This is a very hard message to write, but it has to be said, now,
before the error compounds itself further.
Several weeks ago, a number of us -- me, Claudia, Mira and Michael --
flew out to Chicago for a "dry run" of sorts for the Big Bang, held at
Planet Hollywood. It did not go well; there were many problems behind the
scenes, which we worked to keep the fans from seeing: logistical,
organizational, and other problems. Our experience was that the whole
exercise was poorly run, and there were other concerns raised about how
business was being done.
Upon returning, I have said very little about the whole event, and
sent Tom Christofferson a 4 page fax detailing the items that worried me
about how things were being run, and indicated that unless things changed
rather dramatically, neither I nor my cast could support this operation,
because in the end it was the fans who would be hurt.
Subsequent to that came the capper.
Tom approached us about licensing a product: high quality leather
jackets in rememberance of the Battle of the Line. He requested the
original artwork for all the Battle of the Line patches, which we have
never given to anyone else. The purpose was to make ONE demo jacket
to show to Warners Licensing to show how it would look.
So you can imagine my dismay when I learned, over this system, in
messages posted by others, that he was selling the jackets (which had
NOT been licensed) at Vulkon; selling the patches; that he had taken
artwork provided for use only as backdrops at the convention and had
turned them into posters and was selling the posters. People buying the
posters and other material were told, and was even printed on them, that
all proceeds were to benefit the Starfury Project, which had never been
finalized, no arrangements had been made...buying these items on the
assumption that they were contributing to a worthy cause. They weren't.
This is not only a violation of copyright, but a violation of trust,
on top of the other concerns we had about the convention. Warner Bros.
Legal Affairs is already onto this. We didn't know he was doing this,
he had no right to be doing this, and this is, as they say,the straw
that breaks the camel's back.
Consequently, we must withdraw all support from this convention;
neither I nor anyone else involved with Babylon 5 will attend. If you
were planning to attend specifically to see Babylon 5 folks, then I
strongly suggest you secure a refund or change your plans.
All of us here are bitterly disappointed, because until our first
trip we had great hopes for this. Primarily, however, we are
disappointed and saddened for the fans of the show, who were looking
forward to this as much as we were. A lot of people were very excited
about it, ourselves included. But once again the theory is proven that
sometimes things that look too good to be true often are. It is my
feeling that, even the pirating aside, the convention would be a total
disaster, and in the end the fans would be the ones hurt by it, and we
can't allow that.
With great regrets....
J. Michael Straczynski