The People Behind Power Rangers Are Trying To Kill That Gritty Reboot

The People Behind Power Rangers Are Trying To Kill That Gritty Reboot

Yesterday, a fan-made Power Rangers reboot released on video hosting site Vimeo. The video, which showcased a more dark take on Power Rangers, exploded — heaps of people seemed to like it. But not the people who actually make Power Rangers.

Shortly after being up on Vimeo, the Power Rangers film got taken down. Thankfully, people are still able to watch the film on YouTube — but the circumstances around the Vimeo takedown seem dicey. The director of the project, Joseph Kahn, claims that Saban, the makers/owners of Power Rangers, are trying to kill his project:

Today, Vimeo released a statement that sheds some light on what’s going on. Apparently, Saban is claiming the fan project is copyright infringement:

You may be aware that an excellent fan video called POWER/RANGERS was posted to Vimeo recently. We loved it so much we gave it a Staff Pick.

However, we later had to remove it due to a claim of copyright infringement by the company that owns Power Rangers (SCG Power Rangers LLC, a division of Saban).

Lots of Vimeo viewers are understandably upset that they can no longer watch the video, but we’ve noticed that there’s a lot of confusion about why the video was removed. Therefore, I want to clear a few things up:


*** (1) This video was NOT removed because it is NSFW. ***

The video did include some mature content, but it was appropriately rated using our Content Ratings system. Therefore, it was not in violation of our guidelines around mature content.


*** (2) This video was NOT removed because Vimeo determined that it constituted copyright infringement. ***

Like all major video platforms, Vimeo complies with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). You can see our full DMCA policy

In this case, the company that owns the Power Rangers copyright feels that POWER/RANGERS infringes on their intellectual property.

The video creator feels that the video is covered by Fair Use based on the fact that it is non-commercial and satirical.

We agree that an argument for fair use can be made, but the DMCA law does not give content hosts (like Vimeo) permission to disregard a takedown notice simply because of the presence of one or more fair use factors. This is a legal matter between the copyright holder and the video creator.

Vimeo notes that there’s still the possibility that the video can be restored — at the moment, the creator of the Power Rangers reboot has filed a DMCA counter-notification. It’s also possible that Saban could back down, allowing Vimeo to restore the video on their service. What happens from here is up in the air, though the creators of the fan film seem adamant about their case:

According to TMZ, the producer on the fan project, Ash Venkatram, is going to keep the video on YouTube “until he gets a cease and desist.” You can still view it here, if you’d like:

We contacted both Saban as well as the people behind the fan film, and will update this post if we hear back.


  • Frickin’ Saban. If anything, this is doing your Power Rangers brand some good…

    (**EDIT**: 3 hours later, after reading a bunch of measured, non-rage fueled responses, my stance seems to have shifted slightly)

    • How are they ripping off the IP? The creator is making no money from it as he stated and paid for the film out of his own pocket. It’s just a fan film and not really doing any harm except for casting the Powerrangers in a more ‘mature’ light i guess.

      • Whether or not you make money from it makes no difference.

        As for why they would care, it was an up hill battle getting PR accepted as a kid friendly property in the first place. I can understand if they might not want someone to come along and make something this violent one of the top search results for their property.

        • Agree. However it would be nice if a creator of an IP would be cool enough to allow others the use of the world/characters for their own stories e.g. fan fiction, alt versions in short film, etc. Heck, they even have porn versions of different IPs e.g. Star Wars, comic book characters, etc.

        • Agreed, this doesn’t really reflect well on the kids-friendly angle. But let’s face it; PR has basically fallen into obscurity and irrelevance. Anything that brings it back into the public consciousness should be welcomed by the IP holder.

      • Their problem might be that they want to keep the Power Rangers brand as a brand marketed to little kids (I have never seen a Power Rangers show, so I don’t know what their target market is).
        If a short film was made of Mickey Mouse going on a killing spree, Disney would probably shut it down quickly as it casts their brand in something they would not greenlight themselves.
        It makes no difference if you charge money or not, you can’t use other people’s IP.

      • It’s a licensed property, and the film maker did not secure permission to use said licence.

        So far as I’m aware, license holders must actively protect their copyrights and trademarks from infringement lest they risk the mark being weakened and/or diluted.

        Further, there’s a new Power Rangers film in development which is set to start filming this year:

        Put all that together and that’s why Saban are requesting the video’s take down.

    • having watched the video, there’s isn’t much commonality between this and PR apart from the name, which in itself is generic enough to make dubious copyright claim. similarities that are superficial at best can usually be dismissed at coincidental.

  • Makes sense, force people to take down the thing that’s gotten people most excited about the show in years

    • What about Legendary Battle?

      I just wish GO would actually air it, instead of repeating the same 5 or 6 episodes over and over again…

      • Unless you’re still watching the show, and I’m guessing many people who used to watch it way back when aren’t anymore, you wouldn’t be aware of Legendary Battle. A more mature take on the show though would now appeal to the original fans of the show and it did

        • I haven’t watched the show since the Mighty Morphin series (17 or 18 years), but sometimes I stumble across things on the internet.

          I recently bought the first series of Power Rangers on DVD, and I still found it entertaining, if a little silly.
          I don’t need everything from my childhood made dark and gritty so I can enjoy it.

          • That’s my take on the video too. It was a nice distraction but not every IP needs the dark and gritty treatment. It was my complaint with Man of Steel, it tried so hard to be Batman that it was embarrassed to use the word ‘Superman,’ it culled any levity or Clark Kent being the mild-mannered reporter… it just went so far up its own ass. It’s an interesting 15 minute take, but doing the same thing with Power Rangers seems woefully misguided.

        • I don’t even understand why fans are jumping up and down about this video. It’s well made and fun, but there’s virtually nothing ‘power rangers’ about it. Substitute it with Voltron, Teknoman, or any other beloved childhood property and the space marine angle would make about as much sense. The only thing ‘rangers’ about it were the jarring bright costumes and the fact they shared names with the characters.

        • Balls.
          Every time I think of it, I search one of the online TV guides for Power Rangers episodes, and have never seen Legendary Battle in the list. “Earth Fights Back”, “Blue Saber Saga” and “Silver Lining” are always there though.

    • Not their target audience. Probably is detrimental if anything. You cant have an MA15+ version of a kids show and expect guardians of the kids to be ok with letting their kids watch it.

  • I think it’s fantastic and Saban would do well to continue to let people enjoy it. They are obviously more concerned about their copyright than people enjoying works based on the source material. Fans come first and Kahn is making no profit from this so Saban are just being a bunch of grinches.

  • People claiming Saban should back off etc need to realize that copyright and IP rules are rough. If they let this go then it shows they’re not enforcing their IP and allows all kinds of potential infringements. At the end of the day it’s THEIR IP and they can do what they want with it. I would have thought the people making the film would have at least gone to the holders of the bloody rights before they spent time and money making the film.

    • Exactly this.

      And this example is particularly troubling because Power Rangers is something that appeals to very, very young children (I myself enjoyed the franchise when I was five), and having an MA15+ version floating around (especially one so well polished that it looks official) is all kinds of risky for the IP holders.

      • About the IP, can you tell me about the multitudes of fanfiction on the net? Aren’t those infringing copyright and IP given that they are using the characters within? The problem with Saban is that Power Rangers hasn’t really been relevant in comparison to the Marvel Universe and DC Superheroes. If anything, you ask a kid what hero they want to aspire to, they’d point to Captain America, SpiderMan or Batman, not a Power ranger. I’d think Saban needs to rethink where they’re going with this before slapping a S&D on the man.

        In regards about having an MA15+ version on the web, tell that to the multitudes of adult pictures of a lot of children shows like Pokemon, Cardfight Vangard, etc. I’d think it’s more out of panic that Saban is doing this because it hurts the brand. Given how Power Rangers hasn’t been relevant since the early 90s, they need a reboot and badly.

    • I totally agree.

      -Piggy backing on a still alive IP without even consulting (out of respect) the IP owners.
      -Joseph Khan, Ash Venkatram and associates created an exact opposite vision of what Saban (IP/Copyright holders) have worked towards after all these years. Which is a child friendly brand.
      -Khan and producers/associates should’ve just created their own stories and designs and worked from there. They’ll probably realise it’s not so easy to make your own creations popular.
      -I’m willing to bet that whatever amount Joseph Khan and Ash Venkatram spent to produce this short is nothing compared to what Saban has collectively spent to keep their brand going after all these years.

      There are some IP holders that don’t mind that kind of thing, but as a single/or group owner (s), you’d still would want to be able to ask other creatives not create an opposite of what you’ve built for so long.

      –I wouldn’t want any of my favourite Ghibli films getting recreated with some boobs and drugs scenes, just because it makes it edgy. No — It would be missing the whole point and feel of the original creation/intention.

      Khan and Venkatram. Take. It. Down.

    • What’s troubling is that people (particularly in this thread) aren’t lawyers and don’t understand fair use.

      • Fair use is for lawyers to decide. We are debating an ethical point here, justifying their objection to this creation.

        And let’s be honest: far less egregious examples of piggybacking have been successfully quashed in the past. ‘Fair use’ isn’t open slather to do whatever you want with someone else’s IP.

  • I don’t see how this is different from Sesame Street doing a House of Cards/Three Little Pigs parody.

    • A parody is clearly under the Satire fair-use category.
      A short film, that is effectively a ‘reboot’ of an existing IP is difficult to see as ‘Fair Use’ if put out there for public consumption.

  • Financial reasons aside I think this actually is a little damaging to the Power Rangers brand. Sure it gets people my age excited about the show again for 20 minutes, but they’re still making Power Ranger shows and they’re aimed at kids. While making the movie is all fine and good I can understand why having this show up as the first result for Power Rangers in Google is less than desirable for Saban.

    • Dammit all these measured reactions are seriously making me feel guilt over my entitled-nerd rage…

  • I thought the process was that once a counter notice was filed it became the responsibility of the person who filed the counter notice, not the video hosting platform. The person who filed the counter notice is effectively saying that they do have the permissions to show it, and they’re giving Vimeo the permission to show it as well. Then if they don’t have permission to show it they get in trouble, not Vimeo.

  • Dear Kotaku,
    is it so hard for you to label an article correctly?
    Ign labels it correctly as a fan film, yet in a desperate bid for clicks, you keep labelling it as a “reboot” when you know it isn’t…

  • i think this may have more to do with the upcoming release of the Saban’s own MMPR reboot in 2016, which is though to take a more mature take on the original series. perhaps Saban and LionsGate inpartiucular didn’t want there to be a confusion in expectations because of this fan-made flick

  • The guy is using characters, suits(well, a slightly changed version of but can be easily be mistaken for), and the title of a copyrighted property. Of course Saban are well within their rights to get the content removed as it is damaging to their brand. I see no need to rip into Saban with the force of a million butthurt nerds

  • I feel fan films are a benefit to an IP not a hindrance, especially one made this good. It’s got us all talking about it, some of us may even go out of our way to to look into PR more after watching this.

    On a side note:

    We seem to defend Saban’s right to it’s IP when a Director funds his own fan film, but we happily download shows that we have no right to download and call it “our right” because we are either sticking it to “the man” or they are not providing content to us fast enough or cheap enough.

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