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Your thoughts on fan-made/unofficial merchandise

CherryPizza

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So, I know that everyone draws the line in different places when it comes to determining the difference between 'crafty tribute' and 'copyright violation'.

I was just at my local service station (gas station/tank station/whatever you call it in your neck of the woods) where beanies resembling Muppet characters were being sold. There were brand tags on them, but nowhere did they acknowledge the copyright for said characters. If you liked the way that these products looked, would you still be inclined to purchase them?

Additionally, what are your thoughts on hand-crafted items being sold at craft markets and such places? Does the fact that it's being made and sold by an independent artisan rather than a company make you any more/less inclined to buy it?
 

muppetperson

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I guess I do see things differently, between someone selling a Muppet craft item as it is and not pretending it is official, like on etsy and the like(provided they aren't over charging) than someone selling Muppet merchandise as the real thing, when it is not.
 

jvcarroll

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It is no easy task to jump through all the hoops when creating legal, licensed product. And that's what makes it special. As someone who has had the privilege to work very hard on licensed products for various companies, I'm against black market items. It has been stated (and someone can probably source this) that Jim Henson was too. I've seen some brilliant work that wouldn't pass muster in the licensing process and that's a shame. It is also what places like DeviantArt are for. I think modern day parody laws have been too loosely interpreted. A commercial cake maker cannot screen an image of Kermit onto a cake without holding a license with Disney to do so, but an independent artist on Etsy can essentially do the same thing for a wallet or crochet good? I don't get it. However, it does not change anything about what I do. I'm asked to do a lot of things and I always turn the unlicensed things down. Make no mistake, there's a lot of money to be made, but not at the detriment to my artistic integrity. That's my two cents.
 

Drtooth

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I've seen some brilliant work that wouldn't pass muster in the licensing process and that's a shame.
Which is why I find licensing bullcrap, if you ask me. The same 5 stock images on every item? And they HAVE to be copied from the style guide, which, more often than not, was created before the show went into production and look NOTHING like the characters that they represent. I've always hated how the TMNT looked on merchandise. Very ugly versions of the characters, rather than basing them off the actual cartoon designs.

Now, if the legal products had the looseness and freedom as some of these fan made items, it would be another story. I'd love to see characters look like drawings and not stickers from a sticker book on T-shirts. I'd love to see mas marketed posters with unique character designs and poses on them. But we're stuck with the same five character poses (if we even get that) on bland looking merchandise with the same stock art that looks just as innocuous on a package of fruit snacks that it does on a 8 dollar poster.

And that's not even getting into licenses that never get picked up. You can't find Bob's Burgers buttons at Hot Topic, nor can you buy a Mr. Meeseeks puppet on adult swim's website. I'm all against crappy bootlegged Disney figures that compete with actual licensed goods, but when there are no licensed goods, just well crafted fan based merchandise, I'm not sitting by and twiddling my thumbs to never see a legit Roger the alien plush when there's hundreds of ugly licensed Stewies that don't even look like him someone paid to get the right to make.
 

jvcarroll

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Which is why I find licensing bullcrap, if you ask me. The same 5 stock images on every item? And they HAVE to be copied from the style guide, which, more often than not, was created before the show went into production and look NOTHING like the characters that they represent. I've always hated how the TMNT looked on merchandise. Very ugly versions of the characters, rather than basing them off the actual cartoon designs.

Now, if the legal products had the looseness and freedom as some of these fan made items, it would be another story. I'd love to see characters look like drawings and not stickers from a sticker book on T-shirts. I'd love to see mas marketed posters with unique character designs and poses on them. But we're stuck with the same five character poses (if we even get that) on bland looking merchandise with the same stock art that looks just as innocuous on a package of fruit snacks that it does on a 8 dollar poster.

And that's not even getting into licenses that never get picked up. You can't find Bob's Burgers buttons at Hot Topic, nor can you buy a Mr. Meeseeks puppet on adult swim's website. I'm all against crappy bootlegged Disney figures that compete with actual licensed goods, but when there are no licensed goods, just well crafted fan based merchandise, I'm not sitting by and twiddling my thumbs to never see a legit Roger the alien plush when there's hundreds of ugly licensed Stewies that don't even look like him someone paid to get the right to make.
That's not entirely true. It certainly is for the packaging, but there's a lot of freedom concerning the integrity of the product - particularly with the Muppets. What you're speaking of is the lack of ambition of those who purchase the licensing rights for their products.
 

beaker

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Given Disney and other companies sure don't seem to be making much merch, least in America, I'm all for it. The only copyright loophole stuff that bothers me is all the geek t-shirts that ripoff popular game franchises and try and hide under "parody"...which is total crud
 

beaker

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Which is why I find licensing bullcrap, if you ask me. The same 5 stock images on every item? And they HAVE to be copied from the style guide, which, more often than not, was created before the show went into production and look NOTHING like the characters that they represent. I've always hated how the TMNT looked on merchandise. Very ugly versions of the characters, rather than basing them off the actual cartoon designs.

Now, if the legal products had the looseness and freedom as some of these fan made items, it would be another story. I'd love to see characters look like drawings and not stickers from a sticker book on T-shirts. I'd love to see mas marketed posters with unique character designs and poses on them. But we're stuck with the same five character poses (if we even get that) on bland looking merchandise with the same stock art that looks just as innocuous on a package of fruit snacks that it does on a 8 dollar poster.

And that's not even getting into licenses that never get picked up. You can't find Bob's Burgers buttons at Hot Topic, nor can you buy a Mr. Meeseeks puppet on adult swim's website. I'm all against crappy bootlegged Disney figures that compete with actual licensed goods, but when there are no licensed goods, just well crafted fan based merchandise, I'm not sitting by and twiddling my thumbs to never see a legit Roger the alien plush when there's hundreds of ugly licensed Stewies that don't even look like him someone paid to get the right to make.

I want some Gravity Falls merch. A show I like a lot more than Adv Time and Regular Show
 
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