Edit, September 4, 2018 – Lighthouse Kids has removed me from their Facebook groups and blocked both my channels on Instagram. I still haven’t heard back from them, nor have I found a public-facing statement clarifying my concerns around profiting from Fan Art. I am not out to get this company, and honestly don’t have any additional motives besides an intrigue behind what is allowed to work for Fan Art, and what is not when it comes to profits.
Lucky for me, Annie from Nerdy Momma’s has been helpful in sourcing information pertaining to my questions as she deals with Fan Art all the time. She sent me this recent article. My take from this reading suggests that maybe the characters expression was changed just enough for this to no longer a copy of the HBO show. Can we verification on that Lighthouse Kids? Is this one of the key facets that prevent this from being a legal issue? That the character is doing something different than she normally is seen doing in the show? If so, let me know.
Back to the Original thought piece.
If you’re confused with all of those acronyms then that’s okay.
Today, Lighthouse Kids Company & Dearest Diapers pulled all social media and web-based depictions of one of their latest releases. This diaper was named Dragon Mother, but it appears there might be some untalked about issues at play right now. There is one single post left on LKC’s Instagram feed.
This post is entirely my own opinion as an outside observer. I have zero legal experience or expertise and only providing commentary and thoughts.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve been watching Lighthouse Kids Company reveal a new exclusive print with Dearest Diapers. This new print was inspired by a popular TV show sponsored by a major network.
It’s being claimed as Fan Art, but even with this ambitious claim, the term “fan art” doesn’t negate the artist from legal liabilities around things that have copyright protection. But maybe it’s not the fan art, but the name of the diaper and the marketing strategies at play causing this company a moment of grief?
Perhaps my biggest red flag regarding the “inspiration” of this diaper is photos were shared of what appeared to be a copy cat of a film still and less an inspired by my dreams moment. If you’re going to claim inspiration of a painting, perhaps don’t show what appears to be a film still in the photo as well?
I emailed the Lighthouse Kids Company directly. My request for further information regarding the legalities around this prints production was forwarded to their legal department.
I emailed the company because honestly, I’m not so sure what is allowed and what isn’t. I was hoping the company would be able to come forward and clear the air surrounding this issue with a statement that said “we can do this xyz, but we can’t do abc” or something of that nature. However, much communication regarding the legality of this licensing issue seem up in the air.
But we see disney, warner bro, hbo, and other movie prints all the time?
Yes, we do on cheapies you can buy from Amazon, Ebay, and sometimes small retailers who churn out rebranded Alva and other cloth diapers with movie stills on them.
These prints are often an infringement of intellectual property rights. You can report them to the brand they are associated with. Disney has a no BS policy when it comes to taking and using their intellectual property. If you see Disney based infringement you can tip them off at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most major networks, brands and artists have tiplines to submit infringement issues to. They are the best experts in knowing if trademark or other issues were stolen and fakes are prodcued.
What is Intellectual Property and Why is it Important?
Intellectual Property: according to the World International Protection Organisation, Intellectual Property “refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.”
Intellectual Property can then be protected by law by a variety of legal means such as trademarks and copyright. This is a great breakdown of how Trademark, copyright, and patents protect.
The importance of these protections is not to protect the big guys but to protect all artistic works. While, we might think “whatever Disney, you’re making tons of money and I want a slice of the Mouse action” if the big guys get ripped off it only allows for the culture of being ripped off exist. I’m not so good at explaining it, so feel free to enjoy some further reading and leave me your favourite arguments about why we need to protect artists big and small.
- Dough Schoen, Intellectual Property Rights Matter – Forbes.
- Creative Business LLC – an introduction.
- Copyright Myths.
But What about Fan Art?
Fan Art is art done by a fan of anything. Traditionally, when I think of Fan Art, I think of the world of Nerdiness.
But the legalities of Fan Art is messy (that linked article is a great background on the topic). Just because you drew something inspired by someone else’s creativity, doesn’t mean you don’t need licensing and a legal check over. Morever, many times Fan Art can infringe on issues of Trademark when using names.
Fan art continues to persist because of murky waters. Shows want to see the continued appreciation and fandom culture exist around their shows, but don’t want to be seen as the big bad mean guys (like this is story) that can turn people off from a show, brand or company. Long story short, Fan Art continues to exist despite copyright laws provided people don’t profit from selling their creations.
What’s At Play Here?
Lighthouse Kids used a fairly identifiable woman on the diaper. While this does not appear to depict any specific scene in the movies, as someone who has never watched the Game of Thrones, I knew the association instantly.
George R.R. Martin has expressed strong opinions when people use the characters in his books. In past commentary, he has emphasized his sense of ownership and pride by calling them his children. I suspect to some extent this portrayal should have sought permission from the original creators involved in the series.
Speculation will continue to rage wild until we hear more. Maybe this isn’t even an issue with IP, Copyright and Licensing.
We won’t know more until Lighthouse Kids Company & Dearest Diapers make a statement. In the meanwhile, it’s all speculation on why these diapers have been pulled from preorders and their traces removed from all of the social media.