(1) SO SUE ME. TrekToday reports “Axanar Files Second Motion To Dismiss”.
For the second time, the lawyers working for Axanar have filed a motion to dismiss and they are again seeking clarification from Paramount Pictures and CBS Corporation regarding which copyrights the production has violated.
Axanar posted an official statement regarding the new motion, which was filed yesterday. “Yesterday, acting on behalf of both Axanar Productions and Producer Alec Peters, Winston & Strawn filed a Motion to Dismiss the first amended copyright complaint of CBS Studios and Paramount Pictures Corporation. The motion explains that in multiple respects, the deficiencies in CBS and Paramount‘s original complaint are still not sufficiently addressed in their amended filing, and that in some ways the amendments have created new defects.
“The motion provides examples as to how CBS and Paramount overreach in what they claim are elements protected under copyright, and fail to be specific as to exactly which copyrights have been infringed upon; and, in the case of the potential feature film Axanar claims of alleged copyright infringement cannot be made against a film that doesn’t yet exist….
The Axanar legal team has requested a May 9 hearing date on the motion to dismiss.
The full motion can be seen here.
(2) DIGGING DEEPER INTO GALAKTIKA. Anna Grace Carpenter documents “more bad behavior” by Galaktika Magazine, the Hungarian periodical charged with not paying a lot of people for their work.
This opened up a broader problem. By this point I was certain that the English-language stories were primarily being published without the consent or compensation of the original authors. (I have been able to confirm that work published as early as 2008 was done so without author knowledge or consent. Pintér spoke with an author whose work was published in 2006 without their consent. The full extent of the ongoing piracy is still uncertain.)
Tracking down the translators who were working for Galaktika during 2015 was a little more difficult than contacting the authors involved; all I had were the names in the bibliography and Google.
The first few I tried didn’t turn up anything immediately useful, but with a little more digging I was able to reach two of the translators who worked with Galaktika in 2015. The first (who had translated nine stories over the course of the year) said simply that they were not responsible for the rights involved in the stories. They would receive a request from the publisher (likely Attila Németh – the fiction editor at Galaktika) to translate a specific story, and would return the work once they were done….
They told me the effort involved to get paid for their work simply became too much and they stopped working for Galaktika. (They also became aware, after the fact, that Polenth Blake’s short story – “Never the Same” (Strange Horizons Sep 8 2014) – had been taken without her permission because they contacted her about the translation.)
Another Hungarian author I spoke with said they had sold work to Galaktika in 2006 for which they had received pro-rates, but had since stopped working with the magazine due to (among other things) other authors they knew personally not being paid for their work. They said their feeling was that Hungarian authors and translators had a better chance of being paid because they could always go to the Galaktika offices to demand what was owed.
But the translator I spoke with said they had heard of other translators and Hungarian authors who had never been paid – a fact which was such common knowledge that when they told their friends about the work their first question was “And do they pay you?” They recounted calling István Burger “who was really cocky, like it was by his grace that I was allowed to work for them, because apparently it’s him who sends everyone their money. So after Back to the Future I had enough.”
It would seem that Galaktika’s bad behavior is not limited to the theft and piracy of English-language stories, but a deliberate and continuous pattern of behavior where they attempt to profit off the work of others while making as little compensation as possible to the authors and translators providing the material for the magazine.
(3) SAD BUNNIES. A British Board of Film Classification sachem says “Watership Down ‘would be rated PG today’”.
The U-rated 1978 film Watership Down would be classified PG were it released today, the new head of the British Board of Film Classification has said.
BBFC director David Austin told BBC Radio 5 live its violence was “arguably too strong” for it to be rated U now.
He added the film also contains language that would be “unacceptable” in a film rated U under 2016 criteria.
His comments followed complaints over the film’s content after it was aired on Channel 5 on Sunday.
“Well done to whoever at Channel 5 decided that Watership Down was a nice Easter Sunday afternoon film to show,” wrote one tweeter.
… The film – which features the voices of Sir John Hurt and the late Richard Briers – received a U rating on its initial release for its “very mild language, mild violence and threat”.
According to Austin, though, “standards were different then”. “The film has been a U for 38 years, but if it came in tomorrow it would not be,” he continued.
(4) PITY THE FOOL. The March 31 Scroll quoted a story about Gmail’s new “mic drop” feature. On April 1 the BBC reported, “Google April Fool Gmail button sparks backlash”.
Google has removed an April Fool’s Gmail button, which sent a comical animation to recipients, after reports of people getting into trouble at work.
The button appeared beside Gmail’s normal send button and allowed users to shut down an email thread by sending a gif of a Minion dropping a microphone.
However, a flurry of complaints about the button appeared on Google’s forums.
The firm has since withdrawn the feature and apologised.
Will R. swears, “For the record, I didn’t realize they were crazy enough to make this an actual button.” Well, if they did.
(5) MORE UNTIMELY FOOLISHNESS. Variety reported on April Fool’s Eve (or as you civilians say, March 31) that actor Tom Hiddleston delivered Chicago’s Fox32 weather report as Loki — “Tom Hiddleston Gives Weather Report, Blames Storm on Thor”.
Tom Hiddleston can add another credit to his resume: weatherman.
The “Night Manager” and “Avengers” actor dropped by a Chicago news station as Loki (though tragically not in costume) to update viewers on the terrible weather hitting the area this weekend. He blamed it all on his thunderous brother Thor, saying that his “brother from another mother’s been misbehaving.”
“The God of Thunder has brought his skill set to bare on the local weather,” Hiddleston added.
In other words, the storm-front means that “Chris Hemsworth has taken his hammer and smashed it on the surface of the sky and it’s going to rain a helluva lot,” the actor said….
Hiddleston and Hemsworth will reprise the feuding brothers onscreen again in “Thor: Ragnarok,” which is set for Nov. 3, 2017.
(6) LINES AT ANIME BOSTON. Smofnews has the story —
Anime Boston has posted a long statement detailing the causes of excessive lines at their con last weekend. Some of the causes are ordinary problems, like misallocated staff and the blocked shortcut. Others included a registration system provided by a third party which was found to have a serious bug right before the con started*, and a decision between the local police and the facility to use metal detectors, with the con being a bit out of the loop. It goes to show that being bigger doesn’t necessarily mean having more control of things.
(7) JAMES H. BURNS CLIPPING FILE. The Franklin Square Bulletin, which has no internet presence, but is a decades-old weekly on the South Shore of Long Island, published an item about a favorite son:
“Franklin Square Columnist Nominated For Rondo Award”
Franklin Square resident James H. Burns, a long time writer and actor, has been nominated as “Best Columnist for 2015” at the Classic Horror Film Board, the popular website administered for over twenty years by David Colton, the just-retired Page One editor of USA TODAY. Jim’s citation is for his columns at FILE 770, itself a multi-award winning website devoted to the worlds of the fantastic. It’s fun to note many of Jim’s articles actually deal with lost elements of growing up in Franklin Square, and other unique facets of life in our community!
The columns range from “World War II and a Lexicon in Time” to man’s first landing on another world (“The Moon at Midnight”); a look at Irish folklore (“And a Moonbeam to Charm You”) to prehistoric worlds (in “My Father and the Brontosaurs” (including dinosaurs at Falaise, and the World’s Fair) and “Sons of a Mesozoic Age” (with memories of the Franklin Square Theatre!); and reflections on his friendships with some of the James Bond filmmakers (“The 007 In My Mind”) and other theatrical personnel (“Back to Another Future”).
The best column may be a special look at our Christmas and Chanukah traditions, “The Geography of Eden.”
Burns says, “The whole idea behind some of the articles was to capture certain moments in time, experiences common to many of us who grew up in the area, but which might otherwise be forgotten.”
Burns writes about the small “farm” that used to behind Valley Caterers in “Clanky!”, and takes a look at a Franklin Square Independence Day evening, and the dawn of the Space Age, in “On This, The Fourth.” (Some of his mainstream work for CBS-NY.COM and NEWSDAY is also reflected in the nomination, as the features were excerpted at the website.)
You can vote for “The Rondo Awards” until April 10th, by going online to: http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/62030/s-ballot-Gasp-14th-Annual-Rondo-Hatton-Classic-Horror#.VvAfW-azkWp.
You can read some of the articles by Googling, “James H. Burns,” File 770, or “James H. Burns,” CBS.
(8) ADRIENNE CORRI OBIT. BBC reports the death of actress Adrienne Corri on March 13, who played the rape victim in A Clockwork Orange, appeared in Hammer films, and featured in a Doctor Who (according to IMDB).
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- April 2, 1968 — 2001: A Space Odyssey has its world premiere in Washington D.C.
(10) TODAY IN CURRENT EVENTS
April 2 is the second annual Planet of the Apes day.
The second annual gathering (this time both virtual and actual!) to celebrate the classic 1968 film and all its sequels, remakes and re-imaginings. We’re hosting a fan meetup event at the Idle Hour Cafe in North Hollywood, CA beginning at 5pm on Saturday, April 2nd [NOTE THE NEW DATE FOR EVENT] For those who can’t attend in person, we encourage fans in other cities to join us via Skype and Facebook, of course. More details will follow soon, so RSVP now to and note if you’re attending in person to give us a human-count. Mark this date in your calendar now and prepare to GO APE with the Damn Dirty Geeks!
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- April 2, 1805 — Hans Christian Anderson.
- April 2, 1908 — Buddy Ebsen. He missed appearing in the Wizard of Oz because the Tin Man’s makeup poisoned him. His Twilight Zone episode was written by Charles Beaumont.
- April 2, 1914 — Sir Alec Guinness.
(12) FIFTY-FIVE YEARS AGO. The Traveler at Galactic Odyssey thinks Rod Serling should be doing better — “[April 2, 1961] Uprooting Itself (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 17, 19, 20, 21”.
Twenty years ago, even ten (and zero in some places), science fiction was all about the twist ending. Aliens would seed a dead planet with life only for it to turn out…that planet was EARTH! Or folks might spend a story in a struggle to stay alive, only to find out THEY WERE ALREADY DEAD! And so on. Stories would usually end with a shock sentence, often with copious slammers (!!!)
But the genre matured. Characters, writing, and fully explored concepts appeared. These days, the “gimmick” often takes the back seat, facilitating rather than dominating the story.
The Twilight Zone, the science fiction/fantasy/horror anthology created by Rod Serling, is generally a cut above anything else on TV. This includes its pale competitors like One Step Beyond and Way Out. Unfortunately, several times in the first season, and more frequently in this, the second season, the show has aped the gimmick stories of print sf. The result is a run of predictable, sub-par episodes. There is light at the end of this tunnel, however – the most recent episodes have returned the focus to interesting characters and genuine drama.
(13) PUPPY WAR GAMES.
I did not nominate for this year's Hugo Awards. The only winning move is not to play.
— Jonathan McCalmont (@ApeInWinter) April 1, 2016
(14) OUR POET CHERRIOT. Kip W. confessed in a comment here.
This is just to say
I have eaten the Hugos
That you were saving
They were just sitting there
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]