(Topic ID: 166046)

Using Pinball Machine Names and Likeness without License


By Jesterfunhouse

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by xsvtoys
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    Dusty_Art_(resized).jpg
    Liquid_City_Graphic_Novel_(resized).jpg

    #1 2 years ago

    Hello Pinball World! I know this topic has been discussed in different ways but I wanted to see if some of you that are legal or knowledgeable could chime in on an idea I have.

    My Brother does incredible pencil/ink fantasy artwork with incredible amounts of detail. We have an idea of creating a series of art that takes popular (say top 100 list) pinball machines and makes them come alive. Hard to explain without a sample but short end of it the items we would make are original one of kind art work for framing in game rooms, and possibly the same artwork on other items such as a translite or t-shirt. Primarily we would start with just framed artwork.

    The question to all of you is what are the legalities of using lets say using the likeness and name of a pinball machine like Monster Bash in a piece of art and selling it without any licensing? Is it allowed in anyway? Are there things we can do and things we can't? We could do "Generic" or "Concept" art easy enough but I think there would be more of a demand for know pinball machines. Also would come into play themes that haven't been done like lets say an artistic rendering of a Pink Floyd "The Wall" le pinball machine but that use copyrighted names and album titles or impressions of the artwork from an album. Any feedback is appreciated!

    Sample of my Brothers Artwork of a Graphic Novel he used to do.
    Liquid_City_Graphic_Novel_(resized).jpg

    #2 2 years ago

    It's only illegal if you get caught...

    #3 2 years ago
    Quoted from nephasth:

    It's only illegal if you get caught...

    HA! Yes but I am one that wants to do things legit and so does my accountant

    #4 2 years ago

    Another sample of the stuff he does.
    Dusty_Art_(resized).jpg

    #5 2 years ago

    Hey, can I use your brothers art work on t-shirts, sell the shirts, and not give your brother any money?

    #7 2 years ago

    For your own personal use, you'd have no problem. Making money off of someone else's work, that's where people get upset.

    A lot of pinball related stuff goes uncontested when it should be illegal. But feel that the amount of effort probably isn't worth fighting for the little sales that probably generate from a 20 year old license. Ghostbusters is different as it's all new again, and current promotional materials are being made.

    You will have to watch out with Monsters Bash, as it's technically a Universal property. And they are even doing a Mummy movie based on the old IP, not the one from the 2000's. You may be able to slip by with Attack from Mars.

    Personally, I'd stay away from any licensing issues. All it takes is one person to make an example of.

    #8 2 years ago

    Short answer is if you mass produce anything that is licensed and you do not have the license to produce it then it is illegal. If an artist produces a one off original art piece based on a licensed theme typically no harm unless it is mass produced......people are free to create their impression of anything they want for personal use. The second you sell it then it is not for personal use

    Now if all the artwork is original and does not include characters, logos, etc. it may be OK but all depends on what is "borrowed" from the licensed theme. It's a slippery slope......

    #9 2 years ago

    My legal advice to you is never to seek advice from the Internet on important business legal matters. Most non-lawyers will know just enough to be dangerous. I will also tell you this area of the law is a speciality and very fact/case specific in each instance.

    With that caveat - on a very broad level - the circumstances of each work you intend to use and how you intend to use it will determine your answer - but generally speaking using someone else's copyrighted works or trademarks for profit without permission will get you a cease and desist letter very quickly - and you could be held liable for damages...

    Don't use someone else's work for profit without their permission (a license to do so).

    #10 2 years ago

    People are mistaking something that will get you in trouble versus something less likely to get you in trouble... But make no mistake - you are still violating someone's property rights by making something for personal use and could (in theory) be held liable for it (civil or criminal).

    Case in point - I can still get in trouble for copying a Ghostbusters DVD for my own personal use... Very unlikely anyone will know... but doesn't mean it is "ok" legally in any way.

    #11 2 years ago

    My layman's opinion says you need a license.

    I suggest you contact Outside Edge and ask them about it. They have licenses to produce lampshades & coasters.
    http://www.pinballgifts.com/

    #12 2 years ago

    You could do knockoff designs, a la all the 80s Gottliebs (Hollywood Heat, Bone Busters etc)

    Assault from Neptune
    Monarch Mania
    Etc

    #13 2 years ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    You could do knockoff designs, a la all the 80s Gottliebs (Hollywood Heat, Bone Busters etc)
    Assault from Neptune
    Monarch Mania
    Etc

    This would work. Also you could probably get away with Monster Bash because all of the characters (except maybe the bride) are public domain as long as you don't use the phrase Monster Bash.

    #14 2 years ago
    Quoted from brainmegaphone:

    My legal advice to you is never to seek advice from the Internet on important business legal matters. Most non-lawyers will know just enough to be dangerous. I will also tell you this area of the law is a speciality and very fact/case specific in each instance.
    With that caveat - on a very broad level - the circumstances of each work you intend to use and how you intend to use it will determine your answer - but generally speaking using someone else's copyrighted works or trademarks for profit without permission will get you a cease and desist letter very quickly - and you could be held liable for damages...
    Don't use someone else's work for profit without their permission (a license to do so).

    You and your logic But this pretty much nails it.

    If your brother is an artist and wants to make money, then I think he should learn about copyright in general. The same concepts apply everywhere and anywhere, not just pinball.

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