After gaining a staggering 12 million views over two days, the 14-minute “Power Rangers” fan video starring James Van der Beek and Katee Sackhoff was pulled off of YouTube due to a copyright challenge from Saban Brands, which owns the popular ’90s franchise.
According to Deadline, producer Adi Shankar — who helped create the short film — plans on fighting the decision. “The general counsel for Saban called me yesterday and he didn’t send a cease and desist and they went directly to YouTube,” said Ashwant Akula Venkatram, Shankar’s attorney. “It’s fair use and there are numerous fans films on YouTube. It’s a terrible precedent to set.”
“There is a gray area of ‘fan fiction’ where tributes are made by fans and the studios don’t want to piss off their base by going after these people legally,” said a top entertainment copyright attorney in a statement to Deadline. “The guy may have a fair use defense, or a de minimis use defense. It’s not a slam dunk by either side. Trademark law applies as well.”
“I think it’s a huge blow for fandom,” director Joseph Kahn responded, insisting that the project was not-for-profit. “I think they’re hurting themselves. I think with this short they’ve gotten more attention than ever before. How do you break the Internet with the Power Rangers? I think it gave them a lot of publicity and revived its pop culture awareness. Instead of supporting the good will of the fans, they’ve turned it into a legal issue. It doesn’t sound like they’re thinking of the fandom at all.”
This action follows Kahn’s claim that he was being harassed by Saban.
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