I suggest we write on (for now) assuming a standard SOL crew with Tom and Crow.
Building new bots would definitely fall under plan C. (or at least B and a half) and there’s lots of fiddly production level technical stuff we’d need to figure out before we started designing. Most importantly… what scale would the puppets be built at? (the smaller the puppet, the fewer articulated elements you can add, but the easier they are to wrangle) and what the ratio of puppet to puppet wranglers would be. (Would we want one person to be able to operate two puppets simultaneously? One puppet per operator? Or go full Fraggle Rock?)
I agree that anything beyond option B would basically be it’s own project run separately from the “hey, let’s get together and riff a movie!” project, which is what most of the people are here for.
Absolutely. All my own stuff is released Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA, and I’ve never had any legal issues.
As long as we keep it strictly non-commercial we’re probably safe from a legal standpoint, though you can still open yourself up for trouble if you do anything at all related to the project that involves asking people for money (i.e. a Kickstarter, Gofundme, or Patreon) that could be construed as “attempting to profit” or anything that exactly duplicates a registered trademark (like the MST3K moon logo). This is another reason why going all the way to option D is probably a foolhardy idea.
Mind you, video content has a whole slew of other issues to worry about, most notably YouTube and Vimeo’s “shoot first, ask questions never” content violation policy, which is pretty much designed to screw anybody who isn’t a major motion picture studio. Their automated copyright bots couldn’t give two 's whether your video is protected under fair use, parody, CC license, or anything else, and are notoriously bad when it comes to making attribution mistakes. And if somebody out there decides they want to file a copyright complaint, even if they have no legal grounds to do so, they’ll yank your content with no explanation whatsoever and it’ll take an act of God to get it back up again.
I’m friends with some of the guys over at Cinema Insomnia (I went to high school with their producer) and even though they primarily use public domain movies and are extremely diligent about working out copyright stuff with the original content owners, it is a constant battle trying to prevent their episodes from being taken down. (And in fact, they recently lost everything they had up on Vimeo, and due to their 3-strikes policy, it looks like it’s not coming back.) The content bots don’t know or care whether your video is the public domain version of a movie, or the slightly different cut that was licensed 20 years later, and will even trigger for stupid things like insisting you’re illegally showing a Tim Burton movie, because that film includes 30 seconds of archive footage from the public domain movie that you’re attempting to screen now.
Before we attempted anything as complex as Option C, to cover our backsides, I’d say we would still want to reach out to Alternaversal and see just how comfortable they were with us using certain aspects of the show… especially any usage of the title Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the shadorama theater effect, which have been legally problematic in the past.