Brands Slowly Learning Not To Freak Out When Someone Creates A Parody?

from the not-quite-there-yet dept

A whole bunch of you have been submitting the recent story from Variety, that picks up on the silly takedown of Peanutweeter, and notes that at least some brands have realized that it's good to embrace such parody accounts even if they're technically infringing. The "surprise" company that has really embraced this kind of thing is Hasbro, with its support of the "bronies" -- adult men who (ironically?) use My Little Pony footage to remix it with other content, such as Wu Tang Clan songs. And it's a surprise (though not mentioned in the article), because Hasbro has a pretty well-documented history of going after parodies.

That said, much of the rest of the article isn't particularly encouraging. Yes, Hasbro appears to allow and support some of the brony remixes, but still feels that it can and should step in when it sees what it doesn't like. Other brands still feel the need to stop any of this kind of activity.

Amusingly, the article's discussion on fair use suggests (incorrectly) that YouTube's new "Copyright School" helps explain the nuances of fair use:
YouTube in particular has tried to enlighten its users to the nuances of fair use. The Google-owned site introduced a tutorial on the subject in April, as well as a "copyright school" -- a video series that educates users who have been flagged for copyright violations, followed by a quiz they're required to pass in order to be reinstated.
Except, that's not the case at all. YouTube's copyright school was criticized widely for brushing aside fair use and leaving out the nuance entirely. In fact, that's why there was an entire contest by Public Knowledge to create a second video that explains fair use to go with YouTube's original misleading video.

Either way, while it's nice to see Hasbro realize that not all parodies are evil, and that it's even good to support some cases of parody, it's a bit unfortunate that the overall prevailing view still seems to be that these kinds of things should either be shut down or possibly tolerated, rather than embraced as an important element of culture.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    B4L, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 3:12pm

    It's good to see that companies are starting to realize that fan-made parody is good for business. It's free advertising for them. Plus, it's proof-positive of the show's popularity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    HothMonster, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    they will like it until an episode shows the ponies having gay sex or dressing up like hitler, than the cease&desist will come

     

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  3.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re:

    You mean you missed the gay sex hitler brony episode? Dude, it was epic!

    ;-P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Shawn (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    It's Legal

    If you check US copyright law, parodies are legal there. Of course, not embracing free advertising anywhere is dumb.

     

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  5.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 4:04pm

    '"bronies" -- adult men who (ironically?) use My Little Pony footage'

    Astounding. Managed to lower my opinion of humanity.

    And my choice is only whether to defend such childishness against a corporation that makes toys in China? -- No, there's a third way, people.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

    Re: It's Legal

    If you check US copyright law,...


    If you check U.S. copyright law, you have spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on even mediocre legal talent, and it years to get through the courts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Nissl, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    Hasbro hasn't issued any takedown notices as far as I'm aware. Somebody got one Youtube account (MASTERLIN3X) to take down 1080 HD videos several months ago, but that account is currently showing SD videos with no problems and it's pretty unclear whether it was Hasbro or 4Chan behind the notice. I'm not aware of any fan videos that have been censored, not "F* S* Stack" by Reggie Watts (700k views!), not "Shame on a N*" by Wu Tang Clan. Those are incredibly, wonderfully loose standards.

    As a result of Hasbro's strategy, by the way, Hasbro's sales of MLP merchandise are on an upwards trajectory to the extent that the execs called out the show specifically during the most recent conference call, and the show is one of the top rated on every channel where it plays and having an easy time spreading to additional countries. I hope other companies learn from this example. You couldn't have a more rigidly defined brand than MLP and yet this is working out very well for Hasbro.

    And speaking as one fan of the show... I enjoy it largely unironically just like I would enjoy Powerpuff Girls (same creative team) or a good Pixar film with sharp character writing and a few poignant moments that speak to adults. I would say I probably enjoy the fan remixes and community creativity even more than the show, though. I'll admit that I also get a little kick out of the tears, anger, and confusion caused by a mass of adult males unironically liking MLP, and doubly so because I know that in this case that it's all coming from small-minded people who richly deserve to get all riled up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 5:22pm

    "bronies" -- adult men who (ironically?) use My Little Pony footage to remix it with other content

    "Brony" just refers to "adult male who enjoys watching the cartoon". (It is, in fact, an excellent cartoon. That huge fanbase showed up for a reason, y'know.) Some particularly talented fans have made remixes and such. (I like this chiptune version of the title theme, myself.)

    People like the show, Hasbro doesn't punish their fans for being fans, and Hasbro's sales go up. Everyone wins. If only more companies didn't operate under a zero-sum mentality...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    Re: '"bronies" -- adult men who (ironically?) use My Little Pony footage'

    Not ironically. If you'd watch the "Frendship is Magic" series, the fact that people are not letting this glorious show go to waste on kids who don't understand what they're watching would raise your opinion of humanity. Then your opinion of humanity would lower because there are people who don't recognise how great this show is. Net zero, in terms of opinion of humanity, but still, wonderful show.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Just John (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    Companies in China recognize this

    There is a really good article about how companies (such a 7up) are using parodies in China to sell.

    Good read if your interested in this.

    http://advertising.chinasmack.com/2011/7up-a-science-fiction-spoof-viral-by-hu-ge.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    now if only we can get them to realize that bad advertising (like gay sex hitler brony is still advertising!

     

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  12.  
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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    then again.... maybe not bad after all, it sure sounds like a comedy to me... but ya know... "think of the children!!"

     

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  13.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    Re: '"bronies" -- adult men who (ironically?) use My Little Pony footage'

    Astounding. Managed to lower my opinion of humanity.

    Sorry to hear that, Gilda.

    A whole bunch of you have been submitting the recent story from Variety...

    Techdirt Bronies represent!

    *Brohoof*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 7:55pm

    Re:

    "Brony" just refers to "adult male who enjoys watching the cartoon".

    It may have back when /co/ coined the term, but it has referred to all MLP:FiM fans for a while now.

    People like the show, Hasbro doesn't punish their fans for being fans, and Hasbro's sales go up.

    Indeed, Hasbro has been on top of that market since before the new show. They periodically sell "Blank" ponies so that people can make custom versions (Although, AFAIK they have yet to offer them for the current iteration.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    DandonTRJ (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 11:48pm

    Re: Re: '"bronies" -- adult men who (ironically?) use My Little Pony footage'

    We make this blog 20% cooler.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 3:44am

    Ponies at Dot Conf

    There was a presentation at the Dot Conf web and marketing industry conference that does a great job of explaining what has happened with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, what Hasbro has done and what lessons everyone else should learn from it: http://www.sabrinadent.com/2011/06/27/presenting-my-little-pony-at-the-dot-conf/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2011 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re:

    Hmm. http://ponibooru.413chan.net/post/view/3913 "Posted: 4 months ago". Maybe Derpy Hooves got lost trying to deliver those cease and desist letters?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 11:00am

    All 26 Season 1 episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are available from YouTube. So naturally, according to the MPAA's logic, sales will be disastrous when they get released on DVD.

    Naturally, it will be disastrous to MPAA's logic when the DVD release turns out to be a hot seller anyway, which is a pretty safe bet in my judgment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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