PDA

View Full Version : Darth Vader - Please search your feelings and tell me if it's true



donjohannes
08-30-2010, 02:50 PM
Hi everyone,

This is yet another copyright question.

I have a 24 part educational non profit series to be distributed on DVD (3000 sets pre-ordered so far - 10.000 copies will likely be the tally).
Each episode is briefly introduced by a character called Walt (20 second skit of sorts). In one of the episodes (on the philosophy and theology of evil) I would like to put him in a Darth Vader Mask and introduce him as Walt Vader working for the dark side...

Getting the mask is no problem, but I wonder if I'm allowed to use it. It's an homage more than proper fan fiction.

Anyone know if I'm getting into deep legal waters here.

Thanks for your comments
Johannes

robertwerden
08-30-2010, 03:06 PM
Lucas film loves to sue people . I suggest using the word invader or something that is not trademarked.
The Mask is not the issue, it is the word.

Objects fall under patents, unless they are photographs, books or other objects that carry copyright.

Huy Vu
08-31-2010, 01:09 AM
Keep in mind that Lucas' people can really sue you for anything. Fair use is a legal defense, meaning that if you're sued you're still gonna have to pay a lawyer and go to court. It doesn't seem worth it to me to go through all that just for a throwaway joke that contributes nothing to the production.

Postmaster
08-31-2010, 02:45 AM
Hey, they can´t sell those costumes and than sue people because they wear them in front of a camera.

I think the idea is pretty funny. Lukas should better think twice before he send out his dogs. Might be a boomerang one day. Most of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones fans hate him already.

This society is in a bad condition and is going to see a downfall soon, if we keep on tolerating "business" and "justice" like that.

Frank

Sad Max
08-31-2010, 07:38 AM
Contact Lucasfilm, describe your project and ask for permission.* Emphasize the not-for-profit and educational aspect. Offer them hosannas in the credits for their gracious cooperation. Worst thing they'll do is say 'no.' Which leaves you in no place worse than where you are right now; if they say 'yes' then you're golden.

Objects and processes are patented with regard to their function; a distinctive and recognizable design (and images of that design) like Darth Vader's mask are indeed subject to copyright and/or trademark.

Post, I don't necessarily disagree with you regarding der looming untergang but Lucas' crappy revisionism and mad-dog copyright enforcement ain't the smallest part of it...


*EDIT Lucasfilm may well have a person or department in the 'community relations' or 'educational' category - finding that person and opening the discussion with them may fly better than contacting a licensing or marketing person whose first concern will always (and properly) be monetizing the product, rather than permitting un-compensated use...

Postmaster
08-31-2010, 08:15 AM
Sounds like a good idea Max.
I met Steve Sansweet of Lukasfilm a few weeks ago - very nice guy - gave us enormous leeway for two projects.
He is the Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations and might be the right person to contact - or even can tell you who to speak to.

Frank

donjohannes
08-31-2010, 09:32 AM
Thanks for the suggestions and help.

@Postmaster
That sounds great. You would not by any chance have contacts for the man. If you do, could you PM them?

Thanks again, everyone.

Postmaster
08-31-2010, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the suggestions and help.

@Postmaster
That sounds great. You would not by any chance have contacts for the man.

You can contact him over Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Sansweet

donjohannes
08-31-2010, 12:22 PM
Thanks Postmaster,
Will let everyone know the outcome.

Duke M.
09-13-2010, 08:20 PM
Get permission. Fair use / educational is a defense for Copyright, but not for trademark infringement. I'd bet Darth Vader is trademarked, and it doesn't have to be an exact copy. It only has to be likely to cause confusion.

donjohannes
10-14-2010, 12:46 AM
Dear everyone,

So this is what happened:
I posted to Steve Sansweet FB profile.
After a few days I received a reply with his email, to which I sent my request again
He responded kindly suggesting to contact Lucasfilm's head of permissions Chris Holm - which I did.
I received an email from clipandstill@l.... with a pdf contract granting me permission of use which I had to sign an return
Voilà. All is fine :-) Walt Vader is going to make an appearance in my project.

Postmaster
10-14-2010, 02:15 AM
Glad it worked for you.

Good luck with your project.

Frank

donjohannes
11-18-2010, 03:01 PM
Here's a first draft of the clip :-) Walt Vader ..... working for the dark side


http://www.vimeo.com/16973452

Lyris
12-03-2010, 07:52 AM
Glad that worked for you - frankly I'm surprised you would need permission. I'm no lawyer, but it was my belief that this fell under parody, and therefore fair use?

Just watched the clip, brilliant stuff!

zeke
01-03-2011, 12:54 PM
Dear everyone,

So this is what happened:
I posted to Steve Sansweet FB profile.
After a few days I received a reply with his email, to which I sent my request again
He responded kindly suggesting to contact Lucasfilm's head of permissions Chris Holm - which I did.
I received an email from clipandstill@l.... with a pdf contract granting me permission of use which I had to sign an return
Voilà. All is fine :-) Walt Vader is going to make an appearance in my project.

Went from Copyright infringement to free advertising. Win win.

Paul F
01-03-2011, 02:15 PM
It has been trademarked since 1983 and is currently active.

Postmaster
01-04-2011, 01:53 AM
Here's a first draft of the clip :-) Walt Vader ..... working for the dark side


Haha! Sehr gut! Freut mich, daß alles geklappt hat.
Viel Erfolg mit deinem Projekt und möge die Macht mit dir sein.

Frank

Sad Max
01-04-2011, 09:39 AM
"Haha! Very good! I am glad that everything worked out. Good luck with your project and may the force be with you."

Provided as a service to our non-German-speaking membership.

Postmaster
01-04-2011, 02:20 PM
Max, I really wonder how you found out what "geklappt" means. ;-)

Frank