Retarded Policeman “Creative Feud” Kills Show

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In a creative & financial dispute that began early this year, the people behind YouTube’s popular The Retarded Policeman series recently brought their feud to “court of public opinion.” Mediocrefilm‘s Greg Benson created the show with his wife Kim Evey (who produces The Guild, staring Felicia Day), and hired “Ponce” Perry, who stars as the, well, retarded policeman. Benson also hired Ponce’s brother Scott, who appeared in the first episode, and helped write and direct a few episodes, including the one in which I appeared (so it’s been removed).

Here’s the blow-by-blow:

  • The first episode appeared in September 2007. The most-recent posted video, posted last November (2008), was “Lt. Ballsack” and ironically stars Benson getting pulled over by Ponce.
  • In April, the Perry brothers created the Ponceman account.
  • Five of the episodes have been removed (including the one in which I appeared) because Scott participated in the writing or directing. The rest of the episodes, according to Benson, are his.
  • The DVD is still for sale. Get ’em while they last, folks.
  • The Perry brothers first created a video about the feud, and posted details on their blog. They claim there was an agreement between them and Benson: “We had an agreement with mediocrefilms that has not been honored.  Since the beginning of this year we have tried to work things out but, regrettably, we have reached an impasse. We cannot allow our work on the series to be exploited any longer without our original agreement being honored and all of our attempts to “work something out” with mediocrefilms have been fruitless.”
  • Greg Benson responded to the Perry Brother’s claims in this video, and on his blog. Benson said they had no agreement, and that he paid the brothers thousands of dollars.  He said he offered them various compromises, but was ignored when he requested the Perry brothers to propose terms that would satisfy them.
  • Neither is providing specifics of the terms, and whether the Perry brothers had a “work for hire” or revenue-sharing arrangement.

This debate, only recently brought public, was part of the reason I suggested TheStation (The Station is Doomed) will run into a similar snag. Parenthetically, check out thehill88 and brookers, who provided some informally entertaining responses to that video on their superlazerz channel).

Alas, it’s extremely difficult to collaborate on a channel and share YouTube proceeds, because it’s nearly impossible to determine who contributed to a channel’s success… was it the promotion, producing, writing, acting, directing, editing?

This is the first significant and public feud over ownership rights of a web-video show, and that’s maybe the most surprising piece of news.

So how can you reduce the chances you’ll find yourself in a sad, creative/financial snag like these guys? Get something in writing… the more money a channel earns, the more people will feel cheated unless terms are explicit. Is it 50/50 or are the actors simply paid a flat fee and/or some small percentage of revenue?

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of these guys, and I’m saddened to see them disputing, especially in public. Benson’s Mediocrefilms channel, one of the most-subscribed, continues to monetize the bulk of the episodes. Ponceman‘s channel has a fraction of the following with about 28,700 subscribers.

If there was (as the Perry brothers claim) an agreement that wasn’t honored, would they have a recourse in YouTube? Or does the video-sharing site have no responsibility here?

Perhaps a YouTube community member will volunteer their services to arbitrate. The show was brilliantly conceived and executed, and we can only hope it will return in some form. We can dream the impossible dream, right?

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

9 thoughts on “Retarded Policeman “Creative Feud” Kills Show”

  1. was it really that much money?

    there’s always light at the end of the tunnel… if the dollar keeps heading in the direction it’s going the stuff might not even be fit to burn.
    good news, right? sorta? nevermind.

  2. Honestly, Kevin, I think you would make the best arbitrator in this situation. Not only are you a friend/fan of both, having worked with both on Retarded Policeman, you’re also very familiar with other social media disputes and settlements and the relationship between social media and money in general. Just give it a good think.

  3. Money isn’t a good reason to work with other people. Money is a good reason to work alone.

    Experience, exposure, and general fun are the only reasons I have worked with other people.

  4. @3 you’re such an optimist, that’s why I like your videos.

    @2 try to be more thoughtful and add a comment that’ s more thought out this time.

    sorry your pals are in a dispute Kevin. I wasn’t a fan, but they all seem like nice guys.

    to answer the questions:
    #1 get it in writings
    #2 get it in writings
    #3 get it in writings
    #4 Once lawyers are involved, this puppy’s over. Lawyers have this strange effect on people, like when an undertaker walks into a room.
    #5 You Tube’s responsibility ends at the TOS – anything they could possibly do would be an added service, which I doubt they provide or developed; unless it goes through the mediation department Google has in place or is willing to share. If mediation is not in their business model You Tube’s lawyers would advise them to keep their hands off, it only invite more disputes.
    #6 Ego’s can get big, heck, gigantic on the internet, but are there any applicable solution in our litigious society? Well, we can dream.

    I hope they will find one before their friendship walks away for good.

  5. I’m guessing that the Perry brothers don’t have any choice because they probably signed talent release forms and have nothing in writing. @5 love your comment about @2. And @3 I would enjoy helping resolve this, but I’m not close enough to Scott or Ponceman to know what they expected or were promised… In the end, as sad as this is for everyone, it helped put Mediocrefilms AND Ponceman on the map. Both of the creators have the ability to build into new areas, as evidenced by their videos since.

  6. It’s really too bad that they couldn’t work things out and it probably hurt all parties involved when they made it public.

    Any inside info on how TheStation plans on handling the revenue it generates? I don’t watch their videos, but I think it’s an interesting social experiment.

    @6 To act as a mediator / arbitrator you don’t really want to be too close to either party lest you have a conflict of interest. That’s sort of the point. Are you perhaps “too close” to Greg to be unbiased?

  7. I really like Greg. He seems like a stellar guy. Even his pranks are generally friendly. He’s also replied to some of my e-mails. He’s one of my YouTube inspirations (but so is Nalts, so that doesn’t say much).

    Anyway, I trust his side of the story. I trust him over some retard.

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