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Unsurprising News of the Day: Inspector Spacetime Webseries Sued Into Oblivion By NBC

All this has happened before...

Doctor Who fan and Community fan Travis Richey must have been through the roof when he got the small part of playing the lead in a very short joke on Community. One where Abed needed a new television show to be obsessed with and, in desperations, his friends showed him Inspector Spacetime, a half-century old, nearly continuously running low budget science fiction show about a mysterious humanoid alien travels through space and time in machine that looks like a London phone booth but is bigger on the inside.

Well, at least we’re pretty sure he was excited, because after the overlapping Community and Doctor Who communities started, completely of their own volition, to flesh out the fake-universe of Inspector Spacetime, he decided that it would be really cool if somebody could actually produce more episodes of the series. So, naturally, he started a Kickstarter project.

And things were going swimmingly, with about half the money raised, when NBC’s lawyers got in touch with him, with some undoubtedly stern words. The project isn’t going to be shut down, but neither is it going to be calling itself Inspector Spacetime any more. Here’s Richey’s statement:

Lawyers from Sony and NBC have contacted me demanding that I cease production on an Inspector Spacetime web series.

Though I firmly believe the law would be on my side in producing this parody, I have no wish or ability to fight a show that I love as much as “Community.”  I had hoped that they would embrace what is essentially a fan film and appreciate the value it adds to the character, and the audience that we would bring who are finding “Community” for the first time through this character, but alas, that’s not the case.  So, I will be removing all references to Inspector Spacetime from this series (it only happened in the title anyway), and altering the appearance of the Inspector so that he does not look like Inspector Spacetime.  What remains is 100% the creation of myself, my writing partner, and you, the fans.

If you would still be interesting in seeing the series that would have been Inspector Spacetime, I appreciate your support.

It’s the mark of a truly dedicated fan that you wouldn’t even be willing to fight the lawyers of the parent company of the show you love (although I’m sure the cost of such a legal battle was also a significant concern). Richey is now calling the project “Untitled Webseries About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time” but otherwise going ahead as planned.

What’s interesting to note here is that I doubt NBC would have defended their rights to the Inspector Spacetime name if they didn’t think that they might, at some point, capitalize on it in some way. Whether that’s just releasing some merch or doing their own show/webseries thing, or doing nothing at all and just squatting on the IP, there’s no way to tell.

(via Topless Robot.)

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