Joseph Kahn's 'Power/Rangers' Copyright Debate Settled; Original Rangers Offer Opinions

UPDATE: The copyright debate over Power/Rangers has been settled and the film is back on YouTube and Vimeo. Click there to see both. Original story follows with the update after.

One of the biggest movie stories this week was the release of Power/Rangers, a professionally made, R-rated fan film based on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Directed by Joseph Kahn (Torque) and produced by Adi Shankar (Dredd), the Power Rangers short film put a dark, kinetic spin on the '90s cartoon. Fans seemed to enjoy it but two groups who didn't like the short were Saban Brands, the company who owns the Rangers, and members of the original cast.

Below, read about the copyright claim, the reactions of the original Rangers and find out how you can watch the Power Rangers short film now.

UPDATE: 2/28. Deadline reported on the dispute described below being settled. The biggest change is that each version now has a disclaimer explaining that this isn't official. Joseph Kahn said the following:

They put these disclaimers on so kids so don't confuse our super-violent film with their Power Rangers brand. There are no hard feelings. We signed contracts. We can play it anywhere we want on all platforms. I think they realized that people just want to see it.

The film is now available on YouTube and Vimeo.

Original story from 2/27 follows: 

First up – if you missed the Power/Rangers short online, the only place to watch it at the moment is Facebook. Watch it at this link.

The Power Rangers short film was first taken off Vimeo, but the real blow was when it was taken off YouTube on Thursday. Saban Brands claimed copyright infringement while Kahn and Shankar claimed fair use. Admittedly, there's a grey area there where Saban does have the rights to the property and the short film only uses some of their visual ideas. Plus, there's a perceived difference between a couple of kids making a Power Rangers movie, and the work of a professional director and producer with high end effects and well-established actors like James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff.

Here's how Shankar responded to the situation via Collider:

Today, I was deeply disappointed to learn that Saban Brands decided to attack my Power/Rangers "Bootleg Universe One-Shot" film.  To all the viewers that enjoyed this film, I consider this an outright infringement on freedom of expression and individualism. I set out to make this film because I am a childhood fan of the Power Rangers. As children our retinas are burned with iconic images and as we grow older these images come to represent crucial moments within the trajectories of our own lives.  This film is a homage to the original creators of the Power Rangers, and a parody of a television series we all grew up loving. Films like my Power/Rangers "Bootleg" are vital expressions of creativity in our troubled world. If we suppress this creativity and become passive participants in the consumption of the culture we live in, we implicitly allow a dangerous precedent to be set for the future of the internet.

So that's one response to the movie. Want to read some others? Sure you do.

The former Green and White ranger, Jason David Frank, was not a fan:

I know there's a lot of fans out there that love it and all that stuff, but I'm just a PG-13 guy. The cuss words, the drugs, all this other stuff — it doesn't fly with me. The problem is, [the Power Rangers] are still connected with adults and kids. The 'Super Megaforce' and 'Power Ranges Dino Charge' are still on Nickelodeon, and so you can't take a brand like this and reboot it so dark and gritty. This still is a kids' brand.

What about his teammates? The Black Ranger, Walter Jones, posted this:

I wont be posting the video of the Power Rangers deboot video because I still have fans that are kids. I will say... I thought it was very well done and entertaining. I am looking foward to other interpretations of this amazing show. I am blessed to have had the pleasure of helping to create here in the states! Its Morphing Time!!

And then the Pink ranger, Amy Jo Johnson:

Okay... so you've ALL probably seen this already. BUT just wanted to share. Personally I think it's kind of awesome. BUT don't tell Saban that!! I might get sued. [wink emoticon] And it's clearly NOT for KIDS!!

Thanks to Comic Book Movie for grabbing those reactions.

Where do you fall on this? Love it? Hate it? Legal? Illegal? And you can ask the director about it later this afternoon.