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tacrowl
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Quote:
On 2008-06-02 18:34, Winks wrote:
You guys all need to talk to a copyright lawyer.

Winks,
You make very valid points even without being a lawyer, and I had some of those thoughts too - but I don't think the legal avenue is required here. First, with a project like mine, there isn't that much money involved - so I won't spend it.

The maker(s) aren't asking me to drop their figure(s) and change my advertising - I am electing to do that because I disagree with the policy. My feeling, even if not a legal one, is that when I pay for a professional prop, had it customized and paid for those options, that I should be able to use it in a professional setting to earn my living - stage or video. If I can't, why use it or promote the maker's product at all?

I respect Steve and his business. He has an excellent product and excellent customer service. Axtell helped me with a fast turn around on a puppet that needed repair, so I could have it in time for a showcase. It is doubtful I will purchase any more from him because, as he stated above, his company also has this policy. A shame, because I really wanted one of his new animatronic figures.

By raising awareness of the issue and discussing it, we will help other vents. magicians and puppeteers make informed buying decisions. If people know about this issue and feel strongly enough about it, the puppet makers may change their structure to meet the concern. If people don't care or it doesn't apply to them, at least they are informed.

In the case with Wanlu, who is following the thread as both performer and maker, he will have a chance to see how customers feel and create his policies and pricing to reflect their needs.

The key is we can all respect each others view, have an intelligent discussion about it and work things out without courts and lawyers, while hopefully remaining friends.
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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chris mcbrien
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Thanks to Steve Axtell (one of the few figure makers that are actually clear..at least that I"ve found...about the rights with their characters) for responding! I think Steve is VERY fair in his legal treatments. I understand protecting the character itself. I use a few other characters by other makers that I wish had such simple, outlined policies! Again, I'm grateful for the puppet makers, but as you go down life's road and work your way up the ladder (and as your schedule gets busier) the last thing you need is a blurry definition of what you can do and then surprising you later...THIS was what I worry about. Some kind of HIDDEN thing that you have no idea about until they see you on TV (I've only been on TV a few times as of yet). Then, a "very special" phone call.
Thanks for taking your time, Steve!
Winks...learned a LOT from your post. Very appreciated information.
Steve's stuff makes sense, as does Winks. Hopefully this will save me some trouble in the future!!!
C
Neale Bacon
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I know that when I bought puppets from Pavlov's I was told - they are yours to use as you like, whereever you like. That's one thing that sold me, so 3 of my main characters are Pavlov's and the 4th was made by another maker who makes and sells puppets to support his church ministry, He told me the same thing.

For me if there is any restriction my use of a puppet, I will simply shop elsewhere.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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Ony Carcamo
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As a performer (and a part-time figuremaker as well), I also can't understand why makers restrict their clients re the use of the puppets THEY HAVE BOUGHT.

That's why I love old and antique figures. Apart from being unique (or not mass produced), they can be used without restrictions... as their makers are not living anymore.

I've appeared on national television with my 90 year-old Mack figure... and I have no doubt NOBODY will sue me!

Ony
Ony Carcamo
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tacrowl
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Quote:
On 2008-06-02 23:34, Neale Bacon wrote:
I know that when I bought puppets from Pavlov's I was told - they are yours to use as you like, whereever you like. That's one thing that sold me,


Neale,
I agree, Pavlovs rock. I wanted to create a T-Shirt for BOR sales using my duck character. I found an artist to do the artwork and I got full rights to use the art any way I want. I contacted Ivan to make sure he would have no problem with it and he said "Go Ahead!". Since the image is of their duck, I would have thought it would be more of an issue than using a character on a video. Not so. Legal problems are easily avoided when you have written permission from the maker.

Pavlovs has an excellent product, excellent customer service and no strings attached.

BTW - You can now sleep with DANGEROUS - only $12.95 per shirt! I expect to have them on my site by the end of June.
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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olivertwist
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Tacrowl,

This thread has been an eye-opener. I had no idea certain figure makers restricted use of their puppets in videos. This will certainly be a factor in my decision on future purchases. I guess I won't spring for a bighead, Selberg, or a hands-off puppet any time soon.

Though I'm a small-time local performer, I don't want to risk developing an act only to find out later that the figure maker wants an extra piece of the procedes.

Oliver
tacrowl
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Oliver, glad you found the info interesting. I will not dispute any makers right that wants to charge a fee - but if we can use a product that does not - I for one will move in that direction. I'm not a name act - but I don't want to risk problems either.
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Billy Sobe
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To the vents here:

I'm going to start making vent figures to sell. I have been told that I should copyright my figures. But the only thing I'm worried about is dolls and figurines, stuff like that being made of my creations that is just something I'm not cool with. I wouldn't care if you used my vent figures in photo's, DVDs, etc. But would it be a big deal for you to include my name somewhere on the photos and DVDs?

Would this stop any of you from buying from me?

I'd really appreciate your input.

Thanks,
Billy
tacrowl
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Billy -
Copyrighting the figure so people can't reproduce and sell them is fine. Allowing the purchaser to use the figure to make a living is important. I've never seen puppet copyrights on promo photos or performer brochures before - maybe I just haven't noticed - but certainly credit should be given on a DVD. I even offered to create a contact screen with web site and address. It is a two way street, we support your business by purchasing and help promote your products through use, if you support us by allowing us to earn a living. I think you'll do fine - and by the way, I've seen pics of your work. You do a great job.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd also like to thank another one of my puppet makers - Mike over at Imagination & Dreams. He created my Percival The Pirate. I had e-mailed Mike about using the figure and he took some time getting back to me because he wanted to check with his former partner. He told me, "You bought him, you use him, he's yours!"

In case you haven't seen Percival, (He's on my site) Mike did a wonderful job customizing him for me, making sure he had the eyes, hair, costuming and hat I wanted, he even added a plume. I did change the hook hand, but it was easy because Mike makes his puppets so well. The figure has great character and a lot of dimension - people love him as soon as he comes on stage.

If you are looking for a puppet you can really "use" - I recommend you check out his site at: http://www.santaletter.org/PUPPETS.html

Thanks Mike!
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Billy Sobe
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Tacrowl-Thanks for your input and the compliment on my figures, wait to you see my newest one (This one is a dream come true for me)

I know how you all feel about the copyright problems, but I do feel that the figure maker deserves credit for his or her work. I have always felt bad for all the great figure makers who did not get credit for their figures back then. For some reason a lot of people always think that the ventriloquist made their figures.

I don't mind pictures, DVDs, etc., after all that goes with your job. I want to see my figures put to good use and enjoyed by everyone.

Billy
Doug Higley
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Billy take this with a grain of salt if you will...but I have made sideshow exhibits for many years. I have never put my name on one of them or had it known who made them by anyone but the buyer. Over time my way of doing things became well known and many can tell when it's one of mine or not. I have developed a reputation and following far beyond what I ever dreamed of or beyond anyone else doing this sort of stuff. I withheld my name from the exhibits for the sake of the buyer...to have something mysterious. They appreciated that and my ego was never such that it needed more than just the thanks of a buyer who bought one of my pieces. They have been seen and wondered at by many many millions of people, not a single one of them knowing it was art work by me...and if they did know it would lessen the impact of the piece. Inside myself, I get great pleasure to think that no other artist ever has had so many people pay an admission price just to peek at one of their works for a brief glance as they walk by.

If I gave advise it would be to put ego aside...do the best most original work you can...promote yourself, rather than have buyers do it, unless they volunteer to and you will become famous and well known and your ego whatever it is and if you have one will be satisfied to the hilt.

Serve your customers and patrons above all. What is credit? What is deserving credit? You deserve to be paid...you deserve appreciation from the buyer...you will most likely get word of mouth. Why turn anybody off from your wonderful work? Even after you get famous, bend over backwards and that rep will be so much more deserved because of your talent and skill, rather than credits from a printer. This is a small community...you will get known. It matters what you are known for.

:)

Looking forward to seeing your work!

Doug
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tacrowl
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I had that discussion today with a manufacturer. I can't imagine telling someone I made something that I didn't. I'm more than happy to direct people to the source. Like I said - it should be a two way street of us helping each other, that includes giving credit where credit is due.

Can't wait to see your latest!
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olivertwist
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Can you imagine a guitar player being told by Gibson that he must pay a media license fee in order to use the Gibson in videos? The figure is the same thing. It's an instrument!

While all the figure artists mentioned or implied are highly skilled, masters of their craft, there are alternatives. Nina Conti's success with her Monk puppet shows it's the performance that sells the act. If vents don't pay the fee, if they shop elsewhere soon there will be no more fee.
Billy Sobe
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Doug- you do sideshow exhibits, that's cool.

Ego has nothing to do with it for me. I didn't intend my posts to sound that way. I can understand how you feel about not putting your name on your work and I respect that. But for me, it is important, I spent all that time sculpting or carving it and that's how I like to finish it off.

Also it's important for the collectors this way they know they are buying the real deal.

Olivertwist- I thought I was the only one who thought figures are the same as instruments, I'm a Rickenbacker man myself.


Billy
olivertwist
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Billy,

I'm strictly acoustic fingerstyle. I play a handmade, Spanish, flamenco guitar.

I agree 100% that figure-makers should be credited for their creations, but everyone in the business can tell who made most of the figures out there. The general public won't have heard of them though.

In addition to considering figures to be instruments, I believe there should be 'standards' for vents to master and perform while learning the craft. A pro should create his/her own original material, but a beginner should have stock routines that are classics, to work with and master while developing his skill. Can you imagine if we demanded that piano players only play original music?
Wanlu
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Hey Billy,

I have seen your work...you rock.

I'd like to buy one of your figures... Smile

Thanks,

Wanlu
"The Old Path"
www.angdatingdaan.org

Wanlu's Affordable Puppets
http://wanlu.net/ventpuppets.html

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Doug Higley
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Billy...total agreement on that. I didn't mean not to have signature pieces or maker Identification...I was simply illustrating that it's not all that important to me in order to be credited so that you require the buyer to jump through hoops that they would rather not jump through. Collectors (numerous) have asked me to 'sign' my stuff but performers have not...I make my pieces for performers to use as tools.

I think we are mostly all on the same page on this and the market place will sort it out.
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Red Shadow
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Steve (Axtell) - I have a question.

I purchased the Axtell Drawing board and Chimp from a local magic auction. They are now currently used in my show. I have some great original routines with them, that I devised.
I am planning on producing a DVD to sell to other magicians, showing my routines along with my other puppet routines.
This doubt this DVD will not be released into supermarkets or high streets etc. It's sales will be mainly limited to my own website and eBay.

Since I bought these second hand, I had no knowledge of any media issues. The DVD is not targeted for public domain, just to help other magicians.

Am I allowed to use them in the video?

Steve
tacrowl
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Ku7uk3 makes an excellent point. He's never had contact with Axtell, having purchased second hand. He's not familiar with the media rights issue - so if he had created his DVD's - he would be open to legal action if the media rights held up in court.

Steve mentioned in his post that media rights heightened the cost of the product and since they didn't apply to everyone he didn't include them in the original purchase price. If he and others did, the rights would pass with the piece and the issue would be resolved.

Unfortunately, if the policy changes now and companies raise prices to compensate for media rights - what about all the people who had purchased product prior to the change? Do they then have to pay a fee to continue using the puppet - at which point you see people dropping puppets - or are they grandfathered in?

When I purchase a figure, if I want that piece, I pay the asking price. If the price is too high, I save enough to get it - or I now go to another source that provides full usage rights and I can afford the work.

I honestly believe the companies that charge this fee as an add on feature hadn't thought this through for the average customer. With video editing and authoring becoming accessible by computer, it is no longer the big budget venture of television and movie companies. The key is, we as their customers, the people who purchase, discuss and help promote their business, are important to their success.

I believe if we continue to raise attention to our concerns they will hear us and consider what we have to say. I personally appreciate Steve Axtell for coming here and stating his company policy. I know he will join us again when time permits. Billy & Wanlu have also voiced their thoughts. I hope that other figure makers will join us.



Quote:
On 2008-06-02 15:22, tacrowl wrote:
It actually came to light that permission might be required when the topic of Jeff Dunham re-creating Melvin & Sweet Daddy Dee came up. Jeff of course, much different scale - but apparently unwilling to share his success in that manner. I may be wrong, I do not know Jeff, only what I've read, so if you have other info and care to elaborate as to why that is a bad example, please feel free.

Public apology here. I received an e-mail on the above quote. I did not mean to imply that anyone was being greedy or the bad guy in the above statement. I thought, and apparently incorrectly, that either the figure makers had requested a high usage fee, or that legally there was a fear of lawsuit over the use of the characters. I was wrong and after reading the e-mail, I realized exactly how bad that sounded.

So, I apologize to Jeff, Kristin and Tim for getting that completely wrong. Thanks to the person who set me straight. I appreciate you telling me why that was a bad example. I'm truly sorry!
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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Neale Bacon
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To Billy,

I am not familiar with your work. Can you post a link or examples?
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
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