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View Full Version : The Nostalgia Critic Vs. Tommy "You're tearing me apart!" Wiseau



maxmordon
07-27-2010, 07:08 PM
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100721/15284610310.shtml (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100721/15284610310.shtml)


the current copyright "fight" that is going on between Tommy Wiseau and "The Nostalgia Critic," an online movie critic, whose real name is Doug Walker, who does video reviews of older movies


First off, there's Tommy Wiseau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Wiseau), a guy whose claim to fame appears to be that he's made what's considered to be one of the worst movies ever made, The Room (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Room_(film)). It's been referred to as "The Citizen Kane of bad movies." It's one of those movies That is so bad that it's become a sort of cult classic for people to watch and laugh at.




Walker claims that his review was clearly fair use because it's a review, and also covered by the "satire/parody clause." He then goes on to mock the person who emailed him, who apparently was Wiseau himself using an alter ego.

Honestly, looking over the details that are available, I have two thoughts: the first is that this is not a clear cut case of fair use, as Walker suggests (even if it should be). The second, is that even if it's not fair use, Wiseau probably shouldn't have made the copyright claim... though, one could argue that it'll only act as greater publicity for his movie.

On that first one. Just saying it's a "review" doesn't automatically give you fair use rights. And there's no fair use for "satire," only parody -- and it's not clear that the review is actually a parody (or, for that matter, satire). Going through the four factors for fair use... you could make an argument either way as to whether or not it currently is fair use. It would really depend on the judge, and I'd actually guess that the sheer amount of the movie that is used would probably tilt the scales against fair use.

If this does goes to trial, then it would be something quite crucial to internet reviewers around the internet or Mr. Wiseau has a right to excercise protection over the content he created?

Celia Cyanide
07-27-2010, 08:39 PM
Um....wouldn't George Lucas have a much bigger axe to grind with this guy?

maxmordon
07-27-2010, 09:41 PM
Yeah, but George Lucas is so rich that I doubt he cares much about others showing the Holiday Special That Shalt Not Be Named.

Celia Cyanide
07-28-2010, 12:34 AM
He says that if he could, he would destroy every known copy of that! I don't think he wants anyone showing it anywhere!

maxmordon
07-28-2010, 02:31 AM
True!

But seriously now, as an independent filmmaker, what would you feel if someone did a review as The Nostalgia Critic did without your previous consent? Would you seek legal meassures?

Zoombie
07-28-2010, 02:56 AM
I went and watched The Room because of the NC review.

Jcomp
07-28-2010, 03:16 AM
I've often wondered about the legality of The Nostalgia Critic's videos. If this ruling doesn't go in his favor (I'm sure either side will appeal to heaven's mezzanine if they lose) it could potentially be the ruin of his whole business model, and the ripple effect could hit several other sites that do similar videos.

As an independent filmmaker... I'm not quite sure entirely how I'd feel. I like to think I'd be cool about it and would potentially like it for the fact that it increases publicity for my movie. Even with something like The Room, bad as it is (I've not seen the movie in full, but youtube clips give me more than enough evidence to believe it is indeed a hilariously awful film) this could potentially result in increased rentals or even purchases from the "so bad its good" crowd who want to watch it for laughs. But I can also understand somebody taking legal action to prevent their work being used without permission, particularly when it's being mercilessly lampooned.

And for anyone who hasn't seen any clips from The Room, do yourself a favor and youtube it. It's so bad it defies parody or satire. I haven't seen the NC's review, but I can't imagine any joke being funnier than the movie itself is unintentionally...

maxmordon
07-28-2010, 03:40 AM
I went and watched The Room because of the NC review.

What where your thoughts, Zoombie?

Celia Cyanide
07-28-2010, 04:05 AM
True!

But seriously now, as an independent filmmaker, what would you feel if someone did a review as The Nostalgia Critic did without your previous consent? Would you seek legal meassures?

Well, it would be free publicity for my movie, but if they were making fun of it, it wouldn't really help me out. In Tommy Wiseau's case, he is milking the "so bad it's good" angle for all its worth. But I'm trying to promote my movie with the good reviews it's getting.

To be fair, I would not want my movie posted online, so if I did take legal action against this guy, it wouldn't be just because I was bitter that he didn't like it.