Universal and FOX are shutting down "Firefly" t-shirt sites

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Universal Studios and Fox Broadcasting are sending cease-and-desist letters to websites that offer t-shirts related to the television program Firefly and its sequel film Serenity.

One cease and desist letter, for example, reads:

"This firm represents Universal Studios Licensing, LLLP ("Universal"). As you presumably are aware, Universal owns the valuable copyrights and intellectual property in and to an assortment the theatrical motion picture "Serenity" and all images contained therein ("the Universal Property"). [See, e.g., Walt Disney Productions v. Filmation Associates, 628 F.Supp. 871, 876, 878, 879-80 (C.D. Cal. 1986) (defendant's use of plaintiff's protected images in defendant's promotional trailer, brochures and other materials found infringing)]."

Affected by the cease-and-desist letters is CaféPress, a website which enables people to open their own store — they have since stopped allowing people to search for Firefly merchandise.

Firefly premiered and was cancelled in 2002 after 11 episodes aired. Many fans who watched and enjoyed the short-lived show were part of a cult following that encouraged Joss Whedon to create a film called "Serenity" in 2005. There are no current plans for a sequel or the revival of the Firefly series.