angrycamper

copyright Infringement?

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I am pretty sure that you can't make merch with characters or designs from the series without infringement, and sell it (correct me if I am wrong). I am wondering if you can make merch that is inspired by characters or designs from the show such as art or shirts with your OC or the art style, and sell it.

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Copyright law is incredibly confusing. Companies like welovefine.com exist to provide fan-made merchandise of all sorts of fandoms, from MLP to Star Wars, but  seeing as they have been around for a while and have not been taken down, are likely acting within their legal rights.

All this to say that what you are doing is probably ok.

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I think stuff inspired by it should be fine as long as it is not using the MLP name or any associated properties. Like an OC? That should be fine as long as it has nothing officially copyrighted in it. Anything beyond that would most likely the legal rights to distribute the products. Otherwise, that could lead to trouble with legal stuff.

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This is the one thing that keeps me from asking one lady on Deviant Art to make and sell me a doll of my MLP OC. From what I understand there is a chance that not only can you get in trouble for copyright infringement on the selling end, but on the buying end as well. 

Most MLP OCs are original characters, but they carry the base MLP design and I believe the design itself is copyrighten as well. 

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PittyPaws. That is if you use a base that is under copyright, but if you draw your OC without a base then there is no legal trouble. 

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It really boils down to if Hasbro sees it as a threat to their business or not. Technically speaking they could claim anything that is clearly "inspired" too heavily from their work as copyright, but they choose not to because it's not worth 10 million lawsuits over things that are harmless. However if you say... Made a kickstarter to mass produce some plushies that were in higher demand than Hasbro's own, yeah... They might call in the lawyers on that one.

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:huh: It's kind of odd if you think about it...

 

:wat: Like for example: we (fans) can create and sell fan art, plushies, clothing and even figurines. :dash:  But as soon as somepony wants to create a (free) videogame with the characters,  :okiedokielokie: everyone at Hasbro loses their collective minds and suddenly, in come the cease&desist notices. :comeatus:

Edited by Shimmerlicious

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MLP OCs are actually Public Domain because they were not trademarked by Hasbro or went through the copyright stages. For example I can try to get away with it if I sell a T-Shirt with my OC for it. Why would Hasbro send a Cease and Desist order on a character that you created.

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This is the one thing that keeps me from asking one lady on Deviant Art to make and sell me a doll of my MLP OC. From what I understand there is a chance that not only can you get in trouble for copyright infringement on the selling end, but on the buying end as well. 

Most MLP OCs are original characters, but they carry the base MLP design and I believe the design itself is copyrighten as well. 

OCs should be totally fine. Hasbro has been great about letting fans make and sell plushies of even the main characters that directly compete with their own merchandise, as long as nobody is seriously mass producing them. They technically could make a stink over it, but obviously they considered it a better bet that a healthy and productive fandom would create more interest in the show and get them more money in the long run... which I think has proven to be true :) It's part of why I'm a fan.

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OCs should be totally fine. Hasbro has been great about letting fans make and sell plushies of even the main characters that directly compete with their own merchandise, as long as nobody is seriously mass producing them. They technically could make a stink over it, but obviously they considered it a better bet that a healthy and productive fandom would create more interest in the show and get them more money in the long run... which I think has proven to be true :) It's part of why I'm a fan.

 

While its probably ilegal for some of those things its also something they probably dont care about.  Pick battles that will actually matter as its good for business and its probably not worth the effort to tell someone to stop

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:huh: It's kind of odd if you think about it...

 

:wat: Like for example: we (fans) can create and sell fan art, plushies, clothing and even figurines. :dash:  But as soon as somepony wants to create a (free) videogame with the characters,  :okiedokielokie: everyone at Hasbro loses their collective minds and suddenly, in come the cease&desist notices. :comeatus:

Because video games are a huge profit margin. Think about it. Even if say... I make a lot of plushies to sell that compete with the actual plushies, there is no way I can make the sheer numbers Hasbro has. It's little threat to them because no way in hell am I going to pump out millions of plushies. So Hasbro knows people are going to buy their's because a plushie isn't exactly something that everyone in the world can share. There can only be sold the amount that physically exist.

 

A video game though, that's all data. You can just copy it a million times over without having factories to mass produce it. So naturally even 1 person can realistically move a million copies. That cuts in to their profit margin because since a game can be copied as many times as the creator likes, he can create a realistic competition with official product.

 

Does that explanation make sense or am I being confusing?

MLP OCs are actually Public Domain because they were not trademarked by Hasbro or went through the copyright stages. For example I can try to get away with it if I sell a T-Shirt with my OC for it. Why would Hasbro send a Cease and Desist order on a character that you created.

I suppose technically you are correct, but you have to admit that's kind of a crappy mentality to have. It's this kind of mentality that has caused the copyright laws to be abused in the first place. A lot of people going "WELL TECHNICALLY I CAN DO THIS BECAUSE IT'S NOT WORDED THIS SPECIFIC WAY". Like even if you are not technically ripping off Hasbro in a legal sense, in a moral sense you're kind of using their creative property as a bit more than a springboard for ideas. Like sure, in court your case would hold up legal wise, but you'd have a hard time making a jury or judge feel sorry for you if Hasbro gave you a C&D for your OCs based upon their show.

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I've always been confused by this sort of thing. There's a lot of sites out there that sell things like T-Shirts of official characters in franchises and whatnot, often imitating internet memes and such. Do they just pay royalties or are they actually operating on illegal material? Does it make a difference if it's a shirt based on a parody webcomic like VGCats as opposed to something clearly cut straight from game assets? So much confusion.

 

I've heard that something has to be at least 30% different in order to not be considered infringement but I'm not exactly sure what that entails.

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OCs should be totally fine. Hasbro has been great about letting fans make and sell plushies of even the main characters that directly compete with their own merchandise, as long as nobody is seriously mass producing them. They technically could make a stink over it, but obviously they considered it a better bet that a healthy and productive fandom would create more interest in the show and get them more money in the long run... which I think has proven to be true :) It's part of why I'm a fan.

That's good. I was kind of worried there considering that some companies are sort of lawsuit happy. 

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Original Characters are legal, I believe, however making profit off fan-made merch of Canon characters, and using the MLP logo or other trademarks (adverising yourself as affiliated with and/or authorised by Hasbro) is illegal.

 

Free fanart is legal. Selling plushies, t-shirts, sculpture, etc however is not legal.

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