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Author Topic: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?  (Read 4406 times)

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Offline Ringlets

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2014, 12:58:07 AM »
A disclaimer won't help you, but I wouldn't worry overmuch.

If someone reports you or they spot you, they will shut you down. Your work (much like the other artists works you mention) are derivative and do infringe on existing copyrights.  Periodically someone on behalf of Hasbro's trademark will go through Etsy and sweep out a bunch of MLP plushie/custom/art makers.  Other times, your competitors will rat on you to see you removed because they are mean.

Most people just open up again after the sweep. I wouldn't do anything until that time, and there is nothing you can do to protect yourself.... except to not use copyrighted names and images in your work.

Its not that Hasbro is evil, but if they know about copyright infringement and do nothing about it, legally it could be said that they have knowingly waived infringements which they don't want.  So they will keep doing it. (They have to).


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Yep! She knows her stuff regarding this.

what these ladies said  ^^ - and the other good advice here. I wouldn't worry at this point :hug: Hasbro are usually more concerned when it comes to episodes being posted, current stuff being copied exactly, new releases being posted before they release it etc but they do check every now and then from what I've heard and unless you're one of those Chinese factory sellers who seem to be able to get away with it then they could shut you down eventually
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Offline ponyqueen

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2014, 03:45:42 PM »
Still confused! :freak:

If the work is derivative, then it shouldn't infringe on copyright? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

Also, don't people at the official Hasbro My Little Pony National Fair sell custom mlp arts and crafts??
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Offline Skeen

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2014, 04:18:51 PM »
I think Hasbro doesn't seem concerned about the Fair attendees selling arts and crafts more because Hasbro doesn't want to cause a stink in front of all those potential customers than because they're ok with the practice.  Plus, I don't think the Hasbro panel members are part of their legal team and probably aren't looking for copyright violations. 

Offline lovesbabysquirmy

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2014, 04:32:06 PM »
Still confused! :freak:

If the work is derivative, then it shouldn't infringe on copyright? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

Also, don't people at the official Hasbro My Little Pony National Fair sell custom mlp arts and crafts??

From Wikipedia:
"In the subsequent Durham case, the court applied the same principle in a suit between two different Disney toy licensees in which one licensee claimed that the other had pirated his Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto. Durham conceded that in making these toys it used Tomy's Disney figures as models."

I can see the Hasbro legal team taking this to mean that just re-hairing and painting and changing the colors of a MLP WOULD be copyright infringement - but if you took the pony as a base, re-sculpted large amounts of it, put it on a base and did something totally different than "displayable horse toy with brushable hair", that would be okay.  I imagine they don't shut down the majority of artists/customizers because it costs a lot of money to individually prosecute each artist.  A C&D letter usually scares them to stop producing.   They are more easily able to go after artists creating already-licensed products because the licensees can also prosecute - if all the plushie licensees got together, they could probably start a powerful lawsuit against a lot of plushie artists!  But shutting down "Bob" or "Jenny" because they create differently colored ponies than Hasbro's designs?  They have bigger fish to fry! 

Still, be aware of your rights, their rights, and the law.  Make sure you copyright anything that is significantly different or unique - that might save you if you ever had to argue a case of derivative work.  A number of people have already contributed great advice.  :) 
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Offline Galactica

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2014, 04:52:32 PM »
They'd never go after people at Fairs, because they are not regular sellers and your average Hasbro artist/writer/panel person isn't going to care about copyright infringements. Hasbro is certainly not going to have their lawyers attend the fairs ;)

Anyway I can tell you what they are are looking for is regular infringements. (That's what our firm looks for on behalf of the few clients we do that kind of work for).  If it is brought to the attention of the Company (meaning legal team or actual corporate reps- not random artist employee) that there is an infringement (such as an etsy shop selling plushies of MLP or whathaveyou), even if it seems like small potatoes to you, they have to ask Etsy to close the listing or will ask you to remove your listings.

They aren't doing it because they are worried that you will cut into their market share, and it has nothing to do with money. They HAVE to do it because US law says that if you KNOW about a copywright infringement and allow it to happen, than you may have waived the right to object down the road (say when someone bigger comes along).

Again- this isn't something anyone need stress out about, they aren't going to sue you for damages or get an actual injunction (unless you are operating a factory or something). The WORST that could conceivably happen with small-potatoes art infringements/etsy/deviant art type stuff, is that the place that is hosting your listing will be asked to shut it down, or they might send you a letter requesting you to remove the listing.  A "cease and desist" letter sounds fancy, but it is just a letter asking you to stop. Nothing scary at all. Really.


Offline NoDivision

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2014, 06:13:49 PM »
*nods* I've had some Hello Kitty items on etsy that the etsy team deactivated by request of Sanrio. Nothing scary happened. They just said "Hey seller, we took these listings down 'cause Sanrio asked us to. Please don't relist them. kthks."

It's often pretty random and arbitrary ('cause ya know... search for Hello Kitty on Etsy, they're certainly not taking down every listing. And the same is true for MLP - I know some artists have had listings taken down but the internet is still full of MLP art customs and merch.) But the reason it's random is what Galactica describes - some items are specifically brought to the companies attention, so they have to say 'hey, stop that!' Many other things go unnoticed because either the company is not taking time actively looking or no one has pointed it out to them. Hasbro in general is pretty non-invasive about it.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 06:17:49 PM by NoDivision »

Offline MoondancerMilkyWay

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2014, 11:37:30 PM »
Dear Sister,
I wouldn't pay it no mind.
just as the other quite wise people have stated and like we talked about last night. ;)


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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2014, 11:28:10 PM »
Time to get concerned. According to a friend (she's here too) Etsy has started pulling and deactivating items with MLP including fan art and customs. It hasn't happened to my shop (yet) but who's going to be next?!
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Offline Galactica

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Re: Hasbro's My Little Pony copyright... can we profit from the franchise?
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2014, 11:43:07 PM »
Time to get concerned. According to a friend (she's here too) Etsy has started pulling and deactivating items with MLP including fan art and customs. It hasn't happened to my shop (yet) but who's going to be next?!

They've been doing it all along though- they will remove 200 listings, and 200 more will crop up. They might remove your listing, but unless they are telling you that if you post them again they will remove your membership, I wouldn't worry overly much.  Just put them back up when they get deleted.