Charactes/costumes/copyright

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Silverrabbit
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Charactes/costumes/copyright

Post by Silverrabbit » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:43 pm

Hi All,

Sorry if this has been covered. I have searched the Internet and have found no definitive answers.

I have designed but not made some costumes but before I manufacture them I need to make sure I am not going get in any trouble.

Let's say these suits are based on Mario and Luigi. These suits will be the same colour but without any logos. They won't have the same name and the key difference is they will be inflatable.

Now if you look on eBay for example or some costume outlets Mario and Luigi are sold as Italian plumber and Italian plumbers mate and there doesn't seem to be a problem. What if I done the another character batman for example if I removed logos didn't use batman in the title, the first only similarity being colours...

Thanks for the help in advance.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:18 pm

Hi silverrabbit,

You are right that the topic has come up a few times here, but to briefly summarise what has been said previously, there are two different aspects to your question. There is the strictly legal position, which is that if your costumes are sufficiently generic they are unlikely to infringe copyright in what are effectively cartoon characters.
And there is the reaction of Nintendo. Nintendo have a reputation for robustly protecting their intellectual property and so I would expect them to take a keen interest in your costumes once they become aware of them. Especially now following the release of Super Mario Run. And by 'keen interest' I mean lawyers' letters. It would then become less a matter of the legal position and more a matter of how much pressure you are able to withstand.

I have no idea if Nintendo licence anyone to produce official Mario costumes, but if they do they will be under an obligation to their licensee to do everything possible to remove any competition which undermines the value of that franchise. I am not saying it will definitely happen, but don't be surprised if it does.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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