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Author Topic: Copyright  (Read 4118 times)

noani

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Copyright
« on: April 06, 2011, 05:31:57 PM »
I'm going to sell my things at a market ( think this is the right word for it) and want some little things for the kids...thinking of making a Hello Kitty cane . Can i do that or is that forbidden due to copyright..not that my cane will look like the real thing ;) But if i'm succesfull.

ejralph

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 06:17:16 PM »
Not so much a copyright issue - but a trade mark issue I suspect.

If you copied a Hello Kitty product exactly, that would be infringing their copyright. But even just to make *anything* Hello Kitty, without permission, would be infringing the trade mark.

If you were to get caught - well that is a different question!

I know that the laywers for Disney are EVERYWHERE - I remember a tale of a US polymer clay author who sculpted a lifelike baby deer in one of her books. After it was published, a lawyer from Disney turned up on her doorstep, trying to tell her she had copied their Bambi.

Of course she hadn't and told them so. And refused to be intimidated (so often, encounters with lawyers are just a game of chicken and you have to stand your ground)

But if you were to make a Hello Kitty design - well, really you would have no answer if the lawyers did find you.

Here in the UK - if you were to sell something like that, you would also risk prosecution by an organisation called Trading Standards. They would prosecute not because they care about the trademark owners rights, but because they care about the consumers' rights and feel people need to know branded products are genuine.

So there are two legal viewpoints - from the owner of the copyright/trademark and also the rights of the public to know they are buying genuine merchandise.

Emma
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noani

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011, 06:25:05 PM »
Thank you Emma..i had a feeling it wasn't allright..have to make a sweet little cat instead....

Kayleigh

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011, 11:09:50 PM »
If it's from the consumers point of view, would you be able to make them and then just make sure you have a sign or something saying that they're not genuine merchandise, just inspired by whatever it is? Then they would know what they're buying?

ejralph

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 06:37:28 AM »
Not really.

That would be making the customers accomplices in you breaking the law and also show that you know you are breaking the law yourself. Very unprofessional and asking a customer to sign sich a disclaimer probably wouldn't be legal anyway.

A customer has certain statutory rights as a consumer that you cannot to ask them to give up. (Remember ever seeing the phrase "your statutory rights are not affected" in a company's terms and conditions? That is what its about - your own terms of doing business cannot go over the head of someone's inherent rights as a citizen, laid down by law)


These laws are much open to interpretation and you will find even individual Trading Standards offices might differ in exactly how they are applied. But none will support selling conterfeit goods that infringe a known trademark or asking a customer to sign a paper to say they are party to this fraud.

This is one area which highlights the difference between making just for yourself and making to sell. Once you sell to the public you are subject to various legal obligations that it is your job to understand and meet.

However - what the law says and what people do are two different things often. I was amazed recently when visiting the website of a famous actress/cakemaker. The number of trademark character cakes on offer was amazing. Yet some how I doubt they were being made under license.

It is one of those areas where you have to make you own decision really. Technically infringing copyright is illegal. What each person does with that information is their own choice.

Personally though, I also think it makes a seller look less professional if they are selling copies of character products to the public. I would rather see their own characters.

Emma
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KMD

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2011, 06:43:50 AM »
I have seen someone making Hello Kitty merchandise not in clay, was surprised as I thought this would be infringing on rights, I myself had thought of trying to mimic jewellery from a very popular computer Game but didnt persue as I know in my heart this would be classed as copyright and would get into trouble big time!! Shame could of been quite a market ;D

ejralph

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2011, 06:48:19 AM »
Loads of people do make trademark items - it is rife. The chances of legal action is probably not great either.

But its important to understand that it is a murky area and make your own choices. Especially if you sell at places like fairs, farmers markets etc where Trading Standards officers often visit!

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Kayleigh

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2011, 09:02:09 AM »
Not really.

That would be making the customers accomplices in you breaking the law and also show that you know you are breaking the law yourself. Very unprofessional and asking a customer to sign sich a disclaimer probably wouldn't be legal anyway.


Emma

I didn'tean get them to sign something, I meant having a sign by the items saying that they weren't genuine merchandise so the buyers know what they're buying. But the rest of what you said makes sense :) I don't really make this kind of thing anyway but I do see lots of people doing it. I guess it's up to them what they wanna do :)

ejralph

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2011, 09:19:39 AM »
Sorry - obviously too early for my brain when I read your first post.  :D

I think the same applies though - you would still in effect be putting up a sign saying that you are knowingly selling illegal items. From a legal standpoint, it would be worse than just claiming ignorance if anyone challenged you on it

I agree-  lots of people break this law to varying degrees and its down to the individual to decide how much of a risk they want to take on copyright infringement.

Personally I still think it looks bad on the maker though. If I see people selling Hello Kitty stuff or Disney style stuff etc on ebay or etsy, I cannot help but think less of them as a designer. It always feels like they are jumping on bandwagons rather than developing their own product.

I am sure that makes me into a design-snob or something, but I am just being honest about my gut feelings when I see that type of work being sold (and the emphasis is on the being sold part. Nothing wrong at all in making these sorts of things for yourself or your friends / family etc)

Emma

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averilpam

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2011, 11:19:05 PM »
I don't think you are being a design snob! I agree, that it isn't just a legal thing.  For me, copying someone else's design isn't acceptable, and cartoon characters, game characters, etc etc are someone else's design.  The problem is these designs are very popular and people want them - and customers often don't think about copyright or design theft when they ask us to make something for them, they just want something they've seen elsewhere (and cheaper if possible!)  So many people do copy in this way and get away with it but it doesn't make it ok.

shelleym

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Re: Copyright
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2011, 10:51:28 AM »
I have a couple of  friends who makes clocks from CD's and uses images on the front of the CD's. I did mention to them that the images were probably copyright protected, but they got a shock when trading standards saw them at one of the shows. Trading Standards were actually very good to them and didn't confiscate all their stock - which they have the right to do. They pleaded ignorance (which they were) and trading standards did tell them which images were not copyright protected and they could use. Certain images like Betty Boop and Garfield (I think, but don't take that for gospel) were ok, but most were not. They still do clocks, but now take their own photos of animals and things, or use copyright free images. More often than not they do personalised images to order.

Do be careful if you going to trade with things like that. Some things, as my friends found out are ok to use, but others are definitely not - Bob the Builder, Hello Kitty, any Disney Designs, football stuff etc - steer well clear of.

Shelley