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An Open Letter to The Fred Rogers Company

by ScreenCraft on April 4, 2018

To Whom it May Concern at The Fred Rogers Company / Family Communications,

I have just learned from my friend Adi Shankar that you filed a copyright complaint via YouTube, suspending our short film, Mr. Rogers: A War Hero, on Adi Shankar's Bootleg Universe channel.

This is a work of art from the minds of emerging writer-director Kenlon Clark and producer Adi Shankar. Kenlon was the grand prize winner of the ScreenCraft Bootleg Universe Short Screenplay Competition back in 2016. This short film was a labor of love, produced on a shoestring budget provided by the award, and inspired by the real-life hero that Fred Rogers was to millions of children and parents. The short film is simultaneously a sincere homage to Mr. Rogers and a comedic parody of an urban legend.

We respectfully disagree with your copyright complaint. You have no right to stifle the artistic creation of an emerging creative talent with a formal copyright complaint to YouTube. Mr. Rogers is a celebrated public figure, and this short film is clearly a noncommercial work of art reinterpreting and paying homage to a beloved icon.

As you may know, Adi Shankar's Bootleg Universe has been the target of take-down demands by Saban Entertainment for his re-interpretation of Power Rangers, and by MGM Studios for his re-interpretation of James Bond -- in both cases, Adi Shankar's films were re-instated by YouTube, based on First Amendment principles and Fair Use doctrine.

For your consideration and a bit more background on this film, please consider this behind-the-scenes film which includes commentary from writer-director Kenlon Clark and producer Adi Shankar about the making of Mr. Rogers: A War Hero:

Our sole mission at ScreenCraft is to support the careers of talented emerging screenwriters and filmmakers. Kenlon Clark has a unique voice as a screenwriter and he is a superbly talented filmmaker whose artistic work deserves to be seen and not thwarted by copyright claims which infringe on the filmmaker's rights under Fair Use doctrine to use Mr. Rogers' name and likeness for noncommercial purposes of cultural commentary, comedic parody and art.

John Rhodes

ScreenCraft co-founder

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