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Legal To Make Poured Silver With Unlicensed Marvel Characters?

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 8 / Views: 402Next Topic  
Valued Member

United States
187 Posts
 Posted 09/11/2021  11:57 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add HappyHippo to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've seen a lot if people who make and sell poured silver art and homemade coins of characters from Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, DC comics, etc. Are they operating off of some low volume exclusion or something? Do the companies just not care about such things? If I bought something like that, would I have trouble selling it later? It must either be OK or just not prosecuted by the companies because it is everywhere.
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19076 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2021  12:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If we are not allowed to make jewelry objects out of silver or any other precious metal, our gem cutting and amateur jewelry making club would be illegal.

We do.
And it isn't.

Some countries have laws against the mutilation of coins.
We don't use circulating base metal coins in our jewelry making. They are not classy enough anyway.

With items such as Marvel characters, copyright and trade mark Laws exist. If you have generated an income with the use of these you may be liable to prosecution, but if there is no intention of deriving an income, nobody will bother you.
In any case, the ladies involved in the jewelry making are not generally interested in the use of such items.
Edited by sel_69l
09/12/2021 12:39 am
Valued Member
United States
187 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2021  08:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add HappyHippo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I wasn't asking about making jewelry in general. I'm asking about, for example, pouring a replica of Baby Yoda out of silver and then selling it. Baby Yoda, of course, is the property of Disney (Star Wars).
Edited by HappyHippo
09/12/2021 08:07 am
Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19076 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2021  09:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think it may be OK to do so for private hobby reasons, so long as there is no intention to derive a commercial profit, or you could run into copyright Laws.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4165 Posts
 Posted 09/12/2021  09:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you make it for yourself you are generally good. If you make it to sell, you really need a license from Disney for Baby Yoda

If you sell it, you could get in trouble for selling a counterfeit good. But the probability of getting prosecuted is minimal. Thinking of fake hand bags, you can buy coach, lv, fendi, etc in NYC, the authorities rarely prosecute the sellers but they prosecute the importers, yes selling counterfeit goods is illegal, but the chances of getting in trouble are small.
Edited by hfjacinto
09/12/2021 09:52 am
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Canada
508 Posts
 Posted 09/13/2021  7:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add vonigohcr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you make it for yourself you are generally good.


You are not allowed to profit from another's trademark or copyright without the express permission of the right's holder, often with some license fee paid in consideration. The key word there is "Profit". Nobody is going to sue you if you make a Baby Yoda figurine in Silver or even a round or ingot... They wouldn't sue you if you drew a Baby Yoda sketch... this is the same thing.

If, however, you establish a business drawing or manufacturing a product incorporating another party's copyright or trademark, then you are at risk of the holder finding you, issuing a cease and desist notice and possibly even suing for damages. You mentioned properties owned by Disney... Disney tend to be very protective of their Intellectual Property (IP) and will sue to protect its unlicensed use.. As will many others... The Olympics Committee come to mind. Even when licensed, the rights holder will have an opinion on how you use their IP. In a past life, I worked for a company who developed racing video games of exotic street cars... It was instructive what the different license holders allowed... e.g. one supercar manufacturer did not allow damage to show on their cars even when you smashed it into a virtual wall... others were not so restrictive.

The key here though is intent... Personal use => ok, Business or profit => Infringement and at risk of lawsuit unless licensed.
Valued Member
United States
478 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2021  4:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mrpapageorgio to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It wouldn't be counterfeiting as long as they're not trying and pass it off as a genuine Disney made/licensed item so I don't see a criminal risk assuming it's just a regular silver rendition of a Marvel character.

Counterfeiting would be if the maker was say making a silver Baby Yoda figurine that Disney also makes and trying to claim it's the genuine Disney one when they really just made it themselves. Better examples would be when you see the cheap knockoff bags with the LV logo on them being sold for a fraction of the price on a street corner. That's counterfeiting since they're technically trying to pass off the merchandise as genuine (even if everyone and their uncle knows it's fake).

The risk would be civil with Disney/Marvel suing for copyright infringement by creating a piece of their copyrighted likeness assuming the maker is selling them for a profit without Disney's permission. If someone is making one for their own personal display/hobby, I don't see Disney wasting resources going after that. However, Disney is one of the more aggressive companies that likes to protect their copyrights if someone is selling merch with their copyrights for a profit.
Edited by mrpapageorgio
09/15/2021 4:16 pm
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Australia
13843 Posts
 Posted 09/15/2021  6:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not-for-profit organizations are allowed some leeway in copyright infringements, but this is primarily for educational purposes. US copyright law states that "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright".

"Art" is not a permitted excuse to violate copyright. Also note that clause at the end: "The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors." In other words, just because your copyright violation is done in secret, doesn't make it legal.

The main problem with derivative artwork is the secondary market. You might make your own personal The Incredible Hulk or Mickey Mouse silver figurines, and keep them yourself or give them away to friends... but what happens to those artifacts once you're no longer their custodian? Someone you give away a figurine to might just turn around and dump it on eBay - and then the lawyers will come knocking. And it's not the person on-selling the knock-off that gets in trouble (though they'll probably get in trouble with eBay for policy violations) - it's the person who made it.

TLDR: No, it is not legal to use poured silver to make unlicensed Marvel characters. You will need to alter them significantly. Selling The Incredible Bulk or Rickey Rodent figurines would be perfectly acceptable, so long as they did not resemble their inspirations too closely. Assuming someone else hasn't already copyrighted The Incredible Bulk and Rickey Rodent, of course.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Pillar of the Community
United States
2554 Posts
 Posted 09/17/2021  5:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Oldfordman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If there is no profit it is fine.
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