(Topic ID: 122417)

Legality of Pinball - Who owns what?

By forensicd

9 years ago


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  • 51 posts
  • 33 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by labnip
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 9 years ago

    With all of this talk about licenses, and lack there of, I was curious as to how this affects mods, translites and so forth. The community has seemed to have a black eye because of this Predator fiasco, and I was hoping to gain insight into how all of this will affect us going froward. For example, are we allowed to make and sell these translites that I see for numerous games? Are we allowed to make custom cards to sell, custom shooter rods with the likeness of others?

    It seems all hell broke loose because of 250 machines that were going to be sold, but in return I have seen hundreds of different translites for sale with all kinds of different designs with copyright material. I am a graphic/media designer by trade, and I know for a fact that I would be a little pissed off, to say the least, if someone took some of designs, or characters, and sold them to others for profit.

    About a decade ago, Hasboro gave my father a lifetime usage of the Tonka license, and he and I have manufactured numerous vintage Tonka trucks and written several books. Prior to this Predator issue, I was thinking of ways to use this license to somehow incorporate into pinball, but with all of this mess, it has me more than concerned to say the least!

    #2 9 years ago

    Tonkarator !!!!

    #3 9 years ago

    I'll tell you, this Predator scenario even makes me question everything I'm doing at my business which is dealing with computers, and does involve licensing.

    12
    #4 9 years ago

    You can make anything you want for your own game. Just don't sell it.

    #5 9 years ago
    Quoted from forensicd:

    Hasboro gave my father a lifetime usage of the Tonka license...I was thinking of ways to use this license to somehow incorporate into pinball

    There is no universal answer for this, you'd need to check the actual conditions of the licence you have.

    #6 9 years ago

    Tonka?? cool.
    Have legal documents to prove it?
    Given the Predator issues... having proof is probably going to be the defacto standard.

    #7 9 years ago

    After all of this, trust me, I would check with a fine tooth comb! We still have the legal documents, but would have to get someone to look them over obviously. Here are some of the trucks we made:

    http://www.tonkatoystrucks.com/desalle_tonka.htm

    and the one of the books we did:

    http://www.amazon.com/Collectors-Guide-Tonka-Trucks-1947-1963/dp/0895380552

    #8 9 years ago

    Still not as cool as Smith - Miller.

    #10 9 years ago
    Quoted from jfh:

    You can make anything you want for your own game. Just don't sell it.

    Or, maybe sell it in the parking lot out of the trunk of a car (license plate removed and dash VIN covered with your Hotel parking paper) at a major pinball show. Ca$h only

    #11 9 years ago

    .

    #12 9 years ago

    How Kevin proceeded was patently copyright infringement. And for what? Copying the theme from a lousy movie from the 1980's? The irony is most of my favorite Pins are original concepts. Just pure inspiration.

    Here's a call to the industry in general - generate your own ideas!

    #13 9 years ago
    Quoted from KingDaddy:

    Copying the theme from a lousy movie from the 1980's?

    hey wait a minute, i loved that movie. : P

    infact, what good movies are made today , bunch of sheite. all littered with CGI.
    they dont make em like they used to. imo of course.

    the action/blockbuster movies of the 80/90s, classics, gone.. but not forgotten.
    sorry OP, offtopic, apologies.

    #14 9 years ago

    I'm not into the Tonka collector market at all. Didn't know it existed until just now. But those trucks you made look fantastic.

    Here's a question:

    If you're looking for ways to use the license you've got, why not produce additional runs of either some of those trucks you've already done (clearly identified as a "Series B" run or something so as to not devalue the originals) or run some you haven't done before. My impression is most of the heavy lifting is done. You've got the license agreements in place, tooling is done, etc.

    I know I'd buy some to have in my game room just 'cause they're so damn nice!

    #15 9 years ago

    I noticed that Pinball Rescue is using songs now in their ads. I hope they are licensing them.

    #16 9 years ago

    You can make whatever you like as long as you don't sell it.
    There are some mods that use the general theme, like the walking dead tower or just pictures of zombies, but don't violate IP - others where they use actual IP like a picture of Iron Man are in direct violation.

    #17 9 years ago
    Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

    You can make whatever you like as long as you don't sell it.
    There are some mods that use the general theme, like the Walking Dead tower or just pictures of zombies, but don't violate IP - others where they use actual IP like a picture of Iron Man are in direct violation.

    I think this is more my point. Now that the community has completely bashed the predator game due to licensing, are they likely to do this as well to others who make custom items such as shooter rods with hulks face, or translites with tron girls or acdc items? It seems we turn a blind eye to one item, while pitchfork the others. In the end, it is still pretty much the same, it is just the amont of cash is different. I dont want to see the amazing artwork of so many go away because of this. I have Aurich's translite and absolutely love it!

    #18 9 years ago
    Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

    You can make whatever you like as long as you don't sell it.
    There are some mods that use the general theme, like the Walking Dead tower or just pictures of zombies, but don't violate IP - others where they use actual IP like a picture of Iron Man are in direct violation.

    Some of the aftermarket translites for TWD are using stolen art from the Dead Island series actually. Art theft seems to be a HUGE problem in the pinball world

    #19 9 years ago

    How does it work if I create my own pin like Ghostbusters or Goonies and then decide I want to sell it? It's just a 1-up and it was perfectly legal as long as it was mine (personal use), but now that I've decided to sell it...

    #20 9 years ago
    Quoted from Fifty:

    How does it work if I create my own pin like Ghostbusters or Goonies and then decide I want to sell it? It's just a 1-up and it was perfectly legal as long as it was mine (personal use), but now that I've decided to sell it...

    Edit: IANAL

    #21 9 years ago

    This game will most likely circumvent the "the pissed off" entitlement elitists lifelong contract ( And hey OP, in there parents name none-the-less), By being turned into a V/P, Just another random MAME rom file. So at least people can build, use and enjoy it.

    -2
    #22 9 years ago
    Quoted from Fifty:

    How does it work if I create my own pin like Ghostbusters or Goonies and then decide I want to sell it? It's just a 1-up and it was perfectly legal as long as it was mine (personal use), but now that I've decided to sell it...

    You can sell your one off with no problem.

    #23 9 years ago

    As long as your using something generic for the mod, should be safe. Batman heads for shooter rods might be crossing the line. Then again, some of those mods are premade toys and your paying for someone to just assemble the pieces or drill some holes and add some lights. I don't think there are alot of mods (besides translites) that infringe much if at all.

    #24 9 years ago

    Now we will have to go to the dark web for alt. translites

    #25 9 years ago
    Quoted from timtim:

    Now we will have to go to the dark web for alt. translites

    No, people will have to create their own images rather than just taking something from google images.

    #26 9 years ago
    Quoted from forensicd:

    Now that the community has completely bashed the Predator game due to licensing, are they likely to do this as well to others who make custom items such as shooter rods with hulks face, or translites with tron girls or acdc items?

    Apples and oranges. The Predator fiasco was due to the company accepting pre-orders to fund the production of a product they didn't deliver and now their customers are the ones who are likely to lose out. Had the company delivered the game and was later sued by the IP owner, their customers would be largely indifferent.

    With mods, you pay your money and get the item sent to you straight away. The financial risk to the purchaser is negligible. This will not cause problems for anyone- AS LONG AS THE BUSINESS PRODUCING THE MODS IS ACTING WITHIN THE TERMS OF THEIR LICENCE. As long as you confirm with Hasboro that your use of their IP is protected by your contract with them then you will be fine.

    #27 9 years ago

    they could technically go to everyone that purchased one and ask for it back... with no refund for you

    trust me on this one

    was not pinball related but it happened to me

    #28 9 years ago

    Are the alternate ST translites licensed?

    #29 9 years ago

    Here's the reality: most small mods that have specific stuff (not generic) are not licensed. And they never will be. They're just too small potatoes for the license holder to even want to deal with, and the entry costs are too high for anyone to ever be able to even make it work.

    The main exception being Williams/Bally stuff, because you can work out small deals with Rick, with him acting as the big gatekeeper that makes the scale work.

    This includes my translites, by the way.

    My personal compromise is I do all of my art from scratch, I don't steal anyone else's images. But I don't have a license for a logo, or use of a character or ship or something. I can render the ship from scratch, no movie frames or posters used, but it's still an iconic ship.

    I only sell my mods to the community here, and only for games that already exist, but I could get a C&D for it for sure. And if I did I would absolutely respect it, and that would be that. And I don't take a dime of pre-order money, my pre-order lists are just that, lists of people interested. So no one would lose anything if I had to stop, except being able to purchase the item I stopped doing.

    That's the best I can do to navigate the legal/ethical landscape myself.

    I happen to know that as long as you keep it small, and aren't a jerk about it that some companies will look the other way. Don't do things to make them mad, and let the community be happy with their games and they'll let it slide. But that's nothing official, just kind of the grey market reality.

    #30 9 years ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    Are the alternate ST translites licensed?

    See above, but no. There's mine, which is all original art, but I'm drawing the ship and rendered my own version of the logo. No license. I couldn't get one if I wanted to, the option is do it my way and try and be cool about it, or just don't do it. No one at these big companies wants to talk about a few dollars from a handful of fans buying a translite. But they're sometimes cool with not bothering to shut it down if you keep it small, and it's just a fan community. They do hear about it, trust me.

    The only other one I'm aware of (the "eBay one") isn't licensed either, and doesn't use original art either. It's just a rip off of a video game box cover. That kind of thing is a lot more likely to get a C&D.

    #31 9 years ago
    Quoted from flecom:

    they could technically go to everyone that purchased one and ask for it back... with no refund for you
    trust me on this one
    was not pinball related but it happened to me

    Yes, they can technically do this, so the question is, how likely is it? For a small run of infringing translites, probably not very likely. They might just nail the guy who made them.

    For a decent-size run of a nearly 5k commercial machine, quite a bit more likely.

    #32 9 years ago

    As long as everyone plays it cool here and does not go calling Disney or Fox and pointing out stuff to their licensing department, I'm sure all will continue to be good.

    Shooter rods should be fine, if someone bought an already licensed toy, and then drilled a hole in it for a rod.

    Trouble starts when you put a real Barbi head on a dildo or something....

    #33 9 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Trouble starts when you put a real Barbi head on a dildo or something....

    Don't get me Photoshopping!!

    #34 9 years ago
    Quoted from spfxted:

    Don't get me Photoshopping!!

    I like to bite the heads off of Barbies and then glue them to my dildos.

    Photoshop is just not intimate enough for me.

    #35 9 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    As long as everyone plays it cool here and does not go calling Disney or Fox and pointing out stuff to their licensing department, I'm sure all will continue to be good.
    Shooter rods should be fine, if someone bought an already licensed toy, and then drilled a hole in it for a rod.
    Trouble starts when you put a real Barbi head on a dildo or something....

    You're ok as long as its for Your own use..pleasure

    #36 9 years ago
    Quoted from spfxted:

    You can sell your one off with no problem.

    Absolutely FALSE! I'll cite US Code, Title 17. What do you have to back up this statement? Gut instinct?

    Also, be aware that a court can award statutory damages for copyright infringement. This can be between $750 and $30,000 per infringed work, or up to $150,000 if the infringement was deliberate ('willful'). And you DO NOT have to demonstrate any actual monetary loss/damage to be awarded this. (Refer to Section 504 of the above Title.)

    So yeah, looks to me like there are potentially huge consequences to selling that "one off"!

    [And this is the problem with listening to online armchair 'lawyers'...]

    #37 9 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    See above, but no. There's mine, which is all original art, but I'm drawing the ship and rendered my own version of the logo. No license. I couldn't get one if I wanted to, the option is do it my way and try and be cool about it, or just don't do it. No one at these big companies wants to talk about a few dollars from a handful of fans buying a translite. But they're sometimes cool with not bothering to shut it down if you keep it small, and it's just a fan community. They do hear about it, trust me.
    The only other one I'm aware of (the "eBay one") isn't licensed either, and doesn't use original art either. It's just a rip off of a video game box cover. That kind of thing is a lot more likely to get a C&D.

    This is what I don't want to lose because of this whole fiasco. I love the artists that put their heart and soul into these mods we love so much, and makes the whole hobby that much better! I just want to make sure no one gets into financial issues because of all of this recent news. I look for ward to all that Aurich makes, and anticipating his metallica mod, even though I have no idea what it is!

    #38 9 years ago
    Quoted from forensicd:

    I look for ward to all that Aurich makes, and anticipating his Metallica mod, even though I have no idea what it is!

    Thanks.

    I'm not worried, and as I said, if I did get a C&D I'd abide by it.

    My Metallica mod will be free of any issues, I'm not using the band's name or assets on it. Working on it!

    #39 9 years ago

    If Skit B had been open about hot having the license would people have cared? Doesn't appear so.

    #40 9 years ago
    Quoted from ledge:

    infact, what good movies are made today , bunch of sheite. all littered with CGI.
    they dont make em like they used to. imo of course.

    You've never seen the movie "Deuce of Spades". Go to www.deuceofspadesmovie.com The film makers name is Faith Granger, she's a friend of mine.

    #41 9 years ago

    We need more alternate translites!!!

    #42 9 years ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    If Skit B had been open about hot having the license would people have cared? Doesn't appear so.

    I don't think it's so much about "caring", but it certainly should have given people pause about putting in all that pre-order money. Lot more risk that way, as we found out the hard way.

    Look, I'm an artist, I'm sensitive to IP and people not getting ripped off. My personal take is that I just want to make things for people's games that make them happy, and that I enjoy, and I want to do it without just wholesale taking someone else's stuff. Keep it original.

    But I can't make you a Shadow translite that doesn't say "The Shadow" on it. I redrew that logo from scratch even. But I know I don't have the rights to use it.

    When I first started it was a personal project, I thought I'd maybe sell 10 of them. Obviously there was a hunger for taking Baldwin off the translite, and it's grown from that.

    I can only work inside my own ethical structure. Keeping it original, not copying and pasting the movie poster, etc, that works for me. But at the end of the day, whatever (small) risk I carry by doing these is on me. No one is ever at risk for losing money.

    Even with something utterly unlicensed, like my Metallica hammer, I just don't feel comfortable taking payment until they're ready. That's how I sleep at night.

    Kevin obviously felt different. I think what he did was beyond the pale, because he put all the people he brought with him at risk. That's not right. To me at least.

    #43 9 years ago
    Quoted from MustangPaul:

    You've never seen the movie "Deuce of Spades". Go to http://www.deuceofspadesmovie.com The film makers name is Faith Granger, she's a friend of mine.

    im gonna check it out, thanks

    #44 9 years ago
    Quoted from timtim:

    Now we will have to go to the dark web for alt. translites

    Can't wait to buy my drugs and pinball parts from the same marketplace!

    #45 9 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    I don't think it's so much about "caring", but it certainly should have given people pause about putting in all that pre-order money. Lot more risk that way, as we found out the hard way.
    Look, I'm an artist, I'm sensitive to IP and people not getting ripped off. My personal take is that I just want to make things for people's games that make them happy, and that I enjoy, and I want to do it without just wholesale taking someone else's stuff. Keep it original.
    But I can't make you a Shadow translite that doesn't say "The Shadow" on it. I redrew that logo from scratch even. But I know I don't have the rights to use it.
    When I first started it was a personal project, I thought I'd maybe sell 10 of them. Obviously there was a hunger for taking Baldwin off the translite, and it's grown from that.
    I can only work inside my own ethical structure. Keeping it original, not copying and pasting the movie poster, etc, that works for me. But at the end of the day, whatever (small) risk I carry by doing these is on me. No one is ever at risk for losing money.
    Even with something utterly unlicensed, like my Metallica hammer, I just don't feel comfortable taking payment until they're ready. That's how I sleep at night.
    Kevin obviously felt different. I think what he did was beyond the pale, because he put all the people he brought with him at risk. That's not right. To me at least.

    Is fan art infringement? Because there are copies? Is fan art of a ship different than a character, say Arnold? Kevin directly used images from the movie and art that he hadn't created, but original art, even depicting characters, is still licensed?

    #46 9 years ago
    Quoted from TaylorVA:

    but original art, even depicting characters, is still licensed?

    Yup. Just like all the 90s licensed games used paintings and drawings. The infamous story of Doug Watson having to draw 10 Demolition Man translites before Wesley Snipes would approve it.

    Here's the reality: most studios don't want to shut down fan art. It's very niche, and for the hardcore, and there's little to be gained by angering those people, when you can just ignore it and look the other way. That's us. Just little handfuls of things like alt translites or toy mods. Even a hugely successful thing is still super limited. Go beyond that though (or put it in their face) and problems will be much more likely to occur.

    I were to draw something too close to a Williams game (say new AFM, using the AFM logo), you can bet I'd get a note (and eventually C&D I imagine) from Rick. And unlike our silly little squabble over the MMr photos, I wouldn't ignore it. He pays to protect that stuff for his market. Fair enough.

    That's why you'll only see me do Bally/Williams games that are licensed, like Shadow. Rick doesn't have domain over those titles, they were just licensed for the run, so I'm not stepping on his turf.

    IMHO you can do this stuff respectfully.

    #47 9 years ago

    Sometimes licensed stuff can seem like a ripoff. For example, the WH20 toppers Twisted Pins was supposed to be fixing. I believe he still has quite a few people's money from the original failed attempt at re-creating the waterfall.

    11 months later
    #48 8 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    I redrew that logo from scratch even. But I know I don't have the rights to use it.

    #49 8 years ago

    #50 8 years ago

    I have the right to touchup and restore existing playfield and cabinet art.

    There are 51 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.

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