- Take a photo of yourself in your hat holding a sign saying www.YouCantTakeTheYarnFrom.Me
- Post it on Our Page
- Post it on 20th Century Fox’s Page
- Post it on Ripple Junction’s Page Ripple Junction breaks the silence.
Dear Fox(1) and Ripple Junction
For more than a decade, fans of Joss Whedon’s ill-fated Firefly show have kept the ship Serenity in the sky. They demanded a continuation to the story of Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his plucky crew of space buccaneers, which came on the silver screen thanks to Universal and Serenity in 2005. They did everything in their power to promote the franchise. Wrote letters. Attended conventions. Made fan films. Raised tens of thousands for charity.
They have even created derivative works that have only been beneficial to promoting awareness of the show, the movie, and all things in the Verse — all in the sincere if not vain hope that once again, they’ll get to see Mal, Zoe, River, and company stick it to the Alliance. All with the wish that the story is not yet over. That it will go on in some form. That they will see the heroes once again.
One such derivative work that has proven to be an exceptionally popular tradition has been the homemade Jayne hat. Which, in reality, is nothing more than a bit of knitted string in a highly unfortunate color scheme.
So popular have these hats been, they have become a way for fellow Browncoats to identify one another whether at a convention or just on the street. All homemade. All made with love. And most importantly, all doing nothing more than promoting Firefly and keeping hope alive.
But now you both have directly threatened this tradition. Fox, like you have in the past for other Firefly-derivative works, has licensed the creation of Jayne hats to Ripple Junction. Fox Legal Group then has sent cease-and-desist letters to online marketplaces that let fans who could not knit get their hands on their very own homemade Jayne hat.
We believe that this decision has been made in error. While Fox may have every legal right to act in this manner, we believe this act has undermined the creation of derivative works from the Verse by fans that going forward will serve the valuable role of promoting a franchise long after it was supposed to have been dead.
Even if folks were making a few bucks on the creation of Jayne hats, although it is not quantifiable in the sale of the hat itself, the benefit shows up in all the new Firefly fans that find out about the show because of these derivative works. What’s the harm in that? We want more Firefly!
We would be satisfied if Jayne hat makers could be allowed to again begin their trades without fear of liability, that such proceeds allow the knitters to simply recoup the costs of making the hats, and in the process perhaps to even create a ready-to-participate venue for charitable giving in the future. Let’s take something negative and turn it into something positive.
Even though you are in your legal rights to pursue intellectual property claims, we are simply asking you to reconsider your position. Derivative works are a cornerstone of fandom.
Your Friends at Unstoppable Signals
1) 20th Century Fox, the IP rightsholder, and Fox Legal Group, the legal team representing 20th Century Fox