Monday, March 5, 2012

Way To Go NBC - Protect What's Yours

Let me start this post off by adding this disclaimer. I have no sympathy nor do I in any way support NBC Universal. In fact I don't really hold them very highly at all following their treatment of one Conan O'Brien. However, the last few weeks I've seen the internet up in arms because NBC and Sony put a stop to some fans (one of them an actor in NBC's employment) who tried to take NBC property and create a web series based on it.
The property in question is the show within a show "Inspector Spacetime" which appeared as a "Dr. Who" parody on the show "Community."  The actor who played the character on the show decided he would pitch to NBC to spin off a web series. When he didn't get the answer he wanted, he turned to the internet, and that's what really got things going.
You see, "Inspector Spacetime" is the intellectual property of NBC and Sony. End of discussion. They can do with it as they will. If they want to shelve it, and never let it see the light of day again, it's their call. They and their staff of brilliant writers created it, so why should they let someone else take their creation and use as they will. This is stealing.
It seems now we live in a world were, thanks to YouTube, Vimeo and so on, any jack hole with a camera thinks he's a filmmaker. A task that once upon a time was reserved for the talented... And maybe a few not so talented, but opportunistic and lucky individuals. On top of this, you have a portion of this group, who don't really have any ideas of their own, and lack the talent and skill to develop something. So they create what is essentially fan fiction based on their favorite shows and movies. Then, they try to justify this by calling it a parody. The thing is fan fiction is not a parody. A parody is defined as "comic imitation of a literary or musical work." There is usually nothing comical about fan fiction, in fact, to make fun of the source would most likely go against the very fabric of what they are trying to do in the first place. Nope bottom line, it's plagiarism and copyright infringement.
Now don't get me wrong, not all web content falls under this seedy cloud. In fact there is a whole community of content creators doing it the right way, and also creating quality content. I myself am the co-creator and head writer for the web series "Short Term." So for me, what is happening with NBC would be like Short Term actors Raj Kalra or Emily Button trying to take their character and create their own spin off series (not that they would). Those characters are not those actors' creative property, and you bet your sweet ass I would do all I could to protect what I created and hold dear, just like I would expect anyone reading this article to do for their own content. 
So before you judge NBC to harshly take a look at it from their perspective. Then maybe you'll see that what was really going on was actually pretty shady. Just remember, if this were easy anyone could do it... And obviously "anyone" can't.
P.S. yes I understand that "Inspector Spacetime" is a parody of "Dr. Who," but it does not break any laws as it does in fact follow the rules of what defines something as a parody. Furthermore, one would assume that NBC had the permission of the BBC in the first place.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The JLP's Weekly Update

Ex-ESPN writer Anthony Federico released an apology on Monday calling a racial slur he made against New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, "an honest mistake." Federico went on to say, “That’s the last time I ask Brett Ratner for help writing an article."

In Tennessee, a bill dubbed the "Don't Say Gay Bill," passed the state  legislature's education subcommittee last week, which would prohibit the open use of the word "Gay" in all Tennessee public schools. Many in the state are worried that if the bill passes, their kids won't know what to call marching band members anymore.

Recent Grammy winner Kevin Mackie has returned to his job at a Pennsylvania supermarket just a week after his big win. It just goes to show you, Grammys come and go, but a 2 for 1 sale on Grand’s Biscuits won't re-stock itself.

The Republican primary race heats up again this week in Arizona highlighted by yet another CNN debate. Though political experts aren't ready to predict a winner, the loser will, once again, be anyone who watches.

A dock worker was killed in Portland Oregon, this weekend, by falling into a vat of deadly toxic chemicals. In other news, a study in Portland Oregon has proven that falling into a vat of toxic chemicals will not make you a real life super hero.

And finally, a Florida woman is asking for help locating a gun that she lost at a Tallahassee shopping mall Sunday. The woman says she only carries the gun with her for protection, just in case "shit goes down" at the Wetzel's Pretzels.

*The JLP’s Daily News is comedy satire, and should not be taken seriously. No animals were hurt during the writing of this article.