The other day the internet was blessed with Adi Shankar and Joseph Kahn’s bootleg POWER/RANGERS. Little did anyone know it would make such waves. From 4.5 million views in 24 hours to VIMEO & YouTube removing the video, celebrity shout outs and celebrity call outs, threats of being sued by Saban, and a whole boatload of attention for a fan made film. What does this mean for directors and artist as they try to make a name for themselves only to be struck down by a larger entity?

Getting the material out to the masses is a struggle any director or artist deals with at some point or another in their career. When I look at the POWER/RANGERS film I see a group of extraordinary people who came together for a project people would relate to and want to share with their friends. In addition they released it for free because fans deserve nice things.

“Remember don’t give anyone money to download POWER/RANGERS short. I made it to give to you for free. You deserve nice things”.  Joseph Kahn

When I first watched the POWER/RANGERS bootleg I instantly was hooked on the idea of seeing the Rangers all grown up. I am going to go out on a limb and say a lot of other people were hooked as well since the video had over 4.5 million views in 24 hours and before being taken down on YouTube had over 10 million views. When a film like this is released a many people think it is a pitch for some full length dark POWER/RANGERS feature film. As soon as people are done watching the film they are thinking “Where is the kickstarter?” but little do they know these fan films are a one and done kind of deal. These films are released for the sole purpose to tease fans about the “what if” and “where are they now” scenarios.

The film was so well received Amy Jo Johnson, the original Kimberly/ Pink Ranger, went to social media to share her enjoyment for the film and her respect to Katte Sackhoff for her role as Kimberly.

The film is  dark and Amy Jo Johnson understood the film is not intended for kids. The film was labeled as a dark reimagination and NSFW; so there was no surprise the film was not intended for all ages. Jason David Frank, the original Green Ranger, who is currently in line of getting a role in the upcoming Lionsgate reboot had different feeling than his former costar. Frank explained in an interview he is not into doing R-rated material since their are still kids who are watching this Power Rangers on Nickelodeon. He felt the bootleg can resonate with the older fans who grew up with the TV program but they need to be responsible about the Power Ranger brand. This might explain why Frank wants to be the legit Green Ranger in the Lionsgate film. I can understand where Frank is coming from but I am one of the old school MMPR fans who wanted to see the dark reimagination. Another person or I should say company who liked the movie but didn’t want to get in trouble was Vimeo.

Vimeo had the POWER/RANGERS film as a Staff Pick with around 300K views before they took the film down because Saban wanted the film shut down. Saban owns the rights to Power Rangers and did not like the bootleg and they seem to be going to great lengths to shut the film down. The whole situation seems unfair because it is unfair. For Saban to come in and harass directors like Kahn puts an umbrella of fear around other creative minded people from expressing their art. The problem artists face are the questions about copyright material, fan made films, and then sharing this material. Saban filed a copyright infringement complaint which led to Vimeo removing the video. This led Kahn to rebuttal by stating POWER/RANGERS is a fan film protected by his right to free speech. All content was original, the project was self funded, and the film was released for free making no profit. As I am writing this article Kahn received more news; Saban has now pulled POWER/RANGERS from YouTube. I hope those interested were able to watch one if not both versions of the fan film before it was recently taken down.

“Is it illegal to give a pic I drew of a character on a napkin to someone for free? No.” Joseph Kahn

Power Rangers attack on Saban

My Power Rangers Drawing

Adi Shankar set out wanting to make a bad ass film about one of his favorite shows growing up and had director Joseph Kahn make this a reality for all fans to enjoy for free. Shankar is familiar with the popularity of these fan films as he has produced a couple before POWER/RANGERS; Dirty Laundry and Truth In Journalism. Both of his first films were about characters in popular comics, Punisher and Venom, but neither of the first two films received such harassment from the copyright holders.

I ask artists and fans to pay attention to this story because this affects everyone. This is a big awakening for artists who make a living on fan art whether you are drawing & selling your superhero prints at Comic Cons, covering another band’s song, or making fan films. Where will the big corporations stop? We have just witnessed an artist self fund a project for fans to enjoy only to be stomped by the wallet of a big conglomerate. Don’t live in fear of big companies crushing your dreams. Keep going out and creating amazing pieces of art we can enjoy. Take risks with your projects and don’t be afraid to push beyond your current boundaries.

So let your imagination run wild and see if you can top this bootleg. We would love to see what you come up with on Artist View

 

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