Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews - Tarot Forum - Free Tarot Readings - Tarot Card Meanings - Tarot Spreads

Copyright issues


> Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot > Tarot Deck Creation




 
truelighth  truelighth is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Mar 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,102
truelighth 
Copyright issues


Hello all,

I have some questions about copyright. I have finished my tarot deck, the Pippa Tarot. I have used my own dolls, some of which are even altered with different hair and faces.

I want to have this deck printed. But now I am suddenly faced with a copyright question. I just got the remark from the printer that this deck features copyrighted dolls and so I should get written permission of the manufacturer. That manufacturer (Palitoy) has been bought years and years ago by Tonka and later by Hasbro. And so they don't exist.

My question is, I made a completely new product, with my own dolls. And I made the photographs myself too. Does anyone know if that is allowed and if I need to ask permission for this? Any help on this subject would be helpful.
Top   #1
jolie_amethyst  jolie_amethyst is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 24 Mar 2014
Location: Pacific NW, USA
Posts: 1,053
jolie_amethyst 

Unless the dolls have been altered completely beyond recognition, yes, you have a possible copyright/trademark issue. When Hasbro acquired the manufacturer, they almost certainly the rights to the look of those dolls as part of the deal. Being pursued by the legal department of a large, multinational corporation is not fun, and companies like that routinely defend their rights.

I'm not a lawyer, and not familiar with legal specifics in your country, so I can't advise beyond saying you have a potential problem. I would STRONGLY recommend speaking to a lawyer though. Better to do it now, before you sell anything, than to have to do it later, when the company can conceivably claim they've suffered financial harm as a result of your product.
Top   #2
truelighth  truelighth is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Mar 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,102
truelighth 

Thanks. There is also the problem that there is a difference between European Law and US Law. I can ask a lawyer here, but I don't know if this will really help. And I definitely don't want to be in trouble.

This was a labor of love and since a lot of people liked it, I thought it would be fun to make it available. I never even really thought of making a lot of money on it. Ai ai ai.. all stuff I never really thought about. I thought, if those are my own dolls, that should be ok.
Top   #3
blueeyetea  blueeyetea is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 23 Feb 2015
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 75
blueeyetea 

A lawyer might be a big help, because it's might not be just a copyright issue, but a trademark and design issue as well.

Having said that, I'm not sure why copyright would prevent you from taking a picture of a copyrighted doll. You are not reproducing the doll, but taking a picture of dolls and selling the picture. It's your property, why wouldn't you be allowed to take pictures?

Are there any references to the brand anywhere in your pictures? Would the general public instantly recognize the doll as being a "Palitoy" and be confused they are buying a "Palitoy" product unless clearly marked it wasn't? If the faces have been altered, they most likely are no longer recognizable as "Palitoy" dolls.

(There's a magazine available called Haute Doll focused on doll alteration. It might be worth checking out if they put any mention of getting permission from manufacturers to take pictures. My instinct says they need permission from the artist.)
Top   #4
truelighth  truelighth is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Mar 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,102
truelighth 

Thanks for your reply, blueeyetea. I also thought that taking pictures of the dolls should not be a problem.

I have found the following, there is a Useful Item clause:

"A “useful article” is an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function
that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey
information. An article that is normally a part of a useful article is
considered a “useful article”."

I believe that my use of the dolls falls under this. And indeed, I am not selling the dolls, not even planning on selling them. It is a tarot deck I have, which is for use.

There is no real reference to the name of the doll other then in the name. The Palitoy name is not referenced anywhere. If people don't know anything about dolls, they would not even recognize which doll it is, since it is very unknown and from the 70's. And some of them have been altered and do look very different.

But this came from The Game Crafter, who apparently is very worried about this issue. Although they produce other tarots where the copyright is also questionable.
Top   #5
zannamarie's Avatar
zannamarie  zannamarie is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 01 Jun 2006
Location: in the USA
Posts: 12,570
zannamarie 

The issue is not you taking a photo of the dolls. The issue is you intending to profit from taking a photo of a trademarked item and selling the photo. Photos may be used for "fair use" which is in the context of scholarship, criticism, journalism or parody which does not sound to be the case here.

If someone has a trademark to the dolls then they have the right to determine how their dolls are used for profit by others. If you are selling your deck on Gamecrafter then you are using the dolls for your profit.

Quite a while ago I came across a Web site with the Barbie Tarot. If you read the text above the cards you will see the author clearly states,
"All images of Barbie dolls, the background imagery from the boxes and the names Barbie, Ken, Teresa, Stacie, Christy, etc. are copyright and trademark Mattel Inc. All Rider-Waite card images are copyright US Games Systems Inc. The card designs, text and interpretations are mine. No infringement is intended and no profits are being made; this is a labor of love. Feel free to save these for your own personal enjoyment, but please don't repost them or hotlink directly to the images."

It sounds like you have done something similar and now are intending to profit from it. I would agree with Gamecrafter that you would need the permission of whoever owns the trademark to the dolls.

I found this article to be helpful in explaining the concept.
Top   #6
jalaire's Avatar
jalaire  jalaire is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 17 Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 74
jalaire 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zannamarie View Post
The issue is not you taking a photo of the dolls. The issue is you intending to profit from taking a photo of a trademarked item and selling the photo. Photos may be used for "fair use" which is in the context of scholarship, criticism, journalism or parody which does not sound to be the case here.

If someone has a trademark to the dolls then they have the right to determine how their dolls are used for profit by others. If you are selling your deck on Gamecrafter then you are using the dolls for your profit.

Quite a while ago I came across a Web site with the Barbie Tarot. If you read the text above the cards you will see the author clearly states,
"All images of Barbie dolls, the background imagery from the boxes and the names Barbie, Ken, Teresa, Stacie, Christy, etc. are copyright and trademark Mattel Inc. All Rider-Waite card images are copyright US Games Systems Inc. The card designs, text and interpretations are mine. No infringement is intended and no profits are being made; this is a labor of love. Feel free to save these for your own personal enjoyment, but please don't repost them or hotlink directly to the images."

It sounds like you have done something similar and now are intending to profit from it. I would agree with Gamecrafter that you would need the permission of whoever owns the trademark to the dolls.

I found this article to be helpful in explaining the concept.

I was going to post something similar but zannamarie said it much more eloquently than I could have. It does seem like you'll need to get permission to produce these cards for profit.
Top   #7
truelighth  truelighth is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Mar 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,102
truelighth 

Thanks Zannamarie. I see your point and I also understand the point from the Gamecrafter. To be honest, this tarot started out as a labor of love. It was an idea and I went with it. So I mostly made it because I love Tarot and I also really like Pippa dolls.

The profit, I actually don't really want to make a profit on these decks. I just wanted to make it available for anyone who likes it. The most I would stand to earn on a deck (the mark-up) would be 5 dollars. And that would go to making up for the money I spend on creating it, which was a lot. I don't even expect that I will actually break even. So I really don't expect to make money on it. But I can see that in the eyes of the law, that would count as profit.

Anyway, I just wanted to make it clear that it was never my intention to profit from making this tarot.

About the Barbie Tarot, I know that one also. The thing is, that that deck has actually been made with pictures from Mattel. I have seen the pictures of those Barbies online. They have not made the pictures themselves, like I have.
Top   #8
truelighth  truelighth is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 16 Mar 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 2,102
truelighth 

Btw, thank you for the article. That really helps. It just never occurred to me that my dolls would be subjected to copyright when I decided to make this tarot.
Top   #9
SarahJoy  SarahJoy is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 04 Oct 2012
Location: carousing with crawfish
Posts: 446
SarahJoy 

Quote:
Originally Posted by truelighth View Post
About the Barbie Tarot, I know that one also. The thing is, that that deck has actually been made with pictures from Mattel. I have seen the pictures of those Barbies online. They have not made the pictures themselves, like I have.
It doesn't matter that you took the photos, as in this case, you don't have the rights to the subject. Look at it this way: if I took a photograph of you, I'd own the photograph, but I couldn't sell it without your permission. I can't make a profit from your likeness without your consent. (Politicians and celebrities are an exception.)
Top   #10

 

More interesting threads on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum...





 


Elsewhere on Aeclectic Tarot
· Tarot Cards & Reviews
· Free Tarot Readings
· What's New
· Tarot Card Meanings

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2021 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.