Fans being banned from making and selling Jayne hats caused a huge stir yesterday, big enough that the real Jayne and others spoke out.
In case you missed it yesterday, an officially licensed version of the Jayne hat from Firefly started being sold around December of last year. Now all the crafty Browncoats have suddenly found themselves getting banned from websites and in receipt of cease-and-desist letters. Many tweeted at the cast and crew of Firefly in hopes that their big damn heroes might come to the rescue.
There have been responses. Some of them are direct, some of them purposefully vague, but all of them came through Twitter. Let's work our way from the vague to the specific, shall we?
First up, Nathan Fillion, who obviously doesn't want to step on any toes. Still, we think the fact that this was his only tweet yesterday speaks volumes.
I like to think there's a little bit of Malcolm Reynolds in all of us. But especially me.— Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) April 9, 2013
Is this Fillion's subtle way of saying that his fans should aim to misbehave?
A lot of people talked about the design of the hat. Well, why not ask Joss Whedon's favorite costume designer and creator of the Jayne hat, Shawna Trpcic, what she thinks? Yesterday she manually retweeted the following TWICE:
It's not hard to work out how she feels, and her choice to use a picture of two small girls wearing Jayne hats is a real gut punch.
But what about the man they call Jayne? Adam Baldwin is no stranger to making his strongly felt political opinions known. So it's not surprising that he had something to say on the matter of his very cunning hat. Again, this comes through a manual retweet, but it's clear he agrees with the message.
It seems clear that they're all a little nervous about biting the hand that feeds, but it's also clear that they're not happy, either.
Meanwhile, ThinkGeek, the online retailer that seems to have gotten hit with the brunt of the blame, is trying to weather the fan storm. After writing the initial article, I received a call from Public Relations Manager Steve Zimmerman, who personally assured me that no one at ThinkGeek would ever consider taking legal action against fellow Browncoats. If anything, he was quick to point at that ThinkGeek has had its own experiences getting slapped with C&Ds because of licensing issues.
Ripple Junction, the company that actual holds the license to make and sell the Jayne hat, has yet to respond, however. There's a mounting expectation that they'll make a formal statement, especially since a (recently deleted) Facebook post fingered them as the responsible party for beginning this licensing dispute.
Someone (great gorram I wish I knew who) reported independent shops to Ripple Junction. As an official license holder, once Ripple Junction was made aware of these shops they must, by contract, report them. FOX legal department, in doing their job which they should (because lets face it they have artists to protect too), sends Etsy the legal notification. The closed shops are the ones specifically brought to the attention of Ripple Junction. The other C&Ds Etsy is issuing are the “we are covering our butts” warnings.
When I reached out to Ripple Junction early yesterday (before this story exploded), I was immediately met with a very adversarial tone. That may not mean anything, but, coupled with accusations of direct involvement, we can imagine fans are quietly waiting for an official response from both Ripple Junction and Fox.
(Facebook quote via The Mary Sue)