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Would creating a fursuit for a customer with markings in tribute to David Bowie be of any legal concern? The most key marking would mimic the image below. The suit would also have red hair and rainbow stripes.

(a link in case the pic does not show up https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/d8/43/45/d84345c5ad39626539320264625cb410.jpg )

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2016 02:40 am (UTC)
If I understand copyright and trademark laws correctly, so long as you don't actually use anything of Bowie's that falls in either category, you should be fine. I can't remember their name, but there's a member of this community who is very well versed in these types of matters, so hopefully they drop by and let you know, since I'm mostly going on guesswork.
Jan. 20th, 2016 06:22 am (UTC)
Sableantelope I imagine.

BC I'm not a law man, but it's such a small part of his characters 'costume' that I don't think replicating it would cause you any grief.
Jan. 20th, 2016 12:18 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, Sable is who I was thinking of!
Jan. 20th, 2016 12:38 pm (UTC)
Because it's just his iconic lightning bolt and nothing more, it sounds alright. On a personal level, it would be a bit creepy if the client wanted a fursuit that replicated the entirety of David Bowie.

I've seen fursuits based off of ALIVE people (Gerard Way, Bilbo Baggins from LOTR and someone else from a band I don't listen to). It's a little weird, at least to me, to show your love for a certain person by basing the entirety of a furry costume off them.
Jan. 20th, 2016 03:45 pm (UTC)
There is a registered trademark applying to clothing, but just for the name "David Bowie"; I don't see one for the symbol. So… don't call it David Bowie? I don't see use of it implying that David Bowie or his heirs and assigns made the suit; and clearly he isn't in it, either. (Incidentally, use of the name Ziggy Stardust for entertaining services is also protected.)

As a piece of art it'd arguably be under copyright, so I wouldn't want to print shirts with it on. But sewing something that resembled it? I guess you could still argue that the art was separable from the function, but I'd be surprised if anyone came after you for a one-off. Now, if you were churning out MLP…

Edited at 2016-01-20 04:03 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
From a legal standpoint I was thinking the same thing but didn't have any examples or links, these are wonderful to bookmark for later.

It could also be taken as a simple marking on a character's face for those who aren't aware of Bowie and his persona Ziggy Stardust.
Jan. 20th, 2016 04:42 pm (UTC)
One thing I forgot was that the Berne Convention didn't apply in the USA until March 1989 - they had the UCC instead, which required registration and the use of ®. Aladdin Sane was created in 1973, so any protection might differ significantly between the UK and the USA. (FWIW I didn't see the symbol in the UK TM DB, though again Ziggy Stardust is registered throughout the EU.)

The bolt has clearly been used by others, probably not under license. I think at this point it's gone beyond acting as a trademark for the entertainment work of a particular person.
Jan. 22nd, 2016 03:38 am (UTC)
My personal thought was that since it is a fursuit and not a human-type costume, it would be covered under parody.
Jan. 23rd, 2016 12:21 am (UTC)
It actually reminded me of Rainbow Dash cutie mark: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/5/5a/FANMADE_Rainbow_Dash_Cutie_Mark.png/revision/latest?cb=20131012230109

But I believe just doing a generic zig-zag shouldnt be a problem.
Jan. 23rd, 2016 07:12 am (UTC)
Nah, you're fine. It's a generic zig-zag with generic colours, even if it is fairly iconic. There are loads of suits with the Monster energy drink logo, for example, that haven't run into any copyright problems (that I know of).

It'd be rather like getting the Pepsi symbol tattooed on your arm.
Jan. 30th, 2016 03:33 am (UTC)
It'd be rather like getting the Pepsi symbol tattooed on your arm.

One of CM Punk's tattoo is the Pepsi symbol :P

Jan. 30th, 2016 03:39 am (UTC)
Lmao, yes. That's actually who I was thinking of.
Jan. 30th, 2016 08:11 pm (UTC)
A legitimate concern. There was that guy who sued the makers of the Hangover movie sequels because a character got a copy of Mike Tyson's tattoo (they met him in the first film), not knowing the artist had copyrighted the design Tyson used.

But that was a film.

My "totally not a lawyer" opinion would be to consider cosplayers. They use trademarked characters and designs, but it's also clear they aren't claiming to have created those characters/designs.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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