LucasFilm Steps In On Star Wars Theory’s Vader Fan Film Controversy

After two days of fan drama (some going overboard without thinking, with some being rational), LucasFilm has stepped in to deal with the Warner Chappell Claim on Star Wars Theory’s Fan Film. And it’s was a happy ending with Star Wars Theory posting a video that LucasFilm has “enforced” the removal of the claim:

The Fan Film had already made waves through the internet, during it’s first few days it was the 2nd trending video on YouTube, which now stands at at nearly 7 Million views. But on January 13th the self funded Fan Film was hit with a copy right claim from Warner Chappell Music, due to a rendition of John Williams “The Imperial March”. Which Warner Chappell Music owns the licensing rights too.

Warner/Chappell own the rights and royalties to the music given they took 20th Century Fox’s catalogue in the 80s (including Star Wars). With Disney being mentioned in the YouTube claim because they have a deal with EMI to use the music, and EMI regularly pay royalities to Warner/Chappell to use that music.

It would appear though earlier today Star Wars Theory may have attempted to appeal the claim, which was denied after reviewing. With Warner Chappell deciding that their copyright claim was still valid.

Though now that LucasFilm has stepped in, the claim has been dropped. (See they do care) This maybe due to both the fan reaction to the claim and the agreement Star Wars Theory had when requesting permission for the creation of his passion project. LucasFilm gave him rules to follow such as:

  • The Fan Film had to be made from his own money.
  • That the Fan Film could NOT be funded via a Crowd Funding
  • He would NOT be allowed payback from making the Fan Film.
  • The Fan Film could NOT be monetised, due to featuring their IP.

He did keep to those rules.

Warner Chappell is known to be very notorious when it comes to copyright claims, with Star Wars Youtuber Battlefront Updates even addressing how “bad or evil” they are. As Warner Chappell had went through his entire Channel, claiming many videos that has soundtracks sounding similar to anything Star Wars. Starting with videos with the highest view count.

Manually claiming videos is in fact a job in the industry. And that job is called a “Digital Rights Administrator”. Now I’ll be using (for this part of the article) information from Universal’s Music Group Careers. So as you can see from the link provided, this is from their site:

UMG’s Digital Rights Administration team is dedicated to monitoring and monetizing content on digital platforms.  We are currently seeking eager and exceptional new hires to focus exclusively on managing UMG assets on YouTube. The team’s goal is to maximize value from the rights of UMG’s recording artists in the digital space through content claiming.

Job Functions:

  • Establish an in-depth understanding of YouTube’s Content Management System (“CMS”) and its relation to the protection and exploitation of UMG music on YouTube
  • Increase advertising revenue by exploring YouTube for popular User Generated Content (“UGC”) and claiming videos that incorporate UMG recordings
  • Manage and assess the accuracy of sound recording-related data in CMS
  • Review videos that have been automatically claimed as UMG property by YouTube’s Content ID system and determine the accuracy of those claims
  • Track uses of the UMG catalogue and take appropriate steps to evaluate and take action on any infringing videos
  • Work with UMG repertoire owners, distributed labels to guarantee the satisfactory use of their recordings, as well as with third-parties to resolve claim disputes and ownership conflicts
  • Field inquiries from YouTube users regarding unauthorized exploitations of UMG content and provide detailed rationale explaining the removal of any user-uploaded video
  • Communicate with other rights holders to resolve disputes and conflicts relating to the ownership of UMG recordings
  • Surface any issues encountered while using the CMS tool and UMG internal systems to team operations lead and coordinate to develop solutions
  • Engage with other UMG departments as needed, helping to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of our claiming activities
  • Provide UMG staff and/or stakeholders with detailed reports highlighting relevant analytics supplied by YouTube, including summaries of monetized and blocked videos

As as you can see, from some of these “Job Functions” you get an idea of what happened to Star Wars Theory’s Vader Fan Film and Battlefront Updates videos. Just someone in an office at Warner Cheppell doing a job they’ve been told to do.

Star Wars Theory has requested that Fans, give their thanks to LucasFilm for stepping in and getting Warner Chappell’s claim removed. Which I’d also encourage.

But I do think some damage has been done. Not on Star Wars Theory’s or Disney’s or LucasFilm’s part but on Warner Chappell’s. As their claim cause a major shit storm in the Star Wars Community. Which some shit stirring Channels like Geek’s + Gamers, ComicArtistPro Secrets, That Star Wars Girl, and more took advantage of. Any excuse to create a clickbait video to spread misinformation to whip up a frenzy. As Yoda would put it, it’s the quick and easy way, and when you go down that path it consumes you. It’s just hate and anger, for days, weeks, months and by the looks of things years.

So let LucasFilm know, thank them for stepping in and sorting out Warner Chappell’s mess. Star Wars Theory has stated that Episode II of his Vader Fan Film will be happening, which he assures will be a real banger….

 Yep, Darth Vader vs Jedi Master Mace Windu. We’ll be awaiting this with great interest. Hopefully Star Wars Theory won’t have to face Warner Chappell’s wrath again. Just don’t have to many John Williams’ nods and you should be fine. All the best for Episode II.

Written by: Connor Heggie