GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Universal's legal action against 11th Hour

POSTED BY: CABRIDGES
UPDATED: Sunday, November 12, 2006 23:47
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 30000
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 10:32 PM

BOOMERGOODHEART


What's next? I suppose all the Browncoat groups out there who depend on fan work to raise money for their charities are just SOL, huh? Nice.

I love my country, but I really REALLY hate the corporate politics.

BoomerGoodheart
"I love my Captain."

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 11:29 PM

ARBAS


If this is genuine then the solution is simple - let Universal know that the Browncoat community will completely boycott all Universal products, let the companies that have paid for the merchandise licences know that the Browncoat community will completly boycott their licenced products etc etc etc but before we start talking about that sort of action we have to verify that this is actually from Universals legal people. No point in going off half cocked.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 11:30 PM

SIMONWHO


Quote:

Originally posted by 6ixStringJack:
Jadehand... I like your idealism, but I've been through enough to know that counting on 24 million people boycotting Universal would probably never even happen. You can't even get a national no-gas day organized when gas tops $3.00/gal for the national average.... not to mention the fact that I can't count on many of my friends for anything in the first place.



There is a method we can use as a response to Universal but it's a nuclear option, only to be used to defend ourselves against direct hostile attacks and when we're sure that Universal has no interest in producing a sequel.

I don't even want to mention it because I'm still hopeful this can be resolved sensibly. But if it can't, there are options available to us.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 11:46 PM

MRT


Posted by Wyyrdo on the OB

Quote:


Lot of panicking going on right now, and rightfully so. After years of the careful and unspoken “we won’t notice fan-made stuff as long as it doesn’t compete with our own merchandise, should we ever get around to making any” attitude from FOX and Universal, a conflict has arisen and a heavy hand is making itself known. No longer will fans get away with their own Serenity logo T-shirts or barely-Photoshopped crewmember designs. It’s not worth the hassle and Universal is well within their rights to block such things, even though in the real world I suspect this will end up costing them a lot in good will and fan backlash.

So, they can take our ship and take our crew and leave us to buy whatever licensed items are left over. But, and this is an important but, they can’t take the ‘verse from us.

I see it as a challenge. Can we move on and create artwork and graphic designs that represent what Serenity means to us without actually referencing the movie or its characters? I think we can.

Let’s make our own crews, our own worlds. The juxtaposition of the old west and space is not copyrighted. Nor are courtesans in futuristic settings, beat up spaceships, pretty captains, crazy telepaths, cliche-breaking funny drama, or even the Papyrus font (well, not the free version, anyway). Don’t make a poster of Mal. Make a poster he’d hang up, instead. Show us the glory and freedom of flying through the black but use your own ship design. Can’t use Blue Sun? Fine. Invent their competitor.

Such designs will not sell as easily as Serenity stuff does, obviously. No built-in advertising, no already-known symbols and catch-phrases. They won’t help promote the show or the movie as well. And for many of us, such creations simply won’t be as satisfying because we fell in love with this ship, with these people.

But I don’t want this recent legal action to mean I’ll never see any more 11th Hour artwork ever again. Running this site I’ve gotten to see the work of many insanely talented people, and I want more. Let’s go find it.

And you know what? I bet it’ll be cooler, funnier, and better than whatever Universal finally produces.



There is a balance here between our shared, and I believe righteous, anger at the way this situation has been handled and the fair and legitimate point that guys out there have paid for the right to produce lisenced goods. For example, the guys at QMX love the 'Verse and have gone about everything above board.

What we and Universal need to do is get some perspective, support the legitimate production of lisenced goods while also encouraging the Signal by allowing artistic spin-offs. We can't blame Universal for protecting their property, but we can be pretty disgusted by the heavy-handed approach they've taken in doing so.

11th Hour has stripped down her shop to its legitimate essentials, and it is now up to us to keep putting dollars both into her hands and into those of the lisence holders as it is through the latter that the message will be carried back to the studio and through the former that the 'Verse will take on new forms. Nothing could be gained by deliberately preventing the BDM going as far into the black (financially) as we can take it, nothing except a lack of a sequel on financial grounds - the only real grounds that we can influence.

Sorry for the diatribe, but there is a lot of (understandable) anger floating around so I have tried to balance it... Let's take the BDM into the black and search out that sequel, but let's do it with 11th Hour, Black Market Beagle and the rest of the shop crews on board!

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:07 AM

THATWEIRDGIRL


Why her? There are so many cookie cutter folks out there making tshirts and posters. 11th hour actually creates her art. She makes new pieces simply based upon the original idea. It's good stuff. If there were products for us to buy, we’d do it. These arseholes are robbing us of all products. No way to search Cafe Press, fining 11th Hour, shutting down websites...they're killing us. They're killing the fandom, folks.


This needs to get out. OUtside our world. This needs to be addressed by all fandoms...especially Universal ones. They need to know what's happening. We need to see this on news sites, blogs, movie boards, everywhere.

www.thatweirdgirl.com
---
"...turn right at the corner then skip two blocks...no, SKIP, the hopping-like thing kids do...Why? Why not?"

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:19 AM

FIREFLYGAL


Isn't there one Browncoat out there that knows someone high up at Universal? What about Mary Parent, she's a Browncoat. I for one will NOT be buying any of the licensed items. Perhaps we should ALL send Universal a bill for the marketing we did for Serenity and the sales of Firefly (which I know is Fox, but it helped Universal too)

I aim to misbehave!

Firefly items:
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:49 AM

MAVOURNEEN


After reading the 108 (as of 8:48 AM EST) responses to this same posting over at whedonesque, I am moved to repost this:

The Ballad of Universal

Take my heart
Take my pay
Sue me til the end of day
I don't care, still found my crew
When I helped you then got screwed

Coats of brown
Here and abroad,
Know the sitch, it's on the boards
Burn my site and be greedy,
You can't take my crew from me.

There's no place I can be
Since I helped YOU make money
But you can't take my crew from me.

~Kessa (for 11th Hour and all Browncoats everywhere dealing with this injustice)
Kessa | October 25, 07:41 CET



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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:58 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


11th Hour,

I am so sorry to hear about what Universal is doing to you. Their heavy handed tactics are inexcusable, especially considering all of the hard work you have contributed over the years to keep the story alive.

Please keep us posted as to what is happening in resolving this issue.

I agree w/ Jadehand and others that something must be done. We should all send emails and letters to Universal declaring our outrage over their handling of this issue. Certainly they have the right to protect their property, but a simple C&D order would have been more than sufficient. For them to demand money & threaten legal action is a tactic I would expect of the Alliance, not a studio who asked for (and REWARDED) our efforts in viral marketing of the BDM.

Perhaps we can also start donations for a legal fund if necessary to help 11th Hour protect herself from the legal dogs Universal has set on her.

__________________________________________
Holding the line since December '02!

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

Richmond, VA & surrounding area Firefly Fans:

http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/richmondbrowncoats/

http://www.richmondbrowncoats.org


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 3:29 AM

FIREFLYGAL


Can someone at least get word to Adam Baldwin or one of the other BDH's who frequent the boards. Maybe one of them would be willing to donate a script or some other items like Adam did and the money can go to 11th hours defense. Our wishes are nice but she needs cashey money and I would hope are BDH's are up for helping us fight.

I aim to misbehave!

Firefly items:
For lapel pins and badge holder lanyards
e-mail FireflyGal1@hotmail.com
www.outtotheblack.com
www.cafepress.com/fillies
www.cafepress.com/mssquarepeg.com
www.cafepress.com/mrsquarepeg.com

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 3:30 AM

BOOMERGOODHEART


Over on the OB, 11thHour has a website listed in her profile ( http://the11thhour.home.att.net/). It's not the CafePress store, it's her own site with free artwork banners. Well, down at the bottom (way down at the bottom)is a PayPal button. I'm under the impression that she put it on there way back when she started, just as a way to help defray website costs. That seems as good a place as any to contribute to a defense fund. Hmmm...might want to wait until she talks to a lawyer, though, and figures out what's what.

BoomerGoodheart
"I love my Captain."

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 3:53 AM

TENTHCREWMEMBER

Could you please just make it stranger? Stranger. Odder. Could be weirder. More bizarre. How about uncanny?


A few things from another CafePress user some of you might be familiar with (me!)

1) The year is 2006, and legal departments, especially where dealing with internet issues, will use email to communicate things. I have, on more than occasion received a C&D order that way. I simply discontinued the questioned item and did not fight it (can't afford to). I am currently trying to get a response from a company who claims they own the rights to the word "CAUTION"...Corporate Bullying is all it is.

2) Secondly, I can not afford to take any chances in the face of this being legitimate, and as such have discontinued all "SERENITY" items on my site. Sorry, but I'm in worse financial shape than 11th, I am sure of that, especially because most, sometimes all of my profits, get fed back into the Browncoat network as donations in one fashion or another.

3) Also, all my sympathies to my fellow hardworking Browncoat entrepenuers. I fell your pain.

4) Lastly, I intend, if this proves true, to boycott everything Universal...just like I do with FOX now. I say folk do the same...again if this all proves true.

Keep Flyin'!


BWAH!
TCM


http://www.cafepress.com/10thcrew

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:37 AM

SIXSHOOTER


Quote:

Originally posted by TenthCrewMember:
(can't afford to).



Well, that about sums up this whole thread.
Hell, that about sums up the justice system for every civilized nation on this sad planet.

"As much justice as you can afford."

EDIT: Okay, in retrospect felt kinda bad about using such awful language here, (my grandma would be pissed), so the jest of what I wrote was simply that universal studios are big meanies.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:41 AM

SIMONWHO


I think we need to give Universal a window in which to sort this out - they may have underestimated our strength of feeling and resolve.

So let's go easy with the insults until we know for sure what the situation is because if they get pure abuse from us, that will make them very unlikely to keen to further the verse.


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:53 AM

CYBERSNARK


I'd expect something like this from LucasEmpire, but I really expected better of Universal.

If the lawyers had their way, I could be arrested for walking down the street whistling the Ballad of Serenity.

Everyone who's identified these as bullying tactics is right; isn't there some way we can get some powerhouses in our corner? I know Joss lurks omnipresently, and even if he's as scared of lawyers as we are, this can't have escaped his notice.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:56 AM

EMBERS


11th Hour:
I did check out your changes at your shop and I'm hoping it'll be enough to make Universal drop it,
I love your work...
I have bought that image I posted (the gold firefly) because it was beautifully artistic and subtle,
because it was your original artwork.
good luck

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:56 AM

LEIASKY


>Let's add this one up, shall we? Let's guestimate an advertising contract for her company at roughly $40,000 a year, all paper and internet based work, paying her employees (us) for spreading around her posters. Since the movie was obviously promoted before it was released, I'd say Universal owes HER over $60,000 for the work she's done promoting their movie.


And she owes whatever their licensing fee is for selling items related to THEIR Intellectual Property.

Some of our hot properties cost 500,000 to license. . .

Universal owes nothing.

And the more trouble fans cause for Universal, the harder they are going to come down on illegal manufacture of products made using THEIR Property.

I can't say I'm happy about Universal and Fox cracking down on fans, but since I work in this industry, I see the studio side of the coin quite clearly.

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:58 AM

ARBAS


Thinking about the sales details demand - do they expect names, addresses, ACCOUNT DETAILS - if so that sounds more and more like a scam. 11th if you've confirmed that the originators are actually representing Universal can you let us know please.

(cross posted from the other thread)

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 5:00 AM

ARBAS


Double post - apologies

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 5:34 AM

ZEEK


Sorry, but I agree that someone who purchased a license probably complained. This is the legal action that Universal has to take. They are in agreements with anyone who purchased a license to defend thier copyrights. I know this is harsh, but it's kill or be killed. There's no way someone can claim they didn't take action when they show them this.

I won't be boycotting anything Universal. They've been great to the fans and to Joss. If anything I'm in full support of them. You can't blame the legal system on Universal.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 5:51 AM

ARBAS


Nonsense they could issue C&Ds and NOT demand retroactive fees, stock and sales info

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 6:03 AM

TENTHCREWMEMBER

Could you please just make it stranger? Stranger. Odder. Could be weirder. More bizarre. How about uncanny?


**rutting double posts**

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 6:03 AM

TENTHCREWMEMBER

Could you please just make it stranger? Stranger. Odder. Could be weirder. More bizarre. How about uncanny?


Quote:

Originally posted by Zeek:
You can't blame the legal system on Universal.



Nope, but we can blame them for using it in such a fashion...again, *assuming* this is all true.

I not wholly convinced it is true, but like I said, I can't risk that it isn't.

As a side note, it is a good thing there is no great omnipotent creator of the Universe (from where I sit) because he/she/it could sue us for existing and thinking everything they knew first...

Plaintiff: God
Defendant: You
Accusation: Copyright infringement with the intent to promote that You are an original piece of work.



TCM

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 6:52 AM

KAELE


This is rediculous. Already the trolls are out and feeding. That chum website has me all riled.

---

Quote:

And she owes whatever their licensing fee is for selling items related to THEIR Intellectual Property.

Some of our hot properties cost 500,000 to license. . .



I guess that depends. I would assume that a company hired to do advertising would include some portion of the rights in their contract so they can show exactly what it is they're promoting. That all breaks down into timing. If it were a not very well known franchise (like Firefly supposedly was) Universal would seek out companies and hire them to advertise their product. The other option would be for advertising agencies to bid for a contract for the rights to advertise it. Granted I'm not in the industry, but from some of the things I've witnessed my husband deal with (some fairly large companies you would know) that seems reasonably correct.

---

Bah. I'm almost ready to go and stuff my Browncoat and Serenity tees in an envelope with a scratched up DVD of the movie. I can mail that neat little love note off to Universal. I don't have to BUY stuff to be a Browncoat. Serenity and any Firefly will be played on regular television channels eventually.

There's always old school fandom: write some fanfics, print them and set up a free Fanzine exchange. Home made costumes, hand knitted Jayne hats. No exchange of money means no copyright infringement, right? LOL

We're a moneyed fandom, but that doesn't mean we NEED to give it to anyone at all.

I'll just take all the money I didn't spend and send it off to a good cause. Like 11th's legal fund.

~Kaele
PA Browncoats, Delaware Valley Brigade
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/PA_browncoats/

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:13 AM

CABRIDGES


Quote:

Posted by Wyyrdo on the OB


That was me -- I'm cabridges everywhere but the OB, since I lost my pword and signed up under another name. Also posted that at serenitystuff.com, where it's getting some attention from the people I hoped it would.

The key thing right off is not to yell at Universal. Not the studio, not the licensing people, not the lawyers, not at all. For one thing, most of the studio has no control over the legal arm (if anything it's the other way around). And for another, the more people loudly assert their right to sell material that Universal contends is infringing, the more the lawyers will believe they're right to get tough and scary.

We need to find an equilibrium, somewhere where we can promote a universe we love without agggravating the copyright holders (and where talented artists such as 11th Hour won't get nasty letters). Suggestions towards that are welcome. Suggestions on how to strike back at Universal are only making their argument for them.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:23 AM

MRT


CABridges/Wyyrdo - I seem to have quoted you twice in one day - great minds and all that...

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:25 AM

CABRIDGES


My licensing department will be contacting you shortly... :)

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:39 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by CABridges:
We need to find an equilibrium, somewhere where we can promote a universe we love without agggravating the copyright holders (and where talented artists such as 11th Hour won't get nasty letters). Suggestions towards that are welcome. Suggestions on how to strike back at Universal are only making their argument for them.

Seems to me the easiest solution is in Universal's hands: they want to promote their franchise (we presume, 'cause they've sure as hell shown no evidence of it), we want to promote it, and have been doing so for less than a pittance.

Is there any legal reason why Universal can't hire these fan-artists as a sort of freelance publicity corps? I'm sure it'd be cheaper for 'Versal than shelling out for a "real" publicity campaign. It'd also net them the benefit of workers who have demonstrated their effectiveness and awareness of the brand (this might be the reasoning behind the demand for sales figures).

Hasbro (and assorted license-holders) have done similar things in the Transformers fandom; fanfic writers and fan-artists occasionally get tapped to work on official products as paid freelancers.

At this point, not boosting publicity in an organized fashion would be a self-inflicted foot injury for 'Versal; they had advertisement and didn't need to spend a dime. Now they either have no publicity, or they'll have to do the work themselves (which, given their past publicity efforts, I'll believe when I see).

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 8:20 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by Arbas:
Nonsense they could issue C&Ds and NOT demand retroactive fees, stock and sales info


Possibly. Or possibly the people who bought licenses are claiming damages and are estimating huge sales and Universal needs proof to the contrary. They can't do that without the sales records and showing what a small stock is actually on hand.

The world is not full of fuzzy bunnies and sunshine 24/7. Universal is a corporation. Sometimes they need to do mean things to survive so they can bring us shiny movies. It's the world we live in and I'd rather focus on the positive.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 8:30 AM

WHIMSICALNBRAINPAN


You want to do something about this? E-mail them.

Below is a link to the Universal Studios contact page go to the General and Miscellaneous link in the Corporate section and both the Character and Internet links in the Licensing section.

http://www.universalstudios.com/homepage/html/contact_us/contact_links
.html


If you are not much of a writer then go to this thread: http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=24840

There are some pre-written messages and another Browncoat said they would compose one today as well. I recommend the letter that PhoenixRose wrote. It's a good one. If you have a letter you want to post so that others can borrow it please do so.


"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." http://whimsicalnbrainpan.blogspot.com/

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 8:38 AM

WHOISRIVER


Quote:



Is there any legal reason why Universal can't hire these fan-artists as a sort of freelance publicity corps?



Several.

1) The t-shirt license has been sold exclusively to a company. Only one company can make shirts, which are distributed to shops like Hot Topic and other resellers.

2) SERENITY is not in release any more. There is no budget capital for it. Nobody is trying to advertise it at the studio.

I think the important part to remember is that Universal Licensing LLC is a seperate company, which has the sole aim of making money from licensed (paid for) merchandise for their properties - eg SERENITY. That's how their staff are judged - amount of official merchandise sold.

I'm not saying their tactics with 11th Hour are justified - they aren't, at all. However, the legal representation of Universal are a law unto themselves -- excuse the pun -- and they come from a perspective of protecting Universal's financial asset - SERENITY. They will have no idea what a Browncoat is, and they don't care. They have to ensure official t-shirts get sold, and fan wares stop that.

Of course, there's a wider picture where fan wares lead to free advertising. The industry hasn't caught up with that.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:12 AM

TENTHCREWMEMBER

Could you please just make it stranger? Stranger. Odder. Could be weirder. More bizarre. How about uncanny?


Quote:

Originally posted by WhoIsRiver:

They have to ensure official t-shirts get sold, and fan wares stop that.



Not that I've seen. Hell, I've bought all the shirts they've released, and I can make them here at home if I so chose. I was one of the first in my area to buy them, and to tell everyone I knew to go get one.

Most folk I know bought BOTH fan and licensed merch.

I think any true fan, IMO, would buy licensed merchandise first and foremost. They understand that merchandising is part of what gets more of what they love out in the world for them to partake of it.

Just sayin'.

TCM

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:25 AM

SHINYHAPPYKLIN


Quote:


Of course, there's a wider picture where fan wares lead to free advertising. The industry hasn't caught up with that.



And that, Dear Browncoats, is where we and Universal, (if they were thinking ahead on the issue) could have a chance to make history. Can you imagine the place Universal would have in fandom history (and legal history) if they worked with us instead of against us?

The media distribution and creation economies are changing rapidly. Old School studios and networks are scrambling to catch up. Some things they do right, others, well, not so much. They're jumping off into things like "street teams" (guerilla marketing), MySpace sites, etc. just because they know those things are popular, maybe they've heard about it working for a popular band or indie film. They think they can make it work for them, but they don't take the time to research the particular audience, or -- God forbid! -- actually TALK to these people instead of just checking off a few boxes on a survey or scanning over a couple of fan sites. There's a lot of mismatch of marketing plans/licencing issues/corporate understanding of the current technology and environment going on.

Our current copyright situation is not at all adequate for the way digital content is being used, and is based on a traditional owner also being the only one to produce or license their work, and does not consider all the various ways that content can and is distributed and used today and will be in the future. A major revamping of these laws needs to be made to protect artists, but also allow for non-defamatory promotional uses and other original derivatory works. I'm not for going out and making an exact copy of someone's work and passing it off as your own or that you have the rights to sell it, but if it inspires you to make something of your own that is significantly different in style? That's a different animal, and is also something that with digital media is going to be increasingly impossible to stop and regulate.

Universal could set precedent here, either good or bad. If they really wanted to be the leader in media production for the 21st Century, they might want to consider the benefits of participatory fandom and be the first to offer limited licensing deals to their fans -- I don't think any of us are a significant threat to their bottom line; however, we ARE a significant unpaid addition to their marketing team, and they took great pains to try to use us that way in the past. I'd just like to see them step up to the plate and be respectful of the talent and devotion that helped them out in a difficult situation, and return the favor.


"We gotta go to that crappy town where I'M a hero..."
_______________________________
Shiny stuff for Browncoats at:
http://www.cafepress.com/outtotheblack
http://www.outtotheblack.com

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:51 AM

KANEMAN


"we ARE a significant unpaid addition to their marketing team"

As pointed out in a previous post, Universal is not paying anyone to market Serenity, they no longer have a Serenity marketing team.. Their roll in the verse is to get paid by other people to have the right to make money off of their property. No one at Universal cares a lick about the promotion of FF. They haven't for some time. The marketing staff has been replaced with a licensing sales staff. It is sad to us, but a great example of movie industry capitalism....

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 10:11 AM

CABRIDGES


I mind me of the way New Line worked with CafePress to encourage Snakes on a Plane designs from fans. They said, straight up, that fans couldn't use the logo or any character likenesses but anything else went, go wild.

Pity it was wasted on a bad movie, but I love the idea and the recognition that fan word of mouth was powerful.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:11 AM

SHINYHAPPYKLIN


Quote:

Originally posted by kaneman:
"we ARE a significant unpaid addition to their marketing team"

As pointed out in a previous post, Universal is not paying anyone to market Serenity, they no longer have a Serenity marketing team.. Their roll in the verse is to get paid by other people to have the right to make money off of their property. No one at Universal cares a lick about the promotion of FF. They haven't for some time. The marketing staff has been replaced with a licensing sales staff. It is sad to us, but a great example of movie industry capitalism....



I don't disagree with any thing you've said. However, maybe it's time for marketing-as-we-know-it to change. In the "Long Tail" model (see the book by Chris Anderson), new media economies are likely to be driven more by word-of-mouth and niche properties (such as Firefly/Serenity) rather than "tentpole" (blockbuster) properties that are becoming increasingly risky. Studios are starting to realize that there's money (and lots of it!) to be made from ancillary sales - DVDs, books, merchandise- as well as secondary distribution models (podcasts, Direct-to-DVD, web distribution), and even though they don't want to spend money or time promoting a lot of these things (especially once they leave initial distribution launch), wouldn't it make sense to do what you could, cheaply and easily, to work with a group of fans who really, really want to spread the word (and increase sales for YOU)?

It's a thought, and I'm not the only one to have it (see http://www.henryjenkins.org/ for more on "participatory fandom"). It would be great to see Uni REALLY jump on the bandwagon with us to start this change!

"We gotta go to that crappy town where I'M a hero..."
_______________________________
Shiny stuff for Browncoats at:
http://www.cafepress.com/outtotheblack
http://www.outtotheblack.com

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:14 AM

EMBERS


someone at Whedonesque just posted a link to a really interesting website:
http://www.chillingeffects.org/
evidently a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University
of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics has been created to document C&D letters which
are being sent out to people online, and to provide legal advice in this regard.

They have places to submit C&D letters for fan fic,copyright, trademark, and other 'violations'... even if they can't fix the
problem it is good to know that there are some smart up and coming lawyers who don't want to let the corporations make all the rules just
by the size of their pocket book...because original artwork by BlueSunShirts, BlackMarketBeagle and 11th Hour does not belong to Universal...
just like Andy Warhol had every right to paint and sell Campbell soup
cans, free expression of art does mean something.

rant over.

(but seriously, do post any and all e-mail from lawyers here at
http://www.chillingeffects.org/
and see if they can be of any help!)

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:45 AM

KANEMAN


"just like Andy Warhol had every right to paint and sell Campbell soup
cans, free expression of art does mean something."

He never had any legal right to paint Campbell cans. Today he would be in violation of copyright. I don't recall Campbell's trying to stop or bringing suit against him. Am I wrong on this.....

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:35 PM

DRE


Just my two cents.
And please don't flame me ><

Universal is NOT marketting Serenity (nor FF, for that matter) anymore. The franchise is [probably, but I am an optimist!] done for them.
Thus, anyone making any kind of cash (for whatever reason, even for Universal's stuff) is probably violating marketing/liscensing laws. There probably was a "free-for-all" marketting up until 30 September of this year, allowing one year for fans to spread word for the DVD and movie etc by word of mouth and cloth.
Shikashi, since Universal makes no money in it anymore, it would be "closing" down the marketting dept. (and dealing only through official liscencess, which, if we look at WMP and the RPG, is also shaky and foreboding).
Sadly, this probably means they're done with the it entirely, which is bad news for us (although the cast, etc, do have other work, etc, and life moves on).
I don't intend to sound down-right evil on the matter, but I DO understand why a company like Universal would do such things. Yes, they're not doing it in the nicest fashion, but that's how capitalistic gain works now (very sadly). It would be like me selling shirts with original Super Man (with C. Reeve!) or Masters of the Universe stuff, where I would make money off a dead-horse. Yes, I WOULD be promoting those franchises, but there is no IMMEDIATE cash-flow into that corporation (and sometimes those don't even exist anymore), and a few pennies here and there to them doesn't account ME making money for the product.
I DO agree that ORIGINAL art etc should be protected from this kinda rackett, but I DO understand where someone like Universal LLLC would come from.
As a final note, it does show a shiny change in the way the world has changed with the internet, art, media, etc, and how the massive corporate world of the 20th century is being strangled. Within a decade there will probably be a huge breaking in how legal issues and corporate issues, like this, etc are handled.



IKIYO.
DRE

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:41 PM

LEIASKY


>The marketing staff has been replaced with a licensing sales staff.

Sales and Marketing are two different departments. Usually, notably, under the same 'Consumer Products' or 'Licensing' banner.

One has not replaced the other here.

Universal's Marketing department has other films to promote and support.

Sales execs will consider any proposals from businesses who want to give them money to manufacture product based off one of their Properties.

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 1:36 PM

HUMBUG


My thoughts and prayers are with you, 11thHour. *hugs*

I don't know how Universal think this is kind, helpful or constuctive. It is nothing less than insulting, alienating loyal browncoats out here.

I LOVE your work and a hope you can't get this whole mess straightened out.

(One of my prized posessions of Firefly memorabilia is one of your Inara art Deco cards -it's so pretty)

Don't let this put you off. Keep producing your beautiful artwork. Just take up the challenge to create without reference to what seems to be 'forbidden'. *loads of hugs & support sent your way*


Humbug

"You know what the first rule of flying is?... Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." Mal, BDM

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:08 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by embers:
because original artwork by BlueSunShirts, BlackMarketBeagle and 11th Hour does not belong to Universal...
just like Andy Warhol had every right to paint and sell Campbell soup
cans, free expression of art does mean something.

Actually they do if it's based on original Universal copyright property. If you produce anything based on the Serenity Film from a T-Shirt to a fan fiction, even if all content is created by you personally that content legally belongs to Universal as a derivative work. Seriously this has been tried and tested, some guy produced an image of a spaceship he designed set in the Star Wars universe, Lucasart used it and it turns out they didn't have to pay him anything because they owned it.

Copyright law, a sin against mankind, gotta love it.

There is however such a thing as fair use. If you had the Serenity logo (for instance) on your Serenity fan site that's fair use. If anyone tells you to bring it down tell them where they can shove that bumper edition of copyright law.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:30 PM

ARBAS


Quote:

Originally posted by Zeek:
Quote:

Originally posted by Arbas:
Nonsense they could issue C&Ds and NOT demand retroactive fees, stock and sales info


Possibly. Or possibly the people who bought licenses are claiming damages and are estimating huge sales and Universal needs proof to the contrary. They can't do that without the sales records and showing what a small stock is actually on hand.

The world is not full of fuzzy bunnies and sunshine 24/7. Universal is a corporation. Sometimes they need to do mean things to survive so they can bring us shiny movies. It's the world we live in and I'd rather focus on the positive.




Fair comment but surely to be accurate you'd need complete sales figures sinc the store opened - or to relevent to the licence sales figures since the licence was granted.

Not having a dig here but what is positive about this?

edit - and I have to ask again - what is different about 11th hours setup to warrant the demand for fees when others have only rec'd a c&d order? Or are you saying the action ISN'T being taken by Universal but rather the licence holder - if that's the case we have a simple reaction (you need to KNOW this is accurate info though) we publicise across every medium we have access to what the licence holder has done then boycott the company.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:48 PM

KANEMAN


"action ISN'T being taken by Universal but rather the licence holder - if that's the case we have a simple reaction (you need to KNOW this is accurate info though) we publicise across every medium we have access to what the licence holder has done then boycott the company."

Why punish the honest legal person? Why do we want him to be on the "losing side", when we are not sure he's on the "wrong side"? Read what I just wrote...again...again...once more..I mean, the licensee could very well be a browncoat you assholes.........you fuckheads are starting to sound like reavers instead of BDHs..get a grip.....Well, it's true..........


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006 10:11 PM

ARBAS


Hang on - you're saying the licensee could be a browncoat so we shouldn't penalise them after saying it's the licensee taking the action in the first place also against a fellow browncoat????? What's the difference?


Important point if I remember the wording of my post correctly the actual quote should say something like "If the action ISN'T being taken by Universal but rather the licence holder" That's an important point IF

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Thursday, October 26, 2006 2:30 AM

FIREFLYGAL


Bumping because this should NOT be falling off the main page

I aim to misbehave!

Firefly items:
For lapel pins and badge holder lanyards
e-mail FireflyGal1@hotmail.com
www.outtotheblack.com
www.cafepress.com/fillies
www.cafepress.com/mssquarepeg.com
www.cafepress.com/mrsquarepeg.com

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Thursday, October 26, 2006 5:19 AM

CITIZEN


The point of fact:
Universal has every legal right to do what they are doing (which obviously doesn't make it right, there is a cute, though erroneous, notion among many that the law is about Justice, oh how I laugh).

The reality:
What they are doing is basically what someone in the Industry (a friend of a friend) said they'd never do, because and I quote, "but who would do that, it's just too f**king petty".

Or as SimonWho put it in another thread ( http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=24744#400035):
Quote:

Originally posted by SimonWho:
Speaking of admiration for others, may I just tip my evil cap in the direction of Universal's lawyers. I know I dabble with evil as a hobby but it takes a lot of guts to do it for a living (mostly the guts of your enemies but your grandmother's will do in a pinch).

It takes a certain amount of magic to turn around a group of people from sending you letters of praise to calling for a boycott of your entire firm and you pulled it out of the hat. My heartiest congratulations.





More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006 5:39 AM

CITIZEN


Universals Lawyers made me do it.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006 5:51 AM

ZEEK


Quote:

Originally posted by Arbas:
Fair comment but surely to be accurate you'd need complete sales figures sinc the store opened - or to relevent to the licence sales figures since the licence was granted.

Not having a dig here but what is positive about this?

edit - and I have to ask again - what is different about 11th hours setup to warrant the demand for fees when others have only rec'd a c&d order? Or are you saying the action ISN'T being taken by Universal but rather the licence holder - if that's the case we have a simple reaction (you need to KNOW this is accurate info though) we publicise across every medium we have access to what the licence holder has done then boycott the company.


The positive side is they're a giant company who gave us a movie. All the lawsuits they've filed in the past built up to us getting a movie. Did you boycott back then? Apparently it's only bad when it's taking away something you want. Rather than when it's giving you exactly what you want.

Also, the difference apparently is that 11th hour did official licensed work before. Apparently providing art for the Serenity RPG. That could bring down all sorts of extra legal hellfire on her. If she signed any sort of contract it probably had plenty of legalease in it. She may have also been given access to Universal copyrighted material to produce the game. They might think she is now using that material in her unauthorized merchandise.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006 6:45 AM

CANTER


I'm a lawyer.

Sorry.

I respect the rights of Universal to protect their intellectual property. I believe they have the right to ensure that property they spent money on are protected for their benefit.

But, here is the thing. I don't believe Serenity or Firefly belongs solely to Universal. I don't believe Serenity or Firefly is anyone's property. I believe that when they expressly and impliedly encouraged and condoned fan-advertising and promotion, they abandoned part or all of their exclusive rights in favour of the public.

That would be my defense if it went to court.

But, being from a different legal system, I'd probably lose. But losing doesn't mean I'm wrong.

I believe that we should not stare ourselves blind to the fact that Universal has certain legal rights. Traditional legal concepts cannot and should not prevail against what we are. We have to remember that we are Browncoats. We did what no other fandom in the history of television has EVER done. We kept our 'verse alive against all the odds. We are mighty. We are special. Being a Browncoat for me is not just about being a fan of a TV show. It's about being part of something.....bigger. It's an emotion. It's about an idea that matters. It's a meeting of minds.

It's the slippery slope of fanatisism. But the great thing is. I'm not alone. And that is enough.

So, how many Browncoats are we? How fanatical are you? Or are you reading this and cringing...slightly fearful for my sanity?

So what if Universal "owns" the franchise. We ARE the franchise. Why should they be allowed to hurt us?

This might be the initiative we've been looking for to relight our firefly

Burn the land and boil the sea...

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Thursday, October 26, 2006 7:21 AM

CLEMENTINE


11th hour:

I cannot begin to imagine how betrayed you feel. You have done so much for this 'verse. Serenity Valley indeed and High Command has asked you to lay down arms.

But that is not Firefly and that is not the Browncoats. We are with you: out in the black and still flyin'. Our loyalty is to each other as much as the BDH. You need anything, don't be shy to ask.

They picked the wrong fandom to try and stomp on and it's really going to bite them in the pocketbook. What are those licences worth now?
__________________________________________

formerly known as RimGirl

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