Is it feasable to make customs as a full time job???
Other Forums: Action Figure Chatter, Figure Realm Comments and Questions, Identify Help, Off Topic, Trading Post

Is it feasable to make customs as a full time job???

Posted in Custom Workstation

I was wondering if the customizers on this site who do it as a full time job could post on here because my parents don't believe that anyone could custimize for a living. One thing I would like to know if you don't mind me asking is how much do you guys make per week?

Posted by pock63
on Tuesday, May 26, 2009
User Comments
abeam -
Saturday, May 30, 2009
well your making money off of their ideas and property. its like if superman never existed and you made him up and everyone you told about this great idea of yours loved it and started takinf shazam figures and painting them as superman then selling to everyone else. basically, someone else is gaining a profit from your idea and you get no share of any dolla dolla bills, yo.
pock63 -
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I understand that somone would be angry if I was making fun of there carecters. But do you really think they would care if I made the customs loock as close to the comic as is huminly posible? Shure I'm making muney off there carecter but I'm not taking any muny away from them.
Patraw -
Friday, May 29, 2009
Yes, for most people, it would probably be true that the company would spend more on their own attorneys/legal fees than they'd ever recoup from the person they're suing. I think that's why they generally go with the cease-and-desist letter first, if they bother at all.

As for the reason(s) for suing, they'd be protecting their intellectual property rights. Imagine you own a popular character, you probably wouldn't like it if someone was making money off that character without your permission. You may say you wouldn't care, but if you were actually in that position, you might feel differently. That's basically the whole reason copyright law exists. There are also other reasons a company might potentially sue, other than money, such as a person depicting their character(s) in a defamatory or slanderous way (I.e., a person makes a custom of Mickey Mouse with racist comments written on his chest--I guarantee you'd attract Disney's legal attention with that).
pock63 -
Friday, May 29, 2009
I don't sea why any large compinies should care about custimizers because we are buying there toys to custimize + we are giving them frea publicity what could be better for them!!! If they sueme it would probobly cost them more in legal fees than whatever they could get from me.
Patraw -
Friday, May 29, 2009
Yes, I agree that there are a lot of customizers that do sell figures of copyrighted characters, and have been doing so for some time. Generally, big companies aren't going to bother shutting down small-time operations, unless you do something that particularly irks them or draws attention to you--it's not worth their time or effort. It's also worth noting that some companies might choose to look at it as free publicity. But, still, copyright law is copyright law, if you're going to go into business for yourself, whatever the profession, you have to keep the legalities of what you do in mind; "Your honor, I didn't know." probably won't get you far in court.

It's up to you if you wish to take the risk or not--in all likelihood you won't be getting a letter from an attorney, but the potential is always there. Personally, I have always outright refused any and all commission offers I receive for copyrighted characters due to the legalities involved.

I recall that the discussion I read about cease-and-desist letters was on the Shiflett Brothers forum, but I don't recall which companies in particular were named. Most of the garage kits I see there tend to be of comic book or movie/television characters, so it probably pertained to one of those. Something to bear in mind with garage kits is that the artist is usually selling multiple copies, not a single figure, which tends to draw more attention.

EDIT: I just remembered a discussion from a Jem forum (yes, I belonged to a Jem message board, and I have some Barbie dolls in my toy collection, let the roasting begin ) I read once. The gist of the conversation was that, years ago, Mattel tried to put a stop to the sale of Barbie customs, but there was a big backlash from the fan community and Mattel backed off. It's possible that's the reason companies don't try to assert their rights in regards to customization--they don't want to deal with the flak/bad publicity.
pock63 -
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I know of a cuple of people who have been doing customs for a long time and have not been shut down like Jinsatomi and Boskoes Toys wats their secret? Doing customs of real people like you sugjested just isn't the way I want to go. The reason I want to make customs is because I injoy it so much if I had to do that to kepe from getting sued than why do it at all?
ps what compinies sent the cease and desist orders?
Patraw -
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I think it'd be possible to make a living at customizing, like any other art form, if you've got the talent/skills and there's demand for your work. The main thing I'd worry about it getting sued for making figures from other people's intellectual properties without their permission (I.e., Marvel Comics owns Iron Man, a customizer has no legal right to use the likeness, name, etc. in any kind of profit making venture without Marvel's consent). I know several garage kit sculptors who've gotten "cease-and-desist" orders from big companies for that very reason. Granted, customizing is kind of a legal gray area, but I wouldn't want to push my luck in that regard. A relatively small profit on a figure versus thousands of dollars in legal bills/fees isn't a fair trade-off. Yes, people sell customs of copyrighted characters all the time, but I think it's legally risky, and disrespectful to the intellectual property right holders, to do so.

To be on the completely up-and-up, you'd have to work either exclusively on original material and/or obtain a licensing agreement to do figures of copyrighted intellectual properties. I know I've seen on the news, and online, artists who make customs of actual people--that might be one route to go.
Ghost of Tolkeen -
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I don't customize my self but on the last forum I was on he did custom figures based off what peoples wanted. like roleplaying characters,etc. he was making really good money. I don't think he really made characters from established toy lines etc,thats what made him unique.
bigdaddyscott -
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
its possible, but probably very tuff. there are a few that do it though, Jinn is the one that comes to my mind, but his customs went for crazy cash on the bay!
DTM -
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
yup..
pock63 -
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
By Kyle are you talking about Kyle Robinson?
DTM -
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I believe Kyle works on customs for a profit, I'm not totally sure though...
Write a new Comment
New Comment...
                                                                  Pictures & Links

 

Spiderman on eBay