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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. Muppet Central and MuppetCast both play full songs, not just 30 second clips. Fan site or no fan site, that would be copyright infringement as far as I know. Podcast owners struggle to find original music that is good to use on their shows (intros, outros, etc), because they can't use copyrighted music.

    Gordon, I'm not trying to imply that you are doing too little to fight against Muppet copyright violation. I just was keeping the discussion going, and seeing if you are against all types of muppet copyright violation. I assume you never watch muppet youtube videos, listen to muppet radio, download muppet mp3s, copy muppet dvds or vhs tapes, listen to muppet cast podcasts, photocopy pages from a muppet book, quote muppet related full articles from a newspaper or magazine website to another website, upload muppet pictures to another website, etc.

    I think the point I have made is a valid one. It is not only muppet replica builders that are violating copyrights. (No suggestion here that others breaking the law makes it OK for anyone else to do so.)

    I do find it a bit amusing that you are only speaking up against the smallest percentage of copyright violators (a couple muppet replica buliders) versus the already mentioned large group of copyright violators (us fans!). But you have the right to pick and choose your fights, and as an excellent puppet builder yourself, I can appreciate the fight you chose.

    Still, if we're going to "enforce" or comply with one law (muppet replicas) we should "enforce" them all . . . we can't pick and choose!
  2. muppetperson Well-Known Member

    For God's sake.Soon we wont even be able to watch The Muppets on our own DVDs because we are watching other people's ideas.They were made to be shared.They allow for fan activity.The line is determining what is Fan activity and what is profiteering.Muppetcentral and Muppetcast are fan activities.
  3. Fan sites have google adwords to make money....or sell merchandise....or link as affiliates to online stores.....or subscriptions to online radio playing copyrighted music.... how much of a profit is arguable, but there is money exchanging hands. And it's money generated from copyrighted stuff.

    I'm trying to make the point that it doesn't stop with the replicas when discussing copyrights. Or when watching or listening to the muppets via less than legal methods.

    p.s. As I hope you can tell, I have no intention of reporting anyone for any copyright violation (never would), I'm just making observations.
  4. muppetperson Well-Known Member

    The ads pay for running costs, not the material itself.Now, I am walking away from this.
  5. Sounds similar to the muppet replica builders fee paying for their costs? (time and expense) As suggested on here, a real Kermit would cost $10,000 so $400 - $500 for a replica Kermit seems like covering costs only. I tried walking away several times from this train wreck! You'll be back!
  6. spcglider Member

    You know what? I don't. And that's the honest truth. I don't spend much time at all on the internet except for in forums like this one and for reasearch for work. I don't have internet access at home by choice.

    For the reasons above, I don't know much about the whole illicit MP3 trade or who's involved. Were it not for a casual search one day on eBay for "professional puppet", I wouldn't even know that anyone was replicating Muppet characters.
    I agree. But I would have assumed that since this is a fan site, that such would be stated in the rules of the forum. "No illegal trading of copyrighted materials" and the like. If it's not, it should be.

    -G
  7. spcglider Member

    I agree.

    But the person who is at the center of this rolling question defends their activities with the self-same argument. Claiming to be a fan simply making "interpretations" of the characters.

    Fan activities are often considered to fall under the "fair usage" clause. But I don't think making replicas an selling them does.

    -G
  8. spcglider Member

    First, his prices are upwards of $800 to $1000 for a Kermit. MUCH more for Piggy. Second, a "real" Kermit is produced in the controlled environment of the Muppet Workshop by people who get paid much more for their skills than this person is. Not in someone's dining room or basement. The real Muppet puppets cost more because there are literally hundreds if not thousands of hours of development and research in each one. It's called "overhead costs" and the price reflects that.

    There's no difference between what this person is doing and somebody making cheaper knock-off Rolex watches and selling them for $100 on a streetcorner.

    Now, I'm not saying this person does shoddy work. So don't go there. You know the difference I'm talking about.

    -Gordon
  9. Telly Active Member

    I can see how selling the replica would be illegal if the seller is making a profit. But if they don't make any profit off it, I don't see why they can't sell one.

    To me, it's no different than buying a cd, ripping it onto your computer, and then burning a copy to keep and listen to in your car. Shouldn't you have to buy another copy if you want to keep one in your car?

    Kevin the Frog is pretty much sayin what I've been trying to I guess.
  10. Telly Active Member

    Some people like name-brand merchandise and some don't. Sorry...that's supposed to be a joke to lighten the mood. :p

    This brings something else to my mind....
    How can eBay be legal AT ALL? What I'm getting from this conversation is that these people are breaking the law by making a profit off something that they don't hold the liscense to?

    Say Joe bought a $2.00 Matchbox car at Wal-Mart. If he sells it on eBay for $3.00 (plus s&h), isn't he technically breaking the law? He's making a dollar profit on something that isn't his.
  11. It's down to the fact that copyright is there to protect the creator of whatever the copyright is holding. If the person who created something and then copyrights the idea, it is up to the person themselves to make sure that their idea isn't being stolen and if it is, to report it to the appropriate authorities. Most of the people using this forum have broken some kind of copyright law whether it is downloading a copyrighted picture, downloading an MP3 file (if you have been to Sylinde Bren's "Muppet Music" site), if you have ever borrowed a VHS or DVD movie or CD from a friend, if you have ever uploaded a video that you haven't made yourself to YouTube or another video host or if you have recorded something that was on TV and kept it for longer than 1 week.
  12. Bear Man Member

    There are provisions within copyright law that allows for back-up copies and copies for just this sort of reason to be be made (dependent on your country of residence)

    Joe is re-selling merchandise he owns. His dollar profit IS on something that is his, a physical piece of property. If he were to cast the car and sell copies of it, for any price, he is breaking the law, since he is profiting from research, development, and design that is not his.

    The arguments about mp3 and YouTube etc are (surprise, surprise) going around in circle. Kevin the Frog, no one is arguing that others aren't breaking copyrights, and I've said myself that I think the trading of mp3s that go on on this board is wrong. But just becasue one form of copyright violation is tolerated on this board doesn't mean that it's ok - and I'm talking about ANY copyright violation. I don't know how Muppet Radio gets away with playing these songs - they might have an agreement with Henson/Sesame/Disney, they might be blatently breaking copyright, there may be some legal loopholes that allow it. Copyright law is exceptionally complex, there are provisions around fair use, parody, etc. I don't think that anyone here knows the full intricacies, even copyright lawyers aren't sure of them (which is why there is legal action between Google/YouTube and various entertainment companies - each believe they are within their rights). I think what we can all agree though, is that it is very clear that selling copies of a copyrighted property is prohitbited under the law.The distribution of a copyrighted property without a license is illegal. It doesn't matter whether you are making a profit, loss, or breaking even. That's why this thread frustrates me so much - it's not a discussion, merely people restating the same things over and over (myself included!)
  13. It's occured to me that even out Avatar's are breaking some copyright policy. Using an edited and copyrighted image without the consent of the licence holder.
  14. spcglider Member

    Well, right there you have the crux of the sitaution.

    Joe bought the car. He bought a brand-name item and has re-sold it as that self-same item. No problem. That's the passing of tangible property.

    If Joe had bought the materials, tooled up a mold, manufactured a car, and sold his fake car under the name "Matchbox", he'd be breaking the law.

    If Joe had bought the materials, tooled up a mold, manufactured a REPLICA of an existing Matchbox car, and sold his rip-off car under the name "Matchbox", he'd be breaking the law.

    What you're talking about above is commerce. It's what every retailer does every day. They buy from a wholesaler and mark up the price and sell to a consumer.

    What we're talking about is making fake items that appear to be the real thing or "steal" a copyrighted design.

    If Joe had manufactured HIS OWN design and sold it under the name "Joe's Toy Cars", he's be creating HIS OWN copyrighted, trademarked intellectual property. And if the Matchbox company tried to copy his designs, HE could sue THEM for IP infringement.

    -G
  15. But how about if he used the same design as the original "Matchbox" but didn't advertise it using the "Matchbox" name, is he still breaking the law? In other words, this guy who is creating rip-off Muppet relicas, if he created an exact replica of a Muppet but didn't advertise it as a Muppet but gave it his own name, would he still be breaking the law?
  16. JHartnow New Member

    Avatar's for sale...

    Not unless you are trying to sell your avatar, Mister. It's okay, though...I know that grasping copyright law, infraction and infringement can be super stressful. There is much at stake when judging other people's ethics and moral viewpoints. The great thing about this nation is that we're the land of the free. The bad thing about this nation is that we're the land of the free. Sorry, Sam. :attitude:
  17. spcglider Member

    Being from the UK, your copyright and trademark laws may differ from those of the US.

    Now, if our replicator of Muppets was living in, say, Singapore this all would be for nothing. American IP laws are NOT international. And many foreign nations do not officially recognize them.

    And you are completely correct, Mistersuperstar. All of the above is illegal.

    But just because one person breaks the law doesn't mae it okay for another to do so. And just because we cannot possibly address or solve the problem of copyright infringement on all fronts and in all cases simultaneously does not preclude us from doing the right thing when we can.

    -G
  18. Okay, pretend this guy lives in Singapore, if someone in the US decided to buy one of his replicas and have it sent to himself in the US, who would be commiting the crime?
  19. But how far can each of us be expected to go out of our way to prevent these things from happening? It would be like individuals policing the streets because the Police can't cope with all the work. I wouldn't expect somebody else to do my job, that I get paid for, just because they liked me.
  20. spcglider Member

    The rights that Disney owns over the Muppets include their liknesses. Or any likeness that a normally ignorant observer would mistake for the original. And that would be a decision for a court to make. But when the replicator proudly represents his "product" as being so very similar in appearance to the original, it's not too much of a decision.

    In answer: yes. He's breaking the law even if he calls it "The famous green frog variety show host" or "The comedian Bear". He'd be breaking the law even if he called them "Puppets of no particular copyrighted character".

    -Gordon
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