“Batgirl: The Web Series” IndieGoGo Page Taken Down

"Batgirl: The Web Series" IndieGoGo Page Taken DownThe creators of the well-received fan film series Batgirl: Spoiled (Episode 1 and Episode 2) have released a statement about the future of their productions. The company’s IndieGoGo page has been removed after receiving a take-down notice from Warner Bros. See details below.

***IMPORTANT NOTICE***

As of yesterday afternoon our IndieGoGo has received a take-down notice from Warner Brothers. Thus our crowdfunding campaign is canceled. We are working directly with IndieGoGo to make sure all those who donated to the campaign are refunded. We don’t know yet how long this will take as of this posting, but we are working to make it as expedient as possible.

Considering this development Batgirl: Spoiled is going to go on a temporary, possibly permanent hiatus while we consider the fiscal and legal ramifications of going forward. If and when we have updates you can expect them here.

To be clear, we always knew this was a possible outcome of our series, and in recent months similar series with various IP have run into this same issue. We hold no ill will toward WB for this action, as it was their legal right. We were only borrowing the story from WB/DC they had every right to ask for it back.

This is a risk we took when we came together to make this series years ago, and we knew some day this might happen and well its happened and we’re moving on. We’ll have new projects in the future, and maybe one day Batgirl will again be on that list, and we’ll be happy to see you all there when and if that happens.

Until then… speaking on behalf of everyone who made Batgirl: Spoiled over the past few years, thank you for your fandom, and thank you for your support. We will make a more lengthy statement in video form in the next few days / weeks on the YouTube page.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, and (perhaps only temporarily) Batgirl: Spoiled signing off…

Visit The Batgirl The Web Series Facebook Page for more info

HM

HM

Creator of Heroine Movies. Contact me at the email address below.

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James
James

I enjoy fan films, but it seems to me like a line gets crossed when you start raising funds to make a film on a property that you don’t own. I’m seeing more of this with the final fantasy film and Minecraft films being the latest incidents.

Of course you’ve got fans crying foul, but these are characters owned by someone else who is within their rights to dictate how these characters are portrayed. I don’t believe many companies have a problem with fan films, but some people are taking fan entitlement too far. These companies have no way to know where this money is going, and if the project turns out to be utter garbage it does tarnish the brand.

If you’re that passionate about filmmaking, to the point that you want someone to fund your endeavors, then do it with your own original projects, and reap all the rewards of successfully doing it.

Damien Woods
Damien Woods

I am in love with Alex Bettinger right now. -_______- ! well written stuff.

Gil
Gil

Yes….well stated. It seems to me that as DC (Sony) and Marvel (Disney) have tried to move beyond mere trademarks to turning their companies into ‘platforms'(incorporating websites, movies, television and video games) , their comics have become far more generic. It often leads me to wonder if the present industry would even have a place at the table for a Will Eisner, a Jim Steranko, a Denny O’Neal…visionaries willing to challenge the established order,in other words. Often I find these outlier offshoots (like several of the films promoted on this board) to be far more ‘entertaining’ than the modern versions of these characters in comic books.

Alex Bettinger

If my memory serves, the Fawcett case didn’t really have anything to do with Fair Use either–Fawcett’s primary argument was simply that Captain Marvel did NOT resemble Superman so much that it infringed anyone’s copyright. That’s not a fair use argument, it’s just a “No I didn’t copy you at all” argument.

There WAS however a secondary argument that might be considered a “fair use” argument, and it actually ended up receiving more traction in the litigation. It claimed that various versions or strips of the Superman comic were never properly copyrighted (back then, you had to undertake certain measures in order to establish copyright–that’s no longer the case, today copyright attaches the moment the work is put into tangible form). The argument was thus that Superman had fallen into the public domain and could be used fairly by anyone. The Second Circuit didn’t find that argument convincing, if I remember correctly. But Fawcett’s primary argument was the Captain Marvel was NOT a use of Superman at all.

At any rate, DC will always go after any high-profile infringements of its copyright–it has to, since if it doesn’t, then a future defendant might argue that DC was not vigorously enforcing its copyright at all, and had thus relinquished it, which is a possible defense to a infringement claim–though not a sure fire one, if I remember correctly.

But even just to write a cease and desist letter requires paying a lawyer for his time, and DC probably isn’t particularly willing to spend tons of money trying to shut everyone down, and certainly isn’t interested in going after parodies where it might LOSE in litigation (and potentially establish an adverse precedent).

Could DC intimidate genuine parodies and non-infringing works and get them to shut their projects down? Sure. That’s just one of the ways that our economic system ends up *stifling* competition instead of fostering it: the more money you have, the more you can squash the competition without actually having to compete with it. That’s actually one reason why some economists argue that the notion of a “free” or unregulated market is actually a profoundly ANTI-capitalist notion, at least insofar as such markets often end up stifling competition instead of promoting it.

Gil
Gil

@Logan
@Alex
Thanks guys..those are both good explanations. I seem to remember that one of the first attempts to claim ‘Fair Use’ was when DC sued Fawcett over the resemblance of Captain Marvel to Superman . Strangely enough, I believe when DC ended up incorporating the Marvel Family into their universe, they had to use the title ‘Shazam’ as a result of winning the lawsuit many years before.
If and when The CW launches their Wonder Woman prequel ‘Amazon’, I wonder if they’ll start cracking down on the many Fair Use and Parody versions floating around the internet. Whether they’re technically in accordance with Fair Use or not, DC would seemingly have the deeper pockets….

Naruto
Naruto

@ The Superheroines

Would an example of the fair use be like Marvel creating Deadpool in the vein of DC’s Deathstroke? Just trying to understand this ish a bit more.

Alex Bettinger

Sure, “Fair Use” is often used as the larger category which subsumes all the ways a work can be used (whether in a scholarly way, or in a parodic way, etc.) without running afoul of copyright.

However, when you use the term “fair use” *in addition* to “parody,” then the normal interpretation will be that you mean “fair use” to apply to things like scholarly or journalistic contexts (i.e., citations), and “parody” to apply to…well…parodies.

But yes, “Fair Use” can be understood to subsume “Parody.” But really it’s only “parody” that’s relevant in this context.

The Superheroines

@Alex Bettinger: All true. Although Parody IS Fair Use, so it does apply equally, hand-in-hand.

Alex Bettinger

As it happens I AM an attorney (though happily not practicing at the moment). Actually, the “fair use” doctrine has virtually no application in this context (unless there is some special aspect of the doctrine I am unfamiliar with). “Fair use” applies, for example, to scholarly or journalistic contexts: If I want to write a scholarly article about Batman, or if there is something newsworthy about the latest Batman movie or comicbook, then I am allowed to write about it and even cite from the books and/or movies extensively without running afoul of the copyright owner’s rights. Likewise, it’s arguable that, if I make a Batman movie in a film school context, in fulfillment of some assignment, then that too is okay using the Fair Use doctrine.

Parody is the doctrine that applies here, and the reason it does not apply to this Batgirl project is because, quite simply, it is not a parody. “Batgirl: The Web Series” just took the character more or less exactly as she appears in the DC version and made its own story about her.

A parody, in copyright law, refers to a work which is similar enough to the original to evoke it, but without being *exactly* the same. A parody should also refer to the original work in some way–for example, by poking fun at it. A work which is a lot like the X-Men, for example–lets say something called “The Y-Men”–but which has no parodic purpose (e.g., which does not poke fun at the original, underlying work), is also arguably in violation of copyright law. To be a proper parody, “The Y-Men” would have to have some parodic reference to the X-Men (whether it be critical, or humorous, or whatever).

This is why most porn versions of known works are likely proper parodies–they are not exactly the same, and they seem to be poking fun at the originals.

Just calling something a “parody,” by the way, has no legal effect in copyright jurisprudence. It actually has to *be* a parody.

The Superheroines

@Gil: No, that’s not how it works… I’m not a lawyer, but I do abide by the laws to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me– especially since I live less than 2 miles from the Warner Brothers lot. There is “Parody Law” and there is “Fair Use” law. Both of these can be your friend if you decide to film in this industry. To sum it all up, you have the option to use the likenesses of any character, copyrighted or not, to create a fictional work of your own even if the obviousness of the likeness and comparison is overwhelming. There are grey areas in this as well. However, you cannot use exact names, sometimes logos (grey area under the Parody Law provision), and storylines. For fan films, typically you will see the exact names, logos, costumes, etc, with a new storyline. This usually passes along just fine. But in this case, they were not extending out variation to any of it, but rather playing out a storyline that already existed. What this does for the one who owns the rights is cause confusion and limitation. Even though you and I both know it’s a fan film and not representative of the WB company itself, others may not see the distinction and may believe it was backed by them. If the quality is or isn’t there, it’s automatically a reflection of that company– in this case, Warner Brothers. Also, they are taking an existing story that may be used in the future, but had they allowed this to continue, would have to “compete” with the earlier work and it’s creation, in addition, would no longer feel “original”. So to be left alone in this genre, it’s simple. Make your own characters and make your own stories. The law is on your side. 🙂

Logan

Gil
Gil

So…to be clear; if a producer calls their copyright/trademark-infringing film a ‘parody’, everything is fine…if they call it a ‘fan film’ (and none of the cast or crew is compensated); DC/Marvel will bring down a ‘C&D’ on them? I don’t get it….any lawyers out there to explain? The distinction seems completely arbitrary…three quarters of the producers who post to this forum could potentially be shut down by these ‘standards’!Anyway, a shame..some really nice ideas both visually and plot-wise in the two eps that got out.Hope they chose to do more work in the genre going forward!

barticus
barticus

That’s a bummer, though not totally unexpected. The irony is that if they’d done a crappy job, no one would have noticed. But since they were true to Batgirl and created a high quality product, they get shut down.

The Superheroines

@jerry: I’m happy you enjoyed that fight scene! Mario Rocha, who plays Tony in Heroine Legends, was one of the fight choreographers for that fight scene. He also choreographs for us along with myself and Joseph Carl White II (Amoeba). I’ll pass on your positive comments about it to him! 🙂

Logan

jerry
jerry

That’s too bad. Their first episode was amazing and that’s what fights should be like in this genre.

The Superheroines

@azncaity: I’m not sure if they’ll respond on this thread and I’m not speaking for them, but when you receive a cease and desist from a production company in regards to intellectual property and copyright infringement, you’re not allowed to continue in any way with what you’ve done which would include releasing anything they’ve already shot. It would result in further legal action against them.

Logan

azncaity
azncaity

Well doesn’t that just suck. Any chance of you guys releasing what you have as of now?

kingles
kingles

Sure this character is WB’s property, but what are THEY doing with it? Seems kind of petty to me…

Maximus
Maximus

PFFFT WB sucks butt alright. prolly the bet Batgirl ever!!!!

curious
curious

no seriously if you want to make money off people and their interest follow up with your promises. WB sucks ass we all know that but if you want private money and have a fun idea back it up dont promise things then randomly show up…may as well be DanO from superheroinecentral.com. We all have idea but we dont pretend to do things about them. Either be willing to back it up or go to hell.

The Superheroines

Members of my team actually worked on this project over the past few years. It IS unfortunate that it was shut down. We wish them the best as they move forward and are interested to see the direction they take.

Logan

Lumpy
Lumpy

I agree with ranger87. After they released the original trailer it took nearly a year before the first episode came out. All the while they kept posting behind the scenes crap. I was really looking forward to it, but by the time episode one came out, I finally lost interest.
This news is like a tree falling in the woods, if they hadn’t announced they were shutting down, who would have noticed?

ranger87
ranger87

Can’t say I’m disappointed. Episode 2 took so long to come out, that I didn’t even watch it. It’s hard to stay relevant when you put out an episode a year.

Fan421
Fan421

Freaking warner brother A-holes