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Vault of Puppets Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by CB Boy, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I still want me a Frogboy4, but Master Replicas said it'd be too expensive to make!


    I think the guy is creative and all that, and hate to see his talent wasted on making Muppet replicas and that it all came down to this; but, you make stuff like this for yourself, or you get with a group of fellow friends and help them make their own when it comes to making something like a Muppet.

    'Round these parts, we get together as a group and work on projects like that, it fuels our creativity and we feed each other off that creative juice-flow. Being a part of a group is a good creative outlet and I wish Vault of Puppets had done something more than operate off that fame of fake Muppets.
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  2. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I don't think they can bleach out fleece white enough to make my replica and even if they could it would be a lighting issue for photography.

    I agree with you about the Muppet projects. My Muppet work is a hobby that for a little while I turned into a short-lived job. Now I work part time next to a shop that sells a few lingering Johnny Fiamas (along with series two Gonzo, Crazy Harry, Beauregard, Super Scooter and First Mate Piggy sets that turned out being the hardest to move). But I "digest"...

    Ultimately an artist needs to strike out on their own and create their own original works. It isn't easy and not everybody will accept them. You'll get the "that looks like this other thing", "that great, but it's not for me" and all sorts of other unhelpful comments. I try to liken it to Jim Henson trying to sell the Muppet Show. His success didn't appear overnight. It took years. There is no worthwhile fast track to this stuff and one must always love their art first.

    I wish there were more time to do things with Muppet Central. I'm kind of glad that some of the needed files are locked away on an old hard drive for now because if they weren't I'd be popping out menus left and right!

    For me it's time for Wijits and Fijits. For Vault of Puppets it's time to see what cool original things they can come up with. I'm anxious to see it.
  3. Telly

    Telly Well-Known Member

    I guess that's something I don't fully understand. If a builder does NOT make a profit from building a replica and there's a contract stating that the buyer is NOT going to use the replica for commercial gain (only personal enjoyment), why is that so illegal, but not illegal to build it in the first place? I don't understand the difference I guess. :confused:
  4. practicecactus

    practicecactus Well-Known Member

    ..and muppet replicas.
  5. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    ok extreme examples but i was just making a point

  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    The simple answer is that just building a replica puppet is, in a technical sense at least, copyright infringement. It does not matter what the intent of the buyer or seller is or whether they make money or not; you cannot legally duplicate copyright work without the express permission of the copyright owner.

    That being said, entertainment companies do not generally sue a fan that makes a replica puppet, prop or costume for their own personal use because it's not cost effective and there is very little to gain from suing your fans.
  7. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    It's a pity. They're really pretty. Disney could have just bought the guy out. It's not like they don't have the money for a hostile takeover of someone who's apparently popular.
  8. Dagger Claws

    Dagger Claws Well-Known Member

    I remember a good friend of mine, who had been a puppeteer and member of the Puppeteers of America for decades, telling me a story about Jim Henson and his views on Muppet knock offs. This was back in the hey day of the Muppets, so I'm thinking late 70s early 80s. At the time, alot of independant companies who performed shows were performing with characters that were basically Muppety or almost literal knock offs of Muppet characters. It seemed to make sense to these people, because the Muppets were huge and they wanted to cash in on that fame by having shows that featured either these popular characters OR characters that looked enough like them.

    Then Jim Henson decided to clear the air and wrote a public letter to the P of A journal's letters to the editor section. The letter, and I am paraphrasing here, said that although he was flattered by how much people were enjoying the Muppets, that folks should really be developing their own methods and styles of puppetry. By doing this, it would inspire people to come up with designs and characters of their own and create a much more diverse world of puppetry. In polite terms, he was letting folks know that he didn't appreciate all the knock offs and Muppety looking characters, and that folks needed to stop.

    Crossing Disney is a HUGE mistake, not just today but at any time. They are a company that you don't want to mess around with, even if you are just John Doe who's creating an unliscenced product out of his basement. Back when I was younger I used to be very involved in model kits and the "garage kit" scene, where it was very popular for people to create unlicensed versions of famous movie and tv characters. Disney was one company that would shut a company down, even if it was one lonely guy, if they got wind that you were selling something of theirs without their permission.

    One sculptor I knew created such a model kit, and had lawyers knocking on his door not long afterwards demanding all the profits he made from his creation, along with the molds, all the unsold copies, and the original master sculpt. He gave them all up, but politely told them that he hadn't made any profit off of them because he hadn't sold enough to recoop the exspenses for making the model kit to begin with. He was very lucky he didn't loose his shirt, or his house, over it.

    For those folks that think this is unfair by going after the little guy, think of it this way; Disney is trying to make an example of Vault by taking them to court over this as well as protecting the integrity of their property. It doesn't matter who you are, like ravagefraggle mentioned earlier, we live in a country of laws and when you break them and are caught, you have to suffer the punishment. Legitimizing your actions by saying that Disney is some big faceless company so who is Vault really hurting? or that they are giving "hope" and "answered dreams" to people who want a Muppet knock off of their own is childish and ignorant.

    Besides, if Jim Henson were alive today (or if you asked his wife and children), do you really think he would be proud of the fact that a few talented puppet builders were making money off of characters that he and his company created without their blessing? It really cheapens the image of the Muppets, and of Jim Henson, if you think so.
  9. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm not saying they didn't get what they deserved. Disney's right to protect their (however underused) property. I just think that corporate absorption might work better PR-wise than just "eliminating" problem areas.
  10. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    i actually have a copy of this letter , im only in my late 20's but ive been collecting puppetry journals for some time now, if i can scan it ill see if i can post it

    Are you really comparing muppet replicas to the president election, i dont even think those should be on the same peice of paper, trust me im in the media i deal with news, tv, computer, graphic every aspect, ive heard nothing but political things for the past few years from bush to now obama, i would rather have muppet news anyday whether it be as negative as this

    like mostly everyone is saying, while his stuff was awesome he broke the law, and he has to pay the price, most of us see disney as this evil corporation, **** ive said it myself in the past,( ive had to change my words since they pay my bills now)but if it was your character on the line how would you feel? would you be fine with someone building your character and selling it for his own personal gain
  11. Telly

    Telly Well-Known Member

    I guess this issue just goes over my head. I understand the whole "making a profit from the item" thing. So if it's illegal to make the replica in the first place, why isn't that frowned upon?

    I'm not trying to be a pain. I'm honestly really trying to understand where everyone is coming from. :confused::wisdom:
  12. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    I wonder if there will be a lawsuit or if he was just let off with a warning? Vault of Puppets is still running but the Muppet replicas section now says they are only a private gallery and not for sale.
  13. MGov

    MGov Well-Known Member

    Actually, there is a Copyright Police. It's the F.B.I.
  14. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    But they don't enforce anything. It is the copyright holder's duty to pursue the matter from beginning to end. The FBI doesn't really do much of anything as far as copyright law is concerned. However, they do have that nifty warning for home videos. :wisdom:
  15. The Shoe Fairy

    The Shoe Fairy Well-Known Member

    No offense, but is your name and the fact you mentioned the FBI related?:confused:
  16. practicecactus

    practicecactus Well-Known Member

    I find the whole 'arguing on behalf of a corporation' thing rather laughable.
    If you're going to be so hardcore about copyright infringements, you wouldn't watch and fav things on youtube that clearly aren't the account holders copyright, ie; muppet show videos.
  17. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    honestly you prove a good point(not being sarcastic either)
  18. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    im sure if disney wants the videos down they will come down, but as you may have read in the Times article, muppets are one of the more popular searches in Youtue so im sure they see that as a gage in how to market thier upcomming muppet productions,

    but yes technicaly posting the videos on youtube is breaking the law.
  19. Nick22

    Nick22 Well-Known Member

    first of all, i think disney was being a little protective of their copyright with the whole day care thing. i think that vault of puppets had amazing puppets. i've always wanted a replica of one of the muppets. the master replica ones are fine but there is only 3 of them. but it is against the law, so he had it coming all along.
  20. BobThePizzaBoy

    BobThePizzaBoy Well-Known Member

    It seems that his site has been taken down. Good thing, I really hope Disney stops this guy from making his slightly off Muppet replicas at outlandish prices. I wouldn't buy any puppet off that guy. Period. :mad:
    HunterPeeples likes this.

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