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Is "The Wonder Years" that much of a risk?


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#1 of 36 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted August 07 2009 - 02:58 PM

Ok, One thing I am almost certain of: if The Wonder Years were released on dvd it would sell Tremendously well. A pure money making machine.
Music rights....blah blah blah. If Miami Vice(5 seasons) can have all original music included on the dvd sets, why on earth couldn't The Wonder Years do the same?

Why hasn't this series at least be given a season 1 release on dvd? Being such a popular show in the 80's it seems almost foolish to not experiment with a dvd release.
I'm in the camp of all original content included, but if the studio has to remove a couple of pesky songs that are blocking this from gracing store shelve in all it's season 1 dvd glory, then so be it.
This show is screaming for a release, I don't even care if it has special features, just all the episodes, and the majority(if not all) of the music.
What's the hold up?

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#2 of 36 ONLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted August 07 2009 - 03:01 PM

Well... Maybe you're in luck.

Ally McBeal is coming from Fox, in a complete series set, supposedly with all original music intact, and at a reasonable price.

Ally was a music heavy show. If Fox can pull that one off, there may be hope for anything. And they also own Wonder Years, so maybe...


#3 of 36 OFFLINE   AnthonyC

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Posted August 07 2009 - 03:59 PM

The thing with TWY that's even better (well, from the studio's perspective) is that season 1 is only six episodes, so it wouldn't require an entire 22-episode season's worth of negotiations and money. Perfect for a 'test'--if it sells well enough to justify the music rights, go for uncut season 2 and beyond...if not, then look into substitutions if absolutely necessary.
 
ETA: But if Fox tries the Ally McBeal model, I'd totally pick up a series set.


#4 of 36 OFFLINE   Scott_F_S

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Posted August 07 2009 - 04:26 PM

You don't know how music clearances work, do you?


#5 of 36 ONLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted August 07 2009 - 04:41 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_F_S 

You don't know how music clearances work, do you?
Well, they're a pain in the ass for older shows. Rights have to be negotiated through each individual rights holder, correct? And the holder can charge as much or as little as they want, or not give permission for the music to be used on a home video release at all, correct?

What more is there to know besides that? I'm curious.



#6 of 36 OFFLINE   David Rain

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Posted August 07 2009 - 04:57 PM

I must say that I do get tired of the naive idea that somehow so-and-so show MUST be releaseable because so-and-so other show got released. What does one have to do with another ? Every show is different. Even every season of a show is different. You're talking about different songs, different music rights holders, different studios releasing a product, different budgets for each potential project, different levels of demand for certain shows, etc.

I'm amazed that the same TV-on-DVD questions keep coming up yet no one seems to pay attention to logical answers. Why is that ?

And do NOT get me started on this idea that it's ok for songs and/or scenes to be dropped or edited just "so the show can get released."  WKRP, anyone ?  Yeah, didn't think so.

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#7 of 36 OFFLINE   DaveHof

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Posted August 07 2009 - 05:57 PM

The reason music rights posts keep popping up over and over is not because we don't understand the issues involved, but because we're tired of the greed and arrogance that results in shows that are not released, and others that are released in an inferior package. And please forgive my use of "we," as I would not presume to speak for anyone else. Just my opinion.

Regardless of the specific legal issues, it just seems wrong for this to happen over and over. These problems almost never happen when a motion picture is released on DVD, and for those of us who are as passionate about television as movie lovers are about film, it becomes frustrating for our medium to be treated so shabbily.

It’s wrong, what’s happening to so many TV titles on DVD. It’s just plain, flat-out wrong. And it shouldn’t be a money or rights issue, It should be a common sense issue, which doesn’t often have any bearing on our legal system. But I would love to see someone challenge the current copyright law with this scenario:

When a song is written and recorded, it becomes a work of art and deserves protection from illegal copying, as well as any money it earns from record sales/downloads to the writer and performer. When a television show requests and pays for the right to use part or all of that song in one episode, that should be it. In this context, that song is no longer a work of art, but a subservient component in a separate work of art. The songwriter and recording artist should be paid once again for allowing its use, but they had no role in any other aspect of the production of this episode, so why are they entitled to continue to profit over and over again? When has anyone ever said, “I can’t wait to get the first season of Beverly Hills 90210 on DVD, because I hear they use part of  a Debbie Gibson song in one episode.” The song is not what generates sales - the series and its episodes generate sales - the song is just along for the ride. Would we miss it if it were gone? Certainly. Should this give the songwriter/performer/whomever the right to hold up a studio for ransom 10/20 years after they were already paid for allowing its inclusion in the series? Not in my opinion. I'd be delighted to see the licensing laws change so that one payment covers all present and future uses of music in a television episode. And yes, that should include homevideo formats that did not exist at the time of the original contract. None of us can predict the future.

Now, if you’d all like to tell me how naïve and stupid I am, please feel free to do so.



#8 of 36 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted August 08 2009 - 03:10 AM

Here is my take:

First off for some shows the music is an integral part of its success. Otherwise, music replacements would not be such a big deal to those desiring the show on DVD. So we can't minimize its importance.

Secondly, the whole home distribution of TV shows to the home market is a new windfall of profit for the studios that was not part of the original negotiations with the music rights holders. So why should the studios get all the new money generated and not others with legal claims based on copyrights? When the original negotiations took place I'll bet potential syndication profits were included in the agreement for gaining the music rights, but home distribution was probably not thought to be a viable money maker at the time. As a result, this left a whole in the contract giving each side a point of contention.

Now, I will admit it has probably gone too far in some cases with music rights holders holding out for too much and studios being too cheap or liberal in some cases about replacements. But I don't think it is correct to just give studios the green light to profit from the music contributions beyond what they originally negotiated for. Hopefully, both sides will eventually come to some kind of agreement that benefits all. But as we have seen in the past, some just won't budge out of some sort of principle that leaves us all wanting something that will never be available.

#9 of 36 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 08 2009 - 05:18 AM

It's not really that much different when the music industry is the most corrupt business in this country outside of organized crime. They're all a bunch of greedy felons. Consider how many artists have been screwed by publishers and record companies going back to the days of ragtime. This is not hearsay, this is documented fact. And let's not even start on payola.

No song anywhere is worth $20,000. Not by Beethoven, not by the Beatles, not by anyone. There really needs to be a per-song price cap of no more than $1,000 for any media, and a clearance for one media must mean a clearance for all media past present and future. That and congressional investigations to punish them for their decades of proven criminal behavior.

Of course, 90210 is a Paramount show and they don't even ask how much it would cost to re-clear music for DVD. They hear a musical note, they cut it.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#10 of 36 OFFLINE   Walter C

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Posted August 08 2009 - 05:34 AM

For music replacements, I don't think anyone would like the idea of the theme song being removed, which I would guess, be the first thing to go. I think of this show whenever I hear the song on the radio.

Personally, I would like to see it at least on the 1st episode, and would be okay with it, if removed from episodes after that, since I tend to skip the theme when watching a show on DVD.

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#11 of 36 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 08 2009 - 06:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewA View Post

There really needs to be a per-song price cap of no more than $1,000 for any media, and a clearance for one media must mean a clearance for all media past present and future.
 
Why stop with music? I want a mansion, a Ferrari, a yacht, etc. None of that should cost more than $1,000 because that's the number I came up with to give me what I want.


#12 of 36 OFFLINE   DaveHof

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Posted August 08 2009 - 08:26 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR 
 
No one is trying to rip off the artists responsible for the music. They were paid once when the song became a hit, they were paid again when the studio licensed the use of the song in the TV series. Now with DVD they're asking to be paid a third time for the same usage of the same song. And when the studio balks at paying a ridiculous figure for a few bars of a 20-30 year old song, they substitute a piece of generic crap, and as a result the fans of the show are unhappy and the music rights holders get nothing. Surely the parties involved could table their greed and come up with a better solution than that.


#13 of 36 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted August 08 2009 - 09:07 AM

What is the difference between the music rights holders and the studios? The studios got paid when the show originally was aired, again through syndication, and now they want to get paid again for selling the DVD. If the studio can get paid everytime their portion of the artistic endeavor is released then why not the music rights holders? Both sides are just trying to maximize their profits and both are equally greedy, so I don't understand the majority of the venom going at the music rights holder when it should be equally dispersed to the studio's, in my opinion.

As stated before, each situation is probably unique. It is quite possible that some music rights holders may feel they got the shaft when they initially negotiated with the studios from the beginning not knowing how much profits the studios would get or how integral their music would be, and this is their chance to recoup. Maybe it is just the studios being cheap. How do we know the fees are ridiculous?

I'm not in the in know so I can't say for sure but I think many are just hypothesizing anyways. I just think the studios should be held just as accountable for this fiasco. So far I think we have only heard from the studio's their spin, which is rights were too costly. Maybe we need someone to shed some light on the subject from the other side because if the music industry is seen as crooked, I don't think the movie industry is any different.

#14 of 36 OFFLINE   vnisanian2001

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Posted August 08 2009 - 09:15 AM




 Maybe it is just the studios being cheap. How do we know the fees are ridiculous?

Which is exactly the reason why I don't believe that Fox tried so hard to get the rights to Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (Which was heard in a Christmas episode from the first season of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") but couldn't.


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#15 of 36 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 08 2009 - 09:17 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR ">
 
That's a false analogy (which are very popular with Defenders of Corner-Cutting on this board), and one of the worst I have heard yet in the ongoing attempt to rationalize and defend this garbage. We are not talking about completely unrelated items. If a person does not own a mansion, yacht, or luxury car, that is not an alteration of a person like changing the music is an alteration of an artwork. And if they charge more than the market will bear, they will get hurt because even people who can afford luxury items will stop buying them.

But there have been standardized musical synchronization fees in other media. We need it for home video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveHof 

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.


#16 of 36 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted August 08 2009 - 09:39 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewA View Post
Exactly. Why should the studios or fans of the show be gouged to stroke the ego and feed the greed of some Tin Pan Alley hack who can't even rhyme moon with June? And what about the rights of the studios to keep their artwork unmolested?
 
Until evidence is provided to show otherwise I think it is just the fans that are being gouged to stroke the ego of the greedy. Which is how it typially goes. You need to provide much more information that the studios won't provide anyway to show that they are actually being gouged and not just being overly cheap and greedy.

And if the studio's want complete control of their product then they shouldn't license other's work to incorporate. Otherwise they have no rights beyond what the original license stated. If it ends up molested it is a decision made by the studio to do so because they no longer want to honor or redo the license.

I have yet to see concrete evidence to say that the fees required to retain the music rights are ridiculous in relation to what profits the studios have gained and continue to gain through the continued release of the product. Until we do how can anyone point fingers one way or another?

My stance is that they are both suspect (studio and music industry) regarding these issues because I've seen nothing to let either one off the hook. If anyone has evidence to show that one side or the other is actually not being cheap or greedy then they need to provide it.

"But there have been standardized musical synchronization fees in other media. We need it for home video." Could you provide examples of this? I would like to know more to see how it relates.





#17 of 36 OFFLINE   smithb

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Posted August 08 2009 - 10:02 AM

MathewA,

I'm curious, you put all the blame for these music issues on the music industry and appear to completely exhonerate the studio's of any wrong doing. Why? On what basis do you relieve them of responsibility?

#18 of 36 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 08 2009 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewA View Post

That's a false analogy (which are very popular with Defenders of Corner-Cutting on this board), and one of the worst I have heard yet in the ongoing attempt to rationalize and defend this garbage.

 

I'm not defending music replacment at all. I'm saying that the owner of any thing shouldn't have to sell it at a price set by someone else. If you own something, you get to decide what you want to sell it for.

The studio paid to use the song on a TV broadcast and they got what they paid for. If they want to use it again, they have to pay for it again. Unfortunately, no one could have predicted the explosion of TV on DVD but that doesn't mean that a studio gets to invent some clause where they get to use someone else's property and give the owner a price for it that was just pulled from the sky.


#19 of 36 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted August 08 2009 - 10:45 AM


Quote:
If anyone has evidence to show that one side or the other is actually not being cheap or greedy then they need to provide it.
Which is not the way we normally deal with accusations, is it? 

I'm not MatthewA, but here's a thought: studios are the middle-man in this respect. If more is asked for the music rights, they can simply add the appropriate amount (assuming they have a hunch how many copies they will be able to sell) to the price. Can't they?

Except of course, that we the consumer will cry foul if we think the price is getting too high, accuse the studios of extravagant pricing (greed) and as a group refuse to buy the product (diminish the sales). Yes that's even a vicious circle (it reduces the number of copies sold) and indeed it diminishes the possible profit of the studios - but I would hardly rank concern about that last aspect that under "greedy and cheap".

(While the receiver of the fee for the music rights isn't bothered by the sales figures: he/she already received a fixed sum! It's the studios who are taking and faced with the commercial risk.)


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#20 of 36 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted August 08 2009 - 11:46 AM

Or they could just keep the price the same, or even (Heaven forbid anyone ever actually does this) cut prices in order to increase potential sales volume to make up for the lost margins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smithb View Post

MathewA,

I'm curious, you put all the blame for these music issues on the music industry and appear to completely exhonerate the studio's of any wrong doing. Why? On what basis do you relieve them of responsibility?
I don't totally relieve them of responsibility, but because they're the ones getting charged unreasonable fees for overpriced junk music, and they're the ones who get hurt financially if fans boycott a release with music replacements. However, I do blame the studios when they systematically cut things without bothering to ask what it would cost (as it seems Paramount does with almost every show they own).

A music publisher has nothing to lose by lowering the price to something reasonable. If he tries to gouge the studio and they refuse to participate in the attempted shakedown, the publisher gets nothing, the studio cuts the song, and nobody wins. If the publisher agrees to a more reasonable fee ($20,000 is a rip-off for a whole song, never mind a few bars of a song), and the studio agrees, the publisher gets paid, the studio can keep the song, and everybody wins.

That would require the actors to act in a rational manner.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I will not support anything your company produces until then.