If You Duplicate That Virtual Sword In The Real World... Is It Copyright Infringement?

from the question,-questions,-questions... dept

Three years ago, in trying to discuss some of the thorny copyright issues that arise in virtual worlds where any "good" is easily copied, we questioned whether copying a magic sword in a virtual world was copyright infringement. Perhaps we should have taken the question a bit further. Reader Cap'n Jack points us to the news that video game company Square-Enix has sued four retailers for $600,000, not for creating a digital replica of a magic sword, but a real world costume replica of a sword from within the game Final Fantasy. The retailers have agreed to stop selling any Final Fantasy gear, but it does raise some questions about whether creating such material is copyright infringement... and what that means for folks making Halloween costumes every year...

Filed Under: copyright, magic swords, virtual worlds
Companies: square enix

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    John (profile), 9 Mar 2009 @ 1:13pm

    Content and such

    Like the above poster said, the only reason this big sword is popular in the real world is because it's being marketed and sold with the "Final Fantasy" name and logo. Would a huge sword *without* this information sell as well? Probably not.

    This is what kills the argument of "make one yourself"- the company may very well have made their own sword, but it won't sell nearly as well as a replica of the one from the game.
    The difference in products is: one is a "big generic sword" and the other is "replica/ based on the design of the sword used by character X to kill bad guy Y and free the world, in the Final Fantasy game".

    Basically, this is a case of the sword company using the Final Fantasy name to boost sales of their own products... whether for right or wrong. Yes, Square Enix isn't "hurt", but do customers get the impression that Square Enix has licensed or approved the sword? If people think the sword is shoddy, will they complain to Square Enix for using that sword company to make the sword?

    And the argument of "Square Enix wasn't going to make a real sword anyway" doesn't hold any water either. If I make a "Jar-Jar Binks with lightsaber" action figure, am I allowed to sell and market it, and then defend myself by saying Lucas wasn't going to make one?

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