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  • #29587
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    If I publish a set of rules and include photographs of figures do I need the permission of the manufacturer(s) before I can use them in my publication?

    #29589
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Legal advice is worth what you pay for it.

     

    Mine is, credit the manufacturer (Figures by Nekkid Women Productions, Painted by Perversion to you doorstep) and all will be ok.

     

    Please ask for paypal details if you have found this useful.

    #29593
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    It’s an interesting question.

    I suspect figures are protected by copyright. If that is the case, then legally, you would need the manufacturer’s permission. Giving credit would not, in and of itself, be sufficient to make it legal.

    That said, if figures are protected by copyright, every blogger that has ever posted photos of figures online has also broken the law unless they got permission from the manufacturer first. I’ve never heard of anyone being sued over it, though.

    Military history author
    Website : Twitter : Facebook

    #29594
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I think it would fall under fair use and you would be ok*
    Otherwise things like photos of clothes, cars, buildings, doors, street lamps could also be a violation of copyright.
    After all, any design is someone’s intellectual property.

    *Assuming you don’t claim they are your design or in anyway misrepresent them.

    #29597
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    I think it would fall under fair use and you would be ok*

    The UK doesn’t have a fair use provision (the US does). In the UK, it’s illegal to rip a CD to MP3 to play on your MP3 player. Remember when people taped albums to listen to them in the car or on a walkman? That was also illegal in the UK. Of course, people have been doing it for years, but it’s still illegal.

    This is where things can get hideously complicated. Which jurisdiction will apply? If it’s the US, then as you say, fair use would probably apply. If it’s the UK, there’s no such thing 🙁

    Otherwise things like photos of clothes, cars, buildings, doors, street lamps could also be a violation of copyright.
    After all, any design is someone’s intellectual property.

    Well, in Germany, “A 2013 Federal Court of Justice ruling expanded copyright protections to apply to elaborately arranged food, making it the artistic property of its creator. That means that anyone wanting to post a pic of the work of culinary art may have to ask permission first.” link

    Military history author
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    #29602
    Cameronian
    Participant

    I don’t think any sensible manufacturer would prosecute a blogger simply for posting pics of their figures and giving them credit.  Any publicity is good publicity, especially when it’s free.  It must be a real boost for the makers who don’t provide illustrations of their figures on their own sites!

    'The time has come" The walrus said. "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

    #29603
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    I don’t think any sensible manufacturer would prosecute a blogger simply for posting pics of their figures and giving them credit.

    I’ve never heard of it happening, and I’d be amazed if it did happen. For the OP, though, I’d suggest contacting the manufacturers. I think it’s very unlikely they’ll say you can’t use photos of their figures, but they might be able to provide professional photos, or help in some other way.

    Military history author
    Website : Twitter : Facebook

    #29605
    Patrice
    Participant

    If manufacturers were to prosecute anyone who posts AARs with pictures of their miniatures, there wouldn’t be many miniatures forums still alive on the web. I would say the same about pictures of miniatures in rulesets.

    What could perhaps be a problem would be: doing it in a twisted way that could make people believe that the miniatures have been designed to suit your rules. But pics of mixed minis from different manufacturers, honestly included in the rules, should not raise any problem I think.

    I’ve put pictures in my own rules and nobody complained yet.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #29610
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Why stop at figures? If IP can extend ownership and copyright/trademark protection to miniature figurines, why not scale models, buildings, trees, wagons, wood piles, roads, rivers, terrain mats, flocking, etc.? Taking photos of copyrighted objects should not be legally constrained because the photo is not a copy of the object but rather different representation of many different objects for illustration purposes. Photos in AAR’s would likely fall under the protection of ‘fair-use’ for purposes of critical review. Photos of miniatures for rules should be allowed if the photos are of painted figures as such figures have been ‘enhanced’ and ‘altered’ by the skill and efforts of the painter and are thus no longer the sole property of the figure manufacturer anymore. After all if I take a picture of a kitchen table which I myself have made do I have to get the permission of the Robertson Screw patent holder whose screws are visible as part of and which hold the table together the table? No, that is absurd. So as long as the figures have been improved and have had value added by the skill and labour of others then the photos should be allowed without the need for permission and citation.

    Is a scale model which accurately portrays an object such as a 17th Century ship of the line or a WW II tank, a work of art or craft which is copyright protected or just a copy? If it is an accurate miniature model then it is just a scaled down copy of a pre-existing design and therefore could it be copyrighted/trademarked? The whole realm of IP scope, span and longevity is arguably out of control and perhaps should be rolled back. If I take a calligraphy set and write down the letter “A” in a unique and flourished style, can I copyright the letter “A”? So why can someone copyright or trademark a figurine or scale model which copies a pre-existing image? If the figure is a genuinely new figure, say an alien life-form or a Xiktagu Space Marine, then a case can be made for copyright protection, but if it is an accurate representation of an historical and pre-existing image such as an Austrian Grenz or a British Royal Marine Commando then in my mind there is no grounds for copyright as it is not a creative work but a copy of an existing image.

    If one argues that such copies are copyright protected because the producer used skill or craft to produce the figurine or model and gave the figurine a unique and new character of its own, then I would argue that by that same logic a person could buy pre-existing figures, file a few new features or green-putty a few novel changes, and then make all the copies he/she wants to this new and unique figure or model, claiming it as their own.

    IP law is increasingly being used to ‘enclose’ what used to be in the common domain, in order to commoditize things which would otherwise have very little commercial value and to inflate that commercial value by restraint of others entering the market as competitors. Now some will argue that this is neccisary to promote the creation of new and better miniatures and to allow the commercial viability of the business of figure manufacturing and commerce. I would argue that the figure art/craft/business did very well before IP laws expanded their pervue rapidly and extensively in the 1980’s and that the recent success of open-source gaming and computer software show that such over-reaching IP protection is not really needed. All such laws due is protect inflated profits and impose unnecessary costs on consumers.

    Perhaps it is time to reconsider the scope, span and longevity of IP protection for figurines and models especially in a world with crowd funding and return the hobby’s life blood to inspired armatures rather than commercial professionals? This may frighten and disturb those in the commercial end of this hobby but it is still worth discussion IMHO.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #29611
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I can’t speak to legality, but generally I’d consider it good form to contact the manufacturer before  printing a book with any of their figures in it, and to give credit bylines where due. I can’t see how it would hurt to ask, and avoid wrangling about it after the fact. Wouldn’t take long to have that conversation and it would avoid headaches and so on, and make for a very non-confrontational solution without falling immediately on the excruciating minutiae of copyright legislation.

    #29635

    You own the figures you can do what you like with them.

    #29639
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    Thanks for the comments. The figures I’ll be using for to illustrate game mechanics and to give flavor are, for the most part, significantly altered from the originals (in some cases barely recognizable as the parent figure).

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