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gschrick
05-27-2011, 02:19 PM
So I'm working on some promos for my station's mobile apps and I decided to model an iPhone and iPad. We're not saying Apple products are the best, but when it comes to promotions they are usually the prettiest.

Anyway, after modeling them I though it may be nice to post them on TurboSquid or some similar site and sell them. But, even though I modeled the objects, they are still technically Apple products and design. Do I have the right to sell them?

What about giving them away? It's not preferred, but there seems to a be a lack of LW format objects on Turbo Squid and I'd like to help remedy that.

Nangleator
05-27-2011, 02:55 PM
Good question. I suspect in strictly legal terms, those models would be considered derivative works, as well the images you create using the models. But in practice, I don't think this is the kind of thing companies prosecute.

It's also a tricky area if you ever have a client that wishes to have the models and scenes you created as tools to create the animations or pictures they paid you for.

Sensei
05-27-2011, 03:07 PM
If you model (for yourself, not client) Airbus or Boeing planes, Ferrari car, WTC & New York city map, object is yours or these companies or NYC government??
For me its obvious it's yours.

Titus
05-27-2011, 03:26 PM
I'm with Nangleator. I'm not a lawyer but AFAIK, at least in the US the owner is Apple. There's a limited legal protection with the Fair Use doctrine, but this doesn't apply if you intend to sell the model.

Titus
05-27-2011, 03:36 PM
Just upload the model. A couple of months ago I bought an iphone model for $3 bucks, it was for an Apple ad; the basic model saved me precious time so it's a good service to other pros, and at the same time a small income for you.

dwburman
05-27-2011, 04:04 PM
The other question about ownership, is whether you or your station (employer) owns the model since you were working for them when you made it. You may have a clause in your contract that specifies that anything you create belongs to them.

If you go to iStockPhoto.com and start the process to become a vendor/contributor/seller (I forget their terminology), they have a fairly extensive document on copyright/property rights issues that they have you read. According to them, you need to acquire the rights to sell images of certain buildings, etc.

I don't know how/if this relates to 3D models.

gschrick
05-27-2011, 05:21 PM
Well most of my larger animation projects, including this one, are done on my home computer. I feel I can concentrate on the project and not be distracted by the day to day duties of the TV station. But I agree, if it were created on company time with company equipment it would most likely be their property. But creating the object at home on my own time, the file would be mine, the final on-air spot would still be theirs.

I have visited TurboSquid and have seen that there are numorous iPhone, iPad and many other patented objects for sale. Some are quite expensive. And it doesn't seem to bother Turbosquid any. I suppose it's not that you are not taking credit for the orginal design, only the reproduction of it. If I take a photo of an iPhone, does Apple own that? I think it may all boil down to the usage. It depends on how I use that photo. For my particular purposes right now, I'm promoting an Apple approved iPhone/iPad app. I think I'm in the clear showing the device it runs on.

But still, some designer created the look of the iPhone and by modeling it and selling that digital reproduction as my own property, am I in violation of some copyright?

Nangleator
05-27-2011, 05:27 PM
I don't know how/if this relates to 3D models.
That's a tricky thing. I think you could argue that the 3D model is a tool you use to create art. A painter doesn't owe his palette to anyone after he sells a picture. A carpenter doesn't give you the saw horse he made when you buy a house from him.

Then again, if you're an employee, that model certainly belongs to your company.

ArtGoblin
05-27-2011, 05:34 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the rules on this in Iceland is basicly, you as the artist own all rights to the stuff you create for your own personal use unless you sign a contract that specifies the circumstances where that doesn't apply, so in a case where I would work for a studio, and in my own free time would create something, I'd have full rights to that which I created and the company I'd work for wouldn't have any claims on it.... unless you work for satan who had some clause in the fineprint of your contract dictating otherwise

Nangleator
05-27-2011, 05:43 PM
Satan seems to own all the corporations in the United States.

:devil:

brian.coates
05-28-2011, 12:12 AM
I think you're pretty safe.

It's not like you're claiming that you 'invented' the iPhone or iPad and I seriously doubt anyone would believe you if you did.

I may be wrong but I suspect that technically your model, since it's not a functioning physical reproduction, would be defined as a derivative work and therefore doesn't breach any copyright or trademark that Apple owns.

shrox
05-28-2011, 10:08 AM
Unless the Icraps are marketed as 'art", it's not a problem.

RebelHill
05-28-2011, 10:33 AM
Well most of my larger animation projects, including this one, are done on my home computer.

Makes no difference.

US copyright law is very clear on this... if you are employed by a company... and that means actually EMPLOYED, not contracted in, freelance, etc... but a full time, salaried employee... then anything you create, even privately in your own time is the copyright property of your employer... end of. See the Mattel/Bratz case.

Its the same trick pixar use... they wont accept submissions from outside the studio, only internal employees can field ideas/pitch movies... the ideas for which are then owned by pixar automatically.

Now as to the specifics of the ipda/phone/whatever... technically, and this is wrapped up in international copyright treaty also... the original DESIGNER of the item/product/plane/whatever owns all copyrights over that design... 3D models, or plastic build em yourself hobby models, or any other such thing, are NOT considered derivative works, and although you can produce such things for your own amusement/pleasure... you technically cannot sell them or use those designs commercially in any way without the permission of the copyright holder (fair use, such as parody commercials/comedy sketches notwithstanding).

However... a lot of companies don't take such things too seriously, and if you look on TS you'll find plenty of iphone models, BMW Mseries models, etc, etc... so its generally considered safe to sell/distribute them.

If someone/company who does own rights to a given design does ever decide that they don't want it being done, they'll serve you first with a cease and decist... which if you were to ignore it, would then open the door to you being actually sued.

Nangleator
05-28-2011, 10:53 AM
Good info, Rebel.

Does the Mattel/Bratz ruling mean my novel, written on my own time, actually belongs to my corporate employer? What happens if I worked on it while being employed by two or three successive employers? Could any resulting lawsuits (say, libel) of my creative work fall only on my employer?

Titus
05-28-2011, 11:05 AM
If someone/company who does own rights to a given design does ever decide that they don't want it being done, they'll serve you first with a cease and decist... which if you were to ignore it, would then open the door to you being actually sued.

For TS, they usually take down your models and account in the case they receive a DMCA notice. You have a period of time stablished by law to show the property of the models.

RebelHill
05-28-2011, 11:11 AM
Good info, Rebel.

Does the Mattel/Bratz ruling mean my novel, written on my own time, actually belongs to my corporate employer? What happens if I worked on it while being employed by two or three successive employers? Could any resulting lawsuits (say, libel) of my creative work fall only on my employer?

Sorry... I should clarify... it applies to work done in your own time that is of the same nature that you are employed to do.

So if you were a journalist, and wrote a novel, yes your employer could claim ownership... but if you were a gardener they couldn't. That's what the whole BRatz case hinged on, the fact that those who designed the Bratz were employed as toy doll designers... had they been receptionists, there'd have been no case.

Greenlaw
05-28-2011, 11:21 AM
US copyright law is very clear on this... if you are employed by a company... and that means actually EMPLOYED, not contracted in, freelance, etc... but a full time, salaried employee... then anything you create, even privately in your own time is the copyright property of your employer... end of. See the Mattel/Bratz case.Actually this isn't accurate, plus Mattel just lost that case a couple of weeks ago: Bratz doll maker MGA wins court battle with Mattel (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/22/business/la-fi-bratz-verdict-20110422)

Copyright law here in the states sets no such rules, but a company may put a clause like this in a contract you sign with them. For example, my wife signed on to work as an artist at Dreamworks Animation a few years ago which had a clause stating that they got first option on anything you create at work or your own time while you work for them; this did not mean they immediately owned what you create at home, just that they got the first dibs to own/buy what you create. That's not too unreasonable since they don't want you directly competing with them while you work for them.

I work at Rhythm & Hues here in Los Angeles, and they have no such rule; what you create on your own time is yours.

G.

a sandwhich
05-28-2011, 11:40 AM
On a semi related subject, I posted a basic model of the staples easy button for free on turbosquid, am I breaking any laws in the U.S.? There isn't anything anywhere on the model or page that says staples. I modified the shape of the thing and the font isn't the same.

Dexter2999
05-28-2011, 12:34 PM
On a semi related subject, I posted a basic model of the staples easy button for free on turbosquid, am I breaking any laws in the U.S.? There isn't anything anywhere on the model or page that says staples. I modified the shape of the thing and the font isn't the same.

Making it and posting if for free? I don't think you are breaking any laws.
The person who downloads it and decides to use it? Probably not so lucky. The only way to use that is probably going to be in a work covered under parody.

To what RebelHill was saying about copyright, the company can always take you to court. If they can prove you used "workproduct", being specialized knowledge from your employment to develop a competing product, they can take you to court and possibly win. They could take you to court just because they have lawyers on retainer and want to tie up your production and drain your capital. They don't even have to win. They just have to make it look like a good faith effort so as to dodge a "frivolous" law suite counter-suite.

In the realm of art vs. product it can be a slippery slope. If you are an artist and you do an amazing painting of a copyrighted character, the chances of the company coming after you for a single work is nil (unless it is a mural in which case you could get a cease and desist order.) Part of the value of the art is it's rarity, uniqueness, and the talent of the artist. It isn't readily demonstrable how much the likeness of the character contributes to the work as a whole.

Take that same painting and make a limited series lithograph series and you now taking a unique piece of art and turning it into product. Now you are going to get the copyright holders attention.

Take that same painting and try turning that character into posters or T-shirts, and you will get slapped with a lawsuit so fast your head will spin off your shoulders. At this point you have abandoned any pretense of art and clearly just selling merchandise.

gschrick
05-30-2011, 12:49 PM
I don't believe that work I do on wmy own time and on my own computer are property of my employer. That would meant that if I feel like modeling an object for fun and then down the road I use it in a project for work, my employer automatically owns that object.

I've modeled many objects for work that have trickled into other projects. my work pays me an hourly wage. I am not contracted, so anything I do when I am not paid by them is mine. Whether I choose to use it for thier projects is my choice.

shrox
05-30-2011, 03:52 PM
It someone else claims ownership of your work, hit delete...or at least let them see your finger hovering over delete, then ask if they want to negotiate.

Cryonic
05-30-2011, 10:23 PM
I don't believe that work I do on my own time and on my own computer are property of my employer. That would meant that if I feel like modeling an object for fun and then down the road I use it in a project for work, my employer automatically owns that object.

I've modeled many objects for work that have trickled into other projects. my work pays me an hourly wage. I am not contracted, so anything I do when I am not paid by them is mine. Whether I choose to use it for their projects is my choice.

The depends on your employment contract. Even hourly wage slaves can be contractually under the same obligations about creations by the employee.

Cryonic
05-30-2011, 10:23 PM
It someone else claims ownership of your work, hit delete...or at least let them see your finger hovering over delete, then ask if they want to negotiate.

Good way to end up terminated for destruction of company IP.

gschrick
05-31-2011, 03:53 AM
Yes, I believe the final product (on-air spot) is property of the employer as it will aired as a promotion of the station. But, unless I am specifically paid for my time (as an hourly wage employee) my company cannot own my work. Especially if I am not using company equipment. Anything I create on my own can be seen as "hobby".

Your employer cannot take ownership of your own time and equipment when you are not at work and off the clock. If that were the case, I would start charging them a portion of my utility bills. If my free time objects appear in a spot, they own the spot... not my objects. I've taken photos around town (generic scenery stuff) and I've brought them in as backgrounds for news graphics. Just because they appeared on our news doesn't mean the station now owns my photos.

I am not in violation of my company's Conflict of Interest policy. Most of the my managers like this. They're getting free work.

My question was if a specific model which is a reproduction of something someone else designed is a violation of a copyright. Which I suppose would be a question for Apple. They mar or may not care about a non-functioning digital representation of their product, but the apple logo mapped onto said object would probably be a problem.

shrox
05-31-2011, 10:26 AM
Good way to end up terminated for destruction of company IP.

In a dispute that big, you're going to get fired anyway...and it's not as if you didn't save a your original copy.

Beside, my post was obviously in jest.