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Wocka-Wocka... He's at it again!

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Was Once Ernie, Jul 9, 2007.

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  1. staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca Well-Known Member

    Remember back in the day...the day being 1984, when people saw something in the movie theaters and, if they wanted to see it again they had to wait for a magical thing called "being aired on television?"

    We've forgotten patience. That makes me sad. We think that our lack of patience gives us the right to take something now.

    People used to write letters when they wanted something.
  2. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie Well-Known Member

    And as far as pricing goes, ravagefrackle is exactly right. Frank Oz told me on the set of Sesame Street that each of the puppets cost $10,000. That was in 1973 dollars! I can't understand how people can expect a one-of-a-kind handmade puppet to be made cheaply. Remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for".

    I think it goes to the corporate mentality, where people's skills are not valued anymore. If this guy doesn't do the job for the cheap price we want to pay, there are ten other guys lined up behind him who will take the money we offer.

    I've been burned many times by people in my own business undercutting the going rate. It makes it harder and harder for me to make a living because instead of my experience and expertise allowing me to charge more for my services, I now have to take less just to survive.

    End of rant... I'm making myself sick.

  3. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    Was Once Ernie,

    We live in the land of "Expect more. Pay Less" and "Lowest Prices... Always." The problem with that is it's an artificial economic construct. There are companies that produce product for the major retailers that are doing so at a loss just to have the business. Sad but true. You can get a bank to lend you LOTS of money when you can show contracts for production with a retailer of that size.

    But we all need to remember this: The rest of the world doesn't pay this little for anything. What that means in a global sense is that THEY are paying for what we don't. Hooray for us, huh? I'm not proud of it.

  4. Telly

    Telly Well-Known Member

    So then the people on these boards shouldn't be making the replicas they're making then? I've seen some beautiful pieces on here. It'd be a shame to have to see them destroyed.
    Is that what you're telling me? People shouldn't be building the replicas AT ALL...even if it is for themselves? Yet they do and nobody tells them they shouldn't be.
  5. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie Well-Known Member

    Building one for yourself is completely different than selling them for profit.

  6. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    building for yourself, is just that , for YOU,

    you are not profiting from this unless you consider the skills learned in recreadting something profit,

    i have built replica puppets formy own self as akid(the are in not way pro )
    but the skills i praticed were important to me,

    but i never sold any ,

    and despite the numerous offers i get to build replicas, of muppets or any other characters, i do not now, nor would i ever build areplica for profit.
  7. Kevin the Frog

    Kevin the Frog Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to stay out of this, but a thought just occurred to me (imagine that!).

    If certain people or MC as a group takes this stance against replica Muppets, shouldn't we also take the same stance against trading Muppet mp3s?
    Should we not reply every day in the Muppet Central mp3 threads urging them not to trade mp3s because it is a copyright violation?

    We should also email the web hosts of MC users who host unavailable Muppet mp3s and videos on their websites for our benefit, and insist they cancel their website accounts?

    If you want to get really technical about it, I don't think the MuppetCast is adhering to the "fair use" clause as they are playing full versions of copyrighted songs. We should write to Disney and demand they sick their lawyers on Steve and the MuppetCast as well.

    Or should we allow links to copyrighted Muppet videos on YouTube?
    Should we encourage people to upload videos, as we're doing now, just because the videos are not available? Just like the puppets aren't available?

    We all must start an email campaign to YouTube and get everyone of those Muppet videos off the website! They are copyrighted and youtube does not own them!

    If you're going to talk about copyrights regarding replicas, you can't ignore copyrights regarding everything else we love.

    Just adding a little fuel to the fire!
  8. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    Bring on the Gasoline!
  9. Telly

    Telly Well-Known Member

    I guess I don't see how one's able to build something for their own personal pleasure, but can't build one for somebody else if that person buys the materials.
  10. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    HAHAHAHA, because, we live in a capitolist society(something everyone keeps telling me), and no one is going to build a muppet for you just because you buy some fleece and foam,

    if i did business that way, i would never eat, or sleep in a bed, and i wouldnt have a computer in front of me.
  11. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid I can't give you what you're looking for. I happen to agree with everything you suggested above. The law should be applied equally to all.

    And, just for general information, it IS infringement on IP rights to make ANY replica AT ALL. Even the ones for your personal self. Sorry, but that's the letter of the law.

    HOWEVER, as fans of things, we are allowed a certain grace by the owners of those rights. If you ask anyone involved with the Muppets whether or not it's okay to make yourself a Kermit puppet, they'll PROBABLY encourage you to do so. They are interested in the flourishing of the puppet arts and imitation is a good teacher. They'll probably be impressed if you do a good job.

    If you walked up to someone from MHC and pulled out a Kermit puppet and said, "Yeah, what do you think? I've been selling these on eBay." They'd scowl at you and ask you to stop. Probably more in concern for YOUR well being, knowing how Disney tends to protect their IP rights. Honestly, though, would you ACTUALLY walk up to Jim Henson (were he still with us) and do that? No. You wouldn't. Because you know that a) it's wrong to profit from someone else's intelelctual property and b) you have a respect for Jim that you don't have for a corporate entity like Disney.

    It has to do with intent.

    The law SHOULD be applied equally to all. But we know it isn't. That DOES NOT, however, preclude the adherence to the law in any cases.

    If your example above is intended to inferr that because WE cannot apply the law equally that the law doesn't apply at all, I would suggest that line of thinking is akin to the belief that since you cannot survive by eating grapes alone, then you should eliminate grapes entirely from your diet.

    I can't FORCE any of you to buy or not to buy unlicensed replica Muppets just as I can't FORCE any of you to avoid trading MP3's or whatever. But I CAN dispell the myth that what you're doing doesn't affect anyone or is somehow legal.

    And I will remind us all once again... if Disney's lawyers decide that THIS FORUM encourages violations of their intellectual property rights, they can SHUT IT DOWN. And then we'll all be without.

  12. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    You can. But just because you haven't been caught doing it, doesn't make it legal. Though, companies tend to overlook it if there's no real money changing hands. They think about it as "fan activities" that help maintain the popularity of the property. We aren't angaging that issue here. That's a matter of good will on the part of the company.

    Making copies and selling them in a commercial sense (say via eBay) is just ASKING for them to notice and come down on you.

    Because what you're replicating is NOT JUST A PUPPET. These characters are licensable, trademarked, copy-righted, intellectual property. That's why you can get in trouble for using only their IMAGES without permission.

    Yes, that's right. Disney not only owns the physical puppets, they own the likenesses, the images, the personalities, the voice stylings and the particular phrases or dialogue connected with these characters as well as the library of previous works. That's how it is.

    They own everything about the classic Muppets. We own nothing. Get it?

    The same goes for Sesame Workshop and the Sesame Street Muppets.

    Each of them paid The Jim Henson Company LOTS of money to OWN THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS to these characters. We didn't.

    Making a connection yet?

    It doesn't matter if you bought the materials. If you assemble those materials into a replica of something you don't have the rights to, they have the legal right to confescate or destroy it in order to protect their licensing rights. That's just the way it is. That's the law. Sorry, but materials don't matter.

    Will they? That's up for debate. If they (or their lawyers) think you're up to potentially damaging activities, you bet they will. And just because our compadre here on this forum hasn't yet been served with a Cease and Desist order from Disney, doesn't mean it isn't coming or that he isn't under investigation. I don't personally know.

  13. Telly

    Telly Well-Known Member

    I still don't get why you don't crack down on the people on this board who make replicas for themselves. Shouldn't you be telling this stuff to them as well? From what you're telling me, it's my understanding that they're not following the law by making them for their own personal enjoyment.
  14. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    Then you didn't read my posts.

    "...companies tend to overlook it if there's no real money changing hands. They think about it as "fan activities" that help maintain the popularity of the property. We aren't engaging that issue here. That's a matter of good will on the part of the company."

    If someone commits a crime against you and you conciously decide to not press charges, the crime is mitigated. That's why.

    And that has been the prevailing attitude of most (though not all) companies who hold the rights to certain entertainment properties. If the fans aren't making money off it, the damage is next to nil, so they ignore it. Its their choice. It's their good will towards harmless activities that actually help perpetuate the popularity of their business.

    If the fans ARE making profit, or are conciously attempting to do so, THEN it is a cause for legal concern. And more often than not, they'll investigate and stop it.

    See the difference?

  15. Mistersuperstar

    Mistersuperstar Well-Known Member

    Gordon, if I was being ripped-off by somebody stealing my ideas or work I would sort it out myself and NOT cry and expect everyone else to do it for me. It's a cruel world but everybody needs to take control of their own lives and their own actions. It's dog eat dog. Basically, it's Disney's or Master Replicas problem to sort these people out NOT mine.
  16. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    I understand what you're saying, but you're assuming several things:

    1) Disney, Henson, Sesame Workshop, and Master Replicas are omniscient and always aware that they're being ripped off when it happens and by whom.

    2) That good will and concern for others is dead.

    3) That everyone knows that this sort of activity is illegal.

    4) That you're being asked to actively do something other than NOT purchase bootleged or unlicensed product when it has been identified as such.

    Disney has established an anti-piracy email and telephone hotline for well-meaning people to report suspected infringements. Ample evidence that they are not omniscient.

    Part of the whole message brought to us by the Muppets, Sesame Street, the Fraggles, etc. is that we SHOULD respect and care about each other and be of good will to others. If all that is dead, then why even hang out here?

    The continued posts on this forum from people who obviously don't understand copyrights, trademarks, and intellectual property show very clearly that not everyone is informed about what's legal and what's not.

    All I'm asking of anyone is to understand and acknowledge the rights currently owned over the Muppets by Disney, Henson Inc., Sesame Workshop. I'm not asking anyone to report, cajole, harass, pick on, point at, or otherwise negatively interact with those who do infringe. If someone decides to report those who are infringing, that's up to them entirely.

  17. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

  18. Kevin the Frog

    Kevin the Frog Well-Known Member

    You won't find me arguing that it is not copyright infrigement to sell replica Muppet puppets. I think if some kind sole were to sell a replica for cost it may be questionable, but unless you have a close relative who is an expert puppet builder that's probably never gonna happen.

    I think what Telly meant or should have asked is, why don't you report the mp3 traders, youtube posters, Steve at muppet cast and any other individual or group who is trading or distributing Muppet music / video / pictures / etc?

    If this copyright issue is as important to you as it sounds, then why not go after the largest number of Muppet copyright violators, and not one or two people selling replicas on ebay who are probably less than 1% of the violators. The respect, goodwill and concern should be for the Muppets as a whole, shouldn't it?
  19. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    Just because I can't solve the whole problem, just because I'm not reporting everybody for everything... that makes what I'm doing somehow questionable?

    I appreciate the fact that you think I have the wherewithall to go about reporting people for every last instance. You know that such a thing is impractical and preposterous or you wouldn't have suggested it.

    In explaining the facts... helping people to understand IP rights, helping them to clear away the spurious urban legends about it, I'm doing more than most. Please don't think to accuse me of doing too little. I'm not accepting the role of villain here because I'm not eliminating all the problems in the world.

    But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't do what I can when I can. In my opinion, we all should.

    For better or worse, I have stepped into the middle of this one. So this is where I have decided to try to make my difference.

  20. Teenager's

    Teenager's Well-Known Member

    Also MuppetCast is a Fan website, just like this one. Any Copyrighted music is allowed to be played/featured so long as the clip is ONLY 30 seconds long. So MuppetCast doesn't really fit into this debate....in my opinon

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