View Full Version : Copyright Claims against tails

07-18-2011, 11:03 AM
So, it's been brought up in the poll about mertailor on mer.yuku that he has copyrights in place. This has caused some drama for members before who made their own tails and received threats. You can view the original thread here: http://mer.yuku.com/topic/1103/master/1/?page=3#.TiRKLoL1GSo
Now, Star happened to find 1 copyright that mertailor holds here: http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?SC=Author&SA=Ducharme%2C%20Eric%20Jonathan%2C%201990-&PID=R0qZhaXXmYir1dnDaDDbMHsJ&BROWSE=1&HC=1&SID=18

Here is my response that should better help people to understand that they need not worry:

I think this is hilarious it's on this website because back during the first mertailor drama I linked this very website.

"Basic Latex Realistic Mermaid Tail." is too vague and wont hold up. People have copyrights and patents on a LOT of things (even walking and chewing gum at the same time) it's only ever valid or invalid when it's taken to court and presented to a judge. It's also filed under "sculpture/3-D artwork" which invalid's anything anyone wears! All they have to do it show it's NOT a sculpture or piece of art but a costume! The FAQ this website provides it's pretty good: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#patent

A few points of notice:

"Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries"

This PDF covers some important basics: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf according to this copyright only protects:
1 literary works
2 musical works, including any accompanying words
3 dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4 pantomimes and choreographic works
5 pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
6 motion pictures and other audiovisual works
7 sound recordings
8 architectural works

Mermaid tails don't fall under any of those (I dont see clothing, costume, prosthetic, methods, or even pattern) . Please note what copyright does NOT cover as according to that same link:
Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts,
principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a
description, explanation, or illustration

Works consisting entirely of information that is common
property and containing no original authorship (for
example: standard calendars, height and weight charts,
tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from
public documents or other common sources)

That last one extends to measuring systems so between the two of those you can't copyright the process of making a mermaid tail, the materials, and the majority of how to make a mermaid tail is "common knowledge" based on the fact that tail makers existed BEFORE during and after mertailor, tutorials can be found online, etc. All of these things would hold up in court should ANYONE try to take someone to court over the copyright claim.

So yeah, when mertailor threatens you with "you're stealing my method for making mermaid tails, your tails look like mine, that's copyright infringement" no, I'm sorry, based on the very copyright registration base he used- he's not covered or protected. The only way this would hold up based on what he's done is if he did indeed make a mermaid tail sculpture and documented it and then someone made the EXACT SAME sculpture and SOLD it. And even THEN the nature of art you could still defend yourself in a court of law based on the fact that they will still have differences.

The things I have listed are also international.

Disclaimer: I in no way represent or replace a legal authority, anyone who challenges a copyright does so at their own risk. I have provided this public information for sharing purposes.

I plan on doing a big thread about copyright and trademark with as much information as I can manage for you all.

Winged Mermaid
07-18-2011, 04:50 PM
Thanks for this. Not many people knows the boundaries of copyright laws and it's good to have information on it for this and other reasons.

The way I understood it copyright protects the expression of an idea as a nonfunctional object that can be directly copied- as in a drawn design of a tail which could be photocopied, scanned, or digitally reproduced, but not the tail 'design' as in what it IS or what it looks like because it's functional and fashion.

Copyright is for nonfunctional object that embodies an idea, but that idea itself is not covered and can be directly copied. Copyright is only on the physical manifestation of the design, but by physical manifestation that only covers physical or digital copies of the actual picture/artwork/photo that was copywritten, or things such as logos, commercials, or movies, ect.

There is nothing in copyright about the aesthetic or ornamental design of something (what the tail looks like). If something can embody an idea that can be expressed in many forums it is not covered- therefore crafting a tail based on another that you've seen is a reinterpretation and is also not covered. A direct copy would only mean a perfect reproduction of the copywriten material, such as photocopying or digitally duplicating the physical drawing or picture that was submitted.

(Thanks Orca Matt for all the information by the way! Guy knows his stuff!)

07-18-2011, 05:35 PM
exactly, so if you steal one of his photos, post it, and claim it's yours and or try to sell it- that's copyright infringement. Making your ownmermaid tail for yourself or someone else? Nope.

Mermaid Star
07-18-2011, 10:39 PM
In order to protect a process for a product, it requires a patent. The procedure and materials have to be disclosed for the patent. Eric, does not hold one of these and is not protected in the way that he says that he is. Someone could make a complete copy, down to the materials and all and as long as they don't sell it as or label it as an original mertailor tail, they are all good. It would just be their brand of knock off.

Mermaid Star
07-18-2011, 10:42 PM
You guys are really good at explaining this by the way. The way that the copyright law is written can be a bit confusing. So thanks guys!

07-24-2011, 01:07 PM

07-24-2011, 01:53 PM
@green52: That comment made me giggle a lot more than it should have.

07-24-2011, 02:42 PM
lol. my dad is a carpenter. he's going to build me a fort to keep mertailors out. LOL

08-28-2011, 01:25 PM
this is very true and as long as its different in anyway there is no violenation at all
mertailor just does not want competion at all thats all it is
well he got it anyway
mermaidcrationsinc.com is the newest thing on the block and is more realistic form of tail and can be done in less time than mertailor and unlike other silcone tails these tails cand wear or tear and you can do moves in the water that you couldnt do before because you can bend this tail 90 degrees and it flexs better than traditional silcone tails and not stiff like othe tails

08-28-2011, 01:35 PM
My argument to the whole thing is..

Have you seen the new Mustang and Camero? They look almost IDENTICAL!

Have you ever had a Big N Tasty from McDonald's? A Whopper from Burger King?
Ingredients in both: Mayo, Ketchup, onions, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce on sesame seed buns.

A plain white T-shirt from Hanes looks identical to a plain white T-shirt from Fruit Of The Loom.

Lees, Popeyes, KFC, etc sell the same type of chicken.

The list goes on and on.

08-28-2011, 06:47 PM
LOL at MermanJesse's comment hahahaahaa

Mermaid Saphira
12-04-2011, 07:29 PM
LOL Raina..my dad is a carpenter to!!!

01-02-2012, 03:43 AM
I also want to ad how people can call any tissue a Kleenex, even tho that name is a registered trademark. Kleenex is a tissue. But not all Tissue is a Kleenex. Same for how people in the south call all sodas "Coke" even tho that's a namebrand. I always wondered about supermarkets putting out their brand of something that is like a stolen recipe of something else (cleaner, food, etc). And it's legal, but that's as was said above. It's their BRAND of listerine. NOT Listerine. But they can even say: Compare it to LISTERINE. No problem