Copyright and Trademark Being Enforced

We’ve seen a number of commercial enterprises from tee shirt manufacturers to acting websites using things like the Cullen Crest, the Little Brown book cover images, or official PR photos of the actors to then represent or become a part of the product they sell. Typically, when the owner of the copyright/trademark (in this case Summit or Little Brown) discovers the unuathorized use of their intellectual property they issue a cease and desist (C&D) and the site/person generally speaking complies, everyone calls it a day and to quote Edward, “no blood, no foul.” Generally the party being handed the C & D has an inkling that what they were doing was either a gray area or actually over the line. They were just hoping not to get caught. So when the C & D lands in their lap they comply.

Summit has allowed individual creativity via CafePress, but there have been some stipulations. Certain products are off limits like calendars and journals. Certain images are off limits like photo stills from the movie, the Cullen Crest, book covers, etc. It’s an interesting approach, because many other movie studios are not that generous.  The studio that holds the franchise of a certain boy wizard have been notoriously vigorous in defending their intellectual property.

Here’s an interesting side note. In summer 2008 (prior to the Summit arrangement) the Lexicon had to do battle with CafePress. CafePress claimed our signature image of Bella and Edward were infringing on Stephenie Meyer’s rights. They refused to let us put that image on any products until we could prove to them that we had obtianed permission back in 2006 to do so. It was an interesting 2 weeks to say the least.

Well now it seems that Zazzle has gotten itself into trouble. According to Courthouse News, “Summit says it has pending copyrights on images such as the “Twilight” logo, the Cullen family crest and the phrase “Team Edward.” Zazzle has been selling products using those and other images since June 2008, the lawsuit states… Zazzle.com allegedly ignored two cease-and-desist letters — one in November 2008 and another in August 2009.”

So what does this mean for you, the fan? Here’s our sideline, armchair view. This isn’t formal legal advice, just opinion based on observation.  If you make something on CafePress that complies with the rules, you should be OK. If you make yourself, for personal use,  a Team Edward tee shirt at home with an iron-on of Rob’s face surrounded by apples, parrot tulips, ribbons, and chess pieces for you to wear to a convention no one is looking to bust you. However, if you try to mass produce that and sell it on Ebay or Zazzle, expect the C & D.

TY to Amanda Bell the Twilight Examiner for pointing out the Zazzle story.

Comments

  1. I can understand the Cullen crest and the actos images but for them to try and stake claim on Team Edward is ridiculous. They didn’t come up with that. The fans came up with that in reading the books.

    • Twilight_News says:

      It depends on who trademarks it. For example, “Got milk?” and “Just do it.” were trademarked and then others couldn’t use it. The phrases didn’t originate with the companies that tradmarked the phrase.

  2. There’s just one thing I don’t get: why is “Team Edward” copyrighted now? Wasn’t it an idea of the fanbase?! And then, there are a lot of Edward around, not only the one in Twilight…

  3. there’s no such thing as pending copyright – copyright protection is there from the moment the work is created. the article SHOULD be referring to TRADEMARK pending.

    • Twilight_News says:

      I’m directly quoting courthouse news. the error in terminology is theirs.

    • I see, so it’s a logotype, not the simple “Team edward” statement they’re talking about. Ok, now this makes a lot more sense.

    • Copyright has to be physically FILED by the person seeking it! It is NOT there from the moment the work is created!!!

      A smart person seeks copyright protection at the same time they create something or even BEFORE!!! NOT AUTOMATIC!!!

  4. guys, they’ve trademarked TEAM EDWARD – it would be close to impossible to trace who first came up with that. they’ve trademarked it or applied for it therefore they own it now.

  5. I would think that if anyone would be able to hold a copyright of team Edward, it would be brown – little. We had those tatoos in NM long before Summit was on board. – based on what the fans came up with. It is a. pending copyright, but I don’t think it matters who was the first to think something up, just first to file the papers.

  6. As a person who’s submitted thousands of patents for my company products,I can tell you that if you’re the first to legitimately claim a copyright then you can back date the copyright date for the first use in business which could be up to a few years prior. This has been the case in several products I’ve had to copyright.

  7. I need some advice then. I was going to have t-shirts made for the 30+ of us that are going as a group at midnight. What should I avoid, and what can I use? Do you think the t-shirt printer allow me to use anything to do with twilight? I’m not going to make a profit on them, but I wanted something nicer that the do it yourself route. We were also going to put our group name on the shirt as well. Any advice would be apprecciated.

    • Jayne from what is put up there, I would think you would be ok with anything. Since it states that anyone making a profit off of it. If you are not then you are in the clear. Who’s to say that each and everyone of you didn’t go individually and get them kwim? So I would go with what you have planned. They’re not going to be out to get you for your 30 shirts to wear at the movies. However don’t try to sell it to people, that’s where you get can get yourself in trouble. This is just my opinion from what I’ve read and from what limited knowledge I have of copyright stuff.

  8. If i were to make my own t.shirts to sell, is there somewhere where i can check what words / logo’s / prints I can’t use?

  9. This may not even get a response since it’s been a while since it was frist posted but I recently had etsy.com send me a notice telling me that per Summit’s request they removed 6 items from my shop for trademark infringement. I checked and searched and I could not find anything related to my items trademarked by Summit. Including the term “be safe” and “fanpire” Those phrases are trademarked but not by Summit. Be safe is actually trademarked by a bullet proof vest company based on my findings so why is Summit trying to claim trademark on this? Someone correct me if I’m wrong please I would love it. But unless I’m doing something wrong when I search I didn’t find any reason why my items should have been removed. I didn’t have anything with “Team Jacob” or “Team Edward” on it at all.

  10. I wanted to add that I also realize there are different types of trademarks to apply for I used the bullet proof vest company as an example there are obviously others that have trademarked the phrase or similar phrases and have a different kind of trademark but searching through the site and specifically what Summit has trademarked I do not see how my stuff was in any vioation at all.

  11. What I would love to do or for someone else do to is figure out what Summit has not trademarked that they may possibly want to trademark and go file the papers before they can!

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