Copyright-problems when selling props?

Michael Bergeron

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Do you remember a few years back when Lucasfilm issued a CnD to some laser company just because their portable laser product visually resembled a lightsaber? I don't know the finer details, nor what happened afterward, but that was pretty fat-headed of Lucasfilm. Where do they get the gall?

I do. However considering the amount of CnDs they COULD be issuing (effectively shutting down large parts of communities like this forum) they're really quite lenient.

I believe their concern there was that the lasers were being advertised as ones you could make lightsabers with and were the type that could blind you if you're not careful (they had two guys fighting wearing sunglasses in their ad). Lucasfilm wasn't concerned about copyright so much as they were worried about liability. "Kid blinds himself with toy lightsaber" is not a good headline if you're Lucasfilm.
 

Zlurpo

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Do you remember a few years back when Lucasfilm issued a CnD to some laser company just because their portable laser product visually resembled a lightsaber? I don't know the finer details, nor what happened afterward, but that was pretty fat-headed of Lucasfilm. Where do they get the gall?

I saw that. I think it was a 1W blue laser, sold for about $300. And it totally looked like a lightsaber handle. This one, I think.

edit: They also have this thing which you can attach to the laser to turn it into a "Laser Saber." I guess that's all you need to get around the C&D in this case.
 

tripoli

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Lucas has been very lenient with fans for the promotion personal usage, but absolutely will crack down on anyone using their intellectual property for making a profit. Disney is even more so protective looking at personal use as an issue, it will be interesting to see how they manage the later Star Wars franchise property.

On the light saber issue, Lucas was suing due to the issue that Wicked lasers associated the Star Wars IP property with their own sales. Wicked quickly adjusted and then used terms that were not copyrighted to antagonize Lucas a bit more. The fight on both sides at6 that point was to stab at each other. But with no sales associated to the IP terms, Lucas could do nothing.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
Lucas has been very lenient with fans for the promotion personal usage, but absolutely will crack down on anyone using their intellectual property for making a profit. Disney is even more so protective looking at personal use as an issue, it will be interesting to see how they manage the later Star Wars franchise property.


Those of us who make fan films are VERY wary of Disney. Lucas treated fan film makers as friends and allies. The Rat, on the other hand, treats everyone as rivals and thieves.
 

practicecactus

Active Member
Over on redbubble.com [a print on demand site that offers a percentage of the profits on things you sell] Lucasfilm came down hard on art in people's galleries. Not things for sale with star wars imagery, just art shown on people's profile pages. This was before the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, so I suspect that may have had something to do wit it, but basically we all got notices they had been taken down because Lucasfilm filed DMCA claims.
Seemed odd because people who upload star wars art are fans so this stung a bit, considering they didn't do this on DeviantArt for example.
 

berger

Sr Member
its all up to the individual copyright holders.... just because disney cracks down on it super hardcore, dosent mean the guys responsible for the michael myers masks have to as well.
 

Lflank

Well-Known Member
What about Michael Myers and Freddy masks? Almost daily there are new Myers masks on ebay. They seem to get away with it.

"Getting away with it" does not equal "it's not a violation".

It just means the copyright holder hasn't bothered to go after them. Yet.
 

holtt

Active Member
It's kind of interesting that someone would ask, "Where do they get the gall?" about Lucas coming down on another company for copying their work, but let a guy do a recast and he's suddenly below the lowest of lows in the RPF world.

With recasts (and reproduction of copyright material), a couple is flattery and great for the original artist. A ton of them is a ripoff. Sometimes I think people threatened by recasting could use it to their advantage in some way, just as Lucas does. Instead most take the Disney approach.
 

red4

Sr Member
Has Lucasfilm attacked the creators of Gundam? Gundams use blatant lightsabers all the time, and there are countless toys, statuettes, and model kits featuring the lightsabers.
Lucasfilm should only have the rights to the word "lightsaber" and the specific designs that have been used in their properties, nothing else.
 

fiberglassmasks

New Member
I think the main question is:

why can movie companies take an off the shelf item, Modify it, and then claim to own the copyright, trademark, or likeness of it? Does anyone have a good answer for this :confused
 

JD Douglas

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
To the best of my knowledge the copyright on firearms doesn't pertain to the look but rather the engineering. When the Mauser C96 was patented it was the semi automatic action that was patented.

There is no way that Mauser can claim that Lucasfilm selling plastic blasters infringes on their business. Same reason that airsoft guns copy real life looks, their internals are completely different and they aren't real firearms so no copyright infringement.

That makes sense, but I can't imagine that these companies aren't trying to protect their R&D and design dollars with copyrights and trademarks in addition to their functional patents.

Again, that's just to the best of my knowledge. I'm not a lawyer and if anyone was going to look into this more seriously than a conversation with some guys on the net I would suggest you find one.

I'm more curious than worried. :)

To my knowledge, Smith and Wesson has licensed the outer design of their firearms for airsoft replicas. But I could be mistaken.
But it's easy to assume, considering so many guns have iconic outer designs. There's no mistaking a Beretta, Glock, P99, or Desert Eagle.

That's what I thought, that Airsoft is having to pay license fees to makers of modern firearms, at least.

I think the main question is:

why can movie companies take an off the shelf item, Modify it, and then claim to own the copyright, trademark, or likeness of it? Does anyone have a good answer for this

Well, it's certainly my main question! :) Unfortunately it's not the OP's question, although it is related. Hopefully this isn't a hijack situation!

- JD
 

Stonebro

Active Member
Quote from here http://www.originalprop.com/blog/20...s-stormtrooper-helmet-copyright-legal-battle/

So what are the wider implications of the Supreme Court ruling?

For Mr Ainsworth, it means he is free to expand his business, but for George Lucas, according to Mr Ainsworth’s lawyer Seamus Andrew, it opens a “Pandora’s box” as anyone is now free to make the models.

He says other prop makers encouraged by the ruling may now come forward to take advantage of their own ingenuity.
 
P

predpaul

Guest
If its not Fine Art its not protected - Watch this 3D printing vid

Will 3D Printing Change the World? | Off Book | PBS - YouTube!

Kinect 2 will bring affordable 3d scanning to everyone



Got my first C&D email ever yesterday for my Marvel shapeways items. TBF I'm flattered they thought I was good enough I take it as a compliment because I'm a very optimistic guy ;)

I'll share here but they are now just for viewing. As Matt M said Cease sales you'll never win :eek This is one product designer who learnt his lesson :O

stark_scanner.jpg arc1.jpg arc_ad (2).jpg headset3.jpg

Paul
 
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John Hart

Member
Interesting thread. I have been on the other side of this discussion having had to send two C&Ds and being a member of the Plaintiffs side on a Copyright trial. Seeing your artwork stolen and used by somebody else is not a pleasant experience.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
Years ago someone made life size lego lightsabers. Lego sent out a C&D but all they cared about was the use if the name, not the design. In the letter, they even suggested the name change to building block saber. I thought that was a classy move.
 

Stonebro

Active Member
Its only the US the UK and western europe that give one fig for copyright law, i have travelled a lot in the middle east, I know that China and Russia dont care about intellectual property - I have been in department stores selling knock offs. So the only targets the DRM lawyers can hit are on their own doorstep. In the rest of the world they are toothless. They are fighting a battle they cannot win
 

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