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  1. #1
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    Art containing intellectual property - can we sell if its a limited run?

    Hi All,
    I apologize if this has been address, but I was wondering if anyone knew or had some insight into being able to sell art created with copyright "names/places/likenesses" or intellectual property. I'm not talking about using existing images and just plunking them in a new background. I'm talking about creating whole new images using existing 'concepts'. For example, I've got this poster I did of pac man mashed up with WWII propaganda:
    Art containing intellectual property - can we sell if its a limited run?

    It was rejected by Zazzle.com, but I'm wondering if there is a way to sell it otherwise.

    If I print a limited run and sell it, is that legal? I've seen others around the web selling poster of shows like LOST seemingly not under the parent company. They are selling them as limited runs. I have no idea what kind of permissions they have.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Steve
    Last edited by stevethomas; July 2nd, 2010 at 09:29 PM.


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  3. #2
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    Wow that poster is really cool, but to answer your question YES. You absaloutely need to ask for permission. Some people get away with this stuff for years completely oblivious and then get their asses sued off a decade later. Try asking for permission. They might be really cool about it. It's free publicity after all.

    Here's a blog that could be helpful http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/

  4. #3
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    Hmm, I'm not sure, but I think there's a rule that you can use imagery or designs from others as long as a certain percentage of the final piece is yours, I think it's like 80%. I know I've read something like that somewhere.

    You could do something like taking the composition from one poster, and the color scheme from another, and maybe the font from another, and I'm sure that would be ok.

    I would definitely read up on international and domestic copyright laws as much as you can though.

    Can you post the particular poster(s) that inspired the one in your OP?

  5. #4
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    Keep in mind they can afford lawyers and you can't.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Sun View Post
    Hmm, I'm not sure,
    Then maybe you should refrain from posting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Black Sun View Post
    but I think there's a rule that you can use imagery or designs from others as long as a certain percentage of the final piece is yours, I think it's like 80%.
    No. No. No. No . And... no.
    Quote Originally Posted by Black Sun View Post
    I would definitely read up on international and domestic copyright laws as much as you can though.
    Good advice. You might want to take it.

    Tristan Elwell
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  8. #6
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    As soon as you hit the printer is Illegal...

    However, originals can be sold...
    This is what DS answerd me when I had a similar question:

    Copyright law protects reproduction... not one-of a kind originals.
    For this reason, you can make a painting of Superman and sell it, but you can not make prints of the painting and sell them.

    The ability to paint what and who you want as a one-of-a-kind work of art (regardless of profit) is protected by the First Amendment.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhrazz View Post
    As soon as you hit the printer is Illegal...

    However, originals can be sold...
    This is what DS answerd me when I had a similar question:

    Copyright law protects reproduction... not one-of a kind originals.
    For this reason, you can make a painting of Superman and sell it, but you can not make prints of the painting and sell them.

    The ability to paint what and who you want as a one-of-a-kind work of art (regardless of profit) is protected by the First Amendment.
    Really? Even if it is a direct copy of someone else's superman art? Sounds a little fishy to me now at least... early in the morning
    Work hard, anything is possible. I know, I know, it’s a very cheesy response but it’s true. Hard work and dedication is the key to reach your dreams. -Bjørn Hurri

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  10. #8
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    Edit: comment below is if the concept you borrowed was from a WW2 poster liked I assumed. or is it from an entirely different work of art? what's the original exactly?

    I've made a copyright thread around here before, and one of the advices that struck out to me is there's a number of years a work is copyrighted. I can't remember for how many years, but maybe, propaganda art from WW2 is past their deadline.

    And in your case, your Art (great work btw) seems to be a PARODY. I suggest looking up the copyright rules on that. Here's one source I skimmed through:

    A parody, because it is a method of criticism, must inevitably make use of another creative work. This inherently creates a conflict between the creator of the work that is being parodied (as no one likes to be criticized, made fun of or ridiculed) and the creator of the parody. It is also highly unlikely that a copyright owner will grant permission or a license to a parodist to use their copyright protected work in creating a parody.

    Since copyright law prohibits the substantial use of a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright owner, and because such permission is highly unlikely when the use is to create a parody, it may be necessary for the parodist to rely on the fair-use defense to forestall any liability for copyright infringement. However, the fair-use defense if successful will only be successful when the newly created work that purports itself to be parody is a valid parody.
    Read more about fair use, parody and copyright here

  11. #9
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    Thanks for all the posts and answers. I do have to do a lot more research and in the end, get permission. I just wondered if there was a magic number of prints to stay under and be safe.

    Black Sun: There weren't any particular posters that inspired the one I posted. It's the Pac Man and ghosts that are the "questionable" elements.

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