Firefly fans are coming out of the woodwork, and they are hopping mad. Why? Turns out in the last few weeks many of them have received cease-and-desist letters or have simply been banned from Etsy for producing DIY Jayne Hats. This communal endeavor, it seems, is coming to a close, and fans of the show are asking themselves why. Isn't the whole point of the Jayne hat that it be homemade? Doesn't it mean anything that the hats are often auctioned off at charity events? After 10 years of nothing, isn't it unfair for Fox to suddenly force lifelong fans to cease production of something they love?
And the answer, for now, is that Fox owns the license and that's that. The fans who are mad that the hat was licensed for mass production are the ones who are closest to hitting the nail on the head. The fact is, Fox now has a legal obligation to its shareholders — they have to chase down anyone producing and selling a licensed product without permission. Ripple Junction holds the license [to produce the hat], the fans do not.
ThinkGeek, to their credit, has been cool about the situation:
We just wanted you to know that ThinkGeek has nothing to do with the C&D notices. The hat is licensed by a vendor with whom we have a relationship and while the hat is not an exclusive to ThinkGeek, we did have a hand in its development and answered the difficult questions like, "Are the earflaps long enough?" and "Is that man afraid of anything?" (Yes and no, respectively.)
Would the C&D have happened if we did not carry the hat on our site? We're not sure; we'll leave that question to sharper legal minds than ours. We're here to carry the shiniest of goods from 'round the 'verse, even maybe makin' them ourselves. We just want y'all to know that while we might not always aim to misbehave, we'll always be sure to get you the best stuff this side of the Eavesdown Docks.
They've also added that they'll be donating all profits from the sales of the hat to charities supporting Equality Now — at least 'til they run out of stock.
As for the rest of the fan-made hats, Firefly and Castle star Nathan Fillion has got fans' backs: