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Universal’s legal action against 11th Hour, the Firefly / Serenity fan artist

Tuesday 24 October 2006, by Webmaster

"11th Hour Art’s offering for sale and sale of unauthorized “Serenity” shirts may give rise to multiple violations of law, giving rise to various causes of action for copyright infringement, counterfeiting, and unfair competition, among other claims. Recovery on one or more of these claims may include attorney’s fees, treble damages, statutory damages, and punitive damages."

The Demand continues, and includes such stipulations that within 72 hours I must agree to: pay a retroactive $8,750 licensing fee; the permanent closing of my shop; turn over any merchandise referring to the Universal Property; and provide the last 12 months complete sales records... there’s more, but that’s the gist... oh, except for the threat of federal court and the statutory damages thingy of $150,000 per infringed work... don’t want to go leaving that part out.

The questionable image in my shop were, for the most part, already pulled down by Cafe Press after the first email notice I got last week. I was then already going through my shop and revising the wording in some descriptions as needed to fully comply with the notification. At present, the only instances where the word "serenity" is mentioned is to explain the translation of the Chinese characters, but without any references to the movie of that name.

I can confidently state that my Cafe Press shop is totally free of any associations with "Serenity" the movie... unless of course Universal now claims ownership of the actual word "serenity", no matter how it is used, both in English and Chinese. In that case, there’s a certain adult diaper manufacturer who’s in deep doo doo now... pun is like, totally intended...

I’m exhausted, emotionally and physically. I’ve spent most of the past few days since the notification overhauling my shop. I’ve put aside all other projects, and haven’t gotten that much sleep doing this. I’m actually starting to feel ill... this whole thing is just sickening...

11th Hour

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2 Forum messages

  • I find it appalling that the very people who made Firefly/Serenity the success that it is are being persecuted by these legal vermin. And I realize that all of my name calling and outrage will not change the situation. But I believe that something needs to be done from not only the fans who supported Whedon in all of his projects, but by Whedon as well to prevent this type of action from occurring again. It is ludicrous, and in my opinion, the perfect example of biting the hands that feed you. Without the fans, and the fan fiction and fan art there would be no support for Serenity or any other succesful TV/film project and no money for Universal and its lawyers. The new definition of Greed is "Universal." So very sorry 11th hour is experiencing this horror, and I hope something can be done to
  • Dude, he was SELLING them. Of course it’s illegal. He was making money off of our love of Joss Whedon’s creation, and it wasn’t going back to Joss or Universal, the only people who could create more of Firefly. You should be outraged.