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Intellectual property

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by |ngenius, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. |ngenius

    |ngenius Little Grasshopper

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    Well, I've been doing some research on the matter, with little success, so I hoped that maybe someone here might know about it and show me the way (as our Lord did).

    This is the thing. I know that certain names and images are under intellectual property protection, and using them for comercial purposes could result in law pursuit. Now, there are some boundaries that are unclear to me, such as the following:

    I know that Disney's Aladdin is surely protected, and using the image of the main character for comercial purposes is not permitted unless you pay for it. Now, is the monkey also protected? (By the genius himself? XD). And if so, is the last of the elephants that appear in that Disney movie also registered and in need of permission to be used for other bussiness?

    This could go for anything else. Guybrush Threepwood is surely registered both as a name and as an image, but is every character also registered in the game? Could I use Stan the nervous boat seller for my new fashionable advertise on TV? Or that little pirate that Guybrush encounters briefly? This is tricky.

    How to find out about this? Maybe nobody knows, but I would appreciate any insight about it, thank you very much in advance.

    |ng.
     
  2. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    This sentence makes my eyes water. :p

    I'm not qualified to answer, but to fill in some space until somebody knowledgeable drops by I can bring one aspect of the question to the foreground. I believe there's an underlying factor of popularity determining the possibility to use something for commercial purposes free of charge: Aladdin or Lara Croft are easy to recognize and you can't make money off of them without paying the owners of the characters their due. A generic goon in an action movie is - to the public - just like any other so I guess nobody can accuse you of cashing in on the popularity of something someone else owns.

    It's common to see products marketed through the savvy use of "slight variations" on a popular Disney character. They obviously want people to make the connection and get the benefits of having a product associated with a famous company, but at the same time they don't want to be sued so they alter minor things (names, colors...). To my knowledge they wind up having to recall the product anyway, especially when they're up against Disney. Maybe you can profit over LucasArts characters, though, they might let some things pass on account of the resources it sometimes takes to force the competition to comply and recall the product.
     
  3. |ngenius

    |ngenius Little Grasshopper

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    I found it funny, I pictured the monkey escorted by the genius. :rolleyes: Yeap, in my heart, I'm nothing but a little child. (My mind is too naughty for that)

    As a matter of fact, I did not intend to use Aladdin or Super Mario for my purposes, it would be in the lines of using new characters whose design resemble to the one used for each movie/videogame, but they are in no way a copy of them.

    It is not an intention of selling through popular images, but coming up with new creations involving certain design style from... errr... shared cultural elements.

    |ng (whose eyes are big and pretty)
     
  4. Matse

    Matse Customized individuum

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    As far as I know the law, which is of course different in different countries, says you may not use such images and characters without permission as long as you use a character that is directly based on the character created by someone else or if it is obvious that you copied certain characteristics no matter how important a figure may be in a computer game or a movie.
     
  5. stardrowned

    stardrowned The doctor is in...

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    I'm selling some fine leather jackets!

    Haha, I played this game in 1998. I somehow remembered it a while ago and decided to play it again. Captain Blondbeard will surely do you better than Stan!

    Anyway, to answer the thread's questions. I'm not sure about Guybrush, but some names in Monkey Island have the TM sign next to it, so maybe those are the only ones that are copyrighted and so on. As far as I know, Dinghy Dog is the only one in the game.

    I'm pretty sure plinypoo can help us here as he played the game.
     
  6. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    The unfortunate nature of copyright in America is that of the three categories of IP (copyright, patent, and trademark), the rules are different. For example, in order to copyright something, you don't have to tell people that it is copyrighted. You don't need to file with a government office, either. Clearly, using a character's likeness is not copyright infringement (it would be if you used a copyrighted image, but not for using a likeness.)

    However, I don't know if all trademarks must be registered (I know that some are). Further, the law could get really screwy in the case of a cartoon elephant, which is itself an interpretation of prior art (a real elephant), but could still benefit from a judgment that it was a particular enough elephant to be considered trademark-able.

    When in doubt, publish anonymously, lest the Spirit of Sonny Bono come for your soul. I'd try Wikipedia for some quick reading on the subject.
     
  7. MagSec4

    MagSec4 .:..::.: :.::..:.

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    I don't think there's anything set in stone about these things, which is why cases go through court processes whenever someone feels like he or she has a case. In many cases, a first party argues that a second party is infringing on their copyrights/trademarks/products/names and they'll take them to court. And I think verdicts fall both ways, depending on the circumstances of each individual case. I think that it is ultimately decided that infringement has been done against the suing party when it can be shown that the second party is making financial gains directly or indirectly because of the implicit ties that the thing in question has with the original party(company/artist). If no clear ties are implied, or if the resemblance or association is deemed too weak or too general in a particular case, then it is dropped and the second party is allowed to continue using it.

    I haven't looked any of this up. I'm only typing how I understand the whole thing to be. It may or may not be accurate.
     
  8. Narmoth

    Narmoth Dreamslayer

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    the drawing of the last elephant, just like the main character, are the intelectual property of whoever made the drawing.
     
  9. sunset

    sunset :.::

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    however, the last elephant probably doesn't have as many distinguishing characteristics as the monkey or Aladdin himself, and I think that lessens the "intellectual property value" (or whatever), making it a) harder to prove and b) less valuable.

    though my knowledge in intellectual property is limited to music and swedish laws.
     
  10. Narmoth

    Narmoth Dreamslayer

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    You're right. My point is that it's still intelectual property. so theoretically you could be sued. If they win is a different case.
    Again, intelectual property is treated differently in different countries.
    Another thing to consider is that it can be a registered trademark or something, making it illegal to make similar items of it.
    For example, it would make sence to trademark DTs logo and name. That way no one could call themselves Dark Tranquillity. No one could make a logo similar to DTs, for example "dork tranquility", even if the minimum 2 letter difference in the registered name is retained.
     

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