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October 27 2006

The (Browncoat) Invoice. A tongue in cheek website set up in the aftermath of Universal's actions against 11th Hour and others. It may be a light hearted approach but it does draw attention to the serious issue of what happens when a film studio and a fanbase get into bed.

Thanks for the front page link to this, Simon. I checked this site yesterday when b!x mentioned it in one of his posts, and it so *rocks* to see how high the total has climbed already. Well done, Browncoats, and well done, b!x! :-)
Does anybody know more about the legal action or the proposed defense fund?
I've spoken to 11th Hour this morning. She's got somebody helping her, but other than that I don't want to comment too much in case it effects her case. What the legal firm is complaining about appears to be the logo on the back of her shirts, which says Serenity and has Serenity written in chinese on it, but is an original logo - it's not the movie logo.

Also, whilst we're here, Joss commented (SEPERATELY) about fan merch last year:

Q. You've also done an absolutely smashing job of ignoring the massive amounts of bootleg "Firefly" fan merchandise. I'm thinking specifically of… [now closed -gossi].

A. I'm a Deadhead, and where I come from, bootlegging's a good thing.

Q. If the movie's a hit, and more official merchandise starts coming out, do you think there's going to be a crackdown?

A. I have no idea. I never have a piece of merchandising; I haven't reached a place in the Hollywood DNA chain where I can actually ask for that. So it's not like I'm losing money.
But even if I was? You know, I'm doin' fine. I have a job. I'm doing just fine. And the fact that people are making this stuff? You can call it "bootlegging" or you can call it "free advertising."

Q. Let's hope they keep calling it the latter.

A. You can also call it "the fact that people are taking it to their hearts." It's no different than fan fiction or any of these online communities. It's important to them and they wear it -- and that makes me proud. And I don't give a good goddamn who's makin' money off it.

Q. Now, do you have a favorite piece of fan -- I'm sorry, "free advertising"?

A. [laughs] A favorite…. You know, I have to admit, when I first saw the Blue Sun t-shirts, I thought they were pretty cool -- because it didn't announce itself, and I think it had a really good logo.

You know, I have to admit, when I first saw the Blue Sun t-shirts, I thought they were pretty cool -- because it didn't announce itself, and I think it had a really good logo

So did I.

Its nice to see this up on the main page. Thanx Simon.
Also...nice work Bix.
How are they figuring out how much each person's time is worth and whatnot? I guess I'm showing my true colors... the comptuer scientist/mathematician is concerned with their algorithm... haha.
I think I can up B!x's total a bit. I just need to find the time and figure out all the time I spent on it, all the paper I used, the amount of electricity used as I kept my computer on sending emails, promoting the movie online all over the place...
So, given all the time I spent raving about promoting 'Firefly' (and later 'Serenity') to mates down the pub does this mean I can write off the cost of beer as a business expense ? ;-)

(nice job, B!x, for me, this slightly-tongue-in-cheek-but-with-a-serious-point approach makes the most sense and maybe makes us seem slightly less nutty than some of the other options)
I'm not certain how Universal can claim a copyright on the word Serenity, in English or in Chinese, or in combination (a lot of English-Chinese dictionaries may claim prior copyright, in that case). I don't know what the logo looks like, but it if it is an original design, I can't figure out what case Universal has, assuming everything else I've read here is true. This just sounds like bullying harrassment.

I love the spirit of B!x's website, BTW.
I just took a seven day week and broke it down per day as to what I spent on talking about it to family, friends, co-workers, customers. my cat....

It worked out to about an hour a day in 2005 and 2 hours a day in 2006.
Somebody earlier was joking about them trying to copyright a word, in terms of the adult diapers - not just funny, it seems, but true. I think it's all still more scary than funny, though, in the absence of a positive resolution. Thanks for the update, gossi.
There's a link to the disbuted image here. In fairness, if something is a 'likeness' in design you can fall foul of copyright law. It would need to be down to a court to decide, though.
Does putting links and reviews and raves on your website count as billable hours?
I mean, I have a little blog thing and it has a Cool Things To See section that features links to Firefly and Serenity. It took me time to put a banner/button on my site.
LOTS of people did/do this, driving people to the Uni site and also now to Amazon so they can buy the DVDs.
The studio is still benefitting from OUR work.
Hell, maybe the Done The Impossible guys should bill Fox and Universal for all of THEIR hard work promoting Firefly and Serenity with their documentary.
I don't know what's more shameful: Fox going after fans who are doing nothing but helping Fox/News Corporation make money off of a show that they didn't "get", hated, mishandled and killed? Or Universal, who BEGGED fans to help promote Serenity, and now are going after those same fans who aren't exactly making a mint off of the things like t-shirts.
Yeah, as a corporation, they have the right. But that doesn't make it right.

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-10-27 16:38 ]
Maybe this was already addressed, in which case, sorry I missed it -- but:

Has it yet been confirmed that the email 11th hour got was legit?
The website was a genius way to go, communicates the point, without a hostile tone. Glad this story continues to stay on the front page, it's such an important issue personally that I hope that it continues to be on the front page here in some form until it's fully resolved.
WilliamTheBloody - yes. She has a legal representative of sorts and they have talked to the firm, and the deadline for removal has been extended to Friday I think, possibly saturday.
Is my math wrong? Are they saying that the fan time was worth $75/hour? Because I'm pretty sure that Universal pays their PAs minimum wage.
Actually Universal was offering online 'credits' to buy merchandise at the online store (they never mailed me mine, but still), so it wasn't really like they were asking fans to do the guerilla marketing for free.
Thanks for the update gossi. I put in an estimate on the low side (I contract for the government... I've been brainwashed into NOT padding my bills by my very ethical company :-).

embers, good point about the credits on the Universal board, but the fact they never mailed you your items just adds fuel to my fire of indignation...
Genius, thy name is B!x!! Great work!

It's all about intelligence, style and heart. Hmm...reminds me of that John Sweden dude.....
Looked at 11th Hour's logo. Wow, how are they saying it's theirs? Comparing it with the official one from the Official Visual Companion book:

1) As has been said, neither the word "Serenity" or the Chinese characters are copyrightable, belonging to the English language and the Chinese alphabet (and language, but the alphabet belongs to several languages), respectively.

2) "Serenity" is in a distinctly different font.

3) The first Chinese character in 11th Hour's differs markedly from the one in the official logo. It's either a slightly different character or done in a very different style.

4) In the official logo, the Chinese characters are positioned top and down rather than left to right which (no offense to 11th Hour) I believe is the correct way. That means they don't cross with "Serenity" in the fan art one, while that's obviously a major design element of the official one.

5) In the official logo, the Chinese characters are painted on a circle-within-a-circle medallion image that in no way resembles 11th Hour's swirly background graphic.

I really hope this doesn't have to go to court (anybody got Chinese characters for "much ugliness and waste"?) But I'd sort of assumed the pictures were more similar, aside from the other defenses.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2006-10-27 18:16 ]
The studio is still benefitting from OUR work.

The fandom did benefit from Universal, let's not forget that. The studio praised the fans, built up their profile and helped to feed the myth that the fans led to Serenity being greenlit. It wasn't an one-sided relationship by any means.
I know I'm responsible for the sale of about fifteen box office tickets, one DVD rental of the series, one DVD rental of the movie, four copies of the movie's DVD, and two copies of the series DVDs. How do I submit my bill for marketing and promotions?
With regards to the Chinese characters, the first character in Universal's version and 11th Hour's version are different. They more or less translate to the same thing, though, namely, "Serenity". (Duh. ;) )

Also, top-down and left-right are both acceptable directions for writing Chinese characters. Top-down is the more traditional form, whereas left-right is the convention today.
I think the $75 an hour price tag is a bit steep and makes the whole thing lose a bit of its impact. I get $75 an hour when I do consulting in a field in which I have a Master's degree and 8 years of professional experience. It is true that you typically would triple your hourly rate when doing independent consulting, to cover your expenses when you are doing all of the stuff associated with running your business but which isn't directly for your client. So, because if I worked in my profession in a traditional capacity, $25/hr would be a reasonable salary, $75/hr is my consulting rate. You could maybe argue some of the people out there maintaining fan websites/etc. could make that much, and even more, were they doing it for a business. But the average Browncoat talking up the story to family and friends, or online....$75 is just too much imho and for me, it makes the invoice less meaningful. You can't put a pricetag on love, but if you are going to put one on work you do for love its gotta be in line with the market.

[ edited by GoblinQueen on 2006-10-27 18:34 ]
Well, the hourly rate was an interesting question, because I got suggestions all over the map -- $20, $25, $50, $75, even $100 -- depending on who was answering. A friend of mine in LA suggested $50 with a minimum of 4 hours, otherwise $75, a formula which should mean I'd be using $50, not $75. Truthfully, in part picking $75 was a subtle joke (likely overly subtle, which is a trap I fall into sometimes) about the outlandishness of trying to charge 11th Hour nearly $9,000 in retroactive fees. I think my brain was trying to be just as outlandish in response.

That said, I have no particular opposition to lowering the hourly, but since I've heard suggestions, as I said, all over the map, it's become a question of whose suggestion is the right one. Heh.
Thanks hrlo, I wasn't sure about either. I think what you said is good, though, since it would seem to indicate artists working from different sources.

That said, I have no particular opposition to lowering the hourly, but since I've heard suggestions, as I said, all over the map, it's become a question of whose suggestion is the right one. Heh.

Oops, I missed the suggested hourly and went with something more in line with what I actually make when I'm working which is...less.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2006-10-27 19:20 ]
My company does a lot of hollywood marketing work and we charge $150 hour (per employee); $75 seems quite reasonable.
Bix, I applaud your creativity and I think your site is a great way to illustrate the point you are trying to make. For me, the high rate kind of lessoned the impact since it seemed to go too far in the other direction. Whatever you decide, kudos to your ingenuity.
Go to Google and type in "marketing rates". The first site that comes up charges $75 an hour. Granted, this site does internet marketing, but isn't that what most of us have done?

I asked a friend of mine who has her own Marketing/Promotion company (mainly working in the music industry) and she charges from $100 an hour on up depending on the client and the amount of physical work that needs to be done. The more work she does outside her office, the more she charges.

So yes, I think $75/hour is a fair rate.
I've charged $150/hour for internet-type work before. Also, the marketing folk in the film industry I came across last year were compensated, uhm, well.

I'm still trying to work out if I should submit my invoice. I moderated the US site for free which took hours every week due to troll problems, set up and ran the UK site for the movie on release for free, helped organise and sell out the UK screenings (twice - running the screening website for Universal) (for free), and lined the streets with fans at the London and Edinburgh premieres (for free), put people on MTV, and to be frank helped them win BBC Film of the Year etc. I shall bill them one million dollars, ah-ah-ah! Or a few thousand, anyway.

Of course, I'm not actually after payment at all. Universal gave allowed me to drink tequila with Nathan, my friends and Joss for - like - 3 hours. Plus, free bar. Plus - and here's the thing - major motion picture.

I gave them my time. As a group, I think the Browncoats helped bring the studio an audience. I mean, 48% of the opening US weekend audience said they had seen Firefly before. That isn't an accident.

And I think that's a happy medium.
How about they make a sequel and we call it even?

*a girls gotta dream*
I vote for the sequel thingy!
This is a great idea. Just biting enough without being insulting. Kudos to whoever came up with this!
Re: the idea. In his original Serenity Stuff post, cabridges mentioned it would be interesting if fans tallied up their time, just to see. The "invoice" idea came up a couple times here on WHEDONesque. So I stole the idea and ran with it.
Wow, gossi, you did a lot!

(and jaynelovesvera's blood tests and X-rays came back okay -- hurrah!)
OMG bix... you stole it? and admitted it in the public domain? you realize you are SOOO going to get sued by cabridges, and you jsut gave him all the ammo to have a successful case. tsk tsk. :P

ETA: Hourrah Pointy, awesome for the shiny news..... yay to you jaynesloververa, if you ever going to read this! I'll buy you some rounds of mudder's milk

[ edited by kurya on 2006-10-27 21:33 ]
Wow, clearly I should have gone into marketing...
Very nice bix, I like it. Ever since this whole 'thing' hit the fan the line "Curse your abrupt yet forseeable treachery."** has been running through my head for some reason...

**Slighty paraphrased to avoid the ultimate evil of any kind of infringement.
Wow, clearly I should have gone into marketing...

Or gossi's vague enough to rouse curiosity 'internet-type work'. Why does Ali Larter's character in 'Heroes' spring to mind ? ;-)

And if you're reading this jaynelovesvera, congrats man, pleased as punch for ya. Sink a few on me (figuratively, I mean ;).
Gad, imagine if I had to change every quote like that before I could comment. I'd be be-flummoxed.

Instead, I'm gonna go with this from Section 107 of the Copyright Act (my underlining):

"...the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

I think we're good to go...
yeah well QG, you know how feisty those lawyers can be. Just b/c something is "legal", it wouldn't stop some lawyers in pursuing it... I speak of course of the bad bunch of them, and not the few good ones(wish there were more of the good ones *sigh*)
YAY, JLV!!! (Thanks, Pointy!!!) :-D

Had to do that, yo. Now, back on topic -- from what others are writing here about rates, it does sound that $75 an hour is reasonable, esp. considering what they're asking 11th Hour for. Also, it's true they gave us a movie, we did get value -- but as Simon said at the very top, this is about what happens after a studio and fans get into bed together.

Wait -- does this mean we're breaking up? Or just that we're seeing other studios? ;-)

Lastly, I think QG's timely quote from the Copyright Act just about says it all, at least as far as our using quotes. So, with that, here's my contribution: "We (lawyer-types) meddle. People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run don't walk we're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome." Oh, yeah, and in their T-shirts and in their posters and in their interwebs, too. (This is criticism, yo.) ;-)
Okay, I can't get over the fact that Gossi mod'd the official site for free. Even with the drinks and the elbow-rubbing with luminaries, still sounds a bad bargain. The official site was trollarific--not to mention really busy--and I don't imagine mod'ding it took up small bits of time. I assumed SL was a paid person working for Universal. Amazed at the cheapness of Universal. Even lackey production assistants get paid. I mean, if you're happy with your "pay" Gossi, who am I to argue? But the reason there are acting unions (it's related, I swear) is because actors are often so desperate and so happy to get a job, they'd do it for free. Which the studios would love and abuse, while the actors would be grateful just for having an acting gig.

Anyway, I love the site. It's a fitting answer to the current situation, and $75 doesn't seem too much. When I designed logos and art for companies, the promotions company I worked for charged $100 an hour, and that was almost five years ago.

And as incensed as I've been over this issue for the last few days, I think I'm getting some perspective. I don't fault Universal for the C&Ds, and I am coming to understand that Universal the Creative is probably in a different building then Universal the Legal Enforcers, so I can't completely fault the studio. In much the same way I got an education about box office numbers last fall, I feel I'm now getting an education about how the movie system works. They really don't care if we've thanked them. They don't care if many of us worked our butts off to do free promotion or that most venders’ motivations were to share the love, not make a buck. I doubt they care that we're angry and upset. Most of all, I doubt they know who 11th Hour is. If they do, they don't care. And if they do, then they targeted her because she is such a high profile fan, to get their message out.

It's a movie studio. Money talks. Nothing else ever will. That's why people say Hollywood has no soul, Hollywood is heartless, and Hollywood doesn't care about art, only the bottom-line. We should feel lucky that we got Serenity, and that they gave Joss free rein to make the movie he wanted. We don't have to thank them, because they don't really care if we're thankful. But we can be grateful that something in the universe lined up and we got the BDM.

Lord, I've become cynical. I need to eat some circus peanuts. No one can be cynical while eating circus peanuts.
dizzy - you do realise you moderate the non-Universal Browncoat forum now for free, don't you?

To be honest, looking after the US Serenity forum in 2005 took so much time I would literally spend entire weekends doing it. And then moaning to Simon from here, who I think thought I was nuts. They hadn't given me access to be able to ban people, as Fanpimp's software was - frankly - shit, and didn't allow that. So I would sit there deleting the messages the trolls kept posting about raping Nathan and such (actually, I now wonder if it was James Gunn.. :P). To add insult to injury, it wasn't actually Universal who gave me owt for it. I knew the folks at UIP UK, and they let me hang around and go par-tay and stuff, as - seriously - they are some of the nicest people I've met, but that was entirely unrelated to the US stuff.

Anyway. Today's post is sponsored by the letters s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y b-i-t-t-e-r and w-i-c-k-e-d c-o-o-l.

I did it because I thought the community deserved it, plus, having an edit button on Joss Whedon's posts was always a power rush. You do realise nobody ever saw the posts Joss made on that site, and I had actually edited them to make him sound so much cooler than he is? That's totally the truth, man. Joss has actually gone to the woods to live with bears, and protect them from hunters who don't exist. He's making a film about it called Grizzly Joss.

Also, regarding Uni' - I do think they have people who care about being creative, the creative process and cinema. But, as with everybody, they ultimately answer to the profit margin. Serenity is out of release, and the profit margin now is in licensing etc. It's some department or others job to milk that, and all power to them.

Right now, Universal have bigger things to worry about, like not making Peter Jackson's $200m Halo movie, saving $750m in a year and making a sequel to an underperforming sci-fi movie of 2005...

Doom 2.

(Yeah). (I know).

Anyway, this topic reminds me of Dazed and Confused:

Tony: So, you're not gonna go to law school? What do you wanna do then?
Mike: I wanna dance!

[ edited by gossi on 2006-10-27 22:33 ]
Yes, Gossi, but I am so grateful to be able to moderate the forum, I'm happy to do it just for the chance to drink with Nathan and Joss. Plus, the ability to edit Joss is such a rush... wait a minute... I think something’s wrong with my deal... Watch for my new website, that is, if using the words "Serenity©" and "movie®" is Fair Use. If not, watch for my new website, 'cause Bill Gates is richer then a movie fan site.

In all seriousness, though, I'm mod'ing a fan site. I don't resent my time doing it, I'm not the only mod, and you don't expect me to be there 24 hours a day culling rape posts from James Gunn. Plus, you know, it's not a money-making venture. I'm sure any money the site makes, you put right back in. Unless that rumor of your 7 carat diamond stud earring is true, then we need to talk!
I guess we are looking at $75 as an average. Certainly people who created websites/ logos/ marketing deliverables, etc. could bill at that rate or even much higher if they were consulting out of a marketing firm, since part of that $ would be paying for support staff, equipment, keeping the lights on in the office, and that kind of work is professional level stuff. And I know some Browncoats did that level of work to promote Serenity. But there is a difference between that and telling all your friends, your local librarian, etc. to buy/go to see Serenity...which is what I think the majority of Browncoats, including myself spent their "billable" hours doing. That's more akin to the guy in the chicken suit handing out flyers and I doubt he makes $75 an hour. But I am sure it is too complicated to separate it out, so I'll just join those of you who are lamenting not going into marketing.
Wait -- does this mean we're breaking up? Or just that we're seeing other studios? ;-)

No. We got used but that's the nature of the beast. I wouldn't have expected anything less and from what I remember some people pointed that out at the time.

Be interesting to see how our fandom deals with future Joss projects financed by film studios. I think we'll be a little more cautious next time. Enthusiastic? Beyond a doubt. Cynical? Definitely. It's been a learning curve. We'll know better next time.
The marketing classes were the easiest ones in business school, too. I could have gotten much better grades with that major. I'm an idiot.
Oh, it's not that easy to enter the marketing game. I started a company a few months ago which offers ground breaking fan marketing campaigns, and it had little interest. But then, with a budget of about £4, it was kinda what I expected.
I was kidding. Getting good grades in marketing would have meant zip without inclination and talent. It is a tough business.

It also takes timing. I think your company might be a little ahead of its, gossi.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2006-10-28 00:24 ]
gossi: "It's some department or others job to milk that, and all power to them."

I agree it's their jobs to make money on licensing, but I sure don't have to to wish all power to them. In fact, I don't -- I think the way you do business matters, I don't like the way they did business in this case, and I don't identify with their need to make money at all costs. In this case, I identify with the guerilla marketers, trying to make a little money to live on while they promote a project they love created by an artist they admire. Having spent years working in a non-profit, of course, I would.

What the company is doing is simply Money and Power, Inc. doing what money and power likes to do best -- make ever more, generally running over anyone not of immediate use to them that gets in their way. The fact that they probably don't know who 11th Hour is just makes it worse in my eyes.

There are always delightful people in these businesses -- like Mary Parent and others that loyally supported Joss throughout the making of Serenity. Having my own fair amount of experience with large entertainment corporations, I know that they wouldn't survive a day without these wonderful and creative people -- many of whom get used up, burnt out & then spit out by the companies they've supported.

I can accept that is how things usually work -- I've been around long enough that it's either accept it or go mad -- but I sure don't have to like it or support it. I'm well aware of how the system works, and that those with the best lawyers and the biggest guns win out, and they don't need my help and support. They've already gotten what they're getting from me.

Strongly worded? Yes. Both Big Business and the Law are frequently Top Drawer Asses, and the fact that they get away with it doesn't make it right, in my book, nor does it incline me to wish them any luck at it. And I really don't think the fandom owes them jack. The top decision makers only agreed to make the show and movie because they thought it would make them money in the short or long run. Fine, of course, that's why they're in business. But it means I don't owe them a thing, and I'm not inclined to bite my tongue to see if they'll greenlight a sequel or something. They'll do it if they think it'll make money.

And, it should go without saying, all of the above is just my opinion.

"Keep the faith, spread the love, take the red pill, smell the coffee, fight the power, do the hustle, mow the lawn, eat the rich, Mott the Hoople, kick the can, bag the toads and If They Move, Kill 'Em. xoxo -j." -- joss | August 25, 02:06 CET

(I think the question of the marketing charges-per-hour is academic, seeing as how the entire tongue-in-cheek project is simply to make an intentionally over-the-top request.)

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-10-28 03:00 ]
So...has anyone been in contact with the big guys at Universal as yet?
Are they aware of the lawsuit? Inquiring minds wanna know.
Quotergal -I hear you and I don’t disagree. But, isn’t language great, I got a very similar message from gossi’s use of the phrase “all power to them” - whatever his intended meaning may actually be!

On hearing someone say “all power to so and so” my instinct is to assume irony, cynisicm, a weary jadedness, bitterness or just plain sarcasm. My first thought would be that they are using the kind of perverse reversal that will often be occurring when an Australian says “good luck”.

I might use the phrase, accompanied by an eye-roll and a preceding “tsk’ to imply something like “OK, that’s logical on their terms, they probably have the power to get away with it, but I don’t have to approve”.
Well, gossi can only answer that, but even with a disinterested all the power to them, its still whatever. I just want to say I 100% agree with QuoterGal.

While I never worked with big corps(I did buy some tickets does that count?), but I have no illusions that its about money, but there is a way to go about getting money, and sometimes one should think longer term than just short term gains(which is a big problem when looking to solve the world's environmental problems but thats another hot topic so to say), I guess part of it, is that $1 at present is worth more than $1 one year in the future.

Thing is, it is true that while Universal gave us fans the movie, it is true what Quoter gal(at least im interpreting it that way), that we should not attach any sentimentality to it(I did, and well now I feel bitter and cynical). For the most part with a few exceptions of Mary parent etc, Universal didnt greenlight the movie for the fans or out of love, they did it b/c they want money, simple as that. So while the movie exists b/c of Universal, as fans, we shouldnt be sentimental, and we dont owe them much or anything.....

Now in my mind, if the studio was more "sentimental" and responded to fans and saw them as more than just cash machines but actual people, then I may think about owing Universal etc(as I did before). However, after this process, I am sure numerous fans, including myself, will not have any illusions of "love" about the studio.
All power to them - licensing departments are there to make money, and the law firms are there to ensure that money gets made. So, all power to those staff members doing it, because it's their job.

However, of course, do I agree with going after 11th Hour? Nope. For one thing, hers are one of the fewer shirts which don't have the characters on, the logo on, screencaps on etc. They couldn't have picked a worse person to target.

Do I think it's a bit short sighted of them to actually target t-shirt makers when it's effectively free advertising? Well, yes. However, they sold the shirt licensing rights to a 3rd party company. They shouldn't have done that if they wanted to leave fans selling shirts alone, because they can't now.

Personally, I don't care who makes money from Serenity, and also, the amount of money being made by fans on the likes of Cafepress is likely neglible.

A much smarter thing Universal could - and frankly, should - have done with Serenity was when it was first going into production - say 'We're not going to sell the t-shirt license, In fact, we're going to tell fans they can do anything they want with it'.

Logo shirts, screen caps of River with dripping axe etc, would have ended up everywhere.
By the way, this is being published to Slashdot today. It should lead to some press attention to the issue, good or bad I don't know.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-10-28 15:12 ]
Ack they linked to us again. Ack ack.

I jest of course. I don't think we'll get the full Slashdot effect.
I'm very impressed how well Whedonesque copes with high load - kudos to the host and admins.
Hmm, maybe this will result in more public exposure and press than Serenity premiering? That would be ironic(I think this is the definition of irony).

Honestly, I'm a bit of a pessemist, I don't think this will get much press, unless the fans make a good amount of noise, and ca nget bloggers,columnists etc write up about Universal.
No, it wouldn't get more press than Serenity premiereing. That had TV adverts and all that joy. And, hell, I wouldn't want this issue getting that level of interest as talk about cutting off my nose.

It's gone out at a weekend, unfortunately (I wrote it a while ago), so I think a lot of press people will miss it. But I'd imagine it'll end up on blogs and such. As usual, a lot of Slashdot people are going in without a proper clue as to what is happening, though.

The website is hosted on the server, so I can see the activity, and it's getting hammered. A lot of people are seeing it - near enough 10,000 in the first hour.
Wow.... hope the primary buffer panels will not fall off.
Be glad, if you recall the slowness of when the R. Tam Sessions were coming out, that this time around I'm not self-hosting. ;)
10,000 hits in the first hour alone? OK, all together now: "Can't stop the signal." (Hey, all you copyright enforcer types -- this quote is being used for criticism and education.) ;-)
billz, are you just trying to bait the powers that be? You know that can never end well. I am just going to stand over here away from the wrath.
Bait the powers that be? No, just cheer for us ordinary folk. ;-)
I ain't gonna read all these comments because, well, I don't wanna.

BUT, I will say, a good friend of mine who has seen Firefly but isn't a freak about it like, well, me, sent me your website, bix. It was so refreshing for a non whedonite to tell me about it and that he thinks it's really a sad situation for the fans. Kind of cool, and I though I'd share.

Me personally, I brought in about 20 people to see the BDM with me who wouldn't have necessarily seen it. Multiply that by $8 plus the 11 times I saw it = $248 in box office alone. I've done no website stuff though - just talked people's ear's off :)
I've done fan websites, modded/run offical websites, podcasts, street teams, meetings with marketing execs, got on national tv promoting it, and more...erm...I'm just having trouble adding it all up, to be honest.
Not sure if I understand the details of what's happening here, having just read this thread and I'm still processing it, but what if I understand this correctly, the production company which gave Firefly a second chance is now lashing out at fans of the series due to legal bulldada. That leaves me just a little pissed off, and frustrated that there's nothing legitimate I can do to prevent this absurd malfeasance.

Universal is suing fans of Firefly for their guerilla marketing assistance in getting Serenity noticed? If this is the case, I just stopped watching Universal. Period.

I stopped watching UPN, WB & FOX about when Firefly was cancelled, because those three networks repeatedly cancelled shows I liked and left crap going for years.

I occasionally break that rule. Seen one or two episodes of Veronica Mars, but that series is a sad replacement for many cancelled shows that came before it. Not that my boycott single-handedly killed two of those three networks. Far from it. I just refuse to continue supporting entertainment media corporations whose managements disrespect the very audience that is their bread and butter.

I can't help 11th hour financially, and I'm no lawyer. This is the best I can do. No more Universal films in the theater, DVD purchase or rental. What little money I have will no longer go that way. As far as I'm concerned, Universal no longer exists. Guess I may have to stop watching Heroes too, cuz it's on NBC, which is owned by Universal.

Oh well. Gives me more time to spend on the Internet. =)


Oh. And I can't really submit to the website my 'hours logged' for supporting Firefly. I wrote about it on my personal online journal a few times. I talked to friends about it and converted a few to becoming Browncoats, but I didn't put in a respectable fraction of the time others have put in. I don't know if I could honestly say I've done the equivalent of a forty hour week's worth of effort towards Joss' vision in the three or four years it's been since Firefly first flew, and I've gotten more than enough enjoyment out of the DVDs and the fanbases like this one and and others.

You can't put a price on this, and maybe that's what the lawyers and accountants over at Universal despise the most. The film was a success. I don't care what their bottom line tells them. I don't care if the film recouped the necessary investment in the first weekend which would gurantee a sequel.

A cancelled tv series became a full length motion picture. You guys did the impossible. That makes you mighty. I'm humbled to have been a very small part of that. I didn't really do anything significant that helped make that possible, but I was there when it happened. I will forever be amazed at Firefly's SUCCESS story, and that is something that no lawyer or accountant will ever be able to take away from any of you.

Universal can bite my ass. Unless they offer a formal public apology to those whom they have sent 'cease and desist' crapola, I for one will no longer support their future endeavors. I can't in good conscience support a production company that doesn't respect its fan base.

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2006-10-29 08:09 ]
Some more blogs & sites have picked up the story:,, j wynia: The Glass Is Too Big, and

More, more, and more. A search for related blogs turns up even more –- hopefully some additional and bigger sites will pick this up by Monday.

I especially enjoyed this, from "donkey on the edge", as it adds to the discussion in a way that goes beyond some current perceptions of the issues:

"The core of the problem is simple. Traditional IP owners think of the IP as being the primary source of value for them. In essence, they pay guards to surround the mine and miners to extract the value. The whole idea that the consumer could be adding equivalent value is alien to them and their infrastructure doesn’t allow for flexibility or evolution (they are frozen in time by legal agreements and the lawyers that protect them)."

Oh, and this is kinda fun, from Doc Doubt's On-Line Emporium.

Good work by all who have publicized this: gossi, b!x, and I don’t know-who-all.

"Media companies are expanding their legal control over intellectual property as far and as wide as possible, strip-mining the culture in the process." -- Henry Jenkins, in "Technology Review," March/April, 2000

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-10-29 12:12 ]
Doom 2 ... say it ain't so ...

Seriously. It's a joke, right?
I know I'm digging up an old thread here, but I'm working on a thesis which uses Firefly and Serenity as an example when it comes to the power of the audience. Does anyone have a few screenshots of The Browncoat Invoice website or can find a cached copy of the old website? I need that as a reference, but it appears the website doesn't exist anymore. Please help. Much appreciated

Many thanks,
@ The One True b!X , Thank you so much for the link, you're a lifesaver!

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