Tom Spurgeon over at Comics Reporter points us to the Diesel Sweeties web site where Rich Stevens, the creator of the web comic Diesel Sweeties (soon to be syndicated nationally beginning on January 8, 2007) has received a cease-and-desist letter from LucasFilm LTD regarding a variety of t-shirts that Rich sells on his web site.
He writes (on Oct. 20th) regarding receiving the letter.
Since these three shirts are simply jokes that I don’t think use actual Star Wars trademarks or artwork, I’m hoping we can ride out this galactic storm without much of a problem. I’m pretty much a one-man show without a lot of cash to mount a legal fight, so if they decide to drop a hammer on me it will probably land on my head. The only sane way to deal with this is to be optimistic, but also be prepared for a worst-case scenario. That scenario being the end of these cute little t-shirts which never harmed a living soul.
I have no idea how this is going to turn out, so if you want one of these shirts, I’d recommend you grab it while I am under no obligation not to sell it to you. This is not how I wanted to start my weekend, but it beats getting my hand cut off by my laser-sword wielding cyborg deadbeat dad.
Rich follows up with this post four days later:
You know what? I don’t want to become one of those poor jerks more famous for getting sued than making comics. To this end, I’ll be pulling the Space Demon, Robot Jesus, Chewie is my Co-Pilot and GONK GONK shirts on Friday.
Whether or not I’m right or wrong to make these, if it went to court, I’d be one dude with a barely middle-class income up against a multi-billion dollar corporation. I don’t have that kind of time or energy to fight over some t-shirts. I actually learned some lessons from Star Wars as a kid- the main one being when you can’t win, you find alternatives to fighting.
I could waste my time bickering over parodying 30-year-old ideas or I could invent some new ones. I’ve got enough shirt designs in my to-do list to give you a new one every week for a year.