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  1.    #1  
    what's the rub on developing an app for sale that features trademarked characters? I'm talking small scale as well. I do see things in the app catalog but not many.
  2. #2  
    Quote Originally Posted by grizzly_addams View Post
    what's the rub on developing an app for sale that features trademarked characters? I'm talking small scale as well. I do see things in the app catalog but not many.
    What do you mean by "Trademarked Characters?"

    Do you mean things like or something different?
    Arthur Thornton

    Former webOS DevRel Engineer at Palm, HP, and LG
    Former webOS app developer (built Voice Memos, Sparrow, and several homebrew apps and patches)
    Former blogger for webOS Nation and webOS Roundup
  3. #3  
    Potentially dangerous territory.

    Disney, for example, is very protective of their intellectual property and has even gone as far as forcing a daycare to remove wall paintings of their characters.
  4. #4  
    For best resaults, follow the law.
  5.    #5  
    I essentially have been doing intermediate html/javascript programming for some time, and have always wanted to write a webos app, but was put off by mojo. There doesn't seem to be alot of step-by-step resources for beginners.

    Well, I finally got around to making a functional app, and it's basically a memory matching game featuring Sanrio (hello kitty) characters. I grabbed all the art I used from google image search.

    There appears to be a Hello Kitty wallpaper app that sells for $3 in the app catalog, which is what made me raise this question.

    If it's not OK to use such works in my app for profit, can I still release it for free? would be nice to see my app in the catalog while I work on something original I can charge for.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by grizzly_addams View Post
    I essentially have been doing intermediate html/javascript programming for some time, and have always wanted to write a webos app, but was put off by mojo. There doesn't seem to be alot of step-by-step resources for beginners.

    Well, I finally got around to making a functional app, and it's basically a memory matching game featuring Sanrio (hello kitty) characters. I grabbed all the art I used from google image search.

    There appears to be a Hello Kitty wallpaper app that sells for $3 in the app catalog, which is what made me raise this question.

    If it's not OK to use such works in my app for profit, can I still release it for free? would be nice to see my app in the catalog while I work on something original I can charge for.
    The easiest and most accurate way to find out would be to contact whoever owns the coryright to hello kitty and find out what is allowed in that copyright agreement.

    Pip
  7. mosdl's Avatar
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    #7  
    If you use copyrighted material without permission, you can be sued. As simple as that.
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by grizzly_addams View Post
    I essentially have been doing intermediate html/javascript programming for some time, and have always wanted to write a webos app, but was put off by mojo. There doesn't seem to be alot of step-by-step resources for beginners.

    Well, I finally got around to making a functional app, and it's basically a memory matching game featuring Sanrio (hello kitty) characters. I grabbed all the art I used from google image search.

    There appears to be a Hello Kitty wallpaper app that sells for $3 in the app catalog, which is what made me raise this question.

    If it's not OK to use such works in my app for profit, can I still release it for free? would be nice to see my app in the catalog while I work on something original I can charge for.
    As others have said, you need to get permission, else risk being sued. And to add to that, you cannot just pull images off of Google Image Search, as those have a copyright to them (by the creator or owner), regardless of whether or not they specify it. Just keep that in mind.
    Arthur Thornton

    Former webOS DevRel Engineer at Palm, HP, and LG
    Former webOS app developer (built Voice Memos, Sparrow, and several homebrew apps and patches)
    Former blogger for webOS Nation and webOS Roundup
  9. #9  
    Yes, as everyone has stated, you could be sued. It doesn't matter if you are doing it for a profit or not, though this is a misconception that many people seem to have.

    It applies to everything. If you rent a movie and then have a huge gathering of people, for everyone to watch, a picky studio can, if they wish, file an infringement lawsuit against you. Even if you did not charge anyone a penny.

    The same applies for if you made copies of the movie and gave them away, for free.

    You are potentially cutting into their profits, even though you may not be making any money for yourself.
    Sent from my favorite gadget!
  10. #10  
    Allowances are made in copyright and trademark law for use in tribute and parody. If you plan to go free with your app then it easily fits into the tribute category. If not, then just shoot an email over to Sanrio and ask them if it's ok. They may require some sort of percentage based compensation, but they'll most likely be fine with it. Also, they may have a set of media available for free use. Most widely recognizable trademarks do. You'll just want to make sure you thoroughly read any associated licensing agreements first.
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  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by unfairSurprisery View Post
    Allowances are made in copyright and trademark law for use in tribute and parody. If you plan to go free with your app then it easily fits into the tribute category. If not, then just shoot an email over to Sanrio and ask them if it's ok. [snip]
    First of all, I'm not an attorney and am not giving legal advice in this post, just my opinion regarding this matter, since giving legal advice would be illegal.

    As for getting sued, before that, you will get a cease and desist order, usually in the form of a letter from the corporation that you are infringing. If you do not reply and continue to sell/give away your app, they will eventually sue you.

    As another poster have already mentioned, Disney is VERY strict with their properties and must have a big team that does nothing but look for infringers. I don't personally know about how Sanrio is but since they are located in Japan, they might not notice for a while.

    Regarding the legal status of parodies, indeed parodies are exempt. However, that does NOT stop corporations from suing you. You will most likely eventually win the lawsuit. But it will cost you money to defend yourself and the corporation knows that. If you are a small company, you can't afford a $20k-$100k hit on your bottom line for attorney fees. If you lose and have to appeal, it will cost even more and could potentially bankrupt a small company. These large corporations can keep the lawsuit going for years if they want to.

    So what's legal and what's prudent for a small developer may not be the same thing.
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