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Rainmaker's Recent Behavior
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« on: November 24, 2010, 05:29:53 PM »

The following was written by web-virus for ReBootClub on deviantART.

    Rainmaker Claims "Copyright Infringement" on Fans

    Sometimes a creation people love prompts them to create off of it. This is not done to infringe upon anyone's rights, and the ones who adore the creation fanatically, called fans for short, can only hope their homage is appreciated or at least accepted by the ones who hold the creation as their property. The best reaction would be praise, and the worst...would be to demand it not exist.

    Here we are, nearing 2011, more than fifteen years after ReBoot first aired, nine years after it ended, and the copyrights belong to Rainmaker after their purchasing Mainframe Ent. Despite online overpricing of rare out-of-print DVDs keeping the show unwatched and obscure after it was cut from Cartoon Network, die-hards and newcomers alike still kept the show alive in the minds of many who might have otherwise forgotten it.  They created artwork, music videos, uploaded rarely-seen promos, and shared other rare material otherwise never seen by fans at all. It helped keep the spark alive in a dwindling fandom. One fan was even given permission by Rainmaker to upload the entire ReBoot series to YouTube and the company encouraged others to do similar, saying it was advertising the show and would generate new fans for them. Essentially, they showed understanding that what the fans desired to do was keep the show alive, and direct contact with fans vaguely reflected friendly relations from the days of Mainframe Entertainment's public outreach and delight in its fanbase. With the DVD rights now in their hands, however, how would the new owners of ReBoot known as Rainmaker go about handling the fans' non-profit sharing of ReBoot materials on the 'net to promote the show?

    Says Etoile, long-time fan of ReBoot and creator of music videos and artwork, "They got my YouTube account deleted!" with the message "We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. claiming that this material is infringing." Others would receive such messages in their accounts as well.

    David "GlitchBob"s YouTube videos promoting the show for several years now were also disabled as per Rainmaker, though they can still be viewed on for now. One of the videos was nearing 50,000 views. Being the founder of the revival, and the one seen as responsible for Rainmaker even being made interested in ReBoot for potential profit, it is odd they would treat the content that kept the show's memory alive so dismissively.

    "ReBoot: The Abridged Series" by Sabooom was also completely deleted from YouTube by Rainmaker, despite parody clause protecting such comedy works on other websites. See for another great example of this.

    Understandably, ShinyHappyGoth's posting of the entire series was suddenly deleted, and a post from her to advertise the soon-coming DVD release was made so fans wouldn't be confused or angered. In this one case, the deletion was expected, and her account was not suspended.

    Other videos on YouTube would also soon be discovered and deleted by Rainmaker, and though they were music videos fully crediting the show as source material, not the show itself, the agenda appeared to be to erase any use of ReBoot from the popular video-posting site for copyright infringement.

    Still, the most shocking copyright claim from Rainmaker came first to a die-hard fan called Slackbot of "Slack & Hash's Domain" on November 3 of this year. So far as it is known, she is the only fan who has received this letter at all. The full letter can be read  here: at the Java Hut, posted by her to find out if others had received one.

    Slackbot worked with Zeros 2 Heroes on a fan comic back when Rainmaker was promoting ReBoot with said company as a plan to get fans excited about the potential movie. Though her work was improperly credited on their official website and remains so, it was hailed for its quality, and the company appeared appreciative of the attention it gained from the interaction with the fans and the fanworks they created to promote new activity in the company. However, the letter received by Slackbot was anything but cordial and was addressed "Dear Fan" as though they no longer remembered her. Indeed, the entire letter was full of "if this applies to you" statements, as though people hadn't gone through the site to even check if there was any infringing material. Such accusations were the following: "If you are distributing DVDs, electronic media or unauthorized merchandise, including but not limited to clothing, T-shirts, mugs, and other such items on the website..." Again, she is the only one to have received such contact. Not only does it appear this one fan was singled out, but Slackbot posted none of these things on the link the company brought into question. In fact, the only things in the link were fanart she'd created. The fanart was a series of downloadable icons you could use on your desktop to "ReBootify" it. Created by a fan for the fans. Disturbingly, it appeared Rainmaker was attacking a long-standing fan for creating and sharing fan-made artwork. Writing them back to ask why they chose this route of contact, they have not written her back.

    XBrav, another long-standing fan, also wrote Rainmaker to request they specify what materials on people's websites they deem infringing so the materials can be singled out instead of the user taking down their whole site in uncertainty. The company has since not replied.

    Rainmaker's copyright claim to Slackbot, however, went on to say more: "If you are displaying any content from ReBoot episodes on the website including but not limited to screenshots, audio, wallpaper or icons, the display of this content infringes Rainmaker's rights." The page only displays her pixel fanart.

    Says Haku of his having distributed out-of-print materials in the past to fellow fans, "When I received an email from Mainframe regarding the complete DVD set I made there were no threats, everything was curteous & polite." He had fully cooperated with them and friendly contact was continued.

    Days after this letter was sent, the deleting of YouTube ReBoot content began without notice or personal contact attempted. One must wonder why such an already obscure property as ReBoot is being taken off the 'net. Indeed, by the quoted copyright claims above going after fanart icons, any and all content ever created or altered by fans is subject to this claim unless directly approved by the company. This would mean the deletion of fan-created websites as well, by extension. Companies have done this in the past with negative PR results, but after ages of Mainframe Entertainment reaching out to its fan base and showing affection for it with the warmth of a distant relative, the 180 that Rainmaker has taken in their detached approach to long-time fans has many disappointed and others quickly losing willingness to support the new owners of ReBoot. On the eve of a closing art contest to promote the DVD release as well, some artists are wondering if Rainmaker has enough respect for the fanbase where partaking is even worth the fandom's time or artistic self-respect.

    If such actions had been taken in previous years by the new company, it would almost be certain there wouldn't be a revival. It was all begun with one fan calling to others through the private design of a website out of love, using a few altered ReBoot images for banners, some videos for promotion, a lot of effort, and, dare Rainmaker recognize this, pure love for a show we all want to support and see live again. Even if that means creating our own promotional derivatives to get the good word out.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 05:31:43 PM by rebootmaster2001 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 07:36:11 PM »

 Sad *sigh* This is Simpsons/Futurama all over again.

This is happening because Rainmaker are obviously trying to cash in on the series now that they've gotten everyone's attention. Yay they make money from DVD sales, and Yay they now make money from "Classic" items for sale in their shop. So obviously they think that now they are able to do this, its time to remove all ties to fans because according to them, we've done our bit. Now its all just about making a shit-load of money off of us. Well although I really want the DVD box set I'm starting to wonder if I really want to make that investment if it means it will cost me the website. At the moment I haven't received anything from them and they'll get a mouthful from me if they try (okay maybe not a mouthful but I will respond with a lot of questions).

I read the letter Slack received and it had the same cold, dislocated tone to it that I got when I enquired about the DVD set being released outside of the US. Being a government worker, I recognised the response I received as a 'proforma' (a standard response set up where all you do is just change the recipients name each time you send it out). The response answered questions I didn't ask, and didn't answer the question I did ask of them. This is likely to be the case with Slackbot and everyone else who is trying to clarify with Rainmaker, they'll respond with the same lack of interest to their questions/concerns as they did to me. They will lose a lot of fans, especially us 'original fans' who have been around since the beginning. They will also, if not already, lose a great deal of respect.

They need to stop drowning us out and ignoring us and get a proper PR person to communicate with us. A REAL person. When Mainframe was around, prior to Season 4, it was great when we had Mairi to deal with. She kept us up to date, responded to questions and was always friendly and helpful. Gavin got involved with the fans too. It seems, though, that now they have their DVD deal and other stuff happening that they don't want to have anything further to do with us except throw a 'bone' to us every now and then (Fan Art competition). Why would people submit fan art if they're being told they can't put them up on their own websites? Are they going to go to deviantart and tell them to get people to take down their ReBoot fan art there next?

I feel sorry for Glitchbob as I know how hard he worked on getting them to take another look at the series. And I feel sorry for Slack as I know she has been around with her website as long as me - though she didn't change hers as much as I changed mine lol. Has anyone heard from Ian or Gavin about this?

Edit: I just read that Slack got a response that was reasonably positive though I'm still a bit skeptical. Obviously they realised that in attacking just one site, they would get fans offside and so they haven't provoked anyone else... yet. I'm still curious to know why they did it in the first place.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 08:06:51 PM by Mayhem » Logged
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