There are a ton of fan films out there, and most get little attention outside of a core fanbase. Most are not made for money, but are just a labor of love. According to CBR on Oct. 8, Marvel Comics is taking one fan film seriously and has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the filmmaker.
The movie is called “The Dead Can’t be Distracted” and is a fan film based on The Punisher. Marvel sent filmmaker Mike Pecci the cease-and-desist letter ordering him to stop the “unauthorized use, advertising, sale and/or distribution of any production of The Punisher or any other Marvel character-based films."
This is funny, seeing as how Thomas Jane made a Punisher fan film and actually had it screened at Comic-Con.
Here is the problem. Most fan films are just made and thrown up online and a few people enjoy it while others dismiss it. Sometimes, fans decide it was better than the big budget movie efforts. But, at the end of the day, they are fan films made for fun.
No one will make any money off of them unless they have adsense hooked up to their YouTube account, and in that case YouTube and adsense can block the ability to make money. At the same time, Marvel Comics wants to protect their properties and believe that these fan films can “confuse” people in thinking they authorized it.
What is interesting is that Pecci reached out to Marvel’s legal team after getting the cease-and-desist and they refused to respond back to him. As a result, he reached out to Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto, the men who created the Punisher story he adapted in his fan film, and they actually gave him positive feedback.
It will be curious to see how Marvel Comics reacts to that.