AMC Upset That Fans Are Making Mad Men More Fun; Sends DMCA Notices To Twitter

from the damn-those-fans dept

It's really amazing how many times we see companies using the DMCA to shut down and stamp out fan efforts to help promote some content. Take, for example, the latest situation pointed out by MG Siegler over at VentureBeat. Apparently, cable TV network AMC has been sending DMCA takedown notices to Twitter because some fans of its popular show Mad Men have created Twitter accounts for the main characters in the show. The fans are staying in character and adding to other fans' appreciation of the show. In some ways, this is similar to the situation we described recently where a fake representative of Exxon showed up on Twitter, even though she did a good job representing the company. Yes, the show wants to be able to control its own promotions -- and perhaps it's planning to create Twitter accounts itself, but it seems that there would be better ways to deal with this than shutting down fan-created accounts that people were enjoying. Update: Looks like someone came to their senses thanks to the widespread outrage, and has agreed to put the feeds back.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    Matt Bennett, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    If they were planning on creating twitter accounts themselves, the fans stole there thunder, essentially, is there a better way to handle it than asking those fan account to be shut down? They could be slightly more polite about it and ask the fans first to do it, and explain why, but if that twas their plan, the faux accounts still have to go.

    Or they could have no such plans and just be idiots.

     

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    mightymaz, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 1:49pm

    Suppose someone set up a spoof Mike Masnick account and wrote a lot of stuff pretending to be Mike, would that be a good fan thing ? for how long would it be a good thing ? how could you distunguish the real mike from the fake ? .

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      I bet you get an emotional response, mightymaz.

       

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      Spectere, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 2:09pm

      Re:

      There's a major difference between pretending to be a fictional character and pretending to be a different person.

       

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      Mike (profile), Aug 26th, 2008 @ 8:16pm

      Re:

      Suppose someone set up a spoof Mike Masnick account and wrote a lot of stuff pretending to be Mike, would that be a good fan thing ? for how long would it be a good thing ? how could you distunguish the real mike from the fake

      There's a huge difference between fans promoting a show by doing fan fiction and impersonating a real person. If you can't understand the difference between the two... well... then I'm not sure what to tell you.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 11:46pm

        Re: Re:

        "In some ways, this is similar to the situation we described recently where a fake representative of Exxon showed up on Twitter, even though she did a good job representing the company"

        So where exactly is the difference ? Is Mike Masnick a real character or not ? (it's n0t possible to tell at the other side of the internet).

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 2:16pm

    Something similar recently happened with comics columnist Rich Jonhston.

    Here's his account, taken from his column:

    "Months ago, I read an advance script for the "Astonishing X-Men" comic, in which the X-Men character Armor was seen posting on Twitter as XGirlA. I wanted to see if the writer Warren Ellis or Marvel Comics had registered a Twitter identity. They hadn't. So I did.

    I mirrored her posts in the comics, then wrote a kind of meta-commentary on the San Diego Comic Con, and was considering writing an ongoing narrative bouncing off on events in "Astonishing X-Men."

    However last week, Marvel Entertainment sent a legal claim to Twitter and the small start up kowtowed, dumping the Twitter ID. After asking what was happening, a Twitter representative told me, "I'd rather resolve this issue without getting Marvel's legal department involved because we are a very small start-up and lack a legal department."

    Shame, if they had I wonder if Twitter could make a case that Marvel had infringed their copyright in the comics.

    Don't Fuck With The House it seems. Still, Twitter sent me a T-shirt. And I'm a sucker for free T-shirts. "

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17832

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Aug 26th, 2008 @ 2:32pm

    Domain names

    I could see this as equivalent to buying up domain names in hopes to sell to a business or individual in the future for large sums of money. Set up an account on Twitter with a trademarked name then hope to sell the account to the company when they finally get around to picking up on incorporating the technology into their marketing/business.

     

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    Thought That Was Illegal, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 2:59pm

    Chuck, I thought that idea was struck down by the courts.

     

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    Mike Maznick, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 4:07pm

    Everything should be free in the economics of "I don't want to pay for anything". Supply of infinate goods this and give me free stuff that, makes an excelent business model that these multi-million dollar, very successful companies are too stupid to figure out. If you give away everything free, people will pay to watch you stand on your head. It is the new business model. Free, Free, Free.

     

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    lordmorgul, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 4:12pm

    Domain name registration

    "Chuck, I thought that idea was struck down by the courts"

    It was. Essentially, if you create a domain name too similar to an ALREADY established company they can sue to obtain rights to the domain without purchasing it from you. If you create the domain before the company becomes established or has any online presence then they would have to buy it from you, which is why many of the domain registration companies still have 'premium' domain names for sale which they are hoping become something of interest for a new company.

    Still... the idea of claiming a Twitter ID and hoping someone will want to buy it from you just to start a lame promotion is pretty thin. I'm quite certain noone at AMC had any plans to create a promotion this way, but having seen it occur they want it stopped only to protect PRECEDENT of having allowed this to occur. Even if they do not disagree with how the characters are portrayed they will not want to allow it to continue because then someone else can claim 'they did not care before'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 8:28pm

    How about updating this to include that they allowed the accounts at the end of the day?

     

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    Myke Mazneck, Aug 27th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    How can they think they can make money..

    How is it possible for ANY company to make money in today's economy using old, stale traditional marketing techiniques and distribution strategies. In order to make money companies can not impede the public's desire to provide free marketing and distribution. All the free marketing any media (film, music, television show, etc..) needs can be provided by fans. Why do these companies even bother spending a dime on traditional marketing strategies such as television, newspaper and banner ads on web pages. OOPS strike that last part, all companies need banner ads on TECHDIRT.
    /mockery

    Maybe companies shouldnt be chastised for protecting their reputation (hmmm, havent I read posts from you about the value of reputation?). Companies can not allow someone to post comments as a fictional character because there are idiots out there who would assume that anything posted under that character's name is the viewpoint of the company that owns that media. The other Mike, Mr. MaZnick, was right, in your utopia everything is free except banner ads on TechDirt, and no one owns any media. How would you like it if I took every post you write, copy it to another site - still giving you credit of course, and collect advertising fees for it? It wouldn't be fair to TechDirt would it? Can't you see how that relates to the Music industry?

    Mike Masnick -> TechDirt -> Readers
    Metallica -> RIAA -> Listeners

     

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      Mike (profile), Aug 27th, 2008 @ 8:52pm

      Re: How can they think they can make money..

      Why do these companies even bother spending a dime on traditional marketing strategies such as television, newspaper and banner ads on web pages. OOPS strike that last part, all companies need banner ads on TECHDIRT.

      Actually, as we've pointed out repeatedly, we think banner ads are a dying market. Most users on this site skip the ads. The ads are a tiny part of our business model, and if they went away, it's no big deal. We originally started running ads to learn about the online ad business for some of our clients, and we've kept them because it's a good learning experience -- and, yes, it makes some money. But we don't think it's sustainable.

      So, nice try at the mockery, but you haven't succeeded.

      How would you like it if I took every post you write, copy it to another site - still giving you credit of course, and collect advertising fees for it? It wouldn't be fair to TechDirt would it? Can't you see how that relates to the Music industry?


      No, that would be awesome. Please, go right ahead. We encourage other sites to repost our content, because it acts as advertising for us. If you can make money from ads on our content, more power to you. Why should I care? It only helps get more people to learn about Techdirt, and that's good for our real business model.

      So, please, GO RIGHT AHEAD and help promote us.

      So, now that you've been proven wrong on both of your attempts to mock us, will you admit you were wrong? I doubt it.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 8:29am

        Re: Re: How can they think they can make money..

        That is all well and good, but I have read Tech Dirt off and on for about a year, and I still have no idea what your business model actually is. I think it has something to do with news analysis? So how much would I have to pay for you to tell me that I don't understand the new Internet Economy because I try to sell my products for money. I know, I know....if I give away the product for free, I will make a fortune on selling coffee cups and desksets to the people who got the product for free.

        I have even tried reading a white paper example you guys give. Just like your response in Tech Dirt, you never get to the point. Your analysis is so vauge. Good luck.

         

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