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October 25 2006

Open Letter to Browncoats written by the folk at Serenity Stuff. A call to creative folk to produce things that won't infringe on the Firefly/Serenity copyright. Also a site has been created the Browncoat Invoice. It is another community building exercise in determining how many hours fan put into marketing Serenity/

Interesting and inspirational:
Let's make our own crews, our own worlds. The juxtaposition of the old west and space is not copyrighted.[...]Don't make a poster of Mal. Make a poster he'd hang up, instead.

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.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-10-26 17:23 ]

I think this is a brilliant idea. I have an addition (call it a friendly amendment) to this concept, but I'd like to run it by browncoat artists before announcing it. Can I ask all browncoat artists, cafepress shopkeepers, etc, to drop me an email at adam at blackmarketbeagles dot com so I can pick your collective brains briefly?
I appreciate that this is a hot topic for the fandom at the moment but I'm letting people know that unless links bring something new to the table in terms of discussion (as we are a blog, they will be deleted.

This entry is ok but I really don't want the front page taken up with umpteen entries about Universal and the crackdown.
Well, let's look at this topic in a creative manner...what WOULD Mal (or any of the crew members for that matter) want to hang up in his room?
I think it's a terrific idea, and I hope it goes far!
I think Wash would hang a photo of Gina in his bunk.

Copyright is open for interpretation, but it's worth remembering if it's being fan marketed as Serenity/Firefly tshirts, they could go after you.

Far more importantly, though, Simon called WHEDONesque a blog. Caroline, avert your eyes!
No mention of Fireflies or ships named Serenity. No mention of the current crew, or Blue Sun, or the Alliance. Maybe we can design stuff for the solar system next door. But if we start with "far-flung humans in the future, no aliens, and the farther you get from the planets with the goodies the more primitive the settlers" I'll bet we can come up with some funky stuff.

Again, such limitations would effectively nullify the usefulness for attracting new fans or marketing to existing ones, but that's not the only reason we made it. It's also a community-building exercise, something that helps brings us together to delight in a shared enterprise. And spreading the word about Serenity isn't nearly as urgent to me these days.

Oops, can't use "enterprise" either...
Re: the clutter issue, I'm going to suggest that when the DNS for the related site I'm launching is working right, perhaps it hsould just be added to this post, turning it into something like a "two ideas in reaction" sort of thing, rather than add yet another separate item to WHEDONesque. It should be ready to go while this item is still on the main page here, so....
As a different thought - Universal has only the movie rights, right? So would Firefly quotes like 'if you can't run, you crawl ...' be all right? I haven't heard of any TV station going after their fans or fan pages.
No way to get a definitive answer to that question without a trial, too many variables. Best you could do here is get a sense of how likely it would be that they might take offense, and now is not the time to be publicly speculating about it.
::shameless plug::

This is pretty much what I had in mind when I started Crimson Dark :)
An excellent example.
So would Firefly quotes like 'if you can't run, you crawl ...' be all right? I haven't heard of any TV station going after their fans or fan pages. was shut two weeks ago by Fox. It was a Firefly shirt site.

Also, they have gone after fan sites of The Simpsons, The X-Files, Buffy, Angel to name a few. Nearly all their shows, in fact.
Ya know, I reckon it'll be better, cooler and funnier than anything the suits come up with too.
Simon, sorry about if the clustering issue was a problem, I saw that announcement and it was soo shiny. And I figured it would get lost in that other thread, and I thought it did deserve a thread of its own, especially when people can come up with and brainstorm such ideas. But point taken, and it would be cool to discuss the other site as well here.

Actually onetruebix, are you in contact with 11th Hour? b/c if it the situation has been resolved then there would not be much of a need for your site. I am just worried that if the site goes up online, and the situation was resolved, things will be stirred up again.
Actually onetruebix, are you in contact with 11th Hour? b/c if it the situation has been resolved then there would not be much of a need for your site.

Depends on the perspective. The site is not overly specific about one event or another, but also presents itself as part of the more general discussion about entertainment companies relying increasingly on fanbases to promote their products.

The site very deliberately is designed not to be confrontational, and serve just as much as (to use a term used here already today) another "community building" exercise.

The about page also carries a disclaimer that makes clear that mentions of or links to other sites should not be taken as those sites endorsing mine, but only for contextual purposes on the issue.

In other words, it's neither "SAVE 11th HOUR!" site or a "SCREW UNIVERSAL!" site. It's more of a statement of principle and/or philosophy.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2006-10-26 02:54 ]
onetruebix.... uh .... cool...
seriously it sounds interesting.

ETA: the least, that is so shameful... i am shocked and dismayed ;), how about creating stuff to fit into the universe of Crimson Dark? Just a thought, but it would be cool to try to be as creative as possible in creating stuff fans would enjoy. We can even assign a faux name to universe that whole range of merchandise, so that any stuff associated with that, fans would know that its actually inspired by Firefly, but without mention of Firefly? Like "Star trek on babylon 5"... no wait.. that doesnt work... Ill try to get back to you on that...

ETA 2: And by we, I mean the people who create said merchandise, and not me at all :P
[ edited by kurya on 2006-10-26 03:05 ]

[ edited by kurya on 2006-10-26 03:07 ]
The idea of a space western isn't new. One of the best examples was The "Beastmaster" series by Andre Norton, with with a Navajo named Hosteen Storm settled on the Arizona-like planet named Arzor after Earth was destroyed in an interstellar war. "The Beast Master(1959), Lord of Thunder(1962),and Beast Master's Ark, Beast Master's Circus, and Beast Master's Quest(2002,2004,2006 with Lyn McCochnie) would make excellent films with not-too-costly budgets. I'm sure the SciFi Channel could do them well and not cost anymore than Dune or The Children of Dune.
They would all hang up pictures of Llamas!
They would all hang up pictures of Llamas!

this coming from the guy who sparked the llama craze. *cough*
Maybe my understanding of copyright boundaries is off, but if we're looking for a way to market things without infringing, wouldn't something like, say, 'VerseWear' be both recognizable to Browncoats everywhere and still vague enough to present a hopeless case as far as copyright violations?
Thanks, Gossi, that is too bad. But I guess those shops had T-Shirts with pictures of Serenity, Mal, River etc. up, didn't they? So should a shirt with a quoted line only that has neither firefly nor serenity or any character in it be ok?
I mean, who would know wether 'curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!' or 'just let me die ... for a minute!' is a firefly-quote?
Interesting site, theonetruebix, I'll submit a realistic estimate about the amount of time I worked in marketing the movie.
Well, your a man of your word Bix!
I've sent a link along to the Sozers.
"The idea of a space western isn't new."

That's true. Years back, Peter David wrote the screenplays for a couple of low-budget space westerns that went straight to video by Full Moon that also had a fun sense of humor and some interesting eccentric characters in their ensemble.

(Unfortunately I don't remember the name, but it wasn't bad).

About the whole matter with 11th hour: Hoping it gets cleared up soon...

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