11th Hour has recieved a heavy handed email supposedly from Universal's lawyers/legal advisors asking that they not only cease and desist selling/distribution/advertizing/promotion or otherwise marketing Firefly/Serenity shirts but to also pay them almost $9000 in licencing fees. This is also apparently affecting other fans who have sold serenifly merchandise.
Go to the links for the whole story and long discussions.
My thoughts? At a minumum, Fox had since 2002 to create and sell official "Firefly" merchandise. And also at a minimum, Universal has had a year (at least, more if you count filming time) to create and sell official "Serenity" merchandise. They chose to do a minimum, if at all of this. I seem to remember fans actually asking for official merchandise.
Universal wanted a viral/guerilla marketing campaign for the movie with their viral videos, special "blogs" and giveaways, special pre-screenings and relying heavily on word of mouth advertizing (FREE!). This included fans printing t shirts and other merchandise and either selling or distributing for free and Universal looked the other way accepting the practice by not asking for a stop in the beginning. Suddenly they're threatening people now? Thats heavy handed and bad form.
The legality of the threats is apparently being questioned since it was done in an email and not on paper. I dont know much about this, unless a paper statement is forthcoming.
If this is not a scam from someone wanting to cash in, fans beware. This chaps my hide.
crossposted. I didnt notice anything on a quick search through slashdot.org *hints*