EBC Weekly #7
We apologize for the lack of an update post last week, but music composition is going well. After the SFX’d audio was given the rubber stamp of approval, our musicians started planning and divvying up duties. Music is already in the process of being made, and we hope that it can fit well into this action-packed episode!
Until next week,
And we are now live!
Reminder: We go live in about 30 minutes for our Episode 2 art stream
EBC Weekly #6: SFX Done and Cover Art Stream Details
Good News, everypony!
Episode 2 Cover Art Stream with Acesential Saturday, 4PM EST
Interested in joining us as we watch our talented Acesential stream his work on Episode 2’s cover art?
Tune into his Livestream Saturday @ 4PM EST
If you haven’t seen it already, Episode 1’s cover art
Other news: EBC Weekly this week is delayed until this evening, but I think you’ll be happy with the news :D.
So word is getting around that Jan Animations received a C&D from Hasbro. A lot of you may be familiar with their work, since that was the channel that brought us “Meet the Bronies” and the “Adventures of Button Mash”.
I thought I’d throw some analysis at this, but first of all I would like to offer some thanks to Jan Animations for posting the C&D order for others to read. If you’ve followed any of our ruminations regarding copyright law and parodies, you’ll know we’ve spent some time wringing our hands in worry over what it might look like if we ever got such a notice. I have to say, I expected some threats, ultimatums, and legal blustering, but it does actually look fairly cordial.
But there’s one factor in this that I worry about more than anything, and it has more to do with the use of OCs.
First of all, it’s important to understand the distinctive parts of the law involved in this case. The copyright aspects are a lesser thing - Jan Animations was making their own cartoons on their own time, so they aren’t guilty of distributing copyright content illegally. Where the big issue lies is with trademarks.
As I understand, Jan Animations did two things wrong. The first is that they used the Cutie Mark Crusaders in their logo. Since Jan Animations doesn’t own those characters, that can be trouble. He’s essentially associating those trademarks to his own brand, and trademarks can be lost when that happens. Now - is it likely that Jan Animations could take over the trademarks of the Cutie Mark Crusaders? Maybe. It’s not terribly likely, though.
However, where there’s probably some real concern is how few people realize that Button Mash is actually a My Little Pony character from the actual show. In fact, when I told Kenza the news, the first thing she asked was, “Would it be okay if they kept doing episodes about Button Mash without the CMC, since he’s their original character?”
Tons of people have been asking this question. As far as trademarks go, that’s kind of the problem. I do not know if Hasbro actually has a trademark on Button Mash. The rules as they’ve been explained to me are complicated, but I doubt they’ve filed any official paperwork on him. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a trademark - trademarks can be held implicitly too. But here’s the thing - if Jan Animations fleshes out Button and makes him their own character, who owns Button? The company it started from as a background character, or the company who made a broader use of him, while many people now recognize Button as the second company’s original character? Well, a question like this is what court is for.
So there may be a couple of elements here. Hasbro may recognize that Button is their character, but most people haven’t. If he became Jan Animation’s trademarked character, it would actually wind up illegal for Hasbro to make toys or do anything with him unless they got permission from Jan Animations. That sort of thing could result in a potential loss of millions of dollars for Hasbro, and you can imagine that heads would roll at the company if that came to pass. So it’s not a good situation, and it’s built around a lot of uncertain potentials.
There’s no case of fair use here, for those who have been saying that. Using comedy characters strictly for comedy isn’t covered - you do need to be making some form of commentary or criticism related to the characters or works that they’re in for a claim of fair use to pass. Aside from that, Button Mash’s use did certainly serve to confuse some people about where the character came from. Not only that, but since Jan Animation had help from John de Lancie and Tara Strong in one of the projects, it would also be hard to tell whether or not they were endorsed by Hasbro as they made their pony videos, which increases confusion with branding and trademarks.
So that’s why it happened, as I can grasp the situation. It’s not a happy thing, but as the law lays out, I think that’s it. Now, that said, it’s important to understand that outrage towards Hasbro over this actually won’t get anyone anywhere. Copyright bullying does occur, but this is not copyright bullying, so it’s not going to go away from people shouting it down.
However, Jan Animation has some great chops as far as their animations go. They’re dead on accurate in the way they design and animate their characters, and they’re a great studio on that front. If you guys want to support them, I think the best thing at this point would be to do so constructively. It’s up to Jan Animations to decide what they want to do next, but if they have fans throwing public support behind them, then maybe they can get a license and work on similar projects going forward, if they’d like. It’s hard to say the best thing to do when it comes to independent art things.
But regardless of what happens, I hope it all works out for Jan Animations’ team. It’s a scary world being one of the little guys.
I think this is the best way of putting it.
I had a hunch that brand confusion likely was a contributing factor, but without any explicit reason it’s hard to say specifically.
I never cared for Button Adventures myself but it still sucks that it happened. Props to the guys at fimflam for usually having a better assessment of what’s up than most.
We have received a few questions in light of Jan Animation’s C&D regarding the Fallout: Equestria Radio Play from Twitter, and we thought it would be good to address them.
Since very early on in the project, we’ve been treading as carefully as we can to avoid stepping on any toes while maintaining our adherence to Fallout: Equestria and Kkat’s vision for it.
Bear in mind, however, that we are not lawyers. We can be wrong, and we do not offer this as legal advice. Many of us are knowledgeable (or have taken a class or two in Business Law), but we are not qualified to say with 100% certainty.
Hasbro is not the enemy, and we would implore everyone reading this to consider the situation objectively (See Flimflamfilosophy’s notes about trademark). It is a case of Confusing Similarity in trademark law.
"Where mark X is not identical to a registered trademark, the use of mark X may still amount to an infringement if it is "confusingly similar" to the registered trademark. Mark X may share elements of spelling or style that would lead a reasonable observer to believe the trademarks were related."
Where did Fighting is Magic, Button’s Adventures, and others go wrong? It’s hard to say what exactly set Hasbro off, but from our personal observations, it would seem that Hasbro doesn’t police their trademarks as aggressively as some might believe. If you are curious, you can search and see exactly what they own here.
So where does the EBC and the F:OE RP stand?
We are at the crossroads of Hasbro’s relatively predictable and Betheda’s more apparently chaotic approaches to trademark protection. The threat is there, and we are as prepared as we can be in case of such an event. We will jump that hurdle if and when it we meet it.
However, we will not allow this event to stop us from creating our content. It is not even a bump in the road. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last, but we can’t let that prevent us from pursuing our passion. We think Franklin D. Roosevelt put it best when he said “The only thing to fear is fear itself." To that end, be you a content creator, a content consumer, or somewhere inbetween, we encourage you to keep your chin up and continue chugging along. One of the fandom’s most talented creators took a serious blow, but defeat can be a vehicle for learning if you let it. Learn from the mistakes of others so you do not repeat them. Pity, panic, giving up, hate, and other negative knee-jerk reactions do nothing constructive for you, your fans, or the community as a whole.
With that, we bid you a great week, and we look forward to seeing you again at the end of the week.
The4thaggie, Administrator of Public Relations
Dalken Starbyne, Project Coordinator
Equestrian Broadcasting Company
EBC Weekly #5
Greetings, fellow wastelanders!
This week we bring good news. Progress has been made on the SFX, and we have enough to begin music composition! Hopefully, the audio will be ready for full composition and mastering in the coming week.
As for the project management tools, we have not gone into full-production with them just yet, but we are getting more of the administrators familiarized with the system. So far, Redmine seems to be a viable tool, but we won’t know until we get a little more experience in it.
In an effort to get episode 3 going, Casting has already been asked to start getting lines recorded.
From the Community
Argodaemon will be streaming SFM (maybe a little work on his FOE project) 6PM Central at http://www.justin.tv/argodaemon
Check out Overmare Studio’s post “The Lane of Modelers”. They have some pretty awesome FOE game props up on display and
Seriously, if you haven’t already, go check them out. They are making a FOE game.
[SPOILER] Post-Fallout Equestria Comic
We hope to bring you good news next week!
EBC Weekly #4: E2 SFX Rework and Quality Control
Status: Editing[SFX] - 80%
This week, the admins reviewed the audio we received and decided to take another shot at it. While the first draft was good, we want to deliver an equitable or better product than episode 1. So, we have passed it to another editor to get his take on it.
This episode presents unique challenges compared to Episode 1. Where you could pretty much assume “stable” for the majority of E1, E2 takes place in several different scenes and environments. Not only does the environment and ambiance have to fit each scene, but it all has to transition smoothly.
We finally have the project management tool we wanted to try installed and running! The PM-attuned admins are currently learning the system. It seems rather robust, and it’s definitely turning out to be a better option than the last few. With this, we should be able to keep track of the complexities of production and focus on multiple episodes at once.
From The Chat:
We go “serious business” on a staff member who is addicted to caffeine like LittlePip is addicted to PTMs. Source
BABSCon: the next LPU? We discussed BABScon a little. A few of us plan on going, but there is a looming fear that it might be the next Unicon. Never fear, CHILDREN~! You see, as BABScon PR staff, I can tell you that we are deep in the black. So much so that we were able to get Ashleigh Ball to join us and complete the Mane 6 VA lineup. It’s going to be big, and if you are attending, we hope to see you there!
Guns, Ammo, and Hoarders: Many of us are American gun owners and enjoy the shooting sports, but we are affected by the current ammo shortage. Strange as it might sound, there are a few of us who do not understand the need, want, or desire to own guns (we are an international team after all), so we had a bit of a discussion over the philosophy behind it all.
Talks of a potential EBC OC/Character: It occurred to me that we should have an OC for EBC. The basic design is pretty much nailed down, but we are struggling over a name. It’s hard to choose. Got an idea? Send us a note. If we use your idea, we’ll give you a shoutout and our gratitude. We may even do these kinds of posts “in character”, and potentially perform little voice bits here and there with a suitable VA. It might liven things up a bit, and help our branding at the same time.
Art from the Community
Until next week,
EBC Weekly #3: Pew Pew Pew
The week rolled by rather quickly. It seems like only a couple days have past since we last spoke, but we have good news.
Stage: Editing[SFX] - 75%
Notes: Despite technical derpiculties of a near-megaspell magnitude, our editors pushed through and got us a completed first draft of the SFX’d episode audio. Our staff are going to listen to, review, make comments, and do all that other quality control stuff you seem to enjoy. It’s not quite ready to go to Composition and Mastering, but it is getting there.
BronyCon - roughly 5 of us have confirmed that we will be attending this convention. We may have even more. Will we have a panel? We hope so! Regardless, we may try to have a little get together or something. Bronycon is still months away, but we will let our fans know if we plan on doing something.
Interesting Art from the Fandom:
If you are a Deviant Art user, be sure to watch and encourage MrLolcats17 and PonyEcho to keep making amazing FOE art. I may try to bring art that catches my eye to enhance these posts in following updates.
Abridged EBC Chats:
- One musician tries to find a project more challenging than we can throw out.
- Off and on IRL horse roleplay
- A new pony creator. This time: 3D ponies based of Pony SFM. Even our non SFM/3D attuned staff had a little fun making and posing their OCs. Go have a look if you are interested. More features and fixes are on the way (I’m sure).
Until next week!
EBC Weekly #2: Things that Go “BOOM” in the Night
My fellow Wastelanders!
I hope your week is going well! This week we have few updates, but I hope you find the bit about voice acting helpful.
Fallout: Equestria Radio Play - Episode 2 Status:
Stage: Editing[SFX] - 50%
Notes: More effects were added, but we have a bit more to do. With SFX, the primary objective is distinctive and believable scene building. Episode 2 is more dynamic than Episode 1 because it is no longer just the stable. Work is steadily being performed, but I have asked for additional people to lend a hand.
We have just obtained a VPS (virtual private server) to give us more control and options for web hosting. There is no timeline for a published website just yet, but several potential ideas have been floating around. If you have ideas, please feel free to send us a note or tweet. We’d be happy to hear your input!
In Response to your Inquiries
It’s wonderful to see so many of you still interested in our project! I responded to an anonymous question about “fan-generated stress” (rather, the lack thereof) earlier this week. What I really want to address here is the most common inquiry I see, specifically, the “I want to VA” inquiry.
This is wonderful! We’d love to have you aboard! Sadly, we are a bit under-utilized with our current VA pool already, and named parts are already cast. All hope is not lost, however. Remember, this is going to be a long project. Just because we don’t need VAs now doesn’t mean we don’t need VAs later.
So what can you do? Well, I’d say “practice”. Decide whether or not you really want to voice act. Voice acting is deceptively harder than it looks, but it is an obtainable skill. The more you practice, the more you put yourself out there, and the more you try to improve, the better VA you will become. You don’t need an expensive mic setup, costly studio environments, or expensive audio editing programs to get a great sounding recording. That just makes it easier in some cases.
There are at least 4 things we look for in a VA: Voice acting talent, the ability to record audio that doesn’t cause random table flips, timeliness, and cooperation in a team environment. The last three are almost (if not) as important as voice acting.
In short, my recommendation to aspiring VAs is: Start with baby steps, build a portfolio of work, and get yourself out there. You are already awesome, you just need to refine your skills.
I recommended someone to try narrating fan fictions. It is a solo project with plenty of opportunities to develop all of the core and supporting skills.
Of course, there are more options at your disposal. What’s important is that you practice and enjoy doing it. Don’t beat yourself up for being a novice. Setup a series of reasonable short-term goals, work on them, rinse, and repeat. Even if you don’t become a VA for us (or move on before an opportunity is presented to you), you will still have a pile of art and skills for your next endeavor.
When we openly ask for VA’s, you’ll be a sharpened tool.
We are still looking for editors and script writers. A few interested people have already contacted us, but I encourage everyone interested to keep applying. More is better in this case.
If you have it, please attach links to your previous work. That will give us better insight to your style and experience.
Until next week!
Edit: I misspoke about the 4 qualities we look for in a voice actor. I have edited it to a more representative viewpoint.