In a move that is surely going to ruffle feathers within the Browncoat community, Fox has been making moves sending cease and desist letters to online vendors making replicas of the hat Jayne Cobb wore in the Firefly episode “The Message”.
Fox has also been reported to be asking online merchant site Etsy to outright ban the hats being sold on their sight. The hats are a symbol among the Firefly community and wearing one allows them to express their love of the beloved franchise. It’s hard to go to a convention and not see a plethora of the orange and yellow flapped hats being worn by proud Browncoats and Jayne cosplayers.
Why now, after being off the air for ten years would Fox even care about these hats? The answer of course is money. Firefly continues to make the company lots of money in DVD sales, but has not caused the network to bring the show back as such sales of Family Guy and Futurama DVDs have done with those shows. Fox has entered into agreements with Ripple Junction and ThinkGeek to mass produce the popular hat. That means any independent crafter selling them will be inching in to their profits.
Most likely it’s also more of a naming issue. It seems like it should be hard to copyright a generic knit hat. What Fox is most likely looking at is items being sold mentioning “Jayne Cobb” or “Firefly”, which would be their copyrighted property. Either way, Firefly fans still hold grudges against Fox for how the series was handled during its run. This will certainly not make them happy in any way.