Monday, October 16, 2006

New discoveries about the Green Dragons Society and Internet Dojo Copyright Wars?


Got an email asking me if I knew that the lineage of the Green Dragon school may have been descended from Ku Yu Cheung. If this is true that is some serious background. Ku Yu Cheung was one of the legendary Iron Palm practitioners. Yu-Cheung was said to have the most devastating iron palm in the history, matched by, no one. He could break more than ten brick blocks with one strike.

Ku Yu Cheung is like the REAL "fist of legend." I am going to add this to my other little wrap up leads to follow. I also got the right spelling for Ta Shia, or "Shen Ta Shia" and found out the correct spelling of the Ta Shia's name. It is Douglas Nowokunski.

Here is an image from harmoniousfist.com showing Master Cheung breaking 10 bricks with his iron palm. Now I know some of you UFC and JKD types are going to give me the "...boards(or bricks) don't hit back" line. I am just reporting on who's who for the time being. We can get into our little stylistic arguements AFTER the film comes out. Anyway, wanna sit under a masters iron palm just for kicks. You can tell me if it hurts.

I do appreciate the email I get from people. I have been contacted by people from all over the world and recieved info from alll over the country and England. This continues to be a great supplement to my research.

BDFS Fall River threatens me with a Cease and Desist Order
Meanwhile I got an email this morning telling me the Internet Dojo Copyright Wars are heating up again at CountDante.com. I am supposed to be receiving a cease and desist order due to some footage of Dante I got from England and used in my promotional trailer (bomb it while you are there) to help me raise awareness about the project. It comes from some 8mm film footage. Bill Aguiar III says it belongs to him. Fair enough, if that is true. I asked his lawyer exactly a year ago for an inventory of images and film footage available in the archive of the BDFS. I never got a reply. So what am I ceasing and desisting from?

Mr. Aguiar wants me to sign a Trademark agreement, as I understand it, promising him $10,000 when the film is finished. I am willing to negotiate, when I get to that point, for licensing images and film footage that he alone has in his possession and rights too.

As he said in his post, he knows I "don't have squat." I do have a working email and phone that is freely available to anyone who wants to call, including bill collectors(they too know I "don't have squat"). Doesn't take much effort to call a brother up and explain the situation.

Heretofore. I have heard nothing from Mr. Aguiar or his lawyers since my email over 8 months ago outlining my willingness to pay for archival materials and the conditions under which I would do so.

98% of all materials on Dante I have came from Chicago people, old magazines and newspapers. I can easily complete the film without any imagery from the BDFS. That is not what I want to do. But I am not going to be stuck up over vaporous archival material. There is enough information in Massachusetts newspapers to allow me to tell the Fall River story. All archives offer at least watermarked copies so you can see what you are buying. Even the Newspaper will pull paper copies for me.

What a way to start my morning.


As I keep saying over and over and over again, I want to make the best film I can about the man John Keehan and the times he lived in, and chronicle the social history of American Midwestern martial arts in the course of it all.

Simple enough...





9 comments:

Mike Schremp said...

Well said floyd. It appears that the BDFS website has imploded. I know that you are trying to make the best film that you can and can't wait to see it. Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Floyd if you weren't doing a good job they wouldn't want to sue. Good job!

I'll keep you posted when I hear more from the "Church".

Hey Bill, truth hurts doesn't?
Yet it sets us free.

Master C. P.

John said...

Floyd, although I am as excited as anyone else to see a documentary on the Count get made ( I really am), I must say your request to Bill's lawyer seems rather ridiculous. Send you a letter telling you all the stuff that is copyrighted? Can you imagine? I imagine such a list would look like this:

1. Dante in gi posing
2. Dante in gi posing
3. Dante in gi posing with student
4. Dante in in street clothes posing
5. Dante in gi posing

Get my point? As far as being able to distinguish what Bill owns and doesn't own, think of it this way... if it was published or written by the Count, Bill owns it. And you HAVE broken a few in your trailers. For example, I saw Dante's "House of Dante" logo in one. In another trailer (or maybe the same one) you used photos taken from the "Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets" of the Count performing the "Dance of Death". Both of these things Bill DOES own the copyrights/trademarks to.

From what Bill has told me, it is you that has been avoiding him, not the other way around. And as far as making the film with or without Bill, that's really not a good idea. It would be a waste of all this time, effort and money to have a judge put an injunction (is that what it's called?) on the film a month before it's released, stopping it from being released at all.

Besides Floyd, you have no idea what you will be giving up unless you meet with Bill. For example, Bill has an hour of full-color video footage of Count Dante, not only performing the "Dance of Death" but also fighting against some wrestler. Tell me that footage wouldn't make this film solid gold! And that's only the tip of the iceberg to what Bill has. And even that doesn't include the stories and inside knowledge.

I think all your talk of finishing the film this spring, and yet you haven't even emailed Bill to tell him you'll be stopping in on Fall River, is making him extra nervous. Set an approx. meet date with him and it will cool his nerves. As far as he see’s things currently, you already have no intention of meeting with him. Prove him wrong.

I am behind you on this film. It's long overdue and you seem to be doing a great job with it, but you really need to get Bill on your side or it's going to end in misery for you... and disappointment for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Actually, in ascertaining the value and ownership of archival collections for use in film or print, what Floyd is asking for is standard operating procedure. Webb would be a fool to pay $10,000 for materials that he hasn't seen and the request makes Mr. Aguiar III come off as little more than a shakedown artist.

I used to oversee permissions for big city daily newspaper. I often had to field requests from the History Channel, CBS, and publishers both small and large for photos and pages of the paper for various pieces of media that were being produced. Sometimes we'd have to scan several photos just so the TV producers could know what we had and if it was worth paying the paper for. If I had stonewalled CBS up front, they would have just stopped calling me and the paper would have been out small pieces of revenue for materials that were just gathering dust.

If Aguiar wants to publish a book or produce any other media with third parties, he is at some point, going to have to show someone, somewhere, the visuals that he has access to. No publisher will work with him if he doesn't.

John said...

Bill's problem with Floyd isn't for material that Bill owns and that Floyd hasn't used yet. It's for materials that Bill owns and Floyd has already used, but didn't have permission to use. What would the newspaper you worked for do in that situation?

floyd webb said...

How do I know who owns what? This footage was mailed to me from abroad on VHS, the UK to be exact. When I see a visual inventory of materials legally owned by Bill Aguiar III then we can solve this problem. How do I know who own what without a visual inventory? What if the guy who sent it to me from the UK decides he owns it?

Anonymous said...

John,

The newspaper would have never ended up in the predicament that Mr. Aguiar has found himself in. Most of the requests that I fielded were for use of pages of the paper in either books or visual media. In that case, it was pretty obvious to anyone that said pages, headlines, mastheads, etc. were from the newspaper and therefore protected under its copyrights. In the case of photo files, they were in the possession of the newspaper so the only way that The History Channel, CBS or any publishers would know what we had was if I cooperated with them. A producer would call my desk and ask if we had any photos of, let’s say, the Eiffel Tower, we either would be able to help them or we wouldn’t. If we did assist them, I’d pull the photo file, scan lower rez (therefore unusable in print or film) jpegs of them and send them along with a rate card so the producers could ascertain their need for what we had. What we never did was attempt to charge a $10K fee up front without showing what was available.

Mr. Aguiar probably needs to think of risks vs. rewards at this point. Publishing and low budget filmmaking are not big money enterprises. (Writing isn’t a way to get rich quick, it’s a way to get paid slow.) The interest in John Keehan is highly limited and a long sell to even a martial arts public that has moved on from Royce Gracie to Matt Hughes already. Aguiar III would have a lot more to gain from being cooperative instead of being punitive at this point, but he and his representatives need to be realistic about just how small, tucked away and forgotten this pie that is the legend of Dante really is.

A Golden Dragon said...

Why can't Mr. Aguiar speak for himself on this subject? I don't see him posting on this blog. Floyd is a good honest man why not talk to him openly Mr. Aguiar?

Hiding behind lawyers and having one of your students to it sounds like something a Green Dragon would do. *Pfft*

Whatever the case, he knows about Floyd and he knows how to make contact in the public eye. As somebody who knows alot Dante, Mr. Aguiar lacks the style and charisma that Dante had. He would have faced this openly. Too bad he's in charge I'm sure Dante would have been pleased (not).

Why doesn't somebody send him this link?

Hmmmmm ....

John said...

Mr Anonymous,

While I agree with almost all of what you said, my point is that Floyd has already used copyrights that are not his to use. His film trailers show photos that were taken directly from the book “Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets”. Bill owns that copyright. End of story.

As far as what material Bill has to offer, I sent Floyd a partial list just last night. The list includes the leather jacket Dante wore the night Koncevik died, his Gi and color video footage of him performing the Dance of Death… and fighting a wrestler (just to name a few). Since Floyd claims that Fall River is on his list of stops, he will be able to see it in person before he makes any offers. There is no need for jpegs. If he really is planning on going to Fall River he can see the stuff in person.

As far as interest in Dante being “limited”, that is just a guess on your part. If this film makes it into theaters it will yield big money, and even if it doesn’t and is sold directly on DVD it will still make big money. There are thousands of Martial Artist world-wide that will want to buy a copy. Floyd isn’t investing all this time and money to end up in the red. But like I said, I agree with you on almost everything you said including the cooperation instead of punitive route. And I personally thank you for your input and well meaning/educated responses.

Golden Dragon,

First of all I am not a student of Bill’s. I am just a long-time friend (of 17 years) defending a friend. (That’s what friends do, right?) As for why Bill doesn’t come here and speak for himself I can’t say. I guess he already said what he thinks needed saying. His father just died in January and he is going through a custody battle for his daughter. Between keeping the school running and working a full-time job besides, he doesn’t have a lot of free time on his hands.

It is not my intention to come her and argue with anyone, so please do not take this wrong. As far as knowing a lot about Dante, it appears it is you that don’t know a lot about Dante. If Dante had saw someone stealing photos from his book, he would have went to the guys house, kicked in his door and crippled him. He wouldn’t have spent time using his “charisma” to charm anyone, and the only “style” the thief would be seeing is Dante’s poison-hand style. That’s a fact! Trust me, Bill Aguiar (Dante’s Godchild, by the way) “knows” Dante. He trains on his mats everyday!

As far as Floyd, I agree. He seems like a real nice guy. Honest, for the most part I agree also, but he is using some copyrighted material in his film so I wouldn’t proclaim him a saint.