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Use of puppets in a production

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Gary Taylor
Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 21, 2005 at 6:25:05 pm

Hello all,
I have a question I am hoping you can help me with. I have a project coming up where I am going to be using some puppets mixed with human actors. Eventually I am going to get some puppets custom made for the show but I am still working out the details of that right now.

I was wondering if anyone knew if it was possible to use generic puppets bought in a retail outlet in the show without getting written permission from the manufacturer. I am talking about a bag of puppets that are sold without character names or trademark notification. Does anyone have any experience or guidance here?
Thanks,
Gary


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Leo Ticheli
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 21, 2005 at 8:00:34 pm

The single most important element is the skill of the puppeteer.

Perhaps whomever you hire can provide the hand-made puppets you need without worry about the rights.

Good shooting!

Leo

Director/Cinematographer
Southeast USA


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Frank Otto
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 21, 2005 at 11:56:23 pm

Generic puppets? Are you describing the standard plush hand puppet - the ones that look like animals? Did not someone design them?

O.K., so you're likely not to have a problem with oh, say Kiel or Kamar or Prince or any of the hundreds of toy puppet manufacturers that make the plush type...but say you get a Gund or Carson or PuppetPeople puppet - those folks are protective of their characters...and unless you're an expert in toy companies....well.

If you are looking at Muppet style puppets, there are several makers of "custom-type" puppets - Puppet Makers is one - see their site at puppetmakers.com

You can also build your own - there are plenty of books availible - most are felt and styrofoam construction and are grade school in skill level of construction.

I built a dozen a decade or so back for Nissan Motors - took me all of a month...it's not that difficult - easier than setting a copyright dispute.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Frank Otto
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 22, 2005 at 4:16:35 pm

Oops...wrong url. The correct one is:

http://www.puppetproductions.com/

Note: I've used several of these puppets for training videos when I needed off the shelf "Muppet" types. Also be aware that Puppet Productions, although a company geared towards misnistry related support is, a fine company that produces a quality product for commercial use, so don't let the religious overtones of their sales deter you from checking them out.

Prices are reasonable too - they sell singles, full sets of puppet players and costumes-accessories.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Gary Taylor
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 22, 2005 at 7:00:42 pm

Thanks Leo and Frank,
Frank that is exactly what I am looking for. The ministry focus for the company actually is a great fit because this project is for a Christian non-profit. My confusion about rights was I didn't understand how puppets are protected. I guess it is the copyright notice for the puppet. I wasn't trying to take advantage I just wanted to know what kind of restrictions there were for using puppets that were purchased.
Thanks again, that was a great help,
Gary


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Frank Otto
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 22, 2005 at 11:39:44 pm

Gary:

Glad we could help!

I don't think there was an assumption about your use. The copyright morass is just so nasty these days. Most toys (and puppets kinda fall in that category) have their image/design copyrighted and in the case of several famous ones (Barbie, any Muppet, Gund Bears, etc.) they are also trademarked and service marked.

But try the guys at Puppet Productions...I worked with founder Bill Hawes back in San Diego and the quality and service is still just as good since their move to Texas.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Gary Taylor
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 23, 2005 at 10:08:13 pm

Hi Frank,
I have already contacted them and it looks great so far. You are right about the law being a morass. I guess seems like most copyright law is being used the same way trademark law would normally be used. I am planning on getting some original muppet style puppets made but I think I will need some additional puppets and Puppet Productions seems like they will be a great resource.
Thanks again!
Gary


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tony salgado
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 22, 2005 at 8:39:59 pm



Puppets need to eat too so watch out for IA 756541@#$% which oversees the puppets union. Be careful not to confuse them with the Doll union which is run by that evil Chucky and his wife.


They can get real nasty during a contract dispute and if you don't feed them on time.

Verify you have all the "i and t" dotted before dealing with puppets, and or dolls- the cute ones or blow up versions.



Tony Salgado



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Frank Otto
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 22, 2005 at 11:28:18 pm

Isn't Local IA 756541@#$% the splinter local of the Cartoonist's Guild? They broke away after the NLRB ruling re: that the Banana Splits charaters wern't cartoons but puppets.


(btw - that's funny, Tony)

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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tony salgado
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 23, 2005 at 1:58:20 am



Frank,

I'am glad you enjoyed my post because I was in a punchy mode this afternoon when I wrote it.

Your answer was quite funny for me also.



Thanks,



Tony Salgado


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Gary Taylor
Re: Use of puppets in a production
on Dec 23, 2005 at 10:10:15 pm

That was pretty good Tony, it sounds like legal advice from the Brother's Grim. Thanks for the laugh and the warning.
Gary


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