This is a personal blog, so I don’t have to spend two hours researching this to blog about it but I just saw a post on Instagram claiming that the fan-made film by Star Wars Theory (you probably know it, he has 1.4 million subscribers to date) has been monetised by Disney and Warner Bros. Chappell (I think, sorry, I kinda rushed through the details). I think they basically put a claim forward to YouTube about a part of the Imperial March that was not recreated by SWT and his composer when it should have been and as a way to avoid any further repercussions, he had to monetise the video for Disney.
According to a source on Reddit – apparently the process for legitimising content on YouTube is broken and StarWarsTheory may be right in saying that the content was on the up and up and not breaching any copyright.
All of SWT’s supportive fans are up in arms about this as you can probably understand however, let me offer a different perspective. There is no way on Earth you could hope to get away with breaching copyright from a significant player like Disney. The interesting thing is SWT says that he covered his bases and had his own composer, but clearly, some of those bases got missed. I don’t know anything at all about the film making process but aren’t producers of film supposed to have like a viewing night before releasing the movie so that they can go over any last minute issues that may arise before releasing the film publicly? Or is that just something I thought was supposed to happen in the process? I know that it’s an amateur project, but still, I think some corners got cut along the way for this to happen.
If what SWT is saying is true (that is it was a passion project, and he doesn’t care about the money) why make a big deal about it? I do not begrudge a person supporting their fandom, and clearly, with 1.4 million subscribers, SWT has the money and the support from the fandom to do this. So my question is if it really is a passion project, why does it seem like the goal was always to find some way of monetising the movie from the get-go? You can’t call something a “passion” project and then expect to somehow make back the money that you put into it. That’s the reason why it’s called a “passion project” in the first place. The reward is in the creation of the art itself.
Maybe I am getting this entirely wrong, but I think the whole “there are two sides to every story” is very much something to be mindful of. We don’t know anything about what happened behind the scenes, we can only trust what SWT is saying because Disney has not responded (as far as I know) to defend themselves. If they do, it’ll be an exciting time indeed.
Let me get my popcorn ready 🙂