Universal relied heavily on the rapid Firefly fanbase to promote Serenity when it came out, and even encouraged the fans' guerilla marketing. Now I guess, they feel the aftermarket tie-in dollars are starting to trickle off. Where else to look for new income from these great pieces of intellectual property? Why sue those guerilla marketers for copyright infringement! A stroke of evil-genius that could only come from a Hollywood Super villain!
"Might not have been the winning side, still ain't convinced it was the wrong side," Indeed, Mal, indeed.
And in a stroke of plucky resourcefulness worthy of Mal and the Serenity's crew, the Browncoats have adopted the " a best defense is a good offense" strategy, pulled a Crazy-Ivan, and are now billing Universal for their "marketing and promotion" efforts.
Good on you, Browncoats.
Client Name: Universal Pictures
Services Rendered: Marketing & Promotion
Billable Fan-hours: 16,851
Amount Due: $1,263,825
Payment Due Upon Receipt
Please submit your timesheet, including your name and total billable hours for marketing and promotion activities.
update 10:58 am PST
I just found this great excerpt from an interview with Joss Whedon, in the comments on Slashdot (which 75% of the reason to read the comments, geeks can argue the fine points of their chosen fields of interest like nobody's business... wait a second, I guess that's why they're called geeks.) I'd post the link to the interview, but, well... it's been slashdotted. (No, Mom, click the link... "slashdotted" is not geekspeek for editing slash fiction.)
Q. You've also done an absolutely smashing job of ignoring the massive amounts of bootleg "Firefly" fan merchandise. I'm thinking specifically of BlueSunShirts.com... [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.