Cafe Press just pulled one of my images. Copyright infringement?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by freeny, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #1
    I have been selling shirts and miscellaneous apparel on Cafe Press with the attached image for over two years now. They just pulled it due to "Possible copyright infringement"

    As far as I know, I havent broken any copyright laws here.
    And nowhere do I use the name of this character.

    Does anyone know and have a link to the laws pertaining to this?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. TEG
    macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #2
    Is it someone elses work, or a commercial item? If so, then they have a point. You can only use someone elses work with permission, and Cafepress would need a copy of that permission. (Wrote before I knew what it was.)

    Honestly, I don't see anything wrong, except maybe the black on the gloves may be some sort of Disney trademark. If the gloves had five digits there would be absolutely no question, since few US characters have five fingers, including that one.

    TEG
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #3
    all my own work.
    i sent in a grievance. an automated response said i would contacted within 24 hours...

    Ill post updates.
     
  4. macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #4
    Is that a splattered Mickey Mouse? I notice the shorts and gloves look awfully familiar. You really want to take on Disney?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #5
    No they are not mickey's shorts or gloves...

    Does Disney own the right to gloves? If so I can start posting all the characters who use them and should be sued...

    Does Disney own the copyright to red shorts with buttons? If so I can start posting all the toys and characters and parodies that use them...

    Parody- Copyright issues (wikipedia)

    Although a parody can be considered a derivative work under United States Copyright Law, it can be protected from claims by the copyright owner of the original work under the fair use doctrine, which is codified in 17 USC § 107. The Supreme Court of the United States stated that parody "is the use of some elements of a prior author's composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author's works." That commentary function provides some justification for use of the older work. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.

    In 2001, the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, in Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin, upheld the right of Alice Randall to publish a parody of Gone with the Wind called The Wind Done Gone, which told the same story from the point of view of Scarlett O'Hara's slaves, who were glad to be rid of her.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

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    #6
    Perhaps you should read up on what a trademark is.
     
  7. macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #7
    Well, I'm just saying...White gloves with 4 fingers 3 black slits on the top of the hand, red shorts with oversized white buttons...c'mon you can't seriously think people wouldn't recognize that? All you are missing is the yellow shoes.

    Not only is it copyrighted, but protected by trademark too. Is it really a battle you want to fight?
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #8
    I will fight this until someone shows me documentation that I am breaking a copyright law. ;)

    m searching the web and still cant find the description of Mickey Mouse's trademark.
    If someone else finds it please post a link...

    Ive found the patent numbers for Mickey Mouse- United States Patent Office. [63.120] [113.274]
    but searching them produces no results...
     
  9. macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Exactly. Take a look at basic form of the two pairs of shorts. Pretty similar looking to me.

    Granted it's wikipedia, but still...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_infringement

    I'd say you are more in the gray area of trademark infringement than the copyright infringement.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #10
    Yes, Ive looked at that. I know what a copyright is and I know what copyright infringement is.

    What we need to see is the description in the copyright itself...

    Can anyone find the copyright for Mickey Mouse?
     
  11. Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #11
    I think it's clear copyright infringement given the immediate visual association with Mickey Mouse, particularly if you've got hundreds of well-paid lawyers after your arse. :D

    The concept of derivative work should be enough to give pause for thought.
     
  12. macrumors Core

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    Jun 16, 2004
    #12
    Wow, CafePress must have changed since the days they were the ones infringing copyrights.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

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    Oct 4, 2007
    #13
    The fact that everyone knew what character it was without you saying is pretty good evidence you're likely to be in violation of the trademark.
     
  14. macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #14
  15. Moderator emeritus

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    #15


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright


    Let me put it this way: if I was a betting woman, I'd be putting my money on the mouse.
     
  16. macrumors G4

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    #16
    You will have a VERY hard time saying this is not Micky Mouse. Logic tells me that the ONLY reason people buy this is because it is Micky Mouse. If it did not resemble Micky Mouse then no one would buy it.

    You can argue "fair use" but that only applies to copyright. I'd bet Micky is a Trademark. Does fair use apply to TM as well? You'd need a lawyer and s/he'd charge you more then your cost to modify the artwork

    Your best option would be to make some changes to the artwork.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #17
    Well of course Im not going to fight this or hire a lawyer. The amount I make on these shirts would hardly scratch the surface towards lawyer fees...

    Ive looked up fair use- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
    as well as parody laws- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parody

    These seen to be my only fighting points.

    Apparently there have been several famous counterculture lawsuits with disney and the use of its characters in a parody.
    http://uncleeddiestheorycorner.blogspot.com/2007/05/woods-disney-parody.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/business/media/24crank.html
    these are just a few...

    Here are some counterculture toys on the market today that go far beyond my parody-
    http://www.kidrobot.com/products2.cfm?ID=5757&cfid=5732246&cftoken=26603363&nav_chooser=
    http://images.google.com/imgres?img...firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=N
    I could post more but you get the idea...

    This fight apparently has been going on for quite some time...
    Just goes to show you that money talks ;)

    I will just have to wait until CafePress comes back to me with their conclusion...
     
  18. macrumors member

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    Canada
    #18
    And I'm sure if you put this on a shirt it wouldn't be copyright infringement either?

    [​IMG]

    You clearly have a dislike for Mickey Mouse =)
     
  19. macrumors regular

    nfocus design

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    #19

    If not Mickey then where did you get the idea? If I were you, I'd just stop using it. Especially using to make money. Come up with your own character. I'm sure Disney's lawyers don't get their legal credentials from Wikipedia :) I certainly wouldn't draw any more attention to this matter by posting on forums. I may be wrong, but I've heard that when you use copyrighted/trademarked material that the owner can come after you for all monies you made using their material as well as a host of other fees.

    I have used cafepress for years and it CLEARLY states that you must own the rights to the images you are uploading.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #20
    No, thats blatant infringement :)
    You dont see me trying to sell shirts of that do you? ;)

    Not a dislike of Mickey but the company he represents and for reasons exactly like the one this thread is about... They're not the cute little company that makes happy movies for your kids...
    Parody is not a crime.

    Just to be clear, the issue I originally posted is with CafePress and not Disney. CafePress pulled the image.
     
  21. macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #21
    I don't see how the image is illagal...

    1) I didn't realize it was Mickey at first.
    2) So what if it is? it's a parody. I'm pretty sure since weird al can parody Queen, freeny could parody mickey..
     
  22. macrumors 68020

    Macky-Mac

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    #22
    in that case, it really doesn't matter if you've actually infringed on any Disney copyrights or not. If they're concerned that you might have, then that's a legitimate reason for them to pull your image. You can't really expect CafePress to expose their company to any of the expense of resolving any legal issues that might arise between you and Disney over your use of what might or might not be protected by Disney copyrights.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    #23
    Got my reply from Cafe Press and it reads as follows-

    Your use of a depiction of the likeness and distinctive characteristics of the Mickey Mouse character for commercial advantage without prior authorization is problematic as such use would potentially constitute copyright infringement against Disney.

    -------------------

    I consider this the end of the debate ;)
     
  24. macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #24
    Weird Al gets permission to parody artists' songs, which I am sure requires money to change hands.
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    notnek

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    #25
    Just find a local print shop and get a few shirts printed up. Sell them on eBay.
     

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