April 17th, 2008


Just FYI

If I hear one more person say "It's perfectly legal to make your own art/stories/costumes/other copy of a copyrighted character, so long as you're not doing it for profit" I am going to SCREAM.

It's not.
Not flipping legal.

There are two ways in which it is legal to copy a copyrighted character. 1. It's a case that falls under "fair use" which means you are copying it to discuss, parody, critique, study, etc. 2. You have been given permission by the copyright owner.

Those are the ONLY CASES EVER, okay? If you do not have permission, THEN YOU CAN'T USE IT. There is no law that says "If you're not making money, you can copy copyrighted stuff in any way you please." Okay? NO SUCH LAW.

Some owners have given their fans blanket permission to use their work for non commercial purposes. But just because Mercedes Lackey has said her fans have her permission to make Valdemar fan art doesn't mean that making Harry Potter fan art is okay. It doesn't work like that, so quit telling me it does. (I'm fairly certainly Rowling has also given blanket permission, but I KNOW of some authors who HAVE sued their own fans over making fan art. It has happened, so don't assume it won't, go find out.)

Breaking copyright on art for personal use rather than for profit means three things:
1. You're less likely to get caught at it.
2. The copyright owner may not bother to sue you, since you're not directly harming their income, and
3. If you do get sued, you won't be fined as much money when* you lose as you would have been if you'd been doing it for profit.

These things don't make it legal. They make it possible to get away with it most of the time, but just because most of the time you're not driving past a speed trap, that doesn't make speeding legal!

Sheesh. If you want to take the risk, feel free. Plenty of people do, and they usually don't get in trouble. But for the love of small furry things, quit telling me that it's legal when it's not!

(Pardon my recent spate of ranty posts. I'm under a great deal of personal stress just now, so it's sort of leaking out in the form of a total lack of patience with things like this.)

*I say "when" because the only cases I have ever heard of where the infringer beat a copyright lawsuit are cases involving music, which is an entirely different area of copyright law. If you have drawn a million Lion King characters, and Disney takes you to court, what exactly is your defense going to be? They're obviously characters belonging to Disney, you obviously didn't have permission to use them, so what are you going to say? "But I never made any money doing it" doesn't get you anywhere, legally speaking, so if that's your only argument, you will lose the suit. And "But I changed this one's hair to green, he's my own original character now" also doesn't hold water. Sorry. The "change it 10%" rule is as much of a myth as the "personal use is okay" rule. If somebody looks at it and goes "Looks like Simba" then you're screwed. You have to change something enough that it's no longer recognizable as the original in order to be legal, and once you've done that it's no longer copying, is it? It's just inspiration. Like the Fizzkit.
http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/dark/fizzgig.jpg <--Fizzgig
http://sparkcostumes.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=106&pos=9 <--Fizzkit
You're going to look at the Fizzkit and go "that kind of reminds me of Fizzgig" but you're not going to go "That IS Fizzgig" because Fizzgig didn't have a tail, or ears, and did have a nose, and was rounder, and... etc. Taking inspiration is fine. Copying isn't. End of story. So the next person who tells me it's legal to break copyright for personal use is going to get whapped upside the head with a haddock.
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Looonakit sale the second!

Recent events, which you all probably don't care that much about, but which involve something I heard on the internet and actually had confirmed in person by a genuine expert yesterday, have created a situation where I could really stand to have some cash right now. And by "cash" I don't just mean money, I mean cash. Ones, tens, twenties, hundreds, in my little hands, ready to spend in an untraceable fashion. (No, I'm not buying drugs. Or anything else illegal. If you really want to know, I'll explain.)

Anyhow.... Since my last Loonakit sale was such a success, since I've finished all but one of the sale Loonakits (well, all but two, but one of those is an orphan payment, so I've no idea what I'm supposed to be making! If you ordered a Loonakit and sent me a check, without anything on it other than your address and "for the loonakit", please drop me a line, I have no idea who you are) and since a couple of people have said they're sad they missed the sale the first time around, I'm having another one! Slightly different terms though.

Pay me in cash, get 25% off of any Loonakit.
This deal is good for one week.
We have to agree on the details of your Loonakit, and the final price within seven days, however since payment needs to come by snail mail, you have up to a month to send it to me.
Loonakits should be finished and shipped within two weeks of my receiving payment.
As mailing coins is a bad idea, please round off any totals to even dollar amounts.

If there is enough interest, I may also extend this to tails, so if you would buy a tail with this deal, please let me know.

This deal is also extended to everything in my sales gallery*, including tails, orphan Loonakits, gemstones, spheres, tumbled stones, etc. Shipping prices are still the same though. Sales gallery can be found here: http://www.sparkcostumes.com/gallery/index.php?cat=4 (No, this is not retroactive on anything you've already claimed as yours. Yes you can claim something now and pay for it later, but it does need to be within a month, and with cash.)

To give you an idea of what 25% off means, the normal custom made character loonakits, which are usually priced at $25, would now be $19. The cheapest random Loonakits, normally $15, are now $11. The deluxe Tissavel fur Lynxakits, normally $40, are now $30, and the super-deluxe complex character Loonakits, such as the Cthulakit, which were $60 are now $45.

*P.S. For the gem and stone lovers reading: I've added a TON of new gems, and a bunch of spheres and things, including a large moonstone egg in the sphere section, and moonstone mini-spheres, as well as tiger iron, golden orange calcite, and picasso jasper.
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