EPIC WIN (OR FAIL): It has been a few weeks of high drama in the world of video games as Epic––the company behind Fortnite and the Unreal Engine––sued Apple after Apple delisted Fortnite from its storefront when Epic violated its terms of service as a developer. It’s a complicated, convoluted issue with a lot of far-reaching and severe consequences for those who don’t really have a dog in this fight––the players (not to mention the impact it could have on smaller indie developers). Andrew and D. Bethel attempt to unravel all the goings-on in this very interesting and possibly paradigm-shifting event.
TO ME, MY LITIGATORS: Eyebrows raised recently when a Florida man sued Marvel, Fox, Saban Entertainment, and many other production companies saying that the generation-defining theme song of the ’90s X-Men animated show actually plagiarized a strikingly similar theme of a popular Hungarian tv show from the 1980s. Nerd Law man, Andrew, and X-Men fanatic, D. Bethel, put their heads together to see if this case has any legs to stand on. (A big thanks to friend-of-the-show, André La Roche for his consultation on this topic.)
DISNEY PEMDAS: Last week, Disney made waves as it began an irresponsibly long Twitter thread announcing every title that would be available on its upcoming Disney+ service. D. Bethel and Andrew sort through the announcement, talking about how much this will shift the paradigm of entertainment consumption.
ANDREW IS OLDER: We start by celebrating Andrew’s birthday a little bit. So, what did he do? He watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan again and also went to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert during his “Strings Attached” tour where Yankovic and his band toured with a 41-piece orchestra.
FARTHER FROM HOME: The news this week was kind of bad for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans as Sony and Disney apparently stepped away from the deal that brought them together in the first place. What this means (as it currently stands) is that future Spider-Man films can’t interact with the MCU or Avengers-based films. Andrew and D. Bethel talk about what’s going on here and what are the ups and downs of this news story.
NERD LAW, 2019: Two unrelated but intriguingly similar trademark cases have made the rounds in the news this last week. Chooseco, the owner of the Choose Your Own Adventure franchise has brought a lawsuit to Netflix over Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and the tenuous if not honorific connections that movie has to the classic children’s book series. In the world of video games, the Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations has sued Take Two––owners of Rockstar Games––for the apparent vilification of the company in the developer’s highly successful late-2018 release, Red Dead Redemption 2. Andrew and D. Bethel sound the Nerd Law alarm and discuss these two cases in depth.
Dan will be tabling at Stocktoncon Winter this Sunday, January 20, with Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics yet again (which hints at a return of the Con Artists limited podcast series)! If you’re in the area, please stop by. For more information, read this post at Long John or go straight to the source at Stocktoncon.com. Hope to see you there!
MEYERED IN CONTROVERSY: Richard Meyer and his “Diversity and Comics” YouTube Channel have been no stranger on this podcast with his leading the charge of the abhorrent ComicsGate dissention among comic book fandom. After gaining notoriety with his “Dark Roast” YouTube video (since deleted) that accused various popular industry creatives of committing sexual, devious, and illegal acts to get their way to the top, Mark Waid––among others––reached out to Antarctic Press to voice concerns with their decision to publish Meyer’s comic, JAWBREAKERS. After hearing those concerns, Antarctic Press terminated their contract with Meyer and went to the internet to spew bile in response. At the end of September, Meyer sued Waid for “tortious interference with contract” and “defamation.” D. Bethel and resident nerd lawyer, Andrew Asplund, dive back into this cesspool to navigate what exactly is going on throughout this new development.
NOTE: No comment made by Andrew during this episode constitutes legal advice or establishes client-lawyer relations.
TWILIGHT RETURNS: It was recently announced that the previously announced Jordan Peele-produced reboot of The Twilight Zone will actually star Mr. Peele himself as the host for the digital-only streaming service CBS All-Access. Andrew and D. talk about their excitement––and fears! (to make it spooky for Spookytober)––for the upcoming show.
A MARVELOUS MONSTER: After a long gestation and some delays, Disney has officially acquired 20th Century Fox assets, comprising of Fox’s film and tv properties. This means everything from the Alien franchise to Bob’s Burgers and even The Simpsons are now owned by Disney. Of course, for comic book fans and fans of comic book movies, the biggest part of this deal means that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four film rights are now under Disney/Marvel control. But it’s a much bigger––and more complicated––deal than just the superhero franchises and make some people a little nervous.
WHAT NINTENDON’T: Emulation software has been on the internet for at least twenty years at this point, allowing people to download and play often near-perfect versions of games from the NES, SNES, and many other classic consoles. While playing emulated games have always been legally murky, Nintendo’s big legal smackdown of a few emulator and ROM sites in particular have really shaken the whole community in more ways than one.
NERD LAW: When legal stuff happens in the nerd world, Andrew is on the case (though not dispensing any legal advice). This time around, he talks about Epic Games suing players who use cheats in Fortnite and Comic Con International winning its copyright battle against Salt Lake Comic Con over the term “Comic Con” (19:40)
STRIKE WHILE THE IRON’S HOT: After almost an entire year on strike, SAG-AFTRA and the studios it named in its grievance have come to a tentative deal, thusly ending the video game voice actors’ strike. But what was agreed to? What does this mean for the future of voice actors and game development going forward? Andrew and D. Bethel talk it out.
BAD WORDS: After the most recent faux pas by popular YouTube gaming personality, Felix Kjellberg a.k.a. PewDiePie, in which he uttered one of the most contemptible words in American English seemingly as a synonym for “asshole”, the internet exploded for a second to either defend Kjellberg or condemn him on a variety of fronts. Firewatch developer, Campo Santo, went so far as to file a DMCA complaint on YouTube, causing the website to take down Kjellberg’s Let’s Play of it from his channel. Video games and the internet are a mess right now, and Andrew and D. Bethel do there best to untangle the knot while slightly ranting along the way.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew learns about the seedy underbelly of LEGO knock-offs while Dan preps for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie by watching the 2009 animated film.
DOCTOR WHO KNEW?: Dan and Andrew discuss their skeptical praise for the current series of Doctor Who. Five episodes in and all episodes have been undeniably good so far. Should they be waiting with baited breath for the show to stumble as it has done for the last five series? Or should they let their freak flag fly once again?
WAKING LIFE: Remedy Entertainment’s 2010 sleeper hit, Alan Wake, was summarily pulled from all digital storefronts last weekend due to the lapsing of the licenses paid for music featured in the game. It’s a strange situation considering exactly how many games––even those released before Alan Wake––use licensed music and are still available for purchase.
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