Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long: after four years of growing ubiquity, the good “Brony” name and all its accompanying fan-made creations may now be owned by Hasbro. Everyone put your hooves where I can see them and back away from Deviantart. Slowly.
Even before its recent legal woes, the brony moniker was already loaded with implications: everyone from Glenn Beck to adult-film star Tasha Reign has had strong opinions on My Little Pony‘s older fans. I’m not a brony, so I defer to any readers with insider insight: if you want to unpack the gender implications of the term, I’d be fascinated. Unfortunately, Hasbro probably would be, too.
According to blogger mandomommy (the mother of Andy “Mandopony” Stein, a musician known for his pony-themed songs) her recent interactions with Hasbro reveal the company may be putting legal constraints on one of its largest fan bases. Mandomommy says she attempted to upload a product from Zazzle with a “Brony” descriptive tag back in May, and received the following notice:
(Update: Mandomommy herself sent us an e-mail giving more context for her interactions with Zazzle.) If Hasbro did in fact request the removal it would be an unprecedented and strange move considering the word “brony” was already copyrighted, technically. The name first appeared on 4chan on 10/23/10, just 13 days after the current My Little Pony reboot, Friendship is Magic, first aired.
According to Horse News, the word “brony” didn’t even appear in official Hasbro content until the show’s “Equestria Girls” song two years ago. Here the term refers just to males, rather than adult fans in general.
If Hasbro is claiming the term as intellectual property, what does that mean for the niche group that’s produced literal buttloads of original content under the brony name? The adult My Little Pony devotees are one of the most creative and influential fan bases out there, and helped make Friendship Is Magic the highest-rated original production in the Hub Network’s broadcast history. The brony influence has also not gone unnoticed by the show’s actors, who spoke about the phenomenon back in 2012. Said Tabitha St. Germain (or Rarity, for all you FIM fans):
These guys make videos and music and stories and astonishing art, and make whole worlds with it. I just think they’re awesome.
Tara Strong, the voice of Twilight Sparkle, also had high praise:
They’re the best fanbase ever, they’re so hilarious and supportive and creative and giving, they give so much to charity and they’re always there for us if we’re putting silly stuff on Twitter or if we’re raising money for charity.
Do not bro gently into that good night, fans. The Internet needs your defiant creativity, and yes, even the ensuing picture of Jesus cradling Rainbow Dash. Surely one of the Mane 6 has some kind of legal background?
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