The Jayne Hat Saga

The TV series Firefly aired for only four months in the 2002-2003 season. But it left behind many devoted fans. In one episode, the character Jayne Cobb received a gift of a knitted hat. It was shown for only a few minutes on that one episode, but the hat became a symbol for the fans, and many wanted one just like it. As 20th Century Fox Television had cancelled the show, they did not market merchandise from the series, and so knitters stepped in to fill the demand. Then in December of 2012, Think Geek began selling an officially-licensed Jayne Hat. One thing led to another, and Fox TV started sending cease and desist orders to Etsy crafters, some who had been selling the hats for years.  

"When I first got the cease and desist, I felt like I'd been thrown out of an airlock," said Angela of Ma Cobbe's Shoppe, who had been selling Jayne hats on Etsy for almost five years.

"I've seen some copyright infringement on Etsy, but I always thought that the hat was something of my own. Yes, it's inspired by a hat worn by a character in a show that is the intellectual property of Fox, but each independent hand-knitting seller puts their own spin on it. They write up their own patterns with subtle shifts in color and design to appeal to everyone."

"The irony of it is that it's the fans of the show who have propelled the hat into the iconic symbol that it is. The hat itself had only a few measly minutes of screen time in one episode-- an episode that Fox didn't even air."

The entire story and the controversy on the internet is explained at Buzzfeed. Link  

Some Etsy sellers are striking back by re-labeling their wares.  Link

(Image credit: Goddess Vicky)

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I don't see any problem with people on etsy making hats that are similar to the hat Jayne wore in Firefly. So, it's unofficial. If someone wants the newly licensed one, they have every right to get that. These people met a need in the marketplace and they deserve to sell what they can for them. If they put Firefly logos on them, I could see "cease and desist," but this is honestly just knitting a specific style hat in a color. What will they ban next? T-shirts because people on TV wear them?
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