GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Universal's legal action against 11th Hour

POSTED BY: CABRIDGES
UPDATED: Sunday, November 12, 2006 23:47
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 30416
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Monday, October 30, 2006 8:29 AM

CLEMENTINE


Have you seen BlackMarketBeagles new line of T-shirts? Variations on:

I'm a fan of a specific Sci-Fi movie and/or TV show. International copyright laws prevent me from telling you which one.

Priceless!
_________________________________________


Formerly known as RimGirl.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 8:48 AM

FIRESTALKER


Is there anything new about whats going on?

What happened.....?! I need to know.



Oh... wait.... I'm supposed to be lurking.

Pay no attention to the man talking from the shadows... But answer his questioin, please.

-------------------------------------------------
"You know what the definition of a hero is? Someone that gets other people killed."

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Monday, October 30, 2006 12:07 PM

STORYMARK


How much tractio does this story have outside of Fan message boards, I wonder?

I'm just thinking, because there is all this talk of fans boycotting Universal and such, but I wonder, how much difference will that make? Internet fans have a tendancy to think they are The fanbase. But really, I have well over a dozen close friends and/or family I would call Browncoats - and not a one of them, aside from myself, goes to any message boards, or has ever heard of this situation.

Several of them have, incedentally, bought official Serenity shirts.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Monday, October 30, 2006 12:44 PM

11THHOUR


Funny thing about the Internet though, interesting stories don't stay put.

This topic involves Universal Studios and a Joss Whedon production, which draws attention in itself. Then add the high buzz factor of a major studio taking legal action against the fan base it previously embraced and encouraged to guerilla market and make merchandise... well, that's quite a story.

This story touches not only on our fanbase, but other fanbases too. There's also the ongoing heated discussion of the idea of "fair use" when creating works which relate to a copyrighted property.

This is very timely topic with all kinds of twists and turns. It's not as black and white as some may think. There is an opportunity here for a thinking out-of-the-box approach which still promotes the good will of the fans, establishes a prescribed "fair use", and thus utilizes the great benefits of fan powered marketing, and yet still protects the rights of the copyright holders.

11th Hour

>>>}———————————————)))======<[]>======(((———————————————{<<<

"Because teenage pranks are fun when you're about to die!" - Hoban Washburne

Firefly/Serenity Guerilla Marketing Posters ~ http://the11thhour.home.att.net
Cafe Press Shop ~ http://www.cafepress.com/11thhourart


Spread the word today ~ Give the gift of Firefly: http://www.apple.com/itunes

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Monday, October 30, 2006 12:59 PM

SIMONWHO


Boycotts would be ineffective - a few thousand not going to see a movie that only a percentage of them were going to see anyway doesn't add up to much.

However, there are other ways the browncoat fanbase can mobilise itself. Methods that are legal but unpleasant and best kept as a last resort. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 1:02 PM

WHOISRIVER


Exactly, 11th.

The best solution would have been in 2004, for Universal to say "We're not going to sell the t-shirt rights. Do what you want". It would have lead to shirts in even more places about the movie. Sure, they wouldn't have been able to get a few thousand from those rights, but the legitimized publicity would have been fantastic.

There's no way a case like this should fly under the radar of people outside the fan base, as it has universal implications. You can't embrace word of mouth marketing like Universal did and then sue those people for little reason.

That said, I feel really guilty as a few of us are using your case to bring this to the media, Susan. So, uhm, sorry. I hope you don't mind, and know this is something people* need to think about (like, now).

* Ideally studio people.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 2:14 PM

MCEEP


well, it'd been a while since I checked in on the verse, and I actually found out about all the ruckus via techdirt, so the word is definately getting around, and to places well outside of fandom

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Monday, October 30, 2006 3:49 PM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by MCeeP:
well, it'd been a while since I checked in on the verse, and I actually found out about all the ruckus via techdirt, so the word is definately getting around, and to places well outside of fandom



Good it needs to!

"You hold. Hold 'til I get back." Mal

Ask me how to join the Appreciatin' Nathan Crew.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 5:54 PM

ASARIAN


When I was still in Law school (though I didn't wind up becoming a lawyer: never went for the Bar; long story), my Civil Law professors talked about the bird and the cage. That once you let the bird out of the cage, it's really very hard to get it back in again. Simply put: once you give up certain rights, expressed or implied -- especially over a prolonged period of time -- you may find it progressively harder, legally, to enforce those previous rights thereafter.

Now, by no means, no one take this as legal advice. I'm just musing out-loud, thinking I wouldn't mind if, along the way (if it ever gets to trial) a Judge told Universal: "Look, you can't have your cookie and eat it. You asked, and encouraged your fanbase to do viral marketing for you, and facilitated such behavior on your own boards even. Now, go live with the reality that you opened the cage-door yourself, and that the bird is gone."

Oh, and reputation matters. I know, it's people talking, gossip. But that's exactly why big companies have a healthy fear for it. Because you can't sue what's not solid; it's elusive. Have the world think you're a jerk, and it's an enemy that stalks you, costs you money, and can really only be effectively countered with a good reputation. Though the best way to create goodwill, imho, is not to lose it. In that respect, gotta say, Universal, your talent for alienatin' folk is near miraculous.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Monday, October 30, 2006 6:15 PM

KANEMAN


11th hour,
"There is an opportunity here for a thinking out-of-the-box approach which still promotes the good will of the fans, establishes a prescribed "fair use", and thus utilizes the great benefits of fan powered marketing, and yet still protects the rights of the copyright holders."


Can't wait to here this...ho hum...waiting...waiting...let me guess it somehow involves you making money off of your FF thievery? Stop turning the fans against the verse for your own benefit. You should be ashamed of your self. You have the whole fandom in a tizzy over what? Universal told you to not sell "their stuff"..Sure, some Browncoat. Might even be a Greencoat. I will respond. Universal did not make this public...YOU did. Why?

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Monday, October 30, 2006 6:31 PM

RMMC


Wow...I go away and all hell breaks loose.

{{{{{{{{11th Hour}}}}}}}}

Hugs, well wishes and prayers for you.

I'll refraine from commenting as you requested, but....GRRRRR!

*more hugs*

*******
RMMC

When we're down, don't frown. Come join the camp-out at serenitymovie.org.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 7:30 PM

JTSKIER1200R


Quote:

Originally posted by kaneman:


Can't wait to here this...ho hum...waiting...waiting...let me guess it somehow involves you making money off of your FF thievery? Stop turning the fans against the verse for your own benefit. You should be ashamed of your self. You have the whole fandom in a tizzy over what? Universal told you to not sell "their stuff"..Sure, some Browncoat. Might even be a Greencoat. I will respond. Universal did not make this public...YOU did. Why?



This is the second post in 5 minutes from Kaneman that is inflammatory. Can anybody say Troll? Kaneman, if you dont add anything good to the community, just take off. If your having a bad night, fine, but nobody appreciates your comments.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 7:36 PM

KANEMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by jtskier1200r:
Quote:

Originally posted by kaneman:


Can't wait to here this...ho hum...waiting...waiting...let me guess it somehow involves you making money off of your FF thievery? Stop turning the fans against the verse for your own benefit. You should be ashamed of your self. You have the whole fandom in a tizzy over what? Universal told you to not sell "their stuff"..Sure, some Browncoat. Might even be a Greencoat. I will respond. Universal did not make this public...YOU did. Why?



This is the second post in 5 minutes from Kaneman that is inflammatory. Can anybody say Troll? Kaneman, if you dont add anything good to the community, just take off. If your having a bad night, fine, but nobody appreciates your comments.



In the last 5 min? Shit, I must be slowing down.....

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Monday, October 30, 2006 8:22 PM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by RMMC:
Wow...I go away and all hell breaks loose.



Didn't all hell break loose last time you were gone, RMMC? We're not going to be able to allow you to leave anymore! J/K! Welcome back.

And we still DO need to decide on a name for our crew over there don't we.

Yes {{{{{{11th}}}}}}}, we've got your back no matter who says what or does what.





"You hold. Hold 'til I get back." Mal

Ask me how to join the Appreciatin' Nathan Crew.

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Monday, October 30, 2006 11:18 PM

11THHOUR


Quote:

Originally posted by kaneman:
Can't wait to here this...ho hum...waiting...waiting...let me guess it somehow involves you making money off of your FF thievery? Stop turning the fans against the verse for your own benefit. You should be ashamed of your self. You have the whole fandom in a tizzy over what? Universal told you to not sell "their stuff"..Sure, some Browncoat. Might even be a Greencoat. I will respond. Universal did not make this public...YOU did. Why?



I usually avoid trolls because entering into a discussion with one is most often an exercise in futility. But, here goes...

As for the thinking-outside-of-the-box idea, there already is the potential for a very creative arrangement being proposed by some long standing fans. It involves forming a guild which would allow fans to band together under a shared license. This guild would provide a venue for talented fans, who otherwise would be unable to afford a license fee, to create licensed merchandise. Through this arrangement Universal would still benefit from their percentage of profits from the sales, and merchandise would be created by people who really understood what the fan base wants.

The reason why I initially posted about the Demand I received is because it was important news. Fans needed to know that Universal was now taking a very different view on fan made merchandise. I wanted to warn everyone so they could have time to make any needed changes.

There are many, many Browncoats who offer Firefly/Serenity inspired merchandise. All of those fans are vulnerable now. It would have been a disservice to all the fans not to let them know what was going on. I was even contacted directly by well know Browncoats who offer merchandise and they asked to please send them a copy of the Demand. They needed to know what it said because they were terribly concerned about their own stores. I sent a copy to anyone who asked. I didn't want any other fan to get hit with one of these notices. So providing the contents of the Demand to them was crucial information for them to know how to address their own circumstances.

Maybe you've missed the several times I've posted the facts about my Cafe Press shop, but I'll repeat: My shop did not contain any reproductions of official logos, graphic designs, screen caps, photographic stills or likenesses of actors. ALL of my designs were original.

Fans needed to know that a major part of the legal action was related to only referring to the Serenity movie in my product descriptions. Yes, just mentioning or alluding to the movie is enough for the lawyers to consider it a violation of intellectual property. This was startling news to me. One can have an image that is perfectly legal, but if you just refer to the Serenity movie, that will get you into trouble.

People needed to know that because other fans' stores and websites mention the Serenity movie all over the place. They would have been terribly vulnerable to legal action.

I would never wish to turn fans against the 'verse. This isn't about Firefly and Serenity... it's about Universal's law firm and the new, very aggressive actions they are taking. I even stepped in and asked some fans to please refrain from writing angry letters to Universal.

I started a thread on another board, just one thread, and the story got picked up by other message boards. The story traveled because it is a topic that really hits home in our fandom, and not just because it involves me, but because it affects us all. A person can't make a story get picked up by blogs and news sites, that happens because it's a story of great interest. The story has found a life of it's own and spread.

By the way, did you ever bother to read my initial post on the other forum? There's a link to it right in the post that started this thread. There was no call to arms and I didn't say anything against Universal. I spoke of the shock of getting the Demand, provided some excerpts from the document because it was important for people to see, and I expressed some of my own personal feelings about the action.

It's true that ignoring trolls is usually the best way to go. But, in this case, expressing the things in this post are important, so I went ahead anyway. So don't take it personally kaneman, this post is intended for the sane people.

11th Hour


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Tuesday, October 31, 2006 2:52 PM

RMMC


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
Quote:

Originally posted by RMMC:
Wow...I go away and all hell breaks loose.



Didn't all hell break loose last time you were gone, RMMC? We're not going to be able to allow you to leave anymore! J/K! Welcome back.



Yeah, it did, didn't it? Oh, dear. I shudder to see what'll happen next Pennsic.

Anyone got a laptop for sale real cheap?

Thanks for the welcome, FM.



Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
And we still DO need to decide on a name for our crew over there don't we.



Yeah. I haven't been able to come up with anything other than the lame one I threw out earlier. *sigh* We'll get there eventually.

Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
Yes {{{{{{11th}}}}}}}, we've got your back no matter who says what or does what.



Most definitely!

*******
RMMC

When we're down, don't frown. Come join the camp-out at serenitymovie.org.

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Thursday, November 2, 2006 5:58 AM

AERIALLA


I sent this to 11th hour and thought that I would also post it here.

http://techdirt.com/articles/20061031/192204.shtml

Universal is suing Shawn Hogan for allegedly sharing a Meet The Fockers DVD over the net. He's fighting it and the article tells you more about how the case may be thrown out because the Universal Company suing Hogan is not the actual holder of the copyright. It would be great for 11th to check out to see if the people who are forcing her over this copyright garbage is actually the same company that owns the copyright to begin with.

Hopefully this will be in the Browncoats favor, but we won't know until someone is able to find out which company is suing 11th and which company actually owns the copyright. There are a lot of different companies that make up these big movie studios and it's looking like their right hand doesn't know what the left is doing.

Go Browncoats!!!

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Thursday, November 2, 2006 6:06 AM

SWEETSERENDIPITY


Y'all, it's over. See 11th Hours new thread. She doesn't owe Universal anything.

Deb


http://serendipityagain.com/

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Thursday, November 2, 2006 6:14 AM

AERIALLA


I hadn't heard yet, but I'm so glad for her.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006 11:47 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Congrats. You now rank with Sarah Michelle Geller, who holds the world record as the youngest person sued in US history, when McDonalds sued her and Burger King for saying the word "charbroiled", implying it was better than fried in its own rusty fat.

Quote:


VIDEO: Sarah Michelle Gellar Burger King



Gellar was the first person to ever mention a competitor's name (McDonald's) in her 1982 Burger King commercial. McDonald's sued Burger King and four-year-old Gellar.
http://advertising.about.com/od/gellarsarahmichelle/p/sarahmgellar.htm



As for merely using the word "Serenity", tell them to fuk off. Presumably, you already believed you were following The Law, using Due Diligence. I didn't see anything wrong with your products violating copyright. If anything, they are violating YOUR copyright, since you were first! If you believe you were right, then stand your ground. Call their bluff. They will have to pay their lawyers $500/hour, which even Universal is too cheap to do on frivolous cases. And Universal would have to pay your legal expenses, including paying your attorney fees, when you win on motion for summary judgement. So it would not be hard to find you a lawyer, since that's a slam dunk paycheck for them.

Many collection agencies illegally claim to be law firms (practicing law without a license, and other crimes), and use illegal tactics to bluff the sheeple out of money they don't owe. When a collection agency makes a claim by letter, the recipient has 30 days to demand proof of the alleged debt, by certified letter of the original contract. 72 hours is BS, which is a fraud that most municipal courts do with parking tickets that also lack personal service of process, to trick the sheeple into volunteering for "personal jurisdiction" of the so-called court. This scam sounds a little like "Universal's" tactic. Or it could be a scammer claiming to be Universal, to extort some lunch money. Are other Cafepressers getting this extortion email? Is like the Nigerian Scam, that got that Tennessee preacher's wife to shoot and kill her husband?

You can also countersue for your personal time and expertise promoting their products (Firefly & Sernity), since "Universal" is attempting to enter into a contract with you. That means you get to rewrite and renegiate that contract anyway you want. Presuming this really is a real "Rule 68 Offer of Settlement" (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) from real lawyers really working for Universal. If you don't email them back (or discuss in public forum), then their is no proof of personal service of process, as required by Rule 4.
www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/

"Donations" for free guerilla art bypass copyright problems.

Sometimes these big shots (or their flunky lawyers) get swelled heads, and falsely allege they own the entire English (and Chinese) language:

Quote:


Gol-LY! Andy Griffith sues Andy Griffith

November 11, 2006

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- Forget the small-town belief in letting bygones be bygones.

The star of "The Andy Griffith Show," who portrayed the sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry, has sued a Wisconsin man who unsuccessfully ran for the Grant County post after legally changing his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith.

The lawsuit, filed November 3 in U.S. District Court in Madison, alleges that William Harold Fenrick, 42, violated trademark and copyright laws, as well as the privacy of actor Andy Samuel Griffith, when he used his new name to promote his candidacy for sheriff in southwestern Wisconsin.

The lawsuit says the former Fenrick changed his name for the "sole purpose of taking advantage of Griffith's notoriety in an attempt to gain votes." It asks the court to order him to go back to his original name.

The actor's lawsuit also asks Griffith to publish disclaimers and an apology in Grant County newspapers that say he has no association with the actor. It seeks unspecified damages and court fees.

Griffith described the lawsuit as "incredibly absurd" and said he does not think people actually believe he is the actor.

"For such an American icon, it's a pretty un-American thing to do to me," said Griffith, who has about three weeks to respond to the filing.

etc blah blah barf

www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/11/11/andy.griffith.ap/index.html?eref=rss
_law



I got similar complaint emails from Cafepress at my store, regarding my original artwork. Somebody copyrighted/TMed the word "CAUTION", apparently. So I replaced it with the word "WARNING", and it was okay. Cafepress are wimps who never defend their puny indy stores against multinational corporate bullys. It may have nothing to do with store owners being wrong.
www.cafepress.com/piratenews

Or perhaps this is because I posted your guerilla art on my website at Pirate News TV???
www.piratenews.org/video-archive.html


"You can't stop the signal! Unless Universal says so."
-Mr Universe, Pirate TV

FIREFLY SERENITY PILOT MUSIC VIDEO V2
Tangerine Dream - Thief Soundtrack: Confrontation
http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2006/03/8912.php
www.myspace.com/piratenewsctv
www.piratenews.org


Does that seem right to you?
www.scifi.com/onair/

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