Legal Question

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by RMThompson, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,888
    Likes Received:
    11
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    OK, here's one for the experts.... lol

    I was thinking of ways I could make a few extra bucks, and a friend of mine had a suggestion that ties photography with my other love, comic books.

    Is it legal to sell photos of girls in Comic Book costumes?

    There are a large number of models in my area who are into making and posing in super hero costumes anyway, and I think they could really really sell... but is there a legal issue if the character they are depicting is a copyrighted figure?

    Whatchoo think?
     
  2. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix,AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    That could be a very sticky issue. The only way to be sure is to check with an attorney, because anything else is just speculation.
     
  3. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    6,190
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Hollywood, FLA USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes or Maybe, because the cartoons are copyrighted, the copyright holder may find the photos degrading to there copyright
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,818
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I would certainly think that any logo would be heavily copyrighted and you couldn't use them without paying for it. The question would then be how close you could get to the models looking like the characters, who are probably copyrighted as well. I don't think they could copyright a color scheme or red & blue...but if you had a Superman costume, just without the logo on the chest...is that still copyrighted? That's the grey area, I would think.

    Of course, this is just speculation. Contact a lawyer for actual advice.
     
  5. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,317
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I am going to try and contact my uncle on this one. He is a Patent attorney, and I figure that he should know about this. I would think that copyrights and patents are pretty close.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I can guarantee you it's legal in Japan. There's an entire industry based around it :lol:
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,076
    Likes Received:
    202
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Strickly speaking, if it is legal to produce and manufacture the comic book costume, it follows that it would be legal to wear it and have your photo taken in it. (Halloween and costume party photos as an example.)

    The legal issue then becomes the nature of the shot and its use and this is where it becomes complex. Does the shot degrade the image of the cartoon character? Could the shot be mistaken for one from one of the Superman or Spiderman movies? Is the shot being used for some purpose which is the sole right of the owner...i.e. entertainment, promoting a product, event, etc.? These are just a few of the relevant legal questions.

    skieur
     
  8. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Amherst (Cleveland), Ohio
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The only reason I would question it is because of the sale of the pictures you plan on taking.

    Skieur, I'm sure the company that manufactures the comic book costume has to pay some sort of royalty to whoever owns the character rights. However your second point is absolutely correct. I would also think that the owner of the character rights might want some sort of compensation for their character being used for the pictures as well.

    One of my film major friends has to be very careful about what music and sound effects he uses for this reason. There is a large database of free content otherwise he would have to purchase rights of course to use the song, I'm thinking it would be the same for the character.
     
  9. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,888
    Likes Received:
    11
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well here is my thinking.

    If I sold them as "Model Judy Smith as The Dark Phoenix" I should be OK, because I am not saying that she IS the Dark Phoenix, merely this one model's interpertation.

    Furthermore, I don't know about the logos and what not, because is it illegal to sell a picture of a guy running down the street with NIKE shoes on? Or someone with a Ford logo shirt?

    I remember reading a legal precedence set when someone took a picture of someone who sported a "FORD" tattoo. The judge ruled that because the public had REASONABLE DOUBT that he was actually associated with FORD, it was legal to not only WEAR the tattoo, but take pictures of it.
     
  10. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,888
    Likes Received:
    11
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Skieur, you've always been knowledgable about this stuff, and since I dont have the money to ASK a lawyer, Id like to hear more of what you think.

    I plan on taking the pictures in my home, of a few models wearing costumes that they MADE THEMSELVES, not something that was licensed to someone else, and then sell the prints of these women in various Superhero poses at a comic convention.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,818
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You might also run into trouble or get the models into trouble with the home made costumes. I would think that if they made the costumes themselves and copied the logos, they would be in breach of copyright law. Of course, there isn't much to enforce if they just wear them in their own houses...but taking photos for sale is a different issue. Technically speaking, I would think that they could even get into trouble by wearing (homemade) copyrighted logos in public.

    As far as naming the model 'as The Dark Phoenix'...I don't think that would fly. Looking at it from the comic owner's point of view, that character and the associated logos are their intellectual property, and you shouldn't have the right to sell images/photos that depict that, without some sort of compensation.

    I think the way you could get around this, without paying royalties, would be to have the girls in costumes that aren't exactly like the actual characters. A different logo, for example. That could even get dicey if the color scheme and what not, is the same. I'm guessing that if you got sued, it would come down to a judge's opinion as to weather or not your model was recognizable as the copyrighted character in question.

    If they had 'generic' costumes, then there would be no issue.

    As always, I'm not a lawyer so take my advice for what it's worth.
     
  12. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix,AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Not sure what attorney's charge in your area but my attorney charges $150/ hour which translates to $37.50 for 15 minutes of time, which is all it should take for an attorney to answer the question you have posed. For $37.50 if the attorney say's no problem, you can do your project with out worrying about it and if the attorney say's no way then you would save yourself lot's of $$$$, time & agrivation in a lawsuit. Seems a small price to pay for piece of mind.
     

Share This Page