Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A different kind of remix

There used to be this wonderful show on television called Mystery Science Theater 3000 which I'm sure many out there have seen.  For those not familiar with the show, it featured movies that weren't that well known (usually old science fiction movies, and always terrible in quality) being mercilessly riffed by a man and two robots, whose silhouettes were superimposed on the screen.  In order to do this though and not be sued for copyright violations, the creators had to pay for the rights to air the films.  While the show enjoyed a good run of nine season's the cost eventually outweighed the worth in advertising for the Sci-fi channel, which aired it at the time it was dropped.  However, it lives on in a much different form.
  Initially, Mike Nelson, the host of MST3K, wanted continue the show in the form of a direct to DVD format, but didn't for fear of being, "sued out of existence".  However, there is no law against making a recording of the appropriate disparaging remarks and creating a media player that would automatically sinc the appropriate dvd (once it has been inserted into a computer's dvd drive of course) with said recording.  This is exactly what he did and MST3K lives on today in the form of Rifftrax.  It should be noted that another advantage of this format has enabled Nelson to riff more high profile movies, which would almost certainly require truly astronomical royalties to sell on dvd with commentary.  


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