austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Well it's Saturday night and I'm still free

Meanwhile, I've had the delight of a nice juicy scandal that's got nothing to do with the FurAffinity buyout or, as far as I can determine, any looming fandom RaceFail or GenderFail. It's a bit startling and kind of refreshingly old-fashioned to see.

A couple years back two guys figured to go into the boutique pinball manufacture business, which it turns out is a real but small outpouring of economic activity people can participate in. Their plan was to get a license to make 250 tables based on the Predator movies, and after a modest number of hiccoughs in getting the funding together things started moving pretty well: they got a license from 20th Century Fox, they started making prototype tables, they drew in a decent bit of money for deposits, showed off the work in progress at pinball expos, all going tolerably well.

And then the ``and then'' part began: progress started slowing. One of the partners left. Questions about the game's progress were answered more vaguely, if at all. Eventually all mention of the game was purged from the boutique's web site, and this produced exactly the flame wars within the pinball online community that you would imagine. And this, by the way, was the deep, confusing turn about somebody we don't know that we learned about last Marvin's League. I had thought it was a simple matter of taking deposits and not returning work; it's rather deeper than that.

A couple folks got curious enough about the license issue that they found the agency, Fox Licensing and Merchandising Corporation, that handles 20th Century Fox's intellectual property licensing --- apparently a bit of an ordeal, possibly so that they don't have to handle too many obviously stupid requests --- and learned that nobody at Fox Licensing and Merchandising had heard of any of this, and that no, of course there wasn't a licensed Predator pinball. Well.

As you can imagine this has made the scandal all the more fun, with a sometimes overheated (and not perfectly clear) WordPress blog apparently from the (choosing-to-be anonymous) investigators who found the shocking news out, a rather clearer summary of the whole scandal from Pinball News, and the awareness that had nobody gone to Fox and asked if there were a license, there's a fair chance that the boutique would have got away with making these unlicensed games.

I haven't dipped much into the forums directly, but I do gather that among all the finger-pointing there's quite a bit of anger at the folks who contacted Fox, and so apparently triggered a series of strongly worded Cease and Desist orders. I believe this; people can forgive almost any kind of sin, as long as it isn't whistleblowing.

Trivia: 42 percent of the deputies elected to the Prussian parliament in 1849 were bureaucrats. Source: 1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe, Peter N Stearns.

Currently Reading: A History Of Money, E Victor Morgan.

Tags: pinball
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