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.