John Kricfalusi, creator of the wonderful Ren & Stimpy series and an all around worthwhile fellow to know (and new FM author) just pinged me with the news that YouTube is disallowing his linking of old Bugs cartoons on his site. Why? Because Warner Brothers, who now owns the copyrights, has no idea how powerful a marketing tool John’s blog can be, that’s why. All they want to do is prevent folks who might buy DVDs, merchandise, and view ads next to webisodes of Ren & Stimpy and Bugs from, well, buying DVDs, merchandise, and looking at webisodes of Ren & Stimpy and Bugs. Hey Warner, aren’t you paying any attention to what is happening out here in the real world? You don’t want to upset the creator of Ren & Stimpy, and force YouTube, which is providing a great service, to do the dirty work! Instead, figure out a way to work with the man! He’ll help you sell far more stuff. As he pointed out to me:
“Classic cartoons are my biggest influence. These cartoons are rarely seen on TV anymore and they could be selling them all on home video. Normally, they would have to pay a lot of money to get so much notice that I give them for free…. Mostly I put up clips, not the whole cartoon. Aren’t there “fair use” laws?
Well, yes there are, but they are in full retreat (and that’s another story). But back to this one. John is a leader in the animation world, and his site is where tens of thousands of his rabid fans and influencers in the world of animation hang out. He’s one of the biggest promoters of classic cartoons in the world…Nearly every post gets scores of comments. It’s hardly the equivalent of some teenager ripping off music. John’s posts promote and publicize Warner Brothers cartoons, if anything. In fact, John tells me he’s filmed commentaries for Looney Tunes DVDs – they come to him to help promote the same stuff they are asking him to take down. One hand, meet the other….
If I were Warner, I’d be advertising merchandise and DVDs right alongside those YouTube videos on John’s site. Hell, John is getting something like 100K visits a month, and his traffic is growing rapidly.
Previously: Set Bugs Free!!!