Saturday, February 16, 2008

Story Time...

One of the thing that really sucks this term is that I have Saturday class. This is the tradeoff for not having class on Tuesdays and Friday so that I am able to work on those days. The class is actually not bad, I'm learning how to draft technology contracts which will be immensely useful to me. My professor doesn't really do any socratic method, he barely even asks questions in class. One of the reasons for this is that he loves telling stories. I will share one now.

When he was working as an attorney in the 80's he had a client who was developing some type of horror video game. They wanted to display random horror films clips throughout the game and needed help acquiring licenses for this. They really wanted to use clips from The Rocky Horror Picture Show so he went and talked to the studio about a possible deal.

The guy he talked to was really excited, but said that he needed to talk to his legal department and get back to him. A couple of days later he called back and told him that he would not be able to offer him a licensing deal. My professor asked why. The studio guy said that it would cost too much money to go back and renegotiate with all the actors to allow for third party licensing for new media. My professor said that it shouldn't be a big deal since this is going to be a non-mainstream game and will probably not even sell that many copies. To that the studio guy said this, "When the studio originally made the film it was not expected that movie would be a success, as such, the actors were paid the bare minimum per day since they were mostly unknown actors. When the movie became a success it was a huge surprise to all and the studio made millions from it. The actors got nothing and were very upset because they did not get to share in the success of the movie. Basically we screwed them over, and we are afraid that they are going to do the same in negotiations over new distribution media, so we rather just not bother."

So in the end lawyers killed the idea of a Horror Picture Show video game. The professor's client ended up using clips from foreign silent movies already in the public domain. This was cheaper too, but I still like to the possibility of a much funner (totally made up that word) game.