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Judge Rules Fox Has Copyright Claim To Watchmen 262

Posted by timothy
from the there-are-ways-of-telling dept.
fermion writes "According to the NYT, a judge has decided that Fox owns the copyright to Watchmen, not Warner. Is this an example of copyright law becoming so complex that companies can abuse the court system to prevent competition, or just extreme incompetence by Warner? In the current business environment, either explanation is believable. Yet it is unbelievable that seasoned producers would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create a movie that they can't even release. It seems the judge didn't want to bring this to a jury, and maybe daring Warner to appeal, or Fox to settle." The article says that Fox acquired movie rights to the Watchmen story in the late 1980s, but budget disputes and personnel changes have muddied the waters; Wikipedia has a bit more on the "development hell" which has plagued the film project.
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Judge Rules Fox Has Copyright Claim To Watchmen

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  • Too Bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deathtopaulw (1032050) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @07:49PM (#26232549) Homepage
    Too bad there are no directors still living that are capable of capturing what actually makes this work a masterpiece. I look forward to not even watching this movie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HiVizDiver (640486)
      Ditto. I think the format alone (feature film vs. miniseries with a good budget) is going to make it suck, let alone your point about capable directors (or writers, for that matter). I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.
      • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Informative)

        by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday December 25, 2008 @08:39PM (#26232725) Homepage

        I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

        By cutting a lot and releasing an extended version later that is 220 minutes [scifi.com] long.

      • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Informative)

        by philspear (1142299) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @09:15PM (#26232823)

        I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

        Theres no way to keep 100% of it unchanged and uncut, but that's true of any media conversion. Many people seem to consider the original comic book form to be perfect, many of those people are going to be disappointed with the result no matter how good the movie is of it's own right. Some because they read the comics first, some because of a warped sense of elitism. That doesn't mean the movie is doomed to be worse than the comic books to an unbiased judge. It could be changed for the better.

        • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HiVizDiver (640486) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @10:05PM (#26232981)
          I don't know that "elitist" is necessarily the right word to use when describing people unhappy with a cinematic remake that in no way resembles the original material, but your point is still valid. I would argue based on that, however, that when a book has 1,000 pages and is well-received, then I'd posit that those 1,000 pages are there for a reason. There just isn't a way to do that justice in 120 minutes worth of film - even if a picture IS worth 1,000 words. There's simply too much content to convey. That's why I argue a mini-series with a good budget might be more appropriate for something like Watchmen. Yes, I know that Watchmen doesn't have 1,000 pages, but it's a pretty dense book nonetheless.

          All this arguing about it amounts to precisely nothing, however, as no one asked us to make the movie. We'll just have to wait and see what they can or can't do with it. ;)
          • by spazdor (902907)

            If a picture is worth a thousand words, then film is worth, oh let's see.

            Yup. 24,000 words per second. It'll be fine. ;)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Cowmonaut (989226)

            Actually, its very accurate considering the parent poster put people who were fans of Watchmen before it was being made into a movie in a separate category. I've noticed some people, even if they have NEVER EVER read the original book/novel/graphic novel/comic book or what have you instantly rag on a movie version of the story. The only thing I too can think of is a "warped sense of elitism" in which their point of view is correct at all times and everyone else is a moron.

            The previews, from someone who ha

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by timeOday (582209)
            I'm more of an anti-comic-book-literalist - I wonder why studios are willing to pay big bucks for rights to comic books when it's just as easy to make up another superhero, since they're all pretty much the same. Two of my favorite movies this year were Batman and James Bond. But how much of that is due to the authors of the original series? Zilch, IMHO. The Bond movie could have been altered very slightly and passed for Mission Impossible or Bourne Identity. Batman is close enough to Spider Man, Super
            • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:43AM (#26233477)

              The reason 'I-just-made-him-up-man' doesn't generally show up in the box office is simply because there's no anticipated built in audience.

              Even though Hancock was somewhat of a Zzzz movie for me, it managed to make $600m worldwide.. So it's not unprecedented.

              Although, really what it comes down to is that good film ideas don't make it to the surface often in Hollywood. Regardless of the great ideas that may get bandied about on a daily basis, all you have to do is consider that they made _3_ movies in the http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107438/ [imdb.com] 'Look who's talking' series.

              _3_

              Sit and think about that for a second.

              _3_.

              __ 3 __

              And yet, we still have yet to see Goonies _2_.

              fuck Hollywood.

              fuck them up their 'Lets bring Michael Knight back' asses.

              They did the Watchmen movie for the simple reason that 'gritty' comic book movies were proven hot by Sin City and 300. Look on IMDB, Sin City 2 is in pre-production and Sin City 3 is in planning. They're already planning "300-2" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1253863/ [imdb.com].. Are you kidding me?

              Hollywood finds one single good idea and then spreads it as thin as possible until we are revolted by the idea of _another_ film in the series coming out. Then they find a new idea. Then in 10-20 years it becomes retro and cool again and a new generation of dummies will line up for the rehashed garbage that the latest generation of sub-retarded writers belch out in-between the projects they _really_ care about..

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Blimey85 (609949)
                Yea yea, blah blah. Make your own god damn films if you feel so strongly! No seriously. Make some films so we have something better to watch then the current batch of horse shit. You can't. Neither can I. Nor can anyone else. That is why we get the same shit recycled over and over. That's not always a bad thing. For example, I thought Rob Zombie did a good job with Halloween. To me he proved himself with his first couple of films and then he took on the remaking of a masterpiece. As far as slasher films go,
              • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Funny)

                by SlowMovingTarget (550823) on Friday December 26, 2008 @06:30PM (#26237457) Homepage

                They're already planning "300-2" ...

                It will be called "301 Spartans" where the lovable gaggle of Spartans must win out against the evil Persian Queen Cruella Divan.

            • The Incredibles made up half a dozen new superheroes and they all seemed familiar even so.

              You do get that that film was a parody, don't you?

            • Re:Too Bad (Score:4, Funny)

              by Alsee (515537) on Friday December 26, 2008 @07:21AM (#26234351) Homepage

              Spider Man, Superman, Iron Man, or random new made-up -Man.

              Made-Up-Man, dashing valiantly from cosmetic counter to cosmetic counter, rescuing tragic make-up victims [wordpress.com] such as Drew Barrymore, [wordpress.com] Beyoncé, [wordpress.com] and Christina Aguilera. [wordpress.com]

              -

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by HiVizDiver (640486)
              As I've said in another post, I'm not a comic fan. That said, the appeal for me in any comic-based narrative (the comics themselves, a movie, a TV show), is the character's personal story and circumstance as to how they got to where they are, and how it affects what they do in the here and now. I would suspect that for most comic fans, that's probably true as well. Maybe I should become one. :)

              That's precisely what attracted me to The Watchmen... Each of the characters has a pretty interesting backstory,
              • I agree with you there, that's the main reason I'm a Batman fan. I don't mind spiderman, but I just can't stand to watch superman- since there are many circumstances where they have to find ways to make him not super to make a story. It's always pointless.
          • The question is whether there's any point to making a film version of a book/graphic novel/whatever if you just try to make a carbon copy of the story already told. What's the point, beyond cashing in? Well, cashing in seems to be what most comic book adaptations on the big screen are about, but films made from novels provide examples of a director taking a book and successfully reinterpreting it. I'm told Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining", but it's a phenomenal film, probably precisely bec

            • Well, the argument is whether a faithful representation can be made, yes. I've read The Shining. I *was* a big Stephen King fan, years and years ago in my youth. I *am* a big Kubrick fan. I dislike both the book and the movie. But I would say that the movie, while obviously and noticeably different, didn't hack the story into snack-sized chunks so digestible by today's audiences with the TV-induced attention spans of gnats, like most movies do that are adapted from novels these days. In fact, that could nev
      • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @10:00PM (#26232963) Homepage

        I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

        you don't need to. you can always make as many sequels as you need. just look at LotR.

        as i understand it, Watchmen consists of only 12 standard comic books. and the hardcover release is listed on Amazon as having only 436 pages. it's not inconceivable that they could adapt the comic into a trilogy or quadrilogy/tetralogy. an adaptation doesn't have to be a word-for-word screen translation of the original work. otherwise, how would you ever adapt a comic book series like Ghost in the Shell, which spans across 3 volumes and totaling 834 pages? or how about Akira, which spans 6 volumes, each of which being anywhere from 288 pages to 440 pages?

        full-length films generally have higher production values than TV series. you just don't get the same budget or writing & acting quality on TV. frankly, a well-produced film adaptation stands a much better chance of being good (and doing justice to its source material) than a TV series.

        personally, i don't even think there's anything worth watching on TV outside of documentary shows (Horizon, Air Crash Investigations, Seconds to Disaster, Nova, Mythbusters, etc.). comedy is about the only fiction genre with decent quality programming on TV, and most of those are animated series like Futurama, American Dad, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, South Park, etc. the last truly great non-animated TV series i saw was Arrested Development, but that canceled after only 2 seasons.

        • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @10:44PM (#26233139) Homepage

          as i understand it, Watchmen consists of only 12 standard comic books. and the hardcover release is listed on Amazon as having only 436 pages. it's not inconceivable that they could adapt the comic into a trilogy or quadrilogy/tetralogy.

          It's pretty inconceivable, though. Watchmen isn't an adventure story like LotR. It's really an exploration of characters and ideas set in the form of a murder mystery within the milieu of American comic-book superheroes. Breaking it into two or more movies would be highly unsatisfying. It might be possible to break it at the point at which [characters] decide to help [character] escape from [place], but most of the "action" up until that point takes place in flashbacks! The audience would be left looking forward to the big climax, sure -- but they'd mostly feel puzzled and ripped off, because the entire setup of the movie was the mystery of who killed [character] and they never found out who. In fact, they would barely have even been offered a suspect by that point.

          • by k_187 (61692)
            Leaving off the mystery of "whodunit" until the second movie worked in Kill Bill ;)
          • by Cally (10873)
            Twelve feature-length episodes might be enough to capture Moore & Gibbons original on-the-page work but it'd be unbelievably boring. As Moore himself has said, one of the key things about Watchmen is that it's written to take advantage of all the possibilities of the ink-on-paper format. You can't flip back a few pages in the film to compare the composition of a frame with an earlier one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Silvrmane (773720)
      I guess you know more than the artist who drew the graphic novel, and has, you know, SEEN the movie:
      Gibbons: I am feeling very optimistic about the film. I have been pleased with everything I have seen, and every successive thing I see makes me feel better. I've seen parts of it now three or four times, and I can still watch them again very happily. Like a graphic novel, there are depths of detail and meaning in film that give themselves up on a first viewing, and I am really looking forward to getting th
      • Do remember that for every Watchmen project, Gibbon gets paid twice, both his share and the writer's. I'm sure he's happy about anything that has the name Watchmen...

    • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Funny)

      by philspear (1142299) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @09:05PM (#26232795)

      there are no directors still living that are capable of capturing what actually makes this work a masterpiece.

      How convenient: Your hypothesis cannot be tested because of copyright law.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      That's what they said about the Lord Of The Rings but it didn't turn out too bad, even though anal types still go on and on about how "unfaithful" it is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by timothy (36799) Works for Slashdot

        Those types will always be around; in the future, video rental stores (if they exist) will have entire wings devoted to various incarnations of "Batman," into which they can be shoved.

        The Lord of the Rings movies went way past anything I expected, into the same class of story -- for me, tastes vary -- as L.A. Confidential, where the book and movie have some major disjoint but each is masterful within its realm.

        timothy

        "But what about Tom Bomba--" CRUNCH. SMACK. CRUNCH.

        "I said, what about--" SMACKASMACKASMACK

        • Re:Too Bad (Score:4, Informative)

          by The Rizz (1319) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @11:08PM (#26233203)

          [...] where the book and movie have some major disjoint but each is masterful within its realm.

          Probably the greatest example of a book changing when made into a movie, yet both being fantastic in their own ways, would be Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [wikipedia.org] and Blade Runner [wikipedia.org].

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            In fact, I would argue that most Phillip K. Dick books are better as movies, once Hollywood has a chance to make some kind of sense with them.

            • by Alsee (515537)

              Wow, that's kinda like a line of toys are pretty good once they've been through China for health and safety inspections.

              -

          • by Nick Ives (317)

            PKD loved Blade Runner, he totally understood the fact that film is a different medium so even the same story has to be told in a different way.

            I actually find the controversy about Deckard being a replicant, something that was played with in the the book and then discarded, highly amusing. You can construct arguments for and against depending on your point of view and the version of the film you're watching but those arguments are pretty much at the core of what the book was trying to get at - what counts

        • "The Lord of the Rings movies went way past anything I expected, into the same class of story -- for me, tastes vary -- as L.A. Confidential, where the book and movie have some major disjoint but each is masterful within its realm."

          I don't get why the book and movie need to share the same name if they are not going to share a plot.

          Can't the movie be 'inspired by...' or do what another poster suggested and cop a Blade Runner - where the story and name changed significantly enough that no one expected a faith

      • Re:Too Bad (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kjella (173770) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @11:18PM (#26233243) Homepage

        Some films take their source material seriously and change what they think is necessary in order to improve it as a film. Others seems to just want to change it all around for no good reason at all. Having listened to what Peter Jackson said in the extras, there no doubt in my mind that he knows how a good film should be. And then there's the plot of LotR, which doesn't fit that format at all. He shrank it, stretched it, tweaked it and rearranged it and I think the biggest testament of it all is how you most of the time don't notice it. Obviously bits and pieces were lost (Tom Bombadil) but in the hands of a lesser director LotR would easily become a mashup of incoherent scenes.

        That said, some of the things are entirely Jackson's doing like Sam turning back which was never and would never have been a part of Tolkien's story. It heightens the drama but isn't true to the book at all, Sam is the unwavering cliff that carries Frodo through it all. Other movies, well sometimes I suspect the director has barely read a slashdot summary's worth of the content. A successful movie that you want to make a movie of has a good plot. Sometimes you have to make hard choices on what's vital and not but you don't just scrap the basics and make a completely different story set in the same universe. Jackson strayed a few times but most of the time he made it fit.

        In movies you can say a lot with a few scenes, like the one with Arwen's future as there's burials and statues while she lingers on. Other times nothing is said at all like with the Elven struggles against the evil. If he hadn't put them at Helm's Deep, the Elves would be nothing more than the guys running away. At the best of times, you manage to give something to both - like in the scene with the soup where the LotR-fans gets to hear that he's a decendant of Numenor blessed with long life, while the regulars have a have a silly romantic scene as he avoids eating the yucky soup. A movie that's only great if you've read the book isn't a very good movie at all.

      • Yeah. Anal types. Like those smug know-it-alls who read the books. They've got a lot of nerve. Don't they? Besides, books are no fun anyways. All those annoying words everywhere.

        Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch Dune. Geez but I *love* that movie. Going to follow that up with Starship Troopers.

        I just love movie night. Pass the popcorn!

  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ultramk (470198) <ultramkNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Thursday December 25, 2008 @07:54PM (#26232571)

    I guess we have the answer to the question "who watches the Watchmen?"

    Nobody.

    • Sure, but maybe we can answer who watches the NotWatchingButCasuallyObserving(men).
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I guess we have the answer to the question "who watches the Watchmen?"

      Nobody.

      The correct answer is "the insurance adjusters.

      No movie gets made without insurance and no film company can spend $100 million without a fat insurance policy.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Coast guard?

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @08:01PM (#26232593)
    "Justice is coming to all of us no matter what we do."

    Serves them all right.
    • by Cally (10873)

      "Justice is coming to all of us no matter what we do."

      "I knew you'd say that."

  • by Brad_McBad (1423863) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @08:02PM (#26232595)
    ... another film that ignores the meaning of the source work in favour of appeasing popcorn fifteen year olds.

    Alan Moore goes about it the wrong way, but he's right. Hollywood needs to start coming up with its own ideas again.
    • by chrisG23 (812077) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @08:31PM (#26232705)
      I know, like the whole time I was watching it I was like wtf? this isnt at all like the graphic nov@#(&$# Wait. I have not seen it. It has not been released. It may not be released now.

      When did Hollywood come up with its own ideas in the past? They were just ripping off fresher ideas (with notable exceptions of course, but the exceptions didn't come from Hollywood, it came from certain individual filmmakers/writers/directors working for Hollywood)

      Hypothetical question. If some artsy filmmaker made a low budget Watchmen movie that was really low budget, Im talking about uses visual symbolism instead of special effects, less than half a million budget, etc etc, that was absolutely in keeping with the spirit and meaning of the source work would you go watch it? Would you watch it over a Hollywooded version that was visually cool?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I would have to say that a decent level of special effects are required. This does not mean that enough SE will over ride a crappy or non-existent story, but we have achieved a level of sophistication that we want to see superpowers that are "conceivably realistic" (if that isn't an oxymoronic request).

        I want to see webbing come right out of Spider-man's wrist, not Spider-man making a hand gesture and a net flying at the villain from off screen

        A great storyline will not be able to support sub-par special e

        • A great storyline will not be able to support sub-par special effects, and vice versa.

          I agree that great special effects are not able to support a sub-par script, but I'd have to disagree that a story (how implausible/impossible it might be) can not be told without the use of great special effects.
          One example I can think of now would be the first season of Heroes: Whereas the story was quite compelling (for me at least), and the events are quite out of the ordinary, the supporting special effects were q
          • One example I can think of now would be the first season of Heroes: Whereas the story was quite compelling (for me at least), and the events are quite out of the ordinary, the supporting special effects were quite marginal.

            No! Heroes ended after about the fifth episode: "Save the cheerleader, save the world." OK. They saved the cheerleader. It's over. The world will be fine. Everything after that is just afterglow.

        • by tm2b (42473) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:04AM (#26233371) Journal

          A great storyline will not be able to support sub-par special effects, and vice versa.

          Not a Doctor Who fan, I see.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by east coast (590680)
        Hypothetical question. If some artsy filmmaker made a low budget Watchmen movie that was really low budget, Im talking about uses visual symbolism instead of special effects, less than half a million budget, etc etc, that was absolutely in keeping with the spirit and meaning of the source work would you go watch it? Would you watch it over a Hollywood version that was visually cool?

        I can't speak for the entire Watchmen thing as I'm not into the whole comic book deal but I will tell you that I found the ul
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nEoN nOoDlE (27594)

        Hypothetical question. If some artsy filmmaker made a low budget Watchmen movie that was really low budget, Im talking about uses visual symbolism instead of special effects, less than half a million budget, etc etc, that was absolutely in keeping with the spirit and meaning of the source work would you go watch it? Would you watch it over a Hollywooded version that was visually cool?

        The important question is not whether it keeps the spirit and meaning of the source work, but whether it's a good movie or no

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:15AM (#26233405) Homepage

      Hollywood needs to start coming up with its own ideas again.

      Huh? Where have you been for last century plus? Hollywood has never been about coming up with it's own ideas - it's been all about adapting since Day One.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bigstrat2003 (1058574) *

      No, he's wrong. I will grant you that I haven't read V for Vendetta, so I can't speak to its faithfulness as an adaptation. However, it is an excellent movie on its own merits. Even if it does leave something to be desired as an adaptation of the book, well, it's in good company, many adaptations have that flaw. Something's faithfulness as an adaptation of the original material and its worth on its own are completely separate concepts. LOTR has some serious problems as an adaptation of Tolkien's work, but i

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Leafheart (1120885)

        Alan Moore is pretty much whining about nothing with V for Vendetta. It's not like they took his work, ripped it up, and made a mindless action movie of it. Whatever was changed from the original material, the end result is still a moving and thought provoking movie. That's hardly a failure.

        One thing that was masterfully done on V, was the "update" to the story so the message would get to the new audience. Alan's work is a fierce critic to the Iron Lady, has a lot of jabs at the mechanization and computer domination of society. Those things would get to anyone that didn't live on those times. And like it or not, you have to make money. Those small changes on the story, were worth on it own, and did just to the message, while delivering it slightly different (and the new High Chancelor was awes

  • by Slur (61510)

    Look, if they don't release it on 3-6-9 the magic won't work, and I'll be damned if I pay $8 to go see it on 7-3-9!

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @08:49PM (#26232747) Homepage
    I can easily imagine such an issue forming around something more important, such as a medicine or piece of life saving technology.
    • by Ahnteis (746045)

      I can easily imagine this rather banal comment applying to 90% of the stories on Slashdot. That doesn't mean it should be modded up every time.

  • The original comic had a lot of political content - without committing any real spoilers for the few who read this without actually having read the comic, the most central plotline of the whole miniseries involves using the 'big lie' technique to manipulate the masses. There are some '9/11' parallels to this. There's also some more tangential stuff. Sticking with just what's revealed early in the series and trying to avoid spoilers, Nixon stays in power for his second term because the approximate Superman e

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      That's pretty paranoid, considering that there's a lot more overtly political material that's more explicitly about the current administration, and it really hasn't seen this sort of suppression.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jjohnson (62583)

      When OJ Simpson was arrested for Nicole Simpson's murder, some believed that he was being framed by the government for his part in the movie Capricorn One, which was about a faked Mars landing--they thought it was revenge for obliquely revealing that the moon landing was a hoax.

      If the Bush Administration wanted to suppress the movie, why wait until it's already filmed, gotten a lot of pre-release publicity, and has a lot of people excited about it? Why do it when the movie has sparked renewed interest in t

  • Warner still can release the movie via The Pirate Bay.
  • When the hype started for this movie, I downloaded all of the comics and read them in two sittings. That's how good it is. Unlike many, I was reserving judgement until I had actually seen the movie.
    • by Jabbrwokk (1015725) <grant.j.warkentin@ g m ail.com> on Thursday December 25, 2008 @10:33PM (#26233089) Homepage Journal

      I downloaded all of the comics

      And that's why your opinion is irrelevant. Please purchase a trade paperback version, support the creators of the original content, then try again.

      Sorry to be harsh. I did the same thing. But after reading the electronic versions, I understood what all the fuss was about and went and got a paperback version so I could enjoy the writing and admire the artwork without sitting in front of a computer, and also so Moore and Gibbons received whatever royalties they still get from the sales of their original work. They deserve it.

      I imagine someone will release this movie, eventually. Warner will pay off Fox, or hold their nose and come up with some kind of royalties deal. But the funny thing is, after reading the graphic novel three times now, I don't really care if I see the movie or not. I know it will look cool, and the story might even be OK crammed into two-and-a-half hours, but the graphic novel will always be superior because it was never about plot.

      SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!!!!

      The ridiculous ending makes that clear. Even the characters can't believe it actually happens. The book, at its core, is about different kinds of characters and how they cope with the ugly world around them. The character development which happens in the book will never translate well to movie format.

      So, sorry to flame you, but please, if you haven't already, go buy a copy of Watchmen and support the original creators. Otherwise it's like not voting and then complaining about the government. You know, like half of North America does.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I downloaded all of the comics

        Sorry to be harsh. I did the same thing. But after reading the electronic versions, I understood what all the fuss was about and went and got a paperback version so I could enjoy the writing and admire the artwork without sitting in front of a computer, and also so Moore and Gibbons received whatever royalties they still get from the sales of their original work. They deserve it.

        To be clear, you're saying people should only pay to read a book, see a movie, etc, if they end up liking it?

        • by WiiVault (1039946)
          I think that is fair, and it seems to me like the library model- try it out for free but you don't get to keep it. If you like it then buy it and you have a copy for whenever you want. I see what you are saying but he could just as easily gone to the bookstore and read it, or borrowed it from someone. To be clear, you're saying that we should ban all libraries?
        • by evanbd (210358)

          Why not? People have been trying to do that for quite some time. That's what book reviews are all about, right? So they've gotten better. Of course, there are probably those who would go with "well, I liked it somewhat, but not enough to pay for it." On the flip side, more exposure in many cases means more purchases as well.

          The idea that every time someone reads / watches / listens to something the author should get paid is horribly antiquated. The idea that authors should get compensated for their wo

        • by rossifer (581396)

          To be clear, you're saying people should only pay to read a book, see a movie, etc, if they end up liking it?

          Sure. It's a tip for an entertaining evening. A gratuity for an excellent performance, if you will. The shame in it is how bad the deal is for the author. I'd much rather send the author/director/lead actor/whoever a "check for $12" myself and cut out the insane distribution scheme. But that's hard to do.

      • I downloaded all of the comics

        And that's why your opinion is irrelevant. Please purchase a trade paperback version, support the creators of the original content, then try again.

        Sorry to be harsh. I did the same thing. But after reading the electronic versions, I understood what all the fuss was about and went and got a paperback version so I could enjoy the writing and admire the artwork without sitting in front of a computer, and also so Moore and Gibbons received whatever royalties they still get from the

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by DaveV1.0 (203135)

          You are fucking idiot.

          One's opinion is irrelevant since one has not payed for something?

          The OPs opinion doesn't matter because he doesn't respect the laws in question. He would deprive the copyright owner's of their legally guaranteed rights, just like your worthless ass would.

          Or is the idea that one's opinion is irrelevant unless you pay the author of the work?
          Well fuck... guess we should just stop talking about Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Byron, Da Vinci, Van Gogh and every single dead artist and their work

        • I agree with you, though with less anger I suppose. You can't take the view of paying for it if you like it or not being allowed an opinion on it if you didn't help to compensate the author. That's just a load of crap.

          Information/content/whatever is inherently free. The exchange of ideas is free. It is free because the actual act of transferring the information to a person's mind costs nothing really. Yea distribution of mass info costs something but paying for distribution isn't paying for the creator.
  • by CODiNE (27417)

    It's Miracleman all over again. Well at least we know how THIS story ends.

  • I remember reading about this dispute several months ago and that there'd been an injunction issued regarding a release until it was resolved. Then just last week when I was at the movies I saw a trailer for Watchmen and it included a release date, I more or less took that to mean that this had been resolved. While I never read the graphic novels the trailer looks very interesting and I hope that this can be worked out so that the movie can be released on schedule.

    I really have to wonder if Fox has a good f

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @10:43PM (#26233133) Homepage
    The notion that Fox owns the copyright to Watchmen is utterly absurd (and presumably just incompetent reporting). The comics series was produced by Moore and Gibbons under contract with DC Comics, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and (rightly or wrongly) that company owns the copyright. Fox might hold an exclusive license to the movie rights to the material, but that's a very different question.
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday December 26, 2008 @12:16AM (#26233409)

      Fox might hold an exclusive license to the movie rights to the material, but that's a very different question.

      If you actually bothered to RTFA carefully, you'd see that they have been ruled to have a copyright interest.

      Since you're clearly ignorant on the matter and think "copyright interest" means "copyright" or "exclusive movie rights", try educating yourself instead [google.com].

      I know it comes as a shock to all you fifteen year olds, but IP law is simpler than "Cory Doctorow says I can give my stuff away and copyright is bad!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tverbeek (457094)
        If you can supress that knee-jerking reflex a moment, you might figure out that I was pointing out that the headline (which simply says "copyright") was misleading, and the statement in the summary that "Fox owns the copyright" is simply false. They don't. The judge didn't say they did. Neither did the Times.

        Oh, and try not to make ASSumptions about the people's background or opinions based on such a quick, emotional reading; I happen to be a staunch defender of copyright. And I'm going to give you the
  • Anybody got a link to the actual judges ruling? I mean, it's nice to get a press release, but much better to get the actual ruling. There's nothing to show the actual merits to which the judge is opining on.

    • by belmolis (702863)

      Here's an informative post [iptrademarkattorney.com] about the suit, and here [iptrademarkattorney.com] is the original complaint.

  • by Landshark17 (807664) on Thursday December 25, 2008 @11:58PM (#26233349)
    As Quint pointed out on Ain't It Cool News, Fox waited till Warner Brother's practically had the film released before they bothered to excercise their copyright on the film, suggesting it might be an attempt to scoop up the cash on a blockbuster they wouldn't have to pay for.

    Full article here: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39578 [aintitcool.com]
  • In other, recent news, SCO, squeaked "We own Linux. The judges were wrong, so we'll appeal".

    Funny. I thought judges were right. Probably they are right in this Watchmen case, too.

  • Fox acquired rights to the "Watchmen" graphic novel in the late 1980s for the producer Lawrence Gordon
    ...
    Mr. Gordon later pursued the project with Universal Pictures, and then with Paramount Pictures, before shooting it with Warner and Legendary under an arrangement that allows Paramount to distribute the film abroad.

    Looks to me like Mr. Gordon has some explaining to do.

    As forpeople who think [slashdot.org] "Fox waited till Warner Brother's practically had the film released before they bothered to excercise their copyrigh [aintitcool.com]

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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