copyright and legality

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Armourdillo

Guest
I know this might sound like a silly question......but how is it possible to sell Predator related products like masks and such......like people here do.....without running into copyright problems?.....I mean....do you need to pay licence fees to someone or something?
Thanks in advance
Lee
 

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Kithunter

Well-Known Member
this has been an endless debate in regards to the pimping out of predator. there are many views on this subject.

custom created suit pieces ....Does that constitute intellectual copyright infringement?... to be honest i don't have the legal knowledge to answer that aspect.

the bottom line is this if you sell anything and call it predator you are stepping on the toes of 20th century, they have been cool with certain few items as long as your not in the business of making it a full time cash money machine...

they frequent the board and know who makes what and for the most part have allowed folks to make their custom pieces...but if you call it PREDATOR CHEST ARMOR ...you might raise a flag
I don't know how they view unlicensed kit makers, but if your making custom suit pieces and offer them up for sale ...then i think they give you a pass.

To produce a prop or statute from the film and call it predator i would imagine companies like sideshow and hot toys need to pay a licensing fee

the lair created the market for most things pred collectable, before us there was nothing except a few fan sites.

The lair is not backed by fox but they allow us to exist because TBH the lair is one of the best marketing vehicles for their property at no cost to them....so we dont' bite the hand that feeds us
 

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Armourdillo

Guest
Thanx for the responce folks

@Big Bad Wolf......yeah....I looked aswell lol......couldn't find a thing.....cheers Ernie!

the reason i was wondering is because I have never sculpted a Pred......and want to give it a go......but money is a bit tight at the moment.......and my missus said about selling my mask (or whatever I decide to do) to claw back the money spent on the project........and I wanted to know if that was possible without pissing in anyones slippers.....thats about it really.
There is a hell of alot of Pred related products for sale nowerdays.......and it is usually advertised as Predator.....normaly....if you are selling something that is protected...you have to change the name and call it something else...to get around copyright.......but that doesn't seem the case with Pred stuff.....so I was just wondering what the score was.
thanx once again for the replies.
Lee
 

greyback

New Member
Does anyone know where to send scripts?
And that is what you would call "cynicism"

Fox has the right attitude towards THL, every fan here keeps the creature alive through his/hers personal endeavours. Creating customs pieces is different than creating a products for mass consumption (like sideshow does). They don't create predator statues because they're fans, they make them to get your money.

The copyright issue raises interesting questions though, as I'm pretty sure Fox owns the intellectual rights to any designs/ideas created on the lair. Whether or not this is viewed as a bad thing is of course a personal opinion.
 

Kithunter

Well-Known Member
There is a hell of alot of Pred related products for sale nowerdays.......and it is usually advertised as Predator.....normaly....if you are selling something that is protected...you have to change the name and call it something else...to get around copyright.......but that doesn't seem the case with Pred stuff
to think that fox isn't aware of that....you would be delusional....

it (fox)has an army of lawyers and folks watching what is going on with their properties...it's really up to them who they chose to lay the smackdown on..VIA...cease and desist.


AM
 
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Armourdillo

Guest
to think that fox isn't aware of that....you would be delusional....

it (fox)has an army of lawyers and folks watching what is going on with their properties...it's really up to them who they chose to lay the smackdown on..VIA...cease and desist.


AM

LOL.....luckily i'm not delusional.....which is WHY I was wondering how people get away with it in the first place..

All I can say is ...the blokes at FOX must be as passionate as the fans to allow their property to be duplicated without a fuss.

BIG UPS to the folks at FOX for not crashing down on the little folk!!

.........but i dare say their attitude would change if they ever got a bit skint.
 

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Kithunter

Well-Known Member
and lets just be clear about one aspect.... the suits and components made here are custom pieces and not being sold to the masses as it were
 
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Armourdillo

Guest
and lets just be clear about one aspect.... the suits and components made here are custom pieces and not being sold to the masses as it were

With ALL due respect.....what difference does it make?.......selling to the masses or custom?......the only difference is price.....custom suits can fetch anywhere between $1500 and silly money.
Ive seen suits for like £8000..........are you telling me thats ok cos it's not intended for the masses?

just to clarify.....i'm NOT taking a swipe......just reasoning
 

hez1

New Member
From what I know on the subject, Kithunter has summed up the situation pretty well. There have been a couple of lawsuits brought against propmakers in recent years that I have some knowledge of, both of them by lucasfilm, both of them involving Stormtrooper armour.

The first case was probably about 5 years ago, a guy making trooper suits from his garage and selling them online. A C&D was sent out, he ignored it, and a $1m lawsuit was brought against him. Turned out that the lawyers had gotten a little too eager in their jobs, and with the intervention of a lawyer who was a member of the RPF at the time, the lawsuit was dropped, as long as the original C&D was obeyed. Something like that anyway.

Second case you may well have heard of, Andrew Ainsworth in the UK had the original molds to the stormtrooper helmets and armour, and trading as Shepperton Design Studios (SDS) sold them in large numbers. I believe the number bandied around was he made something like $50k a year from them. Lucasfilm understandably got a little pissy about this, especially given that there was a licensed producer of helmets (MR) at the time, and those kinds of numbers demonstrably affect sales of the licensed product. Lawsuit brought, end result was that he was only allowed to sell the helmets and suits in the UK, where the judge ruled that Lucasfilms copyright on the design had expired.

Bottom line is, stick to low numbers, don't try and pass yourself off as a business churning these out on a production line and don't ask for stupid money, and you're likely to be ok. Places like this, where people obsess over details, make their own stuff and occasionally sell a few copies to help pay for the cost of production, show the studios that the fanbase is alive and well, and they can release official stuff which these same people will buy. I know I still want the licensed stuff!

There are exceptions of course...Anything Trekkie is likely to be smacked down fast by paramount, and they have incurred a fair amount of fan ill will through it. I don't believe sales of the MR Trek stuff was especially great, although linking the two things is of course pure conjecture...:lol:

I don't know if I'd bother emailing them, because they're not actually going to put down in writing anything but "Any unlicensed products are in violation of copyright". You'd be dreaming to hope to get an answer like "Don't do too many and we'll overlook it".

I think the agreement is we don't push them, and they won't push back.
 

Kithunter

Well-Known Member
wolf i agree with your statement, the prices for all predator related items (suits, props,toys)has gone through the roof in recent years....some are worth it, other are not IMHO

again there is a grey area for making custom pieces and charging what an artist feels his time has been worth or what he invested in the project. i'm basing most of my replies on the history i've been witness to over the years.

the only C&D i've ever seen brought on a prop maker making predator props was king jamie...at first he was making a few one off bios ...over the years the demand for his works increased so he began cranking out bios ...fox got upset and slapped him with a notice.

there is no DEFINITE answer on this....never was and i doubt there will be

it's an on going debate
 

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mothmonty

Sr Member
Copyright and intellectual property is a huge issue with distributors, production companies, artists, writers etc. For example Sideshow has to pay a fee to make and sell their Pred stuff along with all their other copyright items.
Building and exact replica of P1 is sort of like copyright infringement if you call it your own. I don't think anyone here is gonna try and pass off any of the movie works as their own. Technically building a pred whether it be exact or not is stealing "intellectual property", since someone (Stan, may he rest is peace) created the look of the Pred. I mean you can't built a P2 mask paint it a different color and try and convince someone it's something else. However as mentioned in previous posts, having people walking around in wicked Pred costumes is great for publicity, nothing here is mass produced, and nobody is making money hand over fist. So fox gets something from us and we get something from them.
It is sort of the same deal that the 501st has with Lucas Film, although they have no affiliation they are acknowledged and respected. However many people have received cease and desist orders because they were making a little too much money on Storm Trooper Armor. heck Lucas even sued the original BSG producers 'cause he felt Cylons were to close in appearance to storm troopers.
I do think George Lucas paying to have 200 501st members brought to California from all over the world to troop in the Rose Parade, acknowledges the fact that these high quality fan costume builders are a good thing to have around.
 

PredaHawk

New Member
Do we know of any attorneys that hang out here on the boards that can maybe shed some light on this subject? I'm not talking about legal advice, but maybe some precedence; case law that has already covered some of these grey areas.

Very good topic. Maybe should be pinned once we get some clarification...

R.:
 

carlart

New Member
Monty's made some good points, as has Andrew and others.
The key to making "homage" prop making is not to mass produce the stuff, while making outrageous profits, thereby not rubbing it in the studio's faces. Once you go beyond that threshold, you now appear on the radar screen, a cease and desist missile homing in on you. As Hez outlined, Lucas Arts has long been known for having an iron fist on SW props, but at least Mr. Lucas realized that marching with 501st members who bought non-licensed trooper armor was the ultimate tribute to his creations. Thankfully Fox has not been so stringent with us, for the reasons already stated.

As far as copyrighting issues are concerned, I will convey pretty much what Andrew and Monty said, as well as what a copyright lawyer told me:
Fox and Winston Studios own the intellectual rights to the Predator since they created it. Those artists who make pred related pieces based on the predator own the artistic rights to those pieces, because they made them, regardless of whether or not they are based on a copyrighted character. Now, when it comes to selling props, technically a license is supposed to be purchased from the studio because the entity in question will be mass producing the stuff. In our case, if fan produced props are exchanged in small quantities while being discreet, Fox has shown itself to be willing to look the other way, especially because we are the core of the fan base for one of their biggest franchises.

Lately there's been too much emphasis on buying and selling pred props instead of making your own, which was the original mission statement of the Lair. For this reason, as well as the one stated above, those of us who've been here for a long time wince every time a thread appears about somebody being late, or stiffing somebody out of something. It is understandable when members feel they have no other recourse, but it draws more attention to buying and selling, risking Fox's good graces. With all that in mind, PLEASE do not email Fox about this topic, it would be tantamount to shooting ourselves in the foot.

As you can see there is some gray area here, it's really up to Fox's discretion, so let's be appreciative of their leniency by keeping this stuff off their radar to the greatest extent possible. Let's not kill the golden goose.
 

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