A new initiative by Sony Television to combat piracy on social media has left some Outlander fans to question whether its legal to even use the drama’s name on their Facebook fan sites.
The studio, which produces Outlander for Starz, has tried to assure fans that a new program called Counterfind, which targets sites that peddle pirated products, is not meant to punish their support of the show. But if an Outlander-themed Facebook page features an ad selling, say, an illegal T-shirt or phone case, Counterfind will take action. In response, some fan sites have made drastic moves to change the names of their pages while asking author Diana Gabaldon and Outlander executive producer Maril Davis to intervene on their behalf to Sony.
“In an effort to ensure that each Outlander: The Series product meets all brand, safety, and compliance standards, Sony Pictures Television engages a third party to identify and block the sale of counterfeit goods featuring copyrighted content,” Sony said in a statement. “These policies exist not to stifle the creativity and expression of the many fans of OUTLANDER, but to ensure the authenticity and quality of any products bearing the Outlander: The Series mark.”
Studio insiders say only a handful of fan sites have been affected. Posting photos from the show or even using the name Outlander in the title of the fan page is not illegal. “We’re certainly not trying to discourage the fans from sharing their passion for the show,” says one executive.
Anyone with questions over whether a site violates piracy law is urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.