Werewolf TV Show Blocked From DVD Release Due To Music Licensing

from the promoting-the-progress dept

We were just talking about how DVDs of various TV shows, like The State and WKRP in Cincinnati were being crippled by music licensing rights that forced them to remove the original, classic music, and replace it with bland copies. However, in some cases, it’s much, much worse. Michael Scott lets us know that some TV shows are being totally prevented from coming to DVD. The latest is the TV show Werewolf, which was apparently working on a DVD release, but the project has now been shut down, due to music licensing problems:

The Shout Factory had to cancel the release because of two artists (which will remain unnamed) that would not play ball. Sony does not have the individual audio tracks, so they were unable to replace the songs, as the audio was mixed together. The two songs were featured over dialogue scenes that could not be cut. The Shout Factory’s only option, even after spending a lot of time and money on it, was to cancel it and give the title back to Sony. If Sony had the audio tracks, it would have been easy to replace the two songs.

It’s still difficult to see how this makes any sense at all. It shouldn’t require relicensing, and even if it does, it’s plainly ridiculous for the musicians to refuse. It’s difficult to see how this benefits them in any way.

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Comments on “Werewolf TV Show Blocked From DVD Release Due To Music Licensing”

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63 Comments
Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Big Mistake

(which will remain unnamed)

Now that is a huge mistake.
He should be calling them out publicly.
Let the fans of the show give the greedy artists a shaming.

I for one would like to know, so that I could avoid the artists. However, it is probably safe to assume they are on some major label so I am already avoiding them.

The Shout Factory could just release a very simple one liner that states we cannot release the show because these two artists want a whole lot of money. Simple and factual. If the artists tried to sue over it then they would just get a nice little Streisand effect.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Have you ever SEEN that show?

“It’s difficult to see how this benefits them in any way.”

Depending on the scenes they’re talking about, there’s a chance that the music these artists made was so plum god awful that they don’t want it being repeated for fear that their children will be unable to procreate as a result.

Or, hey, maybe they’re just stupid.

The Mad (Patent) Prosecutor says:

In other news

In other news, Mad Prosecutor blocked from camping on mountain by man who owns mountain.

“It’s just sitting there unused,” said Mad Prosecutor. “Why should I be prevented from using it just because I don’t own the right to use it? I’m like, totally prevented from using the mountain. I had been planning to run a business letting people look down the side of the mountain, but my project has been shut down. It’s difficult to see how this benefits anyone in any way.”

I am very, very well acquainted, yet unconvinced, by the whole “scarce goods vs. infinite [sic] goods” line of “reasoning,” so no need to argue along those lines.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In other news

It would be more like… you just purchased the mountain to open the buisness. You paid for the land, the deeds, the rights, the equipment, the housing, everything. And as you stand ready to move forward, you are told you have to shut down, becouse while you own or have rights to 99% of the mountain, some crazy guy decided to draw a line around the base of it. Meanwhile, you own your mountain, but becouse of this guy who owns 1 inch of land around it, you cannot ever use it.

hegemon13 says:

Re: In other news

“I am very, very well acquainted, yet unconvinced, by the whole “scarce goods vs. infinite [sic] goods” line of “reasoning,” so no need to argue along those lines.”

Or, you might as well say:

“I am very, very well acquainted, yet unconvinced, by the whole “flat earth vs. ’round’ [sic] earth” line of “reasoning,” so no need to argue along those lines.”

Convinced or not, reality is reality. There are substantial differences, both in reality and in law, between physical property and intellectual property. To say you are unconvinced of those differences does not mean they don’t exist. It just makes you look stubborn and primitive.

Besides, your analogy is an exceptionally poor one in that, if the mountain was truly unused (unimproved/unmaintained) by it’s owner, encroachment rights and/or government seizure could quite possibly make Mad Prosecutor’s actions reasonable and legal. No only that, but the show was licensed from Sony, who, in this analogy, owns the mountain. The problem is, they let someone else plant a couple trees on it who now demands payment every time someone looks at said trees.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

Lobo’s comment is just what I was thinking.

If you _want_ to buy the series, you can’t because they can’t release it.

..but if you go to one of many sites you can download the original airing, with commercials stripped, in handy dandy DivX or similar format, free of charge.

Of course it’s those horrible people who want everything for free that is hurting the industry, it couldn’t possibly be greed preventing them from even offering a product people clearly want to pay for, naw…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

Yeah…

Me: “I want to buy this series on DVD”
Them: “You can’t because we can’t/won’t release it”
Me: “OK, I’ll download it from P2P then”
Them: “No! That’s evil, you’re stealing!”
Me: “…..”

I “pirated” Night Of The Creeps and The Monster Squad while waiting several years for the DVDs to be released (more rights issues, as I understand it), and now own the DVDs that they’re been released. I don’t believe that the producers had any room to complain while they were actively refusing my money, for whatever reason.

Yet another flaw in the P2P = theft argument. If I’m sitting around waiting to pay them money and I can’t for some reason, they can’t also claim I’m stealing from them. It’s a directly contradictory argument.

Scott@GGE (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

Yes, in a way.

If my business model does not include income from a song because I refuse to release that song into the market, then I have *LOST* nothing when that song shows up on P2P networks.

I have *gained* recognition and publicity because there is yet another work of art associated with me.

There is a massive underground culture around move and tv scores. Not the edited, or sometimes re-produced, 60 minute CDs, but for the original unedited scores. Many of these scores are never released to the public for purchase, but they still hit the nets in various ways.

The studios have lost no potential sales, they have experienced no material losses, they have only gained a following of fans of a composer or a studio.

wvhillbilly (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

The original Mona Lisa should be public domain, I think it predates even the concept of copyright. If someone wanted to take a photo of the original painting and distribute his own copies of it I don’t see where there would be a problem with that,

Now if you distribute copies of someone else’s photo without their permission, that would be another matter entirely.

(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. If you want legal advice on this, go see a lawyer.)

Rekrul says:

Re: Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

..but if you go to one of many sites you can download the original airing, with commercials stripped, in handy dandy DivX or similar format, free of charge.

I’ve only seen it in low quality WMV with three episodes missing. Have you actually see it available in better quality or are you just assuming it’s available?

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re: Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

Maybe so, but it doesn’t look like those HDTV rips have made it to any of the usual sources, since they don’t appear to be on the newsgroups, the eD2K network, BitTorrent, or even the internet in general. Any search for the show only turns up links to the WMV files with the three missing episodes.

If you happen to know of a source for them, I’d love it if you could send an anonymous email to ydobon [AT] mail [DOT] com

wvhillbilly (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

The reason you only see WMV files is because HDTV files are probably so large it would be impractical to attempt sending them over the Internet. Even compressed WMV files can be quite large, depending on content. Downloading such a series in HDTV could take days, even with broadband.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Copied off the Air and 'shared' much better again....

The reason you only see WMV files is because HDTV files are probably so large it would be impractical to attempt sending them over the Internet. Even compressed WMV files can be quite large, depending on content. Downloading such a series in HDTV could take days, even with broadband.

Yeah, nice try. The WMV werewolf episodes range in size from 30MB to 800MB. The average size for a half-hour show recorded from HDTV and encoded into an Xvid AVI file is 180-240MB. That works out to 5.2GB – 6.9GB total. On a 6Mbit account, 7GB would take less than 4 hour to download.

Note that HDTV rips are typically not “HD”, they’re only taken from an HD source. If they were 720p rips, that would be a different story. Then, the entire series would come to around 43GB and take 17+ hours to download.

Gordon Firemark (profile) says:

The producers got what they paid for then... now want more.

This betrays a surprising ignorance as to how music licensing for TV shows is done. The producers of the show COULD HAVE gotten an “all media, in perpetuity” license when they first cleared music for the show, but instead chose to save money by negotiating licenses with more limited scope. Bottom line… the broader grant of rights costs more.

So, the rights originally granted were for TV only, and probably limited to a certain number of airings, and only in certain territories. Any other rights need to be negotiated separately.

So, the publishers and labels/artists who control the songs are entitled to ask for more money for the expanded right the producers are seeking.

Suppose someone wanted to rent out your backyard for a party on Saturday night. You quote them a fee of $1,000.
Then, they decide they want to move the party into the house, and also on the front lawn. Wouldn’t you expect to be paid more for the bigger event?

The real bad news here is that the producers of the TV show didn’t have the foresight to keep copies of the dialogue tracks without music. They deserve to be in this situation.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: The producers got what they paid for then... now want more.

First, I’m not sure anyone is saying the producers don’t have the right to do what they’re doing, it’s a matter of questioning their actions. For instance, taking your analogy:

“Suppose someone wanted to rent out your backyard for a party on Saturday night. You quote them a fee of $1,000.
Then, they decide they want to move the party into the house, and also on the front lawn. Wouldn’t you expect to be paid more for the bigger event?”

Perfectly reasonable. However, the conclusion of your analogy is that the renters don’t want to pay the price you’re expecting, so you refuse them the party, your lawn remains totally vacant so you don’t make ANY money, THEY don’t get to throw ANY party, and the only party in town is now on the vacant lot next door, and it costs them nothing.

That just doesn’t make sense for anyone.

rjk (profile) says:

Re: The producers got what they paid for then... now want more.

That may be true… but who could have anticipated DVDs and the popularity of TV series on DVD when negotiating licensing deals in the 70s and 80s?

People just want their culture, keeping it from them for such frivolous reasons is stupid.

But I guess it just goes to show how inept and incompetent entertainment lawyers are that deals can’t be done to get these shows released in a timely manner in their original form.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: The producers got what they paid for then... now want more.

This betrays a surprising ignorance as to how music licensing for TV shows is done

No, not ignorance. I recognize how it’s done. I just think it’s stupid.

The producers of the show COULD HAVE gotten an “all media, in perpetuity” license when they first cleared music for the show

Well, back when the show was on, there was no additional market, so that didn’t make sense.

Bottom line… the broader grant of rights costs more.

No, really, the bottom line is what’s the point of blocking the DVD from coming out entirely? How does that represent any kind of win for the musicians? It represents only a loss.

Rekrul says:

Re: A la The Maxx

A similar issue has kept the MTV animated production of The Maxx from coming out on DVD. Too bad… there’s a great SVHS’d-from-satellite 2xDVD set available on the torrents though. In stereo, too!

Who’s it by? I see a set done by “Noir”, but he states that he made it into widescreen, and so &%$#@! up the aspect ratio on it. I know I can fix it in a computer player, but it bothers me that someone would be so stupid as to distort the image just to have it fill the screen.

There’s also a set of MP4 files that were ripped from MTV’s site.

I suppose either would be better than the crappy copies I have now.

Anonymous Coward says:

It's good that they keep doing this

Because one day (hopefully) everyone will relize they just need to not listen to music or watch any TV or go to any shows until we run these nazi bastards out. The music and such will alway be there so don’t worry about that. Just need to get the “gangster” (RIAA, MPAA, and all the others) component removed.

I’m a criminal, he’s a criminal, wouldn’t you like to be a criminal too?

Josh (profile) says:

Audio editing

I’m no expert in audio editing, but is not having the original tracks such a huge issue? If it was a popular song, it should be easy enough to get copies from somewhere – even if the only legal way is to search the used market and find a CD/tape of them. Manually run the scene through a reverse waveform of them and tweak as needed.

Obviously, none of the above should even be necessary, but find some way around the overreaching rightsholders and show them how powerless they are.

Gregory says:

Had them from HD rips..then threw them away

I had freakin’ HD chiller episodes taped from my DVR to DVD discs saved (I had NEVER seen the eps so clear!)..then literally dumped them in the trash because I heard the series was coming out that month officially..now I have NOTHING at all(STUPID ME!!!) I’ve never experienced a series I liked that shut down the release is the reason why I just didn’t think..DAMN! HD episodes!!
Every day since then I keep saying “DAMN!” to myself.
Now I have to buy the doggone series again from a store online to get terrible quality just to have it in my possession again. DAMN!

Gregory A. Campbell says:

Werewolfs and Music

Well as i see it the artists would make out buy getting there sound back out there where this new generation would here and want to here more of them being it would be on a ubber DVD Werewolf which i would gladly buy for what ever the price being that i so enjoyed it so when it aired. It is the greedy music types that would ruin it for so many who would enjoy their music once again! What short sightedness on their part. But i will wait with my fingers crossed the one day they will see the light and let stand to a new audence there music with and ubber show that moved so many and say to all i was a part of that!

Wolfric says:

Here's a thought

If only SF was willing to spend a bit more … Yeah, they got the audio all mixed together. But they can listen and copy down the dialog, hire actors (same ones, unknowns, whomever) to loop the dialog for dubbing, have some foley artists remake any needed sound effects, and lay in some music they can get the license to.

It won’t be original, it’ll probably be crappy, but having crappy is better than having none. And honestly, how many scenes in the whole season did they use the music in? Likely just one each. That’s probably just a few minutes worth. So you get a couple odd blips. In the end, still worth it. Purist vs getting it released. I’m all for the latter. Would it really be that much more effort to get this done?

Mark Humphreys says:

RE: Here's a thought by poster Wolfric

There are 2 posts I want to make a comment on. First is by TW Burger: Sep 15th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

(I worked as an audio engineer for a radio program a few years back. I’ll take out all of the music and leave the dialog in the two scenes in a day or two and I’ll do it for free, just give me a closing credit).

Now did you even read what the problem is. apparantley not: If the “music” & “dialogue” was MIXED TOGETHER IN THE SAME TRACK…YOU CAN NOT STRIP OUT JUST THE MUSIC. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE !!!. That is like pushing Steroe to mono and trying to seperate the 2 from the one mono track. IMPOSSIBLE !!!

Now in response to wolfrics post. This is the one that does make the best sense. wether you are going to get the best quality or not. What you do is strip out the audio track entirely since bothe the music& dialogue is on the same track. Get a hold of the scrpit which sounds like they do have it. (No need to listen to the track if you have the script). then lay down 2 new songs from that era and either get that original cast member in if they are still alive or still willing to do a dub over or get someone else that can come closely to sounding like them and lay down the 2 Seperate tracks like they should have originaly done. thta way they can always go back and make adjustments by just stripping out the one audio track that is either the music or the Dialogue.

My Experience: working in the industry for over 20 years and having an audio specialist as a roomate from years back

werewolf says:

audio...

They could have hired cheap dubers.. that could re recorded audio scene dialog..and totally discarding audio.

Or
wherever song is there just mute it and put subtitle for dialog.thats it….

Or may be producers saw that only few will pay why else pre-order bullshit was there in amazon.
so 100-200 fans ready to pay would not cover the dvd making cost lol so blam it on song and don’t release.

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