Raiding the Lost Ark — have been wildly popular online, gaining more than 3 million hits over the years, according to Screen Jabber.

In the FAQ on his site, Benning says that while he does burn DVDs of his fandocs “for review purposes,” they are not available for sale. “These are non profit making projects and there for discs of them should not be bought or sold by me or by anyone.”

Benning has removed his remaining docs from Youtube and plans to repost them on Vimeo, he said in a comment on the Star Wars Begins Facebook page.

You still can’t sell your fanfic: Twilight edition

I hate to make two Twilight posts in a week, but now it seems the fandom has their own Lori Jareo wannabe in the form of LadySybill, who’s written Russet Noon, a post-Breaking Dawn story about Bella’s other love interest, Jacob Black. Nothing surprising about that as a fanfic: But she’s calling it a “tribute novel” and was directing readers to… eBay? And it seems she thinks she can get away with it because… Stephenie Meyer didn’t draw pictures of her characters:

The characters in SM’s novels were not copyrighted because she never drew them or hired an artist to draw them. Today she shares her character copyrights with Summit. And, no, Russet Noon does not have direct permission from SM to publish this sequel, which is why the article says that it is a “Tribute” or “Unauthorized” Sequel.

And here’s what her ‘publisher’ has to say:

When fictional characters become such an intricate part of the popular psyche, as is the case with the Twilight Saga, legal boundaries become blurred, and copyright laws become increasingly difficult to define.

Yeah, that would totally hold up in court. Get the rest of the story and boggle at length at Sparklefield and Fandom Wank.

UPDATE: Has LadySybill seen the light?

In the news: Samuel L. Jackson, bailouts, copyright, hotels and a criminal Chewbacca

People: Samuel L. Jackson received the American Cinematheque award earlier this week, along praise from George Lucas, Denzel Washington and Justin Timberlake .

Even Artoo and Threepio showed up!

  • Har har har: The Los Angeles Times has a bailout plan for Star Wars. My only question is, does George have a private jet?
  • Books: Looking for some light reading? Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Culture Thrive in the Hybrid Economy touches at least a little on Star Wars copyright issues, according to The Mercury News review. In any case, it looks like a must-read for anyone with copyright concerns.
  • Crime: Chewbacca Calvin Johnson of Georgia is racking up quite a criminal record. (Thanks, Paula.)
  • Travel: Wired takes a look at geek hotels, starting with the Sidi Driss and continuing with some places a little closer to home.

Heilemann’s Star Wars collection is no more

His fantastic set of Star Wars images on Flickr is gone. It’s not too surprising, with the collection’s latest burst of popularity, that he got a C&D, but it’s still a big loss for the fandom. In his entry addressing the situation, he’s pretty brutal on Lucasfilm and StarWars.com, and I can’t entirely blame him:

Anyway, the take-down is a fair legal move as it were, even if I don’t (obviously) agree with it. After all, the collection was an attempt at remedying the exact _lack_ of such similar resources from Lucasfilm. Thousands of people have passed through the collection and been ecstatic at the chance to peek in behind the scenes at a mythology and a series of films that are forever, and I think that it is remarkable that even now, we all carry these films with us.

This is what starwars.com should be doing! But instead of its initial potential, it has grown into a tired, empty husk of a marketing machine, not only poorly designed technically (and a usability nightmare!), but also trying so desperately to promote the Clone Wars show that it has forgotten the very magic that once propelled the world into the stars, on May 25th, 1977.

As I said last time I linked him, I truly hope that one day LFL themselves would someday set up something similar. But in today’s economic climate, even a corporate behmouth like Lucasfilm probably isn’t supporting its website in all the ways it could. I can’t be angry at the StarWars.com folks – they do what they can, but a handful of people can only do so much.

The beauty of the internet is that we can do it ourselves, and often do – look at Wookieepedia. But then something like this happens, and we end up wondering why we bother.

Harry Potter fans behaving badly, part whatever

It’s been a while since we checked in on the Harry Potter Lexicon case, but yesterday’s developments plumb a new low – RDR Books requested a copy of Rowling’s notes for her own encyclopedia, claiming:

…David Hammer, lawyer for RDR… says that the notes are requested in order to “test the merits” of J.K. Rowling’s claims that she is going to write an encyclopedia and that part of the reason for suppressing the HPL would be to suppress potential competition. RDR asked for “copies of any prepatory materials that Ms. Rowling has drafted or authorized to be drafted, including notes, outlines, drafts, marketing proposals, etc.”

And I ask again: Are these people for real? Has she not out and out said several times that’s she’s writing one? Rowling and the WB’s response:

JKR/WB object to what it sees as RDR’s “pattern of writing the Court whenever it wishes without first making any effort to meet and confer, let alone giving sufficient advance notice of its intended communication with the Court”…. JKR’s “overwhelmingly sensitive” notes would serve “no legitimate purpose other than to harass Ms. Rowling. Rather, the burden of producing these notes far outweighs any benefit to RDR in obtaining them.”

You can catch up on other recent developments on Fandom Wank, thanks to the seemingly tireless Cleolinda and friends.