Darth Vader copyrights?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Almost-Blink182
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Darth Vader copyrights?

Post by Almost-Blink182 » Sun May 29, 2011 8:06 am

So, I've drawn and made a darth vader cartoon style t-shirt that I hope to sell to a small circle of people.

Is this again copyright law?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Sun May 29, 2011 8:40 am

Hi Almost-Blink,
If you have drawn the Darth Vader figure completely yourself, and not traced or copied an actual photograph of the Darth Vader character then you have created an original work, albeit one based on the idea of the character, so that would not infringe copyright. However if you have copied or traced a photograph, that would be seen as a derivative work and so would infringe copyright. Lucasfilm who own the copyright in the StarWars films protect their intellectual property vigorously (there is a court case going on in the UK at present over the design of a stormtrooper's helmet).
The words Darth Vader and Lord Darth Vader are registered trade marks in the UK and elsewhere in the world, and should not be used on clothing (including headwear), games, toys, computer products or fridge magnets without authorisation.
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

Almost-Blink182
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Post by Almost-Blink182 » Sun May 29, 2011 9:05 am

Awesome. :)

So as long as it doesn't say "Darth Vader" or have text like that it is fine to use?

Luckily it doesn't have any text and isn't copied.

Thanks a lot. :D

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Sun May 29, 2011 4:20 pm

Personally I would recommend extreme caution here.
What concerns me in this case is that your t-shirts will clearly be trading off the established Lucasfilm character (after all, you would not have created your version of the character if Star Wars was not such a huge success) - to me it therefore seems quite plausible that Lucasfilm would see your actions as diluting the brand and infringing their merchandising rights.

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