I'm sure Lucasfilm loves the online world of Star Wars. They get tons of free publicity, as well as hanging onto fans of the franchise for years. I remember finding a chapter one day in my marketing class for my undergrad business degree highlighting Star Wars for it's "unique marketing plan" to keep the franchise alive after years of inactivity. There's much to be said for that, including the marketing wizards that enable webmasters and sites like us to use images, names and more from the franchise with few limitations, as long as we don't do it for profit.
Many times we get emails from up and coming fans who ask us how to make a cool Star Wars site. We often suggest our motto, "update the site, then update the site again," and also have to make a casual reminder that it's important not to profit from the site in any way.
So it causes many to ask: "Why are there ads on TheForce.Net?" Our simple reply is this: It would cost over $100,000 in hosting alone EACH YEAR for a site of this magnitude. We have a simple arrangement so that the revenue of the site covers the costs of hosting and related expenses of the site. In addition, we've even given almost $10,000.00 to charity this past Christmas because we realize that we cannot profit from Star Wars.
I have to say though that I didn't care for the ads on the Official Site that popped up recently. Although I don't like it myself, it may be intelligent for Starwars.com to have advertisements on their site, due to the overwhelming costs associated with staff and hosting a heavily trafficked-domain. I've always hate the ad banner load times and the stark contrast to the general 'feel' of their great site, but they serve a purpose in serving the online community more effectively. Imagine the benefit we the fans could get with the influx of, say, an additional million bucks to the budget of the Official Site. If of course, that's where they decide to direct the new revenue stream. More staff, more pictures, more set report, more updates, more coolness.
But anyone other than them who uses the trademarks of Star Wars for their own gain is in serious jeopardy of being shut down, as well as having an effect on the rest of the sites. Having Ebay-style profiteering, promotion of bootleg material, pocketing ad money for personal gain and other forms of profiting are all strictly forbidden in the current system. Some sites may try to get around the mandate by selling CDs with Star Wars content as well, including trailers, images and scripts. Ever wonder why we cannot sell TROOPS on video or the other selections in the TFN Theater? As much as we'd like to, it's just not possible.
And that's more than fair. Sure, they've made a killing off all of us fans over the course of the last 25 years, but that gives us no right to make a gain off of their work. Perhaps some would disagree, but it's clear that LFL has the rights to the profits, and all income generated from their property. So in a word, don't pocket the money or it could affect us all.
If Lucasfilm decided to exercise their copyright rights on the Internet, all Star Wars fan sites that are currently pocketing money could be in jeopardy. It could be a catastrophe for Star Wars fandom, and something we definitely don't want to happen.
There's no doubt Lucasfilm loves the online world of Star Wars, despite the quirks and passion of the ever-evolving medium and webmasters. They've managed to breathe new life into a wonderful franchise and enabled us to use freely all sorts of materials with few limitations, as long as we don't do it for profit.
And not doing that will profit everyone.
04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial
09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions
12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"
12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - TheForce.net Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace
12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1
11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference
12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars