GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Patrick Rothfuss and the campaign to buy Firefly rights.

POSTED BY: CHAPTERANDVERSE
UPDATED: Friday, February 25, 2011 13:45
SHORT URL: http://goo.gl/IFCZ7
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 5:46 AM

CHAPTERANDVERSE


Already posted this under the Nathan campaign thread, but I think it deserves a little highlighting. Rothfuss is the author of The Name of the Wind and the upcoming Wise Man's Fear.
http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2011/02/an-open-letter-to-nathan-filli
on
/


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 6:28 AM

BYTEMITE


Epic Loots!

This whole thing is cracking me up really, but not in a bad way, I think it's pretty awesome. Heck, I'd pitch in a few dollars.

Although, guys, you do realize Fox loses the rights in 2012 anyway, right?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 7:02 AM

FOLLOWMAL


Interestingly the SyFy twitter account ( Craig Engler ) just said this:

"Q) @niassa I'm curious what your take is on the Firefly stuff going on? A) I'd love to see a fan-funded TV model succeed."


(I think there is very little chance of any of this working, having been involved with fan campaigns I know how futile they are, but it's nice to see Firefly getting this much attention.)



http://www.kidsneedtoread.org

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 7:04 AM

FOLLOWMAL


And... now I want to read Patrick's books. :)
They look really good.

http://www.kidsneedtoread.org

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 7:07 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Although, guys, you do realize Fox loses the rights in 2012 anyway, right?


That's what the word on the street is. Not sure what it means though. I mean if Fox loses the rights then where do they go? What sort of action can they take to regain the rights? Like if they produce something with the Firefly name in the next year do the right renew for 10 years. I could see them throw together a Firefly reunion show where it's just the cast, crew, writers, extras, or somebody who watched the show one time, etc. talking to the camera and boom 5 more years of rights. I'm not sure if that's how their rights work, but I wouldn't put it past them if that's how it goes. Especially when the internet is buzzing with people talking about buying the rights for millions of dollars

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:10 AM

BYTEMITE


I believe Joss would regain control of the television rights. He shopped around for another network after the series ended, but my understanding is that was more about campaigning them to buy the rights off Fox then it was Joss able to freely offer the series. And I guess Fox had a too steep price-tag for most networks.

If Universal wanted to make a point of it, they could argue they have a share or partnership of the franchise, but my understanding is they have the movie rights, and maybe some merchandising rights. Not television rights.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:47 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

Although, guys, you do realize Fox loses the rights in 2012 anyway, right?



I see this repeated all the time. But I've never actually seen evidence of it being true.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:12 AM

CHANNAIN

i DO aim to misbehave


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
And... now I want to read Patrick's books. :)
They look really good.


It's worth buying just for the single best highway robbery I've read in a fantasy novel in some time. There's a definite Browncoat influence there.

How Patrick writes is mystical, lyrical, incredibly thorough and engaging - he creates a sense of urgency to find out more. What's-her-face-Meyers did that with Twilight too, but Patrick actually knows how to WRITE!

Apologies to the Twilighters. I read them. And in my opinion, all four books could easily have been released as one. The Name of the Wind had as much happen in one book that Meyers spread out to four - and Patrick knows how to WRITE...

Oh... Sorry. I said that already, didn't I?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 10:44 AM

BYTEMITE


A clause in the contract agreement with Fox has television production rights expire ten years from signing (which would be 2012). You don't want to take my word for it, fine, but there's a reason you hear it repeated so often.

We've seen some small infighting over the parts to share in other franchise merchandising, such as the video game that peetered out. But if the rights of one of the parties expire, it becomes a much easier legal arrangement to navigate.

Universal would still have a stake in the franchise at least in regards to movie rights, and they even have a "no-new-tv-episodes until movie rights expire" clause, directed at Fox, but if Fox's rights expire, that concern becomes moot for Universal. They might then amend the contract and give production over to one of their tv network subsidiaries (Scyfy or NBC) if Joss is interested.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 10:57 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
A clause in the contract agreement with Fox has television production rights expire ten years from signing (which would be 2012). You don't want to take my word for it, fine, but there's a reason you hear it repeated so often.

We've seen some small infighting over the parts to share in other franchise merchandising, such as the video game that peetered out. But if the rights of one of the parties expire, it becomes a much easier legal arrangement to navigate.

Universal would still have a stake in the franchise at least in regards to movie rights, and they even have a "no-new-tv-episodes until movie rights expire" clause, directed at Fox, but if Fox's rights expire, that concern becomes moot for Universal. They might then amend the contract and give production over to one of their tv network subsidiaries (Scyfy or NBC) if Joss is interested.


What is the source of these details though? Is there a browncoat somewhere who has access to these contracts?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:12 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by BYTEMITE:
You don't want to take my word for it, fine, but there's a reason you hear it repeated so often.



Just because its said a lot doesn't make it true. The fact that I cannot find anything to back that up about Firefly or ANY Fox show, tends to make me doubtful. In fact, after doing several searches, I can find nothing at all that indicates the 10 year timeframe is legitimate. Every instance I find is either from this board, or another site referencing a conversation here.

It's not about taking your word, there are plenty of people saying it, obviously. But repetition doesn't equate with fact, and I'm a "show me the source" kinda guy.

I think it's a rumor that fans latched onto because it offered a glimmer of hope. It's a nice thought, but that hardly makes it factual.

Which isn't a new theory either, I found a post from this site 6 years ago:
Quote:

According to an interview on Zap2It, Joss said: "My relationship with the network is not so great, but my deal is with television production, and we've had a good relationship for years." There were some other interviews with Joss where he elaborates, which I can't find at the moment, but this just means that as long as Fox's rights are enforceable (not expired), Joss cannot bring Firefly (among other things) back to television production without Fox's consent. (Which leads to the dissolution of Mutant Enemy, triggering mass speculation on strategy and possible legal loop-holes.)

That fact, combined with the hope for a trilogy, lead people to guess that it would take about 10 years to make 3 full movies, which translates to them as Fox's rights expire in 10 years' time. Again, these are just fan guesses based on things they've heard and read from cast members' vague statements and other, far less reliable places. To the best of my recollection, I have never heard that 10 year guesstimate to be confirmed by Joss, Buchanan or anyone else possessing intimate knowledge of the contracts.



Nothing seems to have changed in the time since. Lots of speculation about 10 years - no real evidence.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:47 AM

BYTEMITE


Er? If that's true, where it came from makes no logical sense. The end of the movie rights would have nothing to do with the end of the television rights, and there's no way anyone could pin that down as "ten years" anyway.

Perhaps the number was dreamed up by fan speculation, but it's weird they would be quoting a concrete number if there was no basis to it.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:51 AM

BYTEMITE


The contract agreement is what I heard from Whedonesque, but it was in the comments. I heard it often enough from different commenters on different thread topics I assumed it was true.

I don't think we know that it's false though either until Joss or Buchanan debunks it (or time kicks us in the ass and Fox still has the rights).

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:10 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Er? If that's true, where it came from makes no logical sense. The end of the movie rights would have nothing to do with the end of the television rights, and there's no way anyone could pin that down as "ten years" anyway.



Actually, in theory, they could. The film and TV rights could have entirely different criteria.

But you misunderstood the point - there was no mention of expiring movie rights, the 10 year timeframe in that context was the assumed time needed for production and turn around (following the standard 3 year gap between installments).

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:16 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:

I don't think we know that it's false though either until Joss or Buchanan debunks it (or time kicks us in the ass and Fox still has the rights).



True, in a very literal sense. But that again strikes me as wishful thinking over reason. Believing in something with no evidence, until proof of non-existence arrives is a system generally reserved for religion. And I love Firefly.... but I don't worship it.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:27 PM

BYTEMITE


Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Er? If that's true, where it came from makes no logical sense. The end of the movie rights would have nothing to do with the end of the television rights, and there's no way anyone could pin that down as "ten years" anyway.



Actually, in theory, they could. The film and TV rights could have entirely different criteria.

But you misunderstood the point - there was no mention of expiring movie rights, the 10 year timeframe in that context was the assumed time needed for production and turn around (following the standard 3 year gap between installments).



No I didn't. Three movies was all that was supposedly contracted for, meaning the movie rights would have expired after three movies. Once the movie rights expired, Fox or whoever would have theoretically been free to (re)start production on the television series.

What my point was that it makes no sense to say that translates to when the TELEVISION rights expire, which according to the article, is what people were doing.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:28 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
Er? If that's true, where it came from makes no logical sense. The end of the movie rights would have nothing to do with the end of the television rights, and there's no way anyone could pin that down as "ten years" anyway.



Actually, in theory, they could. The film and TV rights could have entirely different criteria.

But you misunderstood the point - there was no mention of expiring movie rights, the 10 year timeframe in that context was the assumed time needed for production and turn around (following the standard 3 year gap between installments).



No I didn't. Three movies was all that was supposedly contracted for, meaning the movie rights would have expired after three movies. What my point was that it makes no sense to say that translates to when the TELEVISION rights expire, which according to the article, is what people were doing.



Telephone game. Rumors pass, and morph as they go. Thought that was obvious.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 1:51 PM

BYTEMITE


Maybe, maybe not. There's actually no reason to say "a trilogy? that will take ten years." So my question is still where the ten years thing comes from.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 2:35 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by Bytemite:
There's actually no reason to say "a trilogy? that will take ten years." So my question is still where the ten years thing comes from.



At the time, the average turn around between sequels was 3 years. It tends to be faster now, but that's usually for less production demanding fare, like action or horror. For sci fi, 3 years is the trend. So, 3 movies, 3 years each, 9 years. Round up, you have 10.

Not a scientific formula, but it's a discussion predicated entirely on speculation, so it's a reasonably plausible scenario at the time.



"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:18 PM

BYTEMITE


Hey Rhuttner. I noticed you tried to respond to me. Fireflyfans has a glitch sometimes, try posting at the new version of the site. http://beta.fireflyfans.net/main.aspx?i=0

Hope you stay around and keep posting.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:28 PM

RHUTTNER


I am no expert, but from what I've seen and heard regarding other shows is that the show is owned by the studio not the network. So in this case its 20th Century Fox Television, not the FOX network. The fact that they are both divisions of the same parent corporation seems to create confusion.

This is the same company that owns the rights to Buffy and Angel -- 2 shows that did not air on FOX. So when you buy any Joss TV show on DVD, 20th Century Fox Television (and home video) gets the money, not FOX or the WB or UPN or the CW.

If you watch the extra, "Here's How It Was" on the Firefly DVD set, Gareth Davies says, "When you have a Joss Whedon on your payroll as the studio did, obviously they were trying to get another project out of him". Again, this shows it's the studio not the network that gave Joss the chance to come up with the idea for Firefly. Keep in mind, at that time Joss did not have anything on FOX, so Gareth could not have meant FOX the network.


The idea for a show is pitched to networks and if one likes it a pilot is requested, then if they like it they greenlight it as a series. I think we know how that went in the case of Firefly. If the network doesn't like the pitch or pilot, it can go to another network. This is the case with Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place which was an ABC aired show but was originally pitched (perhaps piloted as well) to FOX.

If you recall when Joss left television before his contract was up, the stipulation was that if he returned he had to go back to the studio, which was 20th Century Fox Television -- the studio that did his next series Dollhouse. This means that when he had lunch with Eliza and decided to create a show for her, he HAD to go back to 20th, but that didn't mean the show had to air on FOX, it just happened that they took the show.


Usually when a network cancels a show, the studio has the right to shop it around. We know this happened with Firefly. 20th Century Fox Television, not the FOX network even kept the sets up longer than normal just in case another network would take it. The problem is the other networks passed on optioning it, probably due to the low ratings it was getting and the expense of the show.

Networks don't own the show. They pay the studio for the right to air it and for a certain number of times. Usually its 2 airings per episode. I have heard of networks that had to pay the studio for the right to air a previous season's episode for a 3rd time in the current season (perhaps a Christmas themed ep from a prior year because the current season didn't have a Christmas themed ep).

Now this is not to say that the network doesn't have any say in anything regarding the show. They are airing it so they do get some control over things like casting which is why actors need to do studio and network auditions. They can also request changes to scripts, or request new pilots. This is basically the positionn of, we are airing it so we want to make sure it's something we agree with.

The amount the network pays for the ep usually does not cover production costs which is why the studio doesn't make money until the show gets to syndication, international broadcast, and home video.

I highly doubt that 20th Century Fox Television's rights to the show will expire. I've also never seen anything about the 10 years from an official source. What always made sense to me regarding the 10 years was that when Universal optioned the movie rights from 20th Century Fox Television, they probably wanted a clause that 20th would not make a new show based on Firfly for 10 years so they could have exclusive rights to the franchise for that amount of time, possibly enough time to make a trilogy.

If this is the case, then 20th is free to make a television series again probably in 2013. But the issue for them is will they make money off of it. The DVD sales were good, but are they good enough to produce network quality shows that are direct to DVD if no network will air it and still make a profit? They are in business to make money, not make fans happy.

I've also thought about doing the same thing Nathan said if I won big in the lottery. I'm sure lots of you have too. But think about how Nathan said it - he would distribute it on the internet. Without knowing more about how he meant that, it could mean he would just make the shows and give them out. Would 20th be willing to lease the rights like that so that someone else can take the loss but they still make money? Maybe if it were for a price similar to what they would make if they could turn a profit on it had they fronted the cost. But that would also mean Nathan wouldn't make money off it AND would have to further pay to produce the show itself.

Would 20th lease the rights AND want a piece of the action for profits on it -- probably, which means it will be harder for Nathan to make his money back. Is that an issue for him? Maybe, maybe not. Either way it doesn't matter if he can't get the rights.


Again, I'm not an expert in the industry. I am not in it, I don't read the trade magazines, I'm just piecing together bits and pieces of what I've heard about from credible sources to give this way of looking at it. And there are exceptions to the general process I mentioned but I believe this is how it usually is. So take it for what its worth.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:35 PM

STORYMARK


That's a pretty solid summation, and a likely scenario with the 10 year concept.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011 5:23 PM

BYTEMITE


yeah, that's plausible.

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Friday, February 25, 2011 1:45 PM

LEXIBLOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by rhuttner:

If you recall when Joss left television before his contract was up, the stipulation was that if he returned he had to go back to the studio, which was 20th Century Fox Television -- the studio that did his next series Dollhouse. This means that when he had lunch with Eliza and decided to create a show for her, he HAD to go back to 20th, but that didn't mean the show had to air on FOX, it just happened that they took the show.



He didn't decide to create a show for her. SHE has a deal, they wanted a series with her in it, and she contacted Joss and they talked about doing something. So he came aboard her show.

Technically. Even though the media talked about the new Joss Whedon show.

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Friday, February 25, 2011 1:45 PM

LEXIBLOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by rhuttner:

If you recall when Joss left television before his contract was up, the stipulation was that if he returned he had to go back to the studio, which was 20th Century Fox Television -- the studio that did his next series Dollhouse. This means that when he had lunch with Eliza and decided to create a show for her, he HAD to go back to 20th, but that didn't mean the show had to air on FOX, it just happened that they took the show.



He didn't decide to create a show for her. SHE has a deal, they wanted a series with her in it, and she contacted Joss and they talked about doing something. So he came aboard her show.

Technically. Even though the media talked about the new Joss Whedon show.

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