Morgan Dawn (morgandawn) wrote,
Morgan Dawn

Jensenvention: Why We Need To Remember Show Business Is First A Business

Edited: There have been updates on these recent events. More here. But Jensen Ackles attorneys did send a C&D letter against a fan website and a Livejournal community.

I have no idea if any all of what is being reported below is true. In fact, without the facts all of our opinions are just conjecture. But this scenario raises an interesting point I'd like to discuss - what is the real relationship between the media producers (actors/studios) and their fans.

The story so far: The (IMHO funny & offensive) Jensenvention website is offline and the members only spn_petja Livejournal community has been deleted, the site owners are talking C&D letter/lawsuit (with more than just copyright charges being tossed at them), their supporters are locking or deleting their journals. And of course lots and lots of speculation going about.

Here are several opposing viewpoints being offered:

onelittlesleep points out that taking action against a fannish website that offers up an unflattering view of an actor puts all bloggers at risk. (edited - this was one of the few posts supporting the blogging side of the story - but because of the legal fears of the fans behind Jensenvention, her post has been locked by request. But what happened here may have been very much similar to what happened in this case - unflattering satire posted of a public figure/group and a C&D letter was sent to shut it down. Both the EFF and Chilling Effect are reporting that copyright law is being used more and more to silence dissent or criticism - it has become to 'go to first' tool in corporate gunslinging. More here and here)
vinylroad points out that "if I came across that site and comm talking about me and my family that way, I don't think I would be very understanding."
and giandujakiss goes: Huh?! What??? (aka Can we get some more *facts* please?)

But *if* this is a C&D letter/lawsuit against fans *for making unflattering/insulting comments* about Jensen Ackles that is *if* it is being directed by Jensen and/or his agents here are my thoughts:
I think the Jensenvention website was satire. We all have the right to post our satirical opinion about pretty much anything we see in our world - Jensen, the size of Jared's ...nose, the Bush and Congress tragic and epic love affair or the mounting price of cheese. I also think Jensen's lawyers/PR people did the right thing taking it down - satire never plays well in Peoria and it is too easily misunderstood. Plus, as an actor you want to be able to shape your public image as best as you can.

But fans need to remember this:
Show business is a business. Jared and Jensen may be nice people but they (and their handlers) are in it for the money and making a living. They really don't care about fandom's 'good intentions' or "we were just having fun" - but they do care how much money and ratings we bring in. Normally keeping the fans happy and engaged is part of this business model. But we shouldn't be shocked when the business-people leap to slap us with a C&D letter file a lawsuit over something that may - even in the end - bring them bad PR. Jensen and his agents do not hate fans nor do they want to silence all celebration/criticism of the actor. But if that celebration/criticism edges too close to their bottom line - they will take action, PR and fan love be damned.

In short: wise business move that appears to have been poorly executed. The manner in which Jensen's PR team appears to have taken against Jensenvention is short sighted and may cost them some fan support in the long run. But fandom support is not what pays the show business bills - Jared's and Jensen's standing in the industry with the directors and studios first and advertisers ratings draw next - that is what matters.

And last (and I cannot stress this last point strongly enough) - we don't know the full facts behind this and may never. *If* the Jensen Ackles Business Team (TM) filed a lawsuit first simply based on what I saw on the website- not smart tactically, legally or PR-ly. And even if it was only a C&D letter, I would have advised them to try a more low-key approach before reaching for the legal-guns. While shutting down the site may have been a wise business move, would you want to be the actor known as 'that guy who hired lawyers because a few fans called him chubby & illiterate?"

But - and this is the second important but - *if* there are more behind the scenes facts, then all our considered opinions mean nothing.

edited to add: a few more comments second hand on the legal action claims here
More direct source facts on the C&D letter here
I was able to find more facts about the Jensenvention site's contents here.
and last - those of you who cannot get enough of the legal stuff - go here for an overview of C&D letters and parody vs libel/slander.

PS. Nothing posted on my blog or in any of my comments is legal advice. This post provides background on legal issues; it does not provide legal advice. Legal advice is tailored to the facts of your particular situation. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney.
Tags: copyright, fandom, money
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