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What's really going on with Machinima.com

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As many as you may know, Ross is having some issues with the Machinima network. Casually I stumbled upon this post describing how Youtube ''stars'' are having trouble with their correspondent networks. For example, Braindeadly for Machinima or the iconic Ray William Johnson (who I'm a very big follower of) for Maker Studios. Apparently these companies have really aggressive and enslaving contracts in terms of intellectual property and are suddenly changing their terms in ways that are screwing content creators up.


I'm currently trying to catch up with this issue, if anyone has more information about it i'd love to hear about it and know your point of view.

''Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.'' - Steve Jobs

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Well, if the details about the contracts are accurate, then Machinima kind of has the upperhand, to say the least. In effect, their contracts mean they own every video posted online by the artist...Well, forever, apparently. I don't know enough about law to really say how much weight this will carry in court, especially considering that a lot of 'their' videos involve copyrighted material from other companies. I mean, can they really say that they 'own' a video that consists of footage of a game owned by Valve with a narrator that happens to be funny?


Obviously, Machinations isn't going to want to let go of Ross. They're not exactly hurting for money or anything, but FM and CP are very popular, so regardless of anything they're not going to let Ross out of this without a fight. However, that is also potentially a good thing, since even if they get the rights to the videos and get some money out of Ross, it's still less than they would get if they just let him keep making the videos. That in mind, they might let him renegotiate the contract, if that does in fact prove necessary.


It helps that it isn't just Ross too - some of their most popular producers on youtube are having similar issues. Machinations can afford to lose a few people, but if people start steering clear of them because of bad publicity about this kind of thing, it's ultimately going to cost them. So hopefully, Ross will at least be able to negotiate more favorable terms, even if Machinima legally isn't required to do that.

"I aim for the stars, but sometimes I hit London." - Wernher von Braun

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If the contracts are as one-sided and unfair as it appears to be from various blogs and interviews, then they are most likely unenforceable. However, contesting the contracts in court is risky and costly, which is what Machinima relies on, probably. If just one author will sue them and win, their whole house of cards will fall apart but they are counting on people to be too scared to try.


Maybe someone should talk this over with EFF and their legal team...



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