The continuing saga of Buck Rogers and the Copyright Trolls


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/28/the-continuing-saga-of-buck-ro.html

Back in October 2015 we brought you the story of the Buck Rogers Copyright Trolls, two lawyers who were fighting to keep Buck Rogers from entering the public domain using the discredited Sherlock Holmes system of licensing. Two and a half years later, Louise Geer and Dan Herman are still at it, using every trick in the book to keep a beloved tale out of the public domain, where it firmly belongs. Along the way the pair have stiffed multiple law firms, and currently are abusing a Bankruptcy Court in Pennsylvania in a Hail Mary effort to…well, it’s not exactly clear what they’re trying to do.


#2

What a mess. Sounds like this pair of incompetent parasites with JDs bamboozled the greedy sister into turning the trust into a cash cow for themselves and other lawyers.

As with the estate of Harper Lee, it’s a terrible thing when a beloved cultural piece finds its way into the hands of shysters.


#3

Lorraine Dille, Flint’s sister

Hey, she’s the one who drove Gary Gygax out of TSR and then ran it into the ground!

And made several failed attempts to push Buck Rogers RPGs while she was there, IIRC.


#4

I thought her name sounded familiar.


#5

Thanks. Something was tickling the back of my brain about this, but I didn’t make the connection because she was being referred to by “Dille” instead of “Williams”. After reading the accounts of the destruction of TSR (here’s one) this bio only gives a taste of what an incompetent and arrogant greedhead she is – the perfect mark for sleazebag lawyers:


#6

Considering how most stuff that ends up in the public domain (mainly movies) ends up being, to put it mildly…shitty when made (into a video) by somebody, (usually a low-rent fly-by-night company,) I don’t know if I can be completely angry about this.

I’m thankful that Buck Rogers was NOT made into a movie by Cawley Entertainment Company (the firm behind the fan series Star Trek: Phase II ) due to James’s Cawley’s making his company’s planned version of the property into yet another retro-sci-fi movie with ‘flying phalluses’ (as Ray Bradbury described the spacecraft used and seen in the Martian Chronicles TV miniseries) for spacecraft as this trailer shows, which would most likely been laughed off of the screen, especially to a generation used to the kind of spacecraft design shown in Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and the 1979-1981 TV show version of Buck Rogers (yes, that show wasn’t that good, but at least it had great designs for the spacecraft and not flying phalluses.)

Maybe Geer and Herman are holding out for a better company to make a movie of the property (say, some company like Lucasfilm or Bad Robot) who could do it well and make a contemporary version that looks great and not retro; we’ll have to see.


#7

I don’t think I follow. The vast majority of stuff that ends up in the public domain isn’t movies. Buck Rogers started as a comic book character in the 1930s and has been adapted countless times to other media in the last 80something years—some good, some terrible.

The good adaptations tend to rise to the top. I didn’t notice any particular drop-off in quality of Sherlock Holmes adaptations after that character officially entered the public domain in 2014.


#8

Whoever wins, the lawyers win; eh, Jarndyce and Jarndyce?


#9

As is pointed out in the article the character actually dates to the novella Armageddon 2419, published in 1928. Which would still be covered by copyright in the US if the copyright had been renewed at the time of the expiration of the initial term of 28 years.


#10

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