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Yes Saban are litigious but fan films will continue

I never wrote up anything on the viral fan film Power/Rangers until now, I have made no secret of my love of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the past but by the time I seen the video it had spread wide so there wasn’t much I could add to the debate other than try and click bait you after the fact.

It was interesting to say the least, not the first Power Rangers fan film nor the first to try and make an edgier one, but it looked decent enough production wise. I liked the tone and the themes in it but as a fan some of the design and story elements annoyed me but that is an aside.

However panic has now set in among some in the fan film community after Power Rangers rights holder Saban Brands aka Saban Capital Group took a very dim view of the fan short, requesting that vimeo remove the film claiming it infringed upon their copyrights. The short film’s director Joseph Khan (the film was produced by Dredd and fan film maker Adi Shankar) took to twitter first posting a link to vimeo’s explanation for its removal, this was followed by this string of tweets in which the director defended himself by saying he paid for it, watch it before it is removed or to download it if possible (claiming that he did not receive any revenue for doing it) and the short film. It has yet to be removed from youtube (see below), unless it has by the time you read this.

Khan told Deadline of the matter: “I just wanted to make Power Rangers good for once, … It’s kind of a silly franchise. It was an experiment in tone; it was a challenge. I took the silliest property I could think of and tried to see if I could make it serious enough.”

Saban have always been litigious and protective of their family friendly image, in no small part because much of the money the franchise brings in is from Bandai merchandise, so mainly toy sales that are marketed mostly to children save for a few niche collector lines.

This was the case in 2012 when Saban filed a lawsuit against Michael Alen who had traded under the name Power Hoodiez, his business was to make hoodies with the distinctive diamond pattern lifted from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers costumes, whilst there is little evidence that matter was settled, the defendant didn’t seem too bothered rather rebranding his small company as Hero Hoodiez and focusing on comic book characters instead. Added to this further reports of Saban going after makers of un-licensed costumes and novelty costume makers and it shows how serious they take protecting that image.

Then there is the subject matter of the short film itself which included nudity, bad language, bloody violence and hard drug use which would naturally not bode well with Saban, perhaps this is why other fan films of the superhero series have not been removed?

Well that sure isn't Hip Hop kido!

Well that sure isn’t Hip Hop Kido!

So there should at least be very little worry on this occasion that it will open the floodgates for fan films being stamped out, as should be obvious this situation is more anomalous to be a threat to the fan film community and besides a DMCA takedown does not in anyway equal a lawsuit or any legal action [we should know], so things haven’t progressed that far. Though for how long the video remains online remains to be seen but as of this time it has been viewed just over 8 million times on Youtube alone.

After all would WB for example chase someone for making a Batman fan film that is grimly dark?, probably not since that fits in with how that character is portrayed and doesn’t affect any main revenue streams.


The writer of this piece was: GARYav
Gary Kane aka (GK)
GK tweets from @Kanoclassic

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