Cosplay charity work - legal discussion thread.

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sandbagger

Master Member
G'day my fellow builders.

How can I find out the legal implications of using a particular character to bring joy and happiness to sick kids in their hospital wards?

This thread could apply to any character, but I would like to ask about Marvel/Iron Man in particular.

I for-see a few scenarios for wearing the suit.

  • Attending Comicon or similar convention.
  • Visiting a children's hospital ward - no monies involved at all.
  • Attending a children's charity fundraiser as an advertised attraction.
  • Attending a children's charity fundraiser as an non-advertised addition, but not the main attraction for the purposes of fundraising.
  • Home visits for sick children - no monies involved.
  • Fun church visits for children - no monies involved.

I want to make it clear as it is important to me, that I have no interest or intention of taking any money from this suit AT ALL. I'm motivated by making sick kids smile and have some fun, that's all.

I'm only asking because there may be hospitals/medical foundations that will probably ask me to attend their fundraisers.

Please only answer if you have experience/legitimate knowledge of the subject. Speculation is potentially harmful.

Cheers,

SB
 
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Viktor Boskovic

New Member
Re: Charity, fundraiser and cosplay legal discussion thread.

I'm not a lawyer but it's my understanding that dressing like a character is not illegal until you begin to profit from doing it.
 

sandbagger

Master Member
Re: Charity, fundraiser and cosplay legal discussion thread.

I'm not a lawyer but it's my understanding that dressing like a character is not illegal until you begin to profit from doing it.
That is also my understanding.

However, if that is so, I need to know the grey areas also so I don't tread on any toes.

I see the 501st Legion all go out on charity fundraisers and such. I wonder what the deal is with their activities and the Star Wars franchise?

Some definitive answers will help me know what I can do and also what situations to avoid all together.

I've sent an email to Marvel.com to see what answers I can get out of them. Unfortunately they probably get millions of emails so I might be waiting a while.

SB
 

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sandbagger

Master Member
Re: Charity, fundraiser and cosplay legal discussion thread.

Hi,
If you look in the link below someone seems to have asked a similar question regarding the use of disney characters.
They've gotten answers from intellectual property lawyers that might be of use to you.

http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/do-i-need-to-acquire-legal-permission-to-impersona-1589049.html

Hope it works out for you.
Thanks for that. It looks like common sense, getting permission from the franchise to use their characters for charitable work, to which they can say yes or no as they please.

I've written to Marvel. Wait and see now.

SB
 

Viktor Boskovic

New Member
From the site itself

"Such examples of intellectual property infringement are:
Unlicensed merchandise using Marvel's characters or names
Unapproved commercial use of Marvel characters or trademarks
Counterfeit products
Illegal copies of Marvel material being sold or distributed."

For what it's worth I think a license for this sort of thing would be fairly cheap.

- - - Updated - - -

For any questions about licensing or toys, please contact:
Marvel Consumer Products
212-576-4070
marvelconsumerproducts@marvel.com

Don't know what email you used but this will probably give you the quickest reply
 

sandbagger

Master Member
From the site itself

"Such examples of intellectual property infringement are:
Unlicensed merchandise using Marvel's characters or names
Unapproved commercial use of Marvel characters or trademarks
Counterfeit products
Illegal copies of Marvel material being sold or distributed."

For what it's worth I think a license for this sort of thing would be fairly cheap.

- - - Updated - - -

For any questions about licensing or toys, please contact:
Marvel Consumer Products
212-576-4070
marvelconsumerproducts@marvel.com

Don't know what email you used but this will probably give you the quickest reply
I might be clutching at straws here, but I'm not sure these things apply to the suit because:

1. Unlicensed merchandise using Marvel's characters or names - merchandise is products for sale isn't it? I'm not selling merchandise.
2. Unapproved commercial use of Marvel characters or trademarks - Is visiting children in hospital (for free) commercial use?
3. Counterfeit products - again, is this to do with selling products?
4. Illegal copies of Marvel material being sold or distributed - which I am not.

I think this is to do with resellers/retail of merchandise/products/trademarks. I'm not sure cosplay in this case applies?

Hopefully they'll get back to me.
 

Fly4v

Sr Member
The toy licensing side should just forward you to Special Events.... Don't know if Judy still works there but here is the old contact info.

Judy Janisheski, Vice President
Special Events, Marvel Characters Appearance Program Company
145 North Franklin Turnpike, Suite 115
Ramsey, New Jersey 07446
Tel: 201-818-9400, Fax: 201-818-0197
(jjan@marvelappearance.com)
Website: http://www.marvelappearance.com/
 
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Viktor Boskovic

New Member
I think the unapproved use of characters is to protect the characters image. Last thing marvel need is spider-man turning up to a hospital stinking of booze and cigarettes an starting a fight.
 

Firnatine87

New Member
Sandbagger,

I am part of a non-profit super hero group that goes by Heroesalliance here in the states. We mostly go as Marvel/DC heroes and have been to make a wish foundations, Ronald McDonald house and various other charity events, even Hospital visits. This organization has been around for 10 years and I have yet to hear of any legal issues with Marvel or DC.

Here is our site: http://www.heroesalliance.org/ and if you want, I can reach out to my branch leader if you have any specifics questions.
 

widescreen

Well-Known Member
The basics are (as I know them):
Don't make any money from doing what you do. You can cover any costs & for 'general maintenance',but not Profit.
Marvel will not let you attend any of their official events (i.e. red carpet events or publicity shoots) unless you are an official costumer of theirs.

Apart from that - it's about all I know. I've been fundraising in costume for about 5 years & it's never been questioned.

BUT, think about it this way - what kind of publicity would they get if they tried to take you to court for fundraising? - So long as you don't do anything STUPID.
 

Murdoch

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The basics are (as I know them):
Don't make any money from doing what you do. You can cover any costs & for 'general maintenance',but not Profit.
Marvel will not let you attend any of their official events (i.e. red carpet events or publicity shoots) unless you are an official costumer of theirs.

Apart from that - it's about all I know. I've been fundraising in costume for about 5 years & it's never been questioned.

BUT, think about it this way - what kind of publicity would they get if they tried to take you to court for fundraising? - So long as you don't do anything STUPID.
Great advice Widescreen.Did you ever get to that Hulk build? GM
 

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