Sunday, August 30, 2009

And I'm All Out of Bubble Gum

If you collect Barry videos, keep it to yourself. Don't use the Internet. I would even think twice about having fellow fans over to watch the same DVD at one sitting in your own home. Otherwise, this is what may happen. Can you guess who Roddy Piper is in ManiLand context?

Like it or not, artists and their representatives have every right on the planet to restrict distribution of their music, video, or whatever work they create. Unfortunately, some representatives don't know any other form of communication than the stereotypical ham fist.

Do you use a Howitzer to swat a fly?


Do local police drop a nuclear bomb on a guy who gets stopped for speeding?


Do little kids bring The Big E to the local pool when they play Chicken or Marco Polo?


Do fans who are admittedly naive about the grey shades of copyright law get threatened by a team of lawyers within an inch of their lives when a simple email stating, "Please take such-and-such down if you care about Barry" would get the same result without collateral damage?


Artists and representatives have taken pot shots at their own fans even before the Internet hit the fan around 1995. It always amazed me that somehow the minute anyone gets into this industry, the lessons learned at their mothers' knees were forgotten. You know, the one that says "You get more flies with honey than with vinegar"? Here's what happens when you start "making examples" out of fans:

  • Some fans will not buy what you're promoting. Like, say as a purely hypothetical example, a streaming video station on your website.
  • Fans will start fighting. Fighting fans are not happy fans. Unhappy fans don't spend money.
  • The fan base fractures. Broken fan bases don't buy concert tickets. Or plane fare. Or DVDS. Or CDs. Or anything else.

The acts that I know who have followed the above path used to sell out 20,000 seat arenas for days at a time. Now they're reduced to playing state fairs for general admission audiences with a dozen other acts on the docket. And they don't produce any new music anymore. That's what happens when you don't treat your fans with the same respect you would goddamn want for yourself.

You don't have to hold anyone's hand, or baby them. Try the simple approach first. If they tell you to fuck off, then you can crank up the nukes. No one would complain about that. This goes for the Network too. A few words of communication - a brief explanation for changes, even if it's something obvious to you - will go a long way toward good will. And future income.

No one is saying not to protect Barry's copyright interests. The wailing and gnashing of teeth is coming from the method, not the motivation. You may get your way but Barry will be the one to take the worst of the backlash.

Caitrin - it sucks that your site archive had to be removed. TPTB had every right to ask you to remove them. But the way they did it was totally uncalled for. Your intentions were nothing but positive. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

And people wonder why you can't find my name here. Yeesh.

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