Sunday, February 5, 2017

Manos Legal Defense Fund

Manos: The Hands of Fate is often taught in film classes as “Everything Not To Do In Filmmaking”.  From the camera work, editing, direction, script, acting and nearly everything else, it is one of the most notably inept films in existence and yet it’s certain charm has captured and held a fervent fan base since a public debut on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993.  Something about it keeps bringing people back- often with friends.  “Manos” would not be “Manos” if it had not always been in the Public Domain.  Frank Conniff would not have gone against better judgement when he chose Manos to be on with Joel and the Bots if it had not been in Public Domain.  And without that, it would just have collected dust and faded away like countless other films of all genre and level of skill.

A family member of Hal Warren is attempting to trademark the title “Manos: The Hands of Fate” in order to control how it is used and whose projects are deemed acceptable.  Though never successful in copyrighting the film itself, that has not stopped him from issuing Cease and Desists to a number of Manos-inspired projects over the last few years, including Manos: The Hands of Felt, a Manos: The Hands of Fate stage adaptation, the “Manos” Restoration and Jackey Neyman Jones herself for selling shirts bearing her father’s likeness.

This legal defense fund is dedicated to preserving the free use of the film’s title and was created by Jackey Neyman Jones, (Debbie in the film and daughter of lead actor Tom Neyman), and Ben Solovey (restorer of the original film).  We are represented by Ian Friedman, Attorney at Law.

Our goal is to stop the trademark from being issued, and we are running out of time to act within the parameters of the Trademark office. The first step, filing a Letter of Protest to the USPTO, was completed on Wednesday February 1st.  The Letter of Protest will not stop the clock on the publication process, nor can we guarantee that it will be accepted. Therefore, we must now prepare for the next step: an extension filed in order to give our formal Notice of Opposition the time it needs to be submitted, accepted and applied.

Filing fees and attorney fees alone will run in excess of $7000.00, inclusive of the already-completed Letter of Protest. If money remains in the budget after we have successfully met this legal challenge, it will be used to retain Ian Friedman over a greater period of time, during which he will be able to assist any fan or creator with similar challenges to the free and legal use of “Manos: The Hands of Fate”.  As Ian likes to point out, “My daughter turned five in January recently, and I’ve been dealing with (Joe Warren) since before she was born.”

We are honored at how many people have extended their support through sharing, donating and discussion.  Please continue to help us spread the word of Manos.

Thank you for your support and #KeepManosFree