Another Disney Sign

A while back, when I first got my GF, I made the Disneyland welcome plaque.

My First Few Creations

But there are a few other who make and sell that and other Disney plaques… but I have yet to see anyone recreate the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride sign. So I found a photo and did it myself. First I tried to find the font, and I came close, but there are always something a little different… so I took the closest one I could find and tweaked it until it was right.

(And yes, I botched that 2nd “B” a bit… that Bob Smith Maxi-Cure glue dries way too quick on plastic.)

This is a pretty small sign… I’ll make a bigger one later I’m sure, but it’ll do for now. Made with acrylic. I engraved the border and small center text and graphic and used some spray paint on it before I peeled off the masking paper. And I already cut some vinyl stickers of it too so I can sell them at my craft show this weekend to boot… or should I say booty… Arr!


Cute! (And totally agree on the Bob Smith glue.) :smile:


Be very careful with trademark stuff. Disney can be pretty tough about their stuff if not properly licensed.


I don’t believe this is trademarked… but you are right.

Though isn’t there something about when you make it and its not totally 100% like the original? Or how about if I painted it and sold my painting? Or I can take a photo of that sign and sell it… how does that differ?

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No. This is a myth. People often say that if you change something by 10% (or 20%, or whatever magical number) you are “safe” in terms of copyright. That is untrue.


I have a Caribbean theme in my bar. A large map with pins highlighting our dive adventures across 30 years. That sign would fit well!

Regarding copyright, there was an article in the paper (yes, I am that old) about the original writers of Pirates bringing a law suit against Disney for infringement - because they weren’t compensated.
Poetic since Disney has been so ruthless about copyright infringement.


Doesn’t this refer to that…

Transformative Use
Another way to legally use Disney characters could be to use them in what the law refers to as “transformative use.” Transformative use requires that you change, or transform, the character enough so that it is no longer a mere copy of the original. The resulting transformation is sometimes called a “derivative work.” For example, if a painter created an original oil painting of his family and included the Disney character Tinkerbell as a family member, his use of Tinkerbell would be fair use because of its commentary that the artist considers Tinkerbell a member of his family. The use of Tinkerbell in the painting could be could be characterized as a transformative use, and the painting could be called a derivative work.

Well, I’m not a lawyer but that sounds like decidedly bad advice … starting with the fact that they opted to use Disney for this example. Disney is a known heavy hitter when it comes to copyright - the mouse does not mess around when it comes to IP.

This is probably the very best place to get the straight dope on copyright.. This section goes in to the limitations of fair use.


Well I’m definitely not either… lol… all that text gives me a headache just looking at it right now.

I guess I don’t know as much as I thought I did on the subject.

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I know. It’s a lot to digest … and that’s before you factor in all of the subtle nuances and interpretations. :confused:

As a working artist, this is something that I’ve had to explore far more than I’d like. I make (absolutely!) no pretense of being an expert on - or even understanding - a lot of this stuff, but I have had to educate myself about the basics. Not only to protect my own work, but to ensure that I’m not stepping on anyone else’s toes.

One resource that has been extremely helpful to me on that count is a non-profit legal org called Washington Lawyers for the Arts. Obviously, that one is specific to WA state, but most states/big cities have something along these lines. They offer workshops on topics like copyright/fair use, as well as pro bono legal clinics where you can consult with a lawyer one on one.

^ I realize that’s probably beyond the scope of your needs in this situation, but it’s a wonderful resource and worth sharing while we’re passing by the topic. Anyone who sells their work online will have to deal with ©rap at one point or another. Unfortunate, but true.


In short there is no ironclad way to transform copyrighted material into a form which is similar enough to the original to remain appealing on the basis of that similarity, yet different enough to keep you out of hot water. If the buyer might reasonably confuse it with a legit version you are in dangerous territory. And, if an average buyer can look at it and think, “this is a derivative work” you are still not guaranteed to be in the clear.

There is no magic checklist for what makes a derivative work. If it goes that far, it is argued in court. And if Disney sends you a lawyergram, as they may well even if your derivative work is derivative enough, what are you going to do? Are you going to spend the money to prove that you are correct?

@PrintToLaser – I am gonna need to see a picture of this bar. :slight_smile: I did a sci-fi themed bar but often wonder if I should have done tiki.

@Drea – Thank you for that lawyer link, I have been needing to find something just like that!


Here is information I put together about copyright and intellectual property. The OP is 100% copyright infringement:


Interesting…should we link that in the Matrix as a tutorial or guideline?

I’m just here to throw in my agreement. The sign is copyright and I know it seems very unlikely Disney would waste time on a individual making a few sales, but they have and do go after even the small guys. They are notorious for enforcing it. (So is Harley Davidson BTW., maybe worse than Disney.) If I were to ever make and post photos of their material I would make sure everyone knew it was for personal use :slight_smile: Interestingly, the Starwars folks seem to be much more generous with their images.


Feel free to add it as I am not sure where you are talking about. I wrote it so people would read it. :slight_smile:


I believe it is the name that is trademarked. So you can’t use the name in anyway shape or form on anything that you are selling.

The sign is most likely covered under copyright and trademark (there are tons of products from the movie franchise sold under that banner). If you were to make a sign in the same style, that said “Pirates of The Basement Bar Room” then it would be trans-formative use. Making an exact or even similar copy is infringement. Even using the term “Pirates of the Caribbean” in any way that could be confusing or construed as similar to the original could and most likely would be interpreted as infringement. Lastly, if you were to use the sign as part of a larger work, for example a picture of group of kids dressed as pirates standing under the sign, where the focus or intent of the work is something other than the sign itself, and does not reference characters from the original concept (ie. the kids are not dressed exactly like Jack sparrow and the gang or other recognizable items or characters from the property) then that would be trans-formative use.


The Matrix is a series of spreadsheets that help people find the hundreds of tutorials that we have here… we can access it through the Table of Contents in the Glowforge Tips and Tricks Category

I’ll link that one in the Designing for the Laser Matrix. :grinning:


Well damn… I guess we opened a can of worms on this post.

I really didn’t make this to sell it. Maybe give a few away to friends who are also big Disney fans. I did make a few vinyls but I guess I’ll just leave them at home.

Thanks for you inputs everyone!


Yeah, sorry … this topic is usually a can of worms in any group of makers. Still, it’s worth discussing openly as we build this creative community.

FWIW, I sincerely hope that you did not feel attacked or talked down to. Absolutely not my intent! :rose: