Eat All the Dicks
– Daniel O’Brien
Like lots of other bloggers, I was shocked to come out of my post-Christmas turkey induced coma to the news, broken by Michael Sieply in the New York Times, that Twentieth Century Fox has succeeded in at least some of their lawsuit against Warner Brothers relating to â€œWatchmenâ€ – a ruling which now puts the proposed March 7th release of the film in jeopardy.
Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do.
– Bob Dylan
Like lots of comic fans, my initial reaction was annoyance â€“ Iâ€™m a tremendous fan of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons original work, and have been looking forward to the film with equal parts anticipation and dread. My bio notes that Iâ€™ve been hired three times to write about comic books for very disparate magazines (all three of which stopped publishing before my first columns ever saw print). It’s a testament to the depth and breadth of â€œWatchmenâ€ that I was able to reference it in all three of my initial columns despite the very different audiences and focus of each. Itâ€™s one of my â€œhookâ€ books to introduce adult readers to comics when they ask me to “recommend something” (although I do occasionally suggest that on first reading one can skip the supplementary text-pieces, and â€œtales from the black freighterâ€ sub-plot – both of which have caused friends of mine to “stall” and not finish the book).
My frustration quickly turned from Fox to the larger press given that since Justice Feess dropped his December 24th surprise order no one was actually reporting on what the case was about, except in vague banalities like “contract dispute”. For copyright and computer law Iâ€™ve been a little bit spoiled by resources like Groklaw â€“ wherein within moments of legal documents being available they have been widely made available and dissected into plain English by eagle-eyed legal beagles. Eaglebegles. Leaglebles.
I canâ€™t offer that, but since no one else seemed to be looking into this, I spent yesterday morning digging through the Byzantine labyrinth of PACER (the US courts electric document filing system) to bring (hopefully) a little meat to this discussion.