Dr Horrible Release Plan

Joss has posted information on the release plans for Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. For those of you who don't have time to read the full post:

  • 15 July - Act One will be released on the web

  • 17 July - Act Two will be released on the web

  • 19 July - Act Three will be released on the web

  • 20 July - All three will be removed from the web.

  • Soon after, they will be made available for download for a nominal fee (no details yet).

  • Somewhat after that, it will be released on DVD with "the finest and bravest extras in all the land." Details will be shared at ComicCon, but no word on whether or not the DVDs will be ready by then.

For those of you in the Napster/YouTube crowd, I'm curious to hear what your thoughts are on this.

  • Will you honor the content owner's wishes and download the legally purchasable copy after the 20th?

  • Or will you instead go to the illegally copied versions that will no doubt be available on YouTube, etc?

  • Does it make a difference to you that this is a self-financed project rather than a studio project? Would your answer be different if episodes of Dollhouse were released in the same manner?

Update: In his follow-up post, Joss points out that there will indeed be a soundtrack, t-shirts and other schwag.


  1. What I don’t get is – why release all three for free, then take them back down? Is it a free download, or a stream? If it’s a stream, that sorta makes sense – give people a taste, then the real deal.

    If I’d somehow missed the boat, I’d definitely look at the illegal copy and download the legal one once I’d assured myself it was a good value. If I was showing it to a friend, I would not hesitate to show them the illegal copies/a copy of mine first, then let them decide on downloading. I approach it this way because I’m a poor college student, who only wants to spend money on something she knows is worth it.

    Assuming the download price is reasonable, I definitely wouldn’t download an illegal copy. I draw my (video) copyright line in the sand based on whether or not the video is streaming and what the quality is. A streamed video or low-quality file possesses several disadvantages against the legal, high-quality product. Streams can be interrupted and slow my internets. Low-quality makes the experience less satisfying. Either way, I have an incentive to buy the real deal.

    • Since I can’t edit my posts, just wanted to add: The self-financed vs studio project thing makes no difference to me. It would only make a difference if I was all “OMG THIS PERSON IS THE BEST EVAR”, which does tend to make me want to purchase their stuff.

    • Yeah, it sounds like the initial release will be a stream through Vimeo, just like the trailer. It’s the tried and true drug dealer business plan: “first taste’s free, the rest’ll cost ya.”

      Wouldn’t showing them the trailer accomplish pretty much the same thing? For a show that’s only half an hour long total, what would be their incentive to buy the legally downloadable version if you were showing them the whole thing for free through the pirated copies?

      On the PS, are you implying that Joss, Felicia, Nathan and NPH aren’t the best ever? :-)

  2. I’m planning on buying the DVD when it comes out, actually, rather than download. But I’m going to try to catch it all on computer when it first comes out. Given my druthers, I’d always rather watch something on my TV screen than on the computer.

  3. If I like it, I’ll buy it. But I won’t download it, keep it and thumb my nose at the “System.”

    That would be true even if this were being released by Fox.

  4. If at all possible, I’ll catch the free webisodes, if they don’t contain forced-commercials. Maybe even with commercials – that’s what having more than one PC is for.

    If I somehow miss them, then yes, I’ll trot over to Bitorrent.

    I usually have no need to see something more than once.

    Also – there’s the question of how much they will cost when released for purchase, and if that will include DRM (in which case I would never purchase it).

    No difference how it’s financed. Mostly because Joss has quite a bit of money. If this were financed by, say, You, I would totally throw money at it.

  5. If I can figure out how to download it, I will (I’m remarkable inept at this kind of thing). Even if I do figure out how to down load it I will still buy it as long as it doesn’t totally suck.

    Why? Respect and honor. If I like it enough to watch or re-watch it then the creator deserves my money. that’s how a couple of my friends and I are music cds. We burn each other copies and return them if we don’t like them (so they can make more fans) and if we like it we buy our own copy. Again, respect and honor.

    I want to get paid for my work. It’s perfectly reasonable for Joss to get paid for his, espcially since his is more entertaining than mine. (OTOH I’m an accountant and we’re encourages NOT to be enteraining.)

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