Fan Film, Fan Films

DC Comics Officially OKs Fan Films

DC Comics and its parent company Warner Brothers have had a mixed history with fan films over the years, from shutting down one of the first Superman fan flicks to hit the web, to requesting that San Diego Comic Con respect its copyrights by not presenting fan films featuring its characters—a move that ended the screening of fan films at SDCC after 2003. On the other hand, plenty of fan productions featuring the company’s characters have come online in recent years, and none have endured the cease and desist orders or other suppressive actions that marked the comic book giant’s early interactions with fan filmmakers.

After the 2004 SDCC where the fan film programming was canceled due to the request from Warner Bros. and DC, a story appeared on that claimed that the companies had declared they were tentatively accepting of fan films. The statement was unofficial, however, and was unattributed to any specific person at either company. The story came from noted fan filmmaker Aaron Schoenke, and has been online for nearly four years without comment or retraction from the companies, both of which make it very credible (FWIW, I’ve always taken it as legit), but whether it’d stand up in a court of law without a specific source making the statement on the record is another thing.

So I got a source to go on the record. I’ve emailed DC’s PR dept a few times about this over the last few months and never got a response (surprise). Fortunately, after his panel at New York Comic Con the other day, I got to ask none other than Paul Levitz, president of DC Comics, for the company’s official stance on fan films; he stated definitively:

“We’re against anything that monetizes our assets and our copyrights without our permission. We are not against things where people use our assets if they don’t do anything monetarily with them.”

Paul Levitz States DC Comics’ Policy Towards Fan Films

So there you have it: In my eyes, this turn of events is revolutionary, and a real credit to DC. In the space of a scant few years, they’ve gone from sending lawyers after amateur filmmakers to giving permission to openly use characters worth billions of dollars without fear of legal reprisals–a truly staggering corporate mindshift.

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  1. nice get, Clive-o!

  2. NOW in post producton on an original scifi action short… should be ready by October of 2008…

    I wonder if people would like me to put it back up?


  3. that’s great news for all fanfilmmakers worldwide! i mean, us fanfilmmakers do these films as a sign of respect to our superheroes and not to capitalize on them, right? thanks DC! :)

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