Lucasfilm to Provide Star Wars Video Clips for Fans

Star Wars Darth VaderThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Lucasfilm is going to put video clips from Star Wars on its website tomorrow that fans will be able to use on social networking websites. Lucasfilm is also going to place -- or link to -- video mixing software from Eyespot Corp. of San Diego that will allow fans to modify the Star Wars and combine them with other audio and video clips.
In essence, Lucasfilm is going to legitimize and streamline a pastime that has become increasingly popular on the Web. A search for "Star Wars" on YouTube, for example, turns up some 98,000 results, many of them videos drawing on original content from the movies. But on third-party video sites, Lucasfilm executives "can't control it, and they can't monetize it," says Jim Kaskade, Eyespot's chief executive officer.

While Lucasfilm could fight what amounts to the theft of its property, it has now decided to take the opposite tack. In doing so, it is tackling an issue that faces all media companies today: how to keep some semblance of control over intellectual property in the digital age.

"We see what's going on at YouTube," says Jeffrey Ulin, senior director for distribution and business affairs at Lucasfilm, who says the company began to think about allowing mash-ups last summer. "We see what's going on out there on the Web generally. And we wanted fans to come to Starwars.com as the center of fan activity." Currently, he estimates, the site attracts about two million unique monthly visitors; he anticipates the new content will boost traffic significantly.

The clips, which run up to 60 seconds long, will assemble memorable moments from the movies, grouped under categories like "Leia Confronts Vader" and "The Lost Limbs" -- the latter a collection of various characters' limbs getting the chop. One category devoted to a much-maligned lizard-like character from the three "Star Wars" prequels urges fans: "Don't be shy. Here's your chance to edit Jar Jar."
Lucasfilm has been a savvy suporter of online fan videos as you might remember from the Stephen Colbert Jedi Video Editing Challenge. A current Star Wars search on YouTube returns 92,000+ results. The WSJ said Lucasfilm is expecting a traffic boost from posting the video clips and that is very likely as video sharing fans stop by to check out and use the clips.

Posted on May 24, 2007

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