MPAA Effectively Shuts Down Largest Fan Edit Movie Site
from the can't-make-stuff-better dept
One of the great things about Matt Mason’s The Pirate’s Dilemma books is the never-ending examples of how allowing people to take content and remix it leads to greater overall creativity and almost always opens up new opportunities for the original — even as the original creator sometimes freaks out about it. A great example of this is with movie fan edits — attempts by fans of certain movies to make the movie even better by re-editing it, changing scenes around, cutting out certain scenes, adding in new special effects or even new scenes entirely. Such efforts are non-commercial, and tend to increase attention and interest in the original film. The first such popular fan edit came after the release of The Phantom Menace, back in 2001, when fans were upset about a variety of things (Jar Jar Binks’ character being a big problem). What came out of it was The Phantom Edit. The resulting attention caused many more people to get into the business of editing films.
TorrentFreak reports that one of the biggest sites for sharing such fan edits has effectively been shut down by the MPAA, which sent a DMCA takedown to the site’s hosting provider, forcing the site to pull all of its download links. Prior to this, there were no specific complaints, and Lucasfilm apparently was a big supporter of various fan edits. Considering the nature of fan edits, it’s difficult to see how these are likely to diminish the commercial value of a movie. Some might claim that people will be drawn to the fan edits, rather than the authorized cuts of a movie, but that seems unlikely for most people. Realistically, the only folks who are going to invest their time in watching a fan edit would be someone who was already a fan of a specific movie, and was interested in how other fans had re-imagined and re-cut the film.
Lucasfilm has been able to build up tremendous goodwill among fans by allowing such fan edits, knowing that they tend to make fans of various films even more attached to the originals. It’s disappointing, though not surprising, that the folks at the MPAA would rather shut off such creativity rather than encourage it.