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Unless you’re Amish, live in a cave without WiFi, or were lost at sea the last couple of days, you might have an acceptable reason for not watching the Power Rangers fan film Power/Ranger that swept the Internet earlier this week. The darker, highly polished, and much more mature look at the Power Rangers had many folks clamoring for more. Of course everyone wanted to know what the original Power Rangers thought about the fan film, and three have made comments or posts. More importantly, Saban, holder of the Power Ranger rights have taken a dim view of this particular Power Rangers fan film and turned all their legal might toward removing the film first from Vimeo (The NSFW boobie version), and then, (The totally safe for anywhere version) from YouTube. What might this mean for Fan film’s in general?

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First up is the original Green Ranger Jason David Frank. He posted the video below to his Facebook page:

Now Power/Rangers director Joseph Khan did respond to this statement on Twitter saying:

It didn’t take long for two other rangers to make their opinions known. The Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson (Lines, Bent), a talented director herself posted this to her Facebook page:

Okay… so you’ve ALL probably seen this already. BUT just wanted to share. Personally I think it’s kind of awesome. BUT don’t tell Saban that!! I might get sued. [wink emoticon] And it’s clearly NOT for KIDS!!

She also tweeted her thoughts on Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal, who also responded:

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Walter Jones, the Black Ranger had this to say:

I wont be posting the video of the Power Rangers deboot video because I still have fans that are kids. I will say… I thought it was very well done and entertaining. I am looking forward to other interpretations of this amazing show. I am blessed to have had the pleasure of helping to create here in the states! Its Morphing Time!!

What concerns me more about this situation though is Saban’s response to the video. Shortly after it was posted to Vimeo, later that same day in fact, Saban had the video taken down. Darnell Witt, Director, Support + Community at Vimeo had this to say:

Hey all,

You may be aware that an excellent fan video called POWER/RANGERS was posted to Vimeo recently. We loved it so much we gave it a Staff Pick.

However, we later had to remove it due to a claim of copyright infringement by the company that owns Power Rangers (SCG Power Rangers LLC, a division of Saban).

Lots of Vimeo viewers are understandably upset that they can no longer watch the video, but we’ve noticed that there’s a lot of confusion about why the video was removed. Therefore, I want to clear a few things up:

(1) This video was NOT removed because it is NSFW.

The video did include some mature content, but it was appropriately rated using our Content Ratings system. Therefore, it was not in violation of our guidelines around mature content.

(2) This video was NOT removed because Vimeo determined that it constituted copyright infringement.

Like all major video platforms, Vimeo complies with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). You can see our full DMCA policy here: vimeo.com/dmca

In this case, the company that owns the Power Rangers copyright feels that POWER/RANGERS infringes on their intellectual property.

The video creator feels that the video is covered by Fair Use based on the fact that it is non-commercial and satirical.

We agree that an argument for fair use can be made, but the DMCA law does not give content hosts (like Vimeo) permission to disregard a takedown notice simply because of the presence of one or more fair use factors. This is a legal matter between the copyright holder and the video creator.

*** The bottom line: ***

There is a chance that we will be able to restore the video.

The creator has filed a DMCA counter-notification, which starts the process described in the second section here: vimeo.com/dmca (“Filing a DMCA Counter-Notification…”)

Saban could also decide to withdraw their claim, which would allow us to restore the video immediately. Since this is not in Vimeo’s control, you can reach out to Saban directly to share your opinions on the removal of this video: sabanbrands.com/contact

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Saban, also went after the safe for work version that was on YouTube which was taken down yesterday. The video had over 12 million views on YouTube and when informed of the removal, director Joseph Khan had this to say:

I think it’s a huge blow for fandom. I think they’re hurting themselves. I think with this short they’ve gotten more attention than ever before. How do you break the Internet with the Power Rangers? I think it gave them a lot of publicity and revived its pop culture awareness. Instead of supporting the good will of the fans, they’ve turned it into a legal issue. It doesn’t sound like they’re thinking of the fandom at all.

I hope they come to an awareness of how modern pop culture works. The audience will pay for the franchise, but they want to play with it as well. You can’t just dictate that these are the things you are going to watch in the way we want you to watch it. That’s not the way society works anymore. If you want the support of the modern fandom, you need to let them participate.

YouTube’s response when asked about the removal by Deadline:

When a copyright holder notifies us of a video that infringes their copyright, we remove the content promptly in accordance with the law.

The Power/Ranger Fan film production isn’t giving up, producer Adi Shankar has brought his lawyer Ashwant Akula Venkatram into the legal fray. Venkatram says:

It’s fair use and there are numerous fans films on YouTube. It’s a terrible precedent to set.

This could be a serious problem for Fan films in the future if Saban is allowed to suppress this version. I imagine that Saban’s lawyers will argue that the more adult, violent Fan film is damaging to the Power Ranger’s brand that is geared toward children in addition to their claim that it infringes on their intellectual Power Ranger rights.

What might this mean for other fan films? Not as much as you might think. I doubt that this will start an avalanche of fan film removals for the Internet. What it might do is muddy the legal waters because I don’t see either side backing down. This will end up in a court somewhere and a judge will decide which way this goes. Of course bootlegged copies of Power/Rangers are popping up all over the Internet and Saban’s lawyers will be aiming to get those taken down as well. They might as well play Wack a Mole, because as soon as they get one, two more will pop up.

Khan’s even tweeted about those bootlegs:

What do you think will happen and does it matter now that once something is out on the Internet it’s out there. No matter how much Saban tries to stamp it out, other copies will pop up. That Power Rangers’ genie is out of the bottle.

Via: Deadline

Category: Film, TV

Tags: , , ,

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