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LisaAP Arcas designs
Posts: 941
Website

Hi everyone,

I need a little advice here. I have just been asked if I could make a character from one of the Harry Potter films. It would be a huge challenge for me one that may in fact be beyond my capabilities, but even before I consider if I can, I wonder if I should. Would there be a problem with copyright? It would obviously be my own pattern design but I would be basing it on an original creation of Ms Rowling.  bear_ermm  I don't want to take this on if it would land me in hot water.

Help!  bear_wacko

Regards

Lisa

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
LisaAP wrote:

Hi everyone,

I need a little advice here. I have just been asked if I could make a character from one of the Harry Potter films. It would be a huge challenge for me one that may in fact be beyond my capabilities, but even before I consider if I can, I wonder if I should. Would there be a problem with copyright? It would obviously be my own pattern design but I would be basing it on an original creation of Ms Rowling.  :/  I don't want to take this on if it would land me in hot water.

Help!  :wacko:

Regards

Lisa

If it's sufficiently different you'll be fine.

-- Thomas Adam

LisaAP Arcas designs
Posts: 941
Website

That's the tricky thing, if it's sufficiently different then it'll no longer be the character that the lady wants. I've been checking around and I'm fairly sure that even a one-off creation violates Warner Bros copyright. I think that I'm going to have to pass on this unless she's happy with a distant cousin instead.  bear_laugh

Regards

Lisa

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,981

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Hi, Lisa . . . you might find the huge "copyright/trademark" category in the TT library useful.  It's right above your post on the left side.

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367

I think it is fine to be inspired by book characters. I think it depends on how closely you are basing it on her character. What you will do with the finished piece matters sometimes too.

Here is an example. My avitar bear is my "Paddington". I made him for my own enjoyment. He is the bear I see in my mind when I read the stories.  When I designed him I had no intention of selling him--I had made him for my family and myself, but I posted him on my blog and several collectors asked me about buying him. I knew I didn't have rights to sell Paddington. I also knew that applying for the rights would not only be expensive, it would also likely mean that I would have to alter my design somewhat to fit with the established popular image of Paddington. While he really does not look like the illustrations in the book, I liked my bear the way he was, so I changed his name to "The Traveling Bear", and changed the wording on his tag from Paddington's trade mark "Please Look After This Bear, Thank You" to "Please Take Me With You".
A couple of collectors have remarked upon seeing him sitting on his suitcase at a show, "He reminds me of Paddington"  To which I reply, "He was inspired by Paddington"

LisaAP Arcas designs
Posts: 941
Website

Thanks Thomas, SueAnn and Tami.  bear_flower

I did check out the library posts during my searching. As far as I understand it I could make the character for myself with no worries but if I sold it then I'd be in trouble. I mean the chances of me getting the final product to resemble the actual character is slim at best  bear_grin   If she wants a fairly accurate copy then I'm in trouble in more ways than one. I'm going to have to clarify the details with her. All in all going for something like a distant cousin would be the best option all round I think.

Regards

Lisa

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
LisaAP wrote:

Thanks Thomas, SueAnn and Tami.  :rose:

I did check out the library posts during my searching. As far as I understand it I could make the character for myself with no worries but if I sold it then I'd be in trouble. I mean the chances of me getting the final product to resemble the actual character is slim at best  :lol:   If she wants a fairly accurate copy then I'm in trouble in more ways than one. I'm going to have to clarify the details with her. All in all going for something like a distant cousin would be the best option all round I think

But even that has problems -- yes, you can make it for yourself, but you also need to "prove" it's your own work and not something you've sold or are selling.  You can do that by your own authenticity.

Derived works based on something that's copyright is fine -- this isn't a patent, after all.   :)

Oh, IANAL [1], but having lived with a few law students at University over the years, I know bits and pieces.

-- Thomas Adam

[1] I Am Not A Lawyer.

LisaAP Arcas designs
Posts: 941
Website

Thomas  bear_thumb

I guess I'll stick to being inspired by nature, there's far less to worry about there.  bear_rolleyes

Regards

Lisa

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

If you've read the info in the copyright/trademark section of the library then you should have enough info to base your decision. There are a lot of gray areas that can be interpreted and misinterpreted... be very careful... if the piece you make even hits the secondary market one day you can still be sued for copyright infringement if your creation is seen as a copy. It's really not worth it and likely Tonner or another company has made the character into a toy or collectible so perhaps your customer should seek an alternative.

I've been through this first hand when I made the bunny Mimzy for a New Line Cinema movie. I know of one crafter who tried to make copies (that were poorly done in my opinion) and listed them on eBay. New Line's lawayers sent a nasty letter to the crafter to cease and desist.

Having said all of that, you'll see tons of illegal reproductions of Pooh and related characters on eBay.... it's just a question of whether you get caught........ and if you do you better be rich because the copright holders have expensive lawyers!


(I was typing when you posted, sorry! I think you've made a good decision!)

LisaAP Arcas designs
Posts: 941
Website

Daphne,

I've explained the legal issues to the customer and my wish to steer well clear of them. You are correct that there are licenced alternatives out there. I can only assume that an artist creation has more appeal to her than a manufactured product.  bear_original

Regards

Lisa

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