» Living In a Marketing World, And I Am An Equestria Girl

Today’s featured content is from first-time contributor and long-time forum member, Wylie!

We’ve known for a while now that Equestria Girls is coming, and now we know in what form it comes: a theatrical release, followed by DVD, BluRay, and television appearances on The Hub this fall. Much has been written, and much still remains to write, on the quality of the movie, and what it means to Friendship Is Magic and the whole My Little Pony brand. One of the questions that the fandom seems to be struggling with is this: “Exactly who is this Equestria Girls thing for, anyway? It’s not for little girls, it’s certainly not for us, so why is Hasbro doing this?” To answer that question, we have to look at a few things: why girls love horses, why they stop loving horses, and how marketing departments think. Find out more behind the cut.

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» Equestria Girls Gets Cinema Screening & Synposis

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My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, an upcoming spin off of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic will be having a special cinema premiere on June 16th, 2013 at select theaters.  While Equestria Girls will have its official launch by Hasbro at this years San Diego Comic Con (July 18-21) we now have a brief synopsis of the movie which fits in with the future storybook synopsis due out in October from Little Brown Books.

If you don’t wish to be spoiled, we’ve hidden the synopsis below:

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» Hasbro Reports Q1 2013 Growth

Hasbro has released it’s financial results for the first quarter of 2013, reporting a 30% growth to it’s My Little Pony and Magic: The Gathering brands since Q1 2012. Below are some key figures from the release:

  • Net revenues increased 2% to $663.7 million for the first quarter 2013 versus $648.9 million for the first quarter 2012;
  • U.S. and Canada segment up 4%; International segment flat; Entertainment and Licensing segment up 5%;
  • Operating Profit increased 47% to $39.6 million
  • Net earnings increased 30% to $6.6 million or $0.05 per diluted share

With huge growth year over year in certain categories and brands, including The Hub:

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You can read the full investor announcement from Hasbro here, or view the presentation slides here. 

[Source: Investor.Hasbrbo.com]

» You’re Free to Pay: The Games Industry and My Little Pony

Earlier this week, British tabloid rag The Sun ran an article about a young British girl who bought up £900 worth of gems in short order playing GameLoft’s mobile My Little Pony game. This was hot on the heels of the BBC reporting a similar story about a five year old British child racking up a £1,700 bill in the same situation. While this is a bit of coattail riding by The Sun, it is still an all-too-common problem that pops up time and again. This time, it’s dragged our colorful equine heroines into the fold, and instead of teaching lessons of friendship, the Mane Six find themselves embroiled in today’s mobile gaming spotlight.

Why is a game about colorful cartoon horses part of the debate about gaming economics? Read more to find out.

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» Fighting is Magic Developers respond to Cease & Desist questions

Fighting is Magic Title

The dev team behind the popular fan-made fighting game, MLP: Fighting is Magic, posted that they had received a C&D from Hasbro Legal almost two weeks ago. The team have since been working backstage to sort out their current legal mess and future plans, all the while being bombarded by tons of questions and suggestions from their fans. While there doesn’t seem to be much progress on the legal front to speak of, the team made a post to respond to the fans about their current feelings and answer some questions that have been asked.

Here is a quick summary from that post:

  • Yes, development on MLP:Fighting is Magic has stopped for now, per Hasbro’s request.
  • Yes, we have tried contacting people about the possibility of squirming out from under the C&D, or triumphantly throwing it off as it smashes into a thousand pieces, we ARE still waiting on a couple of replies, but we are not getting our hopes up.
  • This post will go over a bunch of questions and opinions we’ve seen floating around since the announcement.
  • We aren’t done yet regardless of how this turns out, so please stay tuned :)

In their FAQ, they address concerns such as if the C&D was fake, whether the project should have been more open or closed, their position with the EVO Charity Auction, some of the fake revival projects and fake leaks going around, and they clarify a little about their future plans.

If we are certain our project can’t continue as originally intended, we’re pleased to say we do have a couple of options for where we can go next…To answer the question that’s probably on a lot of your minds: Yes, it will have to be a new, original setting.

There is still more work ahead of the development team, Mane6, so stayed tuned on their blog for more details as the situation unfolds. 

» Mane6, Fighting is Magic Dev Team, Served Cease and Desist

Fighting is Magic Title

Bad news for everyone, and this time it’s not about Snowbracabra. Mane6, the dev team behind the fan game Fighting is Magic, has been served a cease and desist by Hasbro Legal.

 We have received a C&D letter from Hasbro’s Legal representatives, asking us to cease game development, remove any materials that might contain My Little Pony characters, names, locations or related elements from the sites we control (Our site, our youtube, our twitch), and “cease any further use of [their] MY LITTLE PONY property”.

The team has started legal discussions, but the outlook seems pretty grim. Unfortunately, it is well within Hasbro’s right to shut down such projects, as they must defend their trademarks (as detailed in our articles dealing with intellectual property). That does not mean we approve of their decision to do so, though, as this was one of the most hotly anticipated and well-done projects to emerge from the online fandom. With one of the largest fan projects effectively cut off, this could have implications for other fan projects as well.

As we get more news, we will keep you posted. 

[Source: DerpyHoovesNews via ManeSix Dev Team.]

» Friendship is a Registered Trademark II: My Little Takedown Notice

It’s funny how things can sometimes change over a period of several weeks. Since last month’s article on intellectual property, “Friendship is a Registered Trademark”, a flurry of cease-and-desist and takedown letters has begun to land more firmly than ever before, with a marked intensification over the past week or two. Since our last article, well-established fanworks have seen their work taken down from YouTube, including Friendship is Witchcraft, the Mentally Advanced (Abridged) Series, and even (reportedly) AwkwardMarina’s posting of her “Anthropology” fan song. Meanwhile, the lesser-known equestriagirls.com site has received a letter from Hasbro’s legal department.

Together with some of the feedback gathered from comments on our last article, I have put together a series of updates about the status of Hasbro, intellectual property and the larger Brony community.

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» Friendship is a Registered Trademark

Last weekend, the makers of the fangame MLP:Online announced that they had been sent a cease and desist letter from Hasbro and had chosen to shut down production of the game. This sudden news has met with significant disappointment from the Brony community, especially given the comparatively blind eye that had been turned to other popular fan-games under production, like Fighting is Magic or My Little Investigations.

Was Hasbro finally turning on the fan-community it had helped to foster over the past two years by not strictly enforcing copyrights? Not exactly. MLP:Online spokesperson ToastyJustice, who had announced the closure of MLP:Online, made a point of mentioning that it was not copyright that had brought down the project, but trademarks. This is an important distinction, one which has ramifications for both Hasbro and fans alike.

Given the differences between copyright and trademark law, can we perhaps better understand what activities are more or less likely to earn Hasbro’s ire? Is this recent attack based on trademark law likely to prove to be the bane of the fandom? To learn more, read on…

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