Another Disney Sign

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:


lol… no no its fine… I’m fine… I didn’t mean to imply that I felt like I was ganged up on… it was a good discussion.

Feedback is always welcomed!

But when I post about my next project, I’m only making it for me or for free… I’ll even share the files. And since we’re on the topic, it is in fact another Disney related item… as in Star Wars… as in “I see you have constructed a new lightsaber.”


Even when copyright doesn’t apply, trademark can get you. Anything you use in a business (e.g. sell or have on business premises) that’s enough like a trademarked thing/character for people to think in that direction will be “confusingly similar” or suchlike. Or at least similar enough to get you a letter…


This could be construed as Glowforge giving people legal advice, which is a terrible idea.

(Note: the above should not be construed as me giving legal advice regarding giving legal advice)

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Disclaimer already at the top of the Matrix - it’s purely customer driven.

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They’re on shakier legal grounds with Star Wars because the fan art, fan fiction, etc… around the SciFi and Fantasy community (go common law.) Also, best not to stir up the anger of the hardcore geek crowd that is more likely to be outraged by a questionable IP prosecution of Luke Skywalker than a real life atrocity. All that said, you still can’t use Star Wars or any other SciFi/Fantasy property for a transactional profit without risking lawyers.

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This is actually really complicated (uh, shocking, I know). If you take a photograph of something, you do own the rights to the image. Probably. Usually. Same is true of digital files actually. This trips up a lot of people with things that are in the public domain. Lets say theres a book with illustrations that have an expired copyright - theyre public domain pictures. But you don’t have the book, so you Google the images and just use the best resolution one. Except the google images - the photographs, scans, whatever of the book illustrations - might still be copyrighted. This is why Dover press has a copyright claim printed on all their books. All of the art work, designs, and advertising they publish are in public domain, but they went to the trouble to find and scan goodish quality versions. And their specific versions are their property.

You can take a photo of a copyrighted sign, for example, and sell it. But that can be messy too. There have been a couple court cases about it and the gist seems to be that your photo must be transformative - frame the sign in an interesting way or perspective, have a point of view, etc. Theres actually a court case right now of an artist who took people’s Instagram photos and exhibited them, unchanged, with his comments below them. The people he stole from are claiming its not transformative. He is claiming it is. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

Well, I mean as interesting as copyright court cases ever are. If anyone else happens to find IP interesting, the Disney vs adult parody-ish comic is an interesting read. The TLDR version is the main artist really wanted Disney to sue him, Disney did, Disney won, guy refused to comply, Disney basically ended up dropping everything if he would pretty please just stop drawing their characters doing adult things.

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I’ve heard about this fellow. In addition to the current IG case (which just seems super weird) he won an earlier case in which he used another artist’s photography. IIRC, in that instance he used unchanged photos from a photographer’s book and managed to win the case based on “transformative” work.

Yeah, I dont really get it. He has been “rephotographing” photos since, like, the 70s. He was sued by that guy (from whom he took a bunch of stuff), and the other guy actually won, but then it was overturned on appeal.

Honestly, I wonder if part of the reason he gets away with it is because he has been doing it, largely uncontested, since the 70s or early 80s. His most famous series is advertisements that he removed the text from. It’s a weird thing.

Given the notion that truly original, creative art must be somehow be transgressive of some norm, the artist’s life is an extension of his art. Makes sense, even though a bit of a pain.

So at the event today I went around and talked to other vendors doing similar things as me… One lady has been doing this for 5 years and using Disney content/characters and has never hard from disney. But interestingly did receive a cease and desist from Harley Davidson.

There was also an ice cream food truck vendor there too that actually used goofy on his logo! Changed the colors a bit but definitely still goofy.

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