Is this copyright infringment?

15 replies
Hi guys,

I have question that i am not much aware if its copyright infringment or not.
My wife create handmade dolls from a bunch of different themes, and some of them are well know themes, like characters from the disney for exemple.

She does not copy images, or anything like that ,she creates the dolls based on the character image, and the final result its not even an integral copy of a character, since everything its handmade, so each one is always different (the eyes, can be bigger, smaller, darker, lighter, etc).
So i would like to know if selling an handmade doll of an well known character would be considered copyright infringement or no?

Thanks in advance,
Morg
#copyright #infringment
  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    More likely to be trademark infringement than copyright violation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by morg2k2 View Post

    she creates the dolls based on the character image
    Yes, this will fall under "trademark protection", I think. It's breaching "merchandising rights", if trademarked, which often change hands for very large amounts of money, especially in the case of characters from books/movies/games, and they do get enforced. (I'm not a lawyer, but there have certainly been cases of people getting into trouble for exactly this).
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  • I would say that unfortunately it is some type of infringement. For example, if someone were to even write fan fiction, that would be considered infringement, even if they gave it away without selling it.
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  • Profile picture of the author morg2k2
    Thanks, i will need to get more documentation about this topic, because there is Public Domain brands, Countries exclusions, etc.

    Thanks for all the feedback guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author SterlingWebb
    Not directly related but here are some common misconceptions about copyright:

    Summary of current copyright law as it pertains to email, web sites, mineral clubs, club newsletters.

    If it were me I'd simply contact the owner of the copyright and if they don't have a problem with it then drive forward!!

    ~SW
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    • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
      If the characters are Disney characters, Harry Potter, Looney Tunes, Pixar, etc., than yes you have a big issue.

      If the characters are based on stories from people who have been dead for a long time (so their copyrights have expired), like Shakespeare, or Grimm's Fairy Tales, then you are alright PROVIDED you go back to the original source.

      It's one thing to go back to the original Snow White story, and create your own character based on it. It's another to create a character model based on Disney's version of Snow White.

      Btw, some British readers may recall the BBC going after a lady who was offering knitted Doctor Who characters on ebay.
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    • Profile picture of the author datingworld
      Originally Posted by SterlingWebb View Post


      If it were me I'd simply contact the owner of the copyright and if they don't have a problem with it then drive forward!!
      That's good suggestion. I don't think they will have any issue since the dolls are handmade but to be on safe side, its better to contact them, they might give their consent to use it. [you never know until you try]
      Good luck with it.
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      • Profile picture of the author helen jones
        Banned
        Yes, but she can create something different with a little inspiration from these characters. This way you can get rid of the unpleasant legal repercussions.
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      • Profile picture of the author marc@clickbitz
        Originally Posted by datingworld View Post

        That's good suggestion. I don't think they will have any issue since the dolls are handmade but to be on safe side, its better to contact them, they might give their consent to use it. [you never know until you try]
        Good luck with it.
        They will never give their consent because maintaining a trademarked property requires that they contest anyone who infringes on it. The best you could hope for is a licensing deal.
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        • Profile picture of the author morg2k2
          Well, since many are top trademarks i sincerely doubt, this would have suceess asking for permission but i also noticed that a few characters are public domain , like snow white, peter pan, etc.

          So i will tell her to drop the trademark characters. Since she also creates dolls for each job , and customized dolls that normally sells very well.

          I also told her to create one dedicated exclusively for warriors eheh.


          Thanks
          Morg
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          • Profile picture of the author Cali16
            If your wife is selling (or planning to sell) these dolls (and before she makes more of them), then she should consult with an attorney with experience in this area. Better to see where she stands now than to find out later the hard way (which would also probably cost a LOT more than talking to an attorney now).
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  • Even though there are thousands of crafty folks world wide who create and sell dolls and paintings etc of well known characters without an actual legal licensing agreement in place, most are simply managing to get away with this activity as they remain under the radar. Selling 1 or 2 dolls of your one of a kind interpretations of a trademarked character to a friend or neighbor probably falls within a grey area, and might not be lawsuit worthy to a corporation, but then again as Alexa mentioned above, there have been cases of people getting into trouble, and SunilTanna mentioned a 2008 case which drew some attention online. Thus if the plan is to start selling these dolls commercially in significant amounts, (especially online) you would want to ensure that you have the legal right to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author marc@clickbitz
    If any reasonable person would consider the doll a likeness of a famous character, you have a problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author RTakemura
    That would definitely be trademark infringement.
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    • Profile picture of the author morg2k2
      Thanks.
      For all the feedback.

      Regards,
      Mofg
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