Buffy and Alias and Veronica Mars – the holy trinity of bad ass shows. I love them all and have wished multiple times that there was some way I could bring them back. And now, thanks to Kickstarter, I can take a little bit of credit for bringing Veronica Mars back to life!
The show made Kickstarter history recently with its campaign to raise funds for a Veronica Mars movie. I couldn’t resist the idea – or the trailer – so I had to contribute to the effort. Just a little – there’s no red carpets, voicemail messages, or back rubs in my future – but it’s still very exciting to get Rob Thomas’s updates and know that I’ll get a few VM goodies at some point.
But, as a lawyer, I have to wonder…what happens if the movie doesn’t get made or if I don’t get my promised goodies. Kickstarter describes itself as “a funding platform for creative projects.” Since it launched in 2009, more than 3 million people have pledged over $500 million to fund more than 35,000 projects. Kickstarter says it doesn’t guarantee any of the projects – it’s the project creator’s responsibility to complete their projects. Kickstarter also says that it’s the creator’s job to ensure that the promised rewards are delivered to the backers (like me!).
So now I’m looking at you, Rob Thomas. What happens if you don’t make the movie or if you don’t deliver my goodies? What rights do I have? Well, after NPR did a story on this issue – what rights do the backers of failed projects have – Kickstarter changed its policy. Now, if a project is successfully funded, the creators are required to either fulfill the rewards or refund the backers. As a result, the backers have a right as a third-party beneficiary of the contractual agreement between Kickstarter and the creators to demand their money or their rewards.
Meanwhile, crowdfunding as a means of raising capital is also facing a host of possible regulations by the SEC – although what and how those laws will be implemented is still questionable.
So I should be able to ensure that Rob Thomas continues emailing me…and sends me a copy of the movie DVD. And, before I go, I’ve got to give a shout out to Legal Geeks’ friend (and brother of one half of The Legal Geeks), Gabe Diani, who had his own successful Kickstarter project: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Robotic Edition. It looks like a ton of fun!