(Note: This is a copy/paste. The original source, with links and a very relevant picture, is [link]
-- please share and enjoy!)
"Fanwork… is illegal," posits Phoe of Equestria Daily in her editorial ( [link]
) on the recent shutdown of 'Fighting is Magic'. And she may be right. Intellectual Property laws in the United States are insanely tilted towards the interests of content rights-holders. (Note that I do NOT say "content creators", since in practice, most of the time, the actual CREATORS of content— e.g. Lauren Faust and the animators at DHX/Studio B— do not hold the legal rights to their own creations; larger companies, e.g. Hasbro, do. It's a sad situation, but it's been unfortunate reality for a very long time. See also: Musicians vs. Record Labels. But that's another screed for another time…)
Alright. Irksome, but it seems true enough.
Where Phoe's screed (try saying that five times fast) goes south is where she, for whatever reason, states a blatant and critical untruth about the most obvious and direct means that could have kept Mane6 alive and kicking— Hasbro granting them a (presumably free, presumably highly limited— e.g. "only for this one game") licence to use their characters in their free, not for profit, bloodless, family-friendly fighting game.
"Although the action is cartoony and bloodless, Hasbro could never and would never allow a license to be granted for a game in which their children's entertainment media figures beat the stuffing out of each other." (Which is funny, because if you go to [link]
you will see a clip of the ponies beating the stuffing out of each other ON THE SHOW.)
Stating "Hasbro would never allow a license", in this case, is almost certainly correct, given Hasbro's conservative, "say no by default" nature. Having dealt with Hasbro, I would agree with this statement. That's just how they are. Hasbro are, to put it mildly, jerks. Not as bad as Disney, but pretty bloody bad. (Try asking me some time about how they interfered with existing, signed VA contracts and nearly destroyed BronyCon, leaving me holding the bag for their interference.)
However, saying "Hasbro could never allow a license" is, quite simply, utterly and completely untrue in all ways. It's untrue in the basic, logical sense of the word "could"; it's untrue in the legal sense of the word "could", and it's untrue in the practical sense of "could a business, any business, ever justify doing this".
Let's examine just how this statement is completely incorrect, from all angles. In other words, let's examine how Hasbro COULD, if they WOULD want to (which they, as Phoe correctly notes, never would), licence Mane 6 and allow this wonderful game to live.
Hasbro COULD allow a licence in the basic and literal sense of the word "could"— in other words, it would be literally possible for Hasbro to grant a license to Mane6, all legal, financial, and PR concerns aside. It is within the realm of physical possibility. But… would it be legally possible?
Yes. Hasbro COULD allow a licence in the legal sense of the word "could"— in other words, it would be completely legal for Hasbro to grant a licence to Mane6. It is within the realm of legal possibility. But… would it be practically justifiable, would it be do-able?
Yes. Hasbro COULD allow a licence in the "could we make a business case for this move" sense— call it the sphere of practicality. In other words, it would be easy (in fact, trivial) to state a compelling argument that hinges on the following points:
A) That Fighting Is Magic would not compete with any existing, planned, or likely Hasbro or licenced product, and therefore that licencing Fighting is Magic would not threaten any existing or planned revenue stream for Hasbro.
B) That licencing Fighting Is Magic would not cost Hasbro much money (beyond the basic costs of filing the requisite paperwork), and therefore that licencing it would not generate meaningful financial liabilities for Hasbro.
C) That licencing Fighting Is Magic (a family-friendly, bloodless, cartoon game with G-rated violence very much like what Hasbro themselves have shown on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) would be extremely unlikely to offend Hasbro's shareholders, or the All-Powerful Target Audience of 6-12-year-old (or whatever) girls and their toy-buying parents, as it is— as Phoe noted— "cartoony and bloodless", just like the fight scenes in the show itself.
D) That licencing Fighting Is Magic would generate considerable goodwill among the My Little Pony fan community— goodwill which Hasbro could likely translate into increased product sales.
E) That licencing Fighting is Magic would, in fact, open up the possibility for Hasbro to offer officially licenced Fighting Is Magic merchandise, would they be so inclined. Imagine MadCatz® branded limited-edition Fighting Is Magic fight sticks–– now available for PS3 and Xbox! Why the bloody buck not? Joysticks are a completely legitimate addition to a licenced product empire that already includes wallets, lunchboxes, iPhone cases, panties, headphones, body jewelry and lotions. (Still no """back massagers"""… yet! Hello Kitty/Sanrio's still got one up on ya, H-bro.)
In other words, it's not only possible but legal, practical, and POTENTIALLY PROFITABLE for Hasbro to licence a game like Fighting Is Magic.
AND it would make their secondary audience (bronies) very happy.
AND it would do absolutely nothing whatsoever to alienate the all-powerful, sacred and all-controlling Target Audience (pbuh) of 6-12 year old girls and their toy-buying parents and grandparents.
So, in short:
No, Phoe. No, Equestria Daily. Hasbro most certainly COULD licence a game like Fighting Is Magic.
They just never WOULD.