Author Topic: Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate  (Read 411 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline WhyDontTheyLook

  • Magneto-cent Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 412
  • Liked:
  • Tell me.
    • GaryWOlson.com
Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate
« on: February 14, 2017, 12:32:26 PM »
Saw this GoFundMe crop up just recently (shared on Jackey Neyman Jones's facebook page)...

https://www.gofundme.com/manosfate

Tl;dr -- Joe Warren, the son of Hal Warren, is attempting to trademark the phrase "Manos: the Hands of Fate," in an attempt to restrict the right to access Manos, endangering projects such as the upcoming "Manos Returns" sequel.  The fund is intended to pay for the costs of heading that off at the pass.  (It was established by Ben Solovey, the producer of the recent Manos restoration out on blu-ray, which I liked a great deal.)
My debut dark fantasy novel, Brutal Light, available once more: http://brutallight.garywolson.com


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2765
  • Liked:
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 10:54:26 AM »
I really hope that this goes through on the side of Ben and Jackie.  Through the whole Restoration process, they had to fight this fight constantly, and the lawyer on their side has kept them going each time.  While I can understand that Joe Warren might be miffed at losing out on all the revenue of his father's work, the copyright issue that occurred happened all the time back then, and artists have suffered for it...despite all the fame he got for it, a misprint at the lab all but ensured George Romero never made a dime on Night of the Living Dead.  Of course, Romero made up for it by continuing to make movies, which Joe has apparently decided is not worth pursuing.  For him to rely on lawsuit threat after lawsuit threat to get in on royalties from a public domain movie that wasn't making anyone any money until MST showcased it is not the way to win friends.  The even worse thing is that this would be retroactive...people who have made derivative works (the Manos Game, for one, and our own Sugar Ray Dodge's Mystery Science Storybook series) that already exist would then have to hand over earnings about their work.  Even more than just screwing over people who do Manos, a lot of this affects the Public Domain in general...how can you trust making a derivative work of something that is perfectly safe to work with if anyone can swoop in, claim trademark to it, and then demand you hand over your money?  It's not only a jerkish thing to do, it could set a bad precedent for the future.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Edward J Grug III

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 14533
  • Liked:
  • Forum Tokens Collected: 5000
    • Glorious Bounty
Re: Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 08:46:03 PM »
On the other hand people SHOULD get compensated for their creations, and those people who are looking to build something based off another person's creation can't really complain if they can't, surely?
FINE


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2765
  • Liked:
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 11:52:45 PM »
Well, it also all depends on whether Joe has any legal reason to claim ownership of the rights of Manos.  Hal (or the production company) would have had the rights to the work by all accounts, but thanks to the nature of the law at the time, you were required to have the copyright notice on the title screen or else the movie automatically became public domain (this and the whole renewal process are among the reasons copyright law these days is what it is, for better or worse).  Thing is, from the way things have gone and what I understand of the situation, time after time legal action has shown that Joe does NOT have copyright claim to the project, that it is in the public domain, and that the people who have made works based on it have the right to do so.  Once something has fallen into the public domain, unless I am much mistaken, its status can only change if it is proven that it never fell into the public domain in the first place; public domain status cannot be undone once the law shows it to be that way.

Based on the facts I know about it, it's less about whether Joe has a proper claim to the project and more that he has spent the better part of many years raising legal actions against people without having the law on his side about it.  It would be like a grandson of Arthur Conan Doyle suddenly saying that, after all these years, he actually has a piece of paper that says he owns the rights to Sherlock Holmes, and that everyone who ever wrote a Sherlock Holmes story after 1930 or so owes him a million dollars in back royalties, and if they don't cough it up now he'll sue the pants off of them.  And after it's proven the paper doesn't actually give him the rights to Sherlock Holmes, he then buys a trademark as a backdoor loophole so that he can get the million dollars from each and every author.

Like I said, after seeing what Manos has become, he'd be foolish not to try and get what he could, and if what he is doing is above the board and legal, then he is well within his rights to try.  But based on letters he has sent to various Manos-related projects, it certainly appears that it is more about shutting down projects and getting money from them than any legitimate claim to Manos itself.

Of course, I could be wrong, and Joe might really be getting the shaft out of all this.  I can't get into his head and know for certain, and as far as I know Joe doesn't talk publicly and I haven't heard much from his point of view.  But on the surface, it does seem like the actions are more vindictive than protective.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.


Offline Edward J Grug III

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 14533
  • Liked:
  • Forum Tokens Collected: 5000
    • Glorious Bounty
Re: Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 01:04:38 AM »
I don't know if he's got a leg to stand on, I just think it's odd to root against a creator's ownership over their creation.

In Australia, you are automatically covered for anything you create, regardless of you putting a copyright notice on something. Makes much more sense to me.
FINE


Offline SJP

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2765
  • Liked:
  • Worst...avatar...ever!
Re: Manos: The Legal Defense of Fate
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 06:30:22 AM »
That's the way it is in the U.S. now...once it's made, it's copyrighted by you (though it's more legally defensible if you actually send it to the copyright office) and for roughly 90+ years after you die, but back in the 60s, copyright used to be a mess of constant renewal, set rules of how to keep and maintain it, and other things that made it less helpful to the actual copyright holder.  It's better than it used to be, but it's still not perfect.

And yeah, normally I am all about the creator of the work having all the rights in the world to their work (I've written books and recorded audio for people, I know how important it all is)...but Joe is Hal P. Warren's son, and as far as I know had nothing to do with Manos even when they were working on it (I just checked IMDb, which is not necessarily the perfect source, and his name appears nowhere in the listed cast and crew).  Even beyond that, he didn't seem to care about the rights to Manos at all until people started making games and sequels...and when he does care, it's only to try and get them to hand over money to him, not to be involved or invested in the projects.  Compare that to Jackie Neyman Jones (Debbie from the movie), who not only supported most of the projects from the start, but she and her late father did everything they could to promote the movie restoration and bring it to people who would appreciate it, and has apparently made so little money investing in it that they need a GoFundMe to cover legal costs.

I have nothing but respect for creators who protect their copyright from people who seek to scam them out of hard-earned dollars and act in ways that hurt them personally or financially.  But when someone uses what amounts to bully tactics to get something, the legal system has stopped them from getting it countless times, and then they use a backdoor maneuver to get it that may still fail to hold up in court, the whole thing sounds very fishy to me.
One Man Band Riffs.  18 riffs, over 600 served, since 2009.