Official Twilight T-Shirt Contest Won't Let You Use Anything From Twilight

from the good-luck dept

David writes in to alert us to the rather hilarious situation where Cafe Press is running an official Twilight t-shirt design contest, where you can try to design a t-shirt for the upcoming release of the latest installment (didn’t the last one come out like 3 weeks ago?) in the series, called Eclipse. You’re supposed to design a t-shirt related to the movie, and you can win a $500 gift card.

That, of course, is not very interesting. Where it gets amusing is when you look at the restrictions in the fine print (I’ve bolded my favorites):

  • No use of the official Twilight movie logo e.g.
  • All images must be tagged with “twilight movie”
  • No use of images or depictions of the actors in the movie
  • No use of profanity, vulgar or hate language
  • No use of explicit sexual language or graphics
  • No use of copyrighted material from the movie or its promotional materials (e.g. no use of images of the movie, movie posters or from the movie website)
  • No political party associations (e.g. republican, democrat, or candidates)
  • No blood
  • No fangs
  • No stakes thru the heart
  • No coffins
  • No bats
  • No use of Twilight book cover images
  • No pictures of apples
  • No journals (you cannot create Twilight journal products)
  • No calendars (you cannot create Twilight calendar products)
  • No Cards (you cannot create Twilight postcards, greeting cards and note cards)
  • No Undergarments (you cannot create Twilight thongs or boxer shorts)

So, yes, go ahead and make an official Twilight movie shirt (but certainly not any other Cafe Press product), but don’t use anything from the actual movies or books or anything normally associated with vampires. Also, um, can someone explain to me the prohibition on apples?

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Comments on “Official Twilight T-Shirt Contest Won't Let You Use Anything From Twilight”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Apples

“the producers are trying to separate vampirism from blood and make it cool and wholesome”

No, it’s because the sparkly vampires aren’t really “vampires” in the traditional (folklore) or common knowledge (Bram Stoker) sense. The vampires in the movies don’t have fangs, just as they don’t get harmed by sunlight and play vampire baseball. They still drink blood, but you don’t see gore in the first movie (the one I was subjected to – not pleasant as I am an actual horror movie fan). It’s pretty well agreed that the series (up until it got weird in the 4th book as I understand it) was just a big metaphor for Mormonism and chastity.

The “no fangs” bit was probably just to stop people from falling back on vampire cliches (or infringing on Universal’s copyrighted works) when they realised they couldn’t use movie screenshots. The apple thing was probably just to avoid getting a million riffs on the original book cover – the only thing associated with the series that doesn’t feature an actor.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Apples....

“/lame excuse for a restriction”

” Also, um, can someone explain to me the prohibition on apples?”

Its a virgin vagina, and clit (red apple) thing. Look at the picture. They dont want people doing shirts showing blood covered arms holding an apple (ie loss of virginity) saying “oh my that was fun”. It would ruin the franchise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Abuse this "Winter Event happening between the years 2009 and 2011" style

Easy contest winning, just include:

1) Rats with wings (literally)
2) All teeth elongated EXCEPT for Canines.
3) The word “Dawn” plastered everywhere.
4) Credit pages from the inside covers
5) Steaks through the heart.
6) Red jelly (or some non-blood bodily fluid that might be…appropriate)

redwall_hp (profile) says:

Seriously, what the hell?

I despise this franchise. It wasn’t so bad before the movies started, back when the people who read it kept to themselves. But the new breed of Twilight freaks, and all of the attention the franchise gets in the media, really get on my nerves.

The worst offense? That the media keeps trying to label it a “fantasy series” and compare it to greats like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, A Game of Thrones, Dragonriders of Pern, Mistborn, etc. etc.. (Okay, maybe not the last few, since they’re not on the most of the public’s radar…) No. It’s just a cheap teen romance story with a bunch of marketing firepower behind it. It’s not even a real gothic horror story, which is kind of a prerequisite for a story so deep into vampire territory, don’t you think? (Excusing the oxymoronic vegetarian vampires and their lack of weaknesses or vampire-like traits.)

Sorry. I’m done venting. I run a fantasy site, so this bothers me more than it should.

TW Burger (profile) says:

Re: Fantasy

No, I disagree. Twilight is “fantasy”. It’s a fantasy to think that forever young and beautiful, super-human immortals are obsessed with a bland, whiny, teenage girl with no discernible unique traits, personality, or motivation. However, since this seems to be the target audience it’s a money making machine.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you haven’t seen it already, watch the Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In. It’s extremely an well made movie along very similar basic lines as Twilight (i.e. a mortal and a vampire fall for one another) but very different both in tone. Both major characters are pre-pubescent for a start, and it has a poignancy and heart that the production line movies don’t have.

The original novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist is also excellent, but takes turns further down some very dark roads (for example, paedophilia merely hinted at in the movie is made very explicit). Inevitably, there’s a Hollywood remake on its way (retitled Let Me In, and is getting some surprisingly positive buzz).

It might not change your world, but it will reaffirm that actual artists are still working in the genre.

Jay (profile) says:


There are other stories. But the fact that they’ve since transgressed into other genres (gonna keep that quiet for those 17 and under…) they really aren’t worth reading.

As I see it, this is just like the 90s when Interview with the Vampire came out. Vampires and werewolves, modern setting, all to fight over a girl or go emo over a lost love from the last century.


Anonymous Coward says:

Perhaps the reason they don’t want to use anything listed is because they and everyone has already used the listed items a million times over and they want to come up with something new and unique. If that’s true then I see nothing wrong with that. Of course I don’t expect them to outright admit, “You can’t use the following because they’ve already been killed to death so you must come up with something new instead.” That would practically be admitting, “due to our previous uncreativeness we have killed the following to death. To stimulate some level of creativeness, and compensate for our inability to be creative, you must come up with something new.”

Louis Smith (profile) says:

Legal T-Shirt for Contest

black shirt, white letters:
This shirt is a tribute to my favorite movie.
However, due to copyrights and
aggressive lawyers, I cannot say
anything about the move, its characters,
locations, props, common terms, or
even tell you what genre of movie it
is as I might get sued by somebody
for something. This shirt in no way
infringes on anyone’s copyright for anything.

Anonymous Coward says:


The reason they are releasing back-back movies is because this is the last book in the series, and in order to capitalize as much as possible from all these teenie-bopper fans, they decided to split the book into two separate movies (which they filmed at the same time…)

Money Money Money.

T-Shirt Entry: Real Vampires don’t Shimmer!

Sethumme says:

You got it ALL WRONG...

It’s not hypocritical. It’s simply being sponsored by a non-Twilight related organization (i.e., Just look at the end of the official rules page.

This is NOT the “official” twilight t-shirt design contest. This is a contest to design a shirt that can take advantage of the Twilight Eclipse craze without infringing on the true IP-holders’ rights.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: You got it ALL WRONG...

Click through to the Fan Portal link.

All images created for the Official Twilight Saga: Eclipse Movie Fan Portal must comply with the following rules. Please note that the rules may be more restrictive than the CafePress Content Usage Policy, however we need to respect the creative decisions of the author and the movie studio.

Sounds official to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

They want something original

According to the rules entries will be judged on:

With a limited number of concepts they are looking for. The limitations are to get original entries instead of a bunch of the same thing over and over. Who wants to judge a bunch of t-shirts that all look the same. The rules add constraints that make entrants think outside the box.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: They want something original

Right…like trying to build a spaceship resorting only to plastic bags, pencil shavings, ice cream and used tires.

They just want to see some creativity. No way did they mess up and forget to secure enough rights to make the t-shirts. And no way is copyright interfering with what people can and can not do here.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: They want something original

Making t-shirts is a form of creative expression. Apparently you are not capable of creating something original, so you find the rules stifling. Your lack of creativity holds you back. Rather than getting creative you blame someone else for your inability to compete. This is your problem and copyright has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: They want something original

…that’s the best BS you could come up with? Seriously?

If they wanted a “Creativity contest”, it wouldn’t be labelled with a “Twilight” stamp, now would it?

Who knows, maybe they messed up, and it’s supposed to be a “Anything-but-Twilight contest”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: They want something original

Restrictive rules do not benefit creativity, quite the opposite. By telling people what the CAN NOT do, you are pointing them to what they MUST do. You are actually achieving the opposite of the desired effect. Instead of letting creativity flow freely, you are pinning people down, leaving them unable to express themselves freely.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that creative works cannot be created, but you are seriously limiting the universe of possible creations with these rules (I’m thinking of set theory here. You have a set T of all twilight related themes which these rules (set R) are chopping off (final set = T – R, which is obviously smaller)).

But I still think that this was some sort of bad planning on their part and not some sort of creativity boosting move. Something they should be bashed for, and not praised.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 They want something original

The original creators have already beat set T to death. They do not want a bunch of entries that simply rehash set T over again. They want something from the T-R set. Its that simple and it has nothing to do with copyright. Why do you assume that they actually want an unlimited set of solutions?

While Mike really wants to blame copyright for the rules, copyright has nothing to do with them. This is a nice attempt to connect with fans, they are simply asking the fans to come up with their own stuff rather than rehashing what has already been done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 They want something original

“The original creators have already beat set T to death. They do not want a bunch of entries that simply rehash set T over again. They want something from the T-R set.”

You DO realize that set T – R is contained INSIDE set T don’t you? That’s makes your argument kinda dumb.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 They want something original

Whatever, I failed to communicate to you on your own terms, so be it. Anyhow, I think you get my point. They want some fresh entries in the contest. They put up rules around the contest to avoid getting a bunch of stuff thats already been done. Honestly, I don’t like the rules and I could care less about the contest. I’m not supporting the contest or the rules. I do think that looking at the rules and then blaming copyright for them is wrong, is not about copyright its about fresh content. At the end of the day, the contest itself is really about connecting with fans – something that gets a lot of attention here on techdirt.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 They want something original

They put up rules around the contest to avoid getting a bunch of stuff thats already been done.

As far as I can tell, any commentary, including Mike’s, about why these rules exist is pure speculation.

My speculation is that the rules are there not to promote creativity, but to retain control. They don’t want anybody to think they can use the Twilight logo or any other trademarks, and they want to prevent movie-related depictions they don’t like. Has Twilight merchandise with fangs, blood, and stakes through the heart really been done to death (no pun intended)? I haven’t seen any, then again I haven’t been looking.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 They want something original

Even if that’s true, which I doubt, it’s STILL stupid. If they were trying to guide people to different and creative output, all they had to do is say something like “We’re looking for something new and different, so be creative. The winning designs will not look like Twilight shirts we’ve seen before.”

The creative people will get it and do something new (although they probably would anyway). And it’s dumb to eliminate a really cool and different design that still happens to incorporate one of these banned elements. The not creative people aren’t going to do anything creative no matter what you tell them. So basically IMO it’s a fail no matter what their motivation was.

Karl (profile) says:


Sorry for pointing this out, but it looks a lot like Cafe Press is trying to do a “Twilight” product, without having to pay the Twilight producers any money. So they “crowdsource” this to fans, with all the copyright restrictions, and hope to come up with something they can sell.

That is, this is in no way an “official” contest. It’s official as far as Cafe Press in concerned, but that’s it.

I mean, that’s the only explanation that makes sense. If it were official, then I’m guessing the Twilight copyright holders would allow a little more leeway.

I’m of course counting on copyright holders making sense…

Darryl says:

its a DESIGN contest - - stupid..

If anyone read it, they would see straight off that is is a
‘design contest’.

Then they ask you to actually DESIGN things, and Mike gets all upset.

It must suck when they specifically state that you (YOU) must design the things, (after all its a design contest), and that you are not allowed to USE THE DESIGN OF SOMEONE ELSE.

That would make it a “COPY CONTEST”, and I dont think that is what they are after.

All those restrictions they list, well what does that make or force you to do ?


“I cant copy that, I cant copy that, I cant use apples, I cant use blood”… DAMN,,, “IM GOING TO HAVE TO THINK FOR MYSELF”.

If this was not inplace, would you award the prize to the person who did the best job and copy and paste ?

I know its terrible for people to ask you to use your own brains, your own creativity, your own talents, but dont let you steal creativity, talents or skills that other people have.

I dont know why you complain about this kind of thing Mike, I see it as perfectly normal, and acceptable.

They are asking you to design something original, original means not using something someone else has thought up.

And what is wrong with that Mike ? it’s a design competition that forces you to actually DESIGN, and not copy somone elses design.

And you complain about it, because they have to design, and the rules state specifically that are not to use existing designs.

You want to you use your brain, and not your cut and copy buttons. I personally think that is totally correct, and right and how could it be any other way and remain fair, or still be an actual competition of design.?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: its a DESIGN contest - - stupid..

Most people I know that are creative used some sort of memory to come up with new things, they used things that worked in other areas and applied to a problem in another area, nothing really new is being born from nothing, it always comes from something, so even it it is a contest not endorsed by the creators it shows very clearly how copyright can stiff creativity, expression and fun.

Copyright is killing the joy in the life of everyone.

darryl says:

And yet people can still create, even if you cannot...

And oddly enough, regardless of what you say, many people will be able to quite easily create a work, that is accepted under the condition set out.

There will be alot of them, they will be original designs, and just because YOU cannot use your imagination, and come up with something original, there is no reason many other people can and DO create new and original things.

Sure, I can paint a painting, ill use paint, brushes, different colors and so on, I might even paint something that has been painted many times before, (like a tree, or a face), none of that takes away from the creative input that is required, if you go beyond just copying what someone else has created.

Its really not justifiable, that there are complaints about having to come up with something original. Based on a theme.

or are you complaining that they actually define what is cheating, and what is not?

Do you think they should have a competition with no rules, and allowing you to use anything someone else has designed as much as you like.

What humans evolved, there was no a pool of art, music, and things that people have always gone too to ‘ideas’.

MonaLisa is not a great painting because of its uniqueness, its great because its very good, paintings of faces are common, and not unique, its the content that is scarce, not the media, its the content that has the value.

This competition is about you creating your own content, not just use content designed by someone else, (who has creativity). If you do not.

Its not a cut and paste or internet search competition, its a design comp, so they expect you to design something, not find someone elses design.

I dont see a problem with this and I dont see what else they could have done, or what they could have done different that would have pleased Mike. ?

Michael (profile) says:

Re: And yet people can still create, even if you cannot...

Nobody is saying that cannot come up with content rules, but the rules they have come up with are somewhat stupid. Do you really think the no use of the logo restriction makes sense for an official t-shirt design contest?

I didn’t go to school for ad design, but seeing as how the logo is usually a part of the branding, you would actually want the official t-shirt branded with the logo.

That’s a bit like a McDonald’s ad without the golden arches. Most people would look at it and wonder what the heck it was for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And yet people can still create, even if you cannot...

What you are saying is that an apple is owned by twilight and can’t be used anywhere by anyone because they used in the stupid film?

People can’t use fangs because it is owned by twilight saga?

It is not their property no idea is, what if someone was to make a vampire with glowing fangs?

“What humans evolved, there was no a pool of art, music, and things that people have always gone too to ‘ideas’.”

Rome had copyrights?

The Ottoman Empire had copyrights?

The Persian Empire had copyrights?

They all were well known for their love for the arts, the greeks also, the Chinese for 3 thousand years now have a rich history that includes arts, are you saying people didn’t do art before? are you crazy? no not crazy you are dishonest aren’t you.

“Do you think they should have a competition with no rules, and allowing you to use anything someone else has designed as much as you like.”

Why not? Are you saying nobody can be inspired by others anymore? if forbidden now?

Anonymous Coward says:


Due to the usage of hands holding an apple on the cover of the novel, by extension the contest has now banned all usage of hands or forelimbs in submissions to the contest. By further extension to make absolutely sure that no arms will be included submissions cannot have arms inserted where the arms would normally go through. To make sure there are no unauthorised usage of arms all contestants must surrender their arms to the rightsholders as they own all rights to arms.

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