Fox Sends Cease & Desist Letters To Firefly Fans Selling Jayne Hats, Because Money

from the pissing-off-fans-left-and-right dept

As a whole bunch of you sent in, via a variety of different sources, apparently a maker of "Jayne hats" from the cult TV show Firefly has received a cease & desist letter from the legal attack dogs at Fox, just as an "authorized" version has shown up for sale on Thinkgeek and other sites.
People are not at all happy about this.
Recently, though, Ripple Junction, a company that produces licensed apparel, obtained the rights to mass-produce the Jayne Hat. It instantly became a hit seller on popular nerd sites like ThinkGeek. It seemed that getting a Jayne hat was easier than ever. But that ease came with a price.

Firefly fans are coming out of the woodwork, and they are hopping mad. Why? Turns out in the last few weeks many of them have received cease-and-desist letters or have simply been banned from Etsy for producing DIY Jayne Hats. This communal endeavor, it seems, is coming to a close, and fans of the show are asking themselves why. Isn't the whole point of the Jayne hat that it be homemade? Doesn't it mean anything that the hats are often auctioned off at charity events? After 10 years of nothing, isn't it unfair for Fox to suddenly force lifelong fans to cease production of something they love?
The good folks over at ThinkGeek, who are known for being generally cool and with it -- and not at all prone to dickish legal behavior -- were quick to put out a statement about all of this, noting that they had nothing to do with the cease and desist letters, and in fact, they're happy to compete with the homemade sellers.
We just wanted you to know that ThinkGeek has nothing to do with the C&D notices. The hat is licensed by a vendor with whom we have a relationship and while the hat is not an exclusive to ThinkGeek, we did have a hand in its development and answered the difficult questions like, "Are the earflaps long enough?" and "Is that man afraid of anything?" (Yes and no, respectively.)

Would the C&D have happened if we did not carry the hat on our site? We're not sure; we'll leave that question to sharper legal minds than ours. We're here to carry the shiniest of goods from 'round the 'verse, even maybe makin' them ourselves. We just want y'all to know that while we might not always aim to misbehave, we'll always be sure to get you the best stuff this side of the Eavesdown Docks.

The way we see it, if people want to make their own, shiny. For those out there who can't knit to save their gorram lives, we can help.
See? Now that's a reasonable attitude to take. But big media companies like Fox tend to employ lawyers who aren't known for their "reasonable takes" on things, no matter how much goodwill it might destroy among fans.

Filed Under: cease and desist, firefly, jayne hat
Companies: fox, thinkgeek

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2013 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Lumping them all together and calling them evil accomplishes accurate categorization. They all address the process of claiming ownership of ideas, hence "intellectual property." So yes, it accomplishes something. It accomplishes an overall category of something to eliminate when taking you corporate sympathizers to task.

    Should I even address your second paragraph that consists purely of false dilemmas? They are all essentially the same "Piracy is killing Hollywood" defense. Only a total ignoramus would believe that it would rain cats and dogs if there was no intellectual property at all. Somehow these industries still continue to survive when these things can all be duplicated.

    I could go out and label a can "Coke" right now and sell it to a limited market, and do so possibly without repercussion if nobody reported me. I'm not going to be able to compete with Coke under it's identity, so organically I will want to chose another name if I am looking for a signifigant profit. What copyright sympathizers like you are worried about isn't that my Coke won't taste like Coke, but that it will. You are worried that your beloved corporations would only have a fraction of the profitability once I am able to go on a corner and sell my Tech Dirt Reader Cola on a street corner and have it so it is not only could taste like Coke, but possibly improve upon the formula making Coke obsolete. As for the rest, there are still laws that prevent false advertising without copyright. I could sue a person if they sold me a processor that didn't perform the way they promised. What makes people like you crap their pants is if it did exactly what it was supposed to. This just one more example about trying to maintain the ability to have a monopoly on production of a product.

    Hollywood and the rest of the content industry hasn't crumbled under the weight of piracy as it has deceitfully claimed all these years, and has in fact grown exponentially since the widespread use of file sharing. While Kickstarter is still young and there is no telling the scope of projects that will pop up in the future is, you aren't going to need them to fund Avengers 2, Game of Thrones, or whatever media you are into. Again, they just want the monopoly on content production.

    Also your scaremongering that patents would lead to the end of medicine is just absurd. Last I checked society has a vested interest in healthcare. Just by virtue of being able to produce mass quantities of pills big pharma will be profitable no matter what. All the current sector of big pharma has to worry about with the absence of patents is free market capitalism and healthcare being more affordable to the needy. In the unlikely event current companies fail under the weight of new ones, well the people in those companies will still need jobs and probably won't be out for a career change. Again, all intellectual property is doing is protecting monopolies on production.

    In short, intellectual property an enemy of a free society. It is evil, and should be destroyed.

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