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Question for those who have been doing this for longer than I have...I created a character design I'm planning on making available to anyone who cares to download it. There was, of course, a lot of time spent getting it just right, and I want to protect any creator's rights to it. I see some people put "Copyright" on their templates, others have used "Creative Commons Share-alike license" (shout out to the creator of e440 if you're out there!).

So, what's a guy do if he wants to share with the Paper Toy Community while retaining control of the original work?

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Off topic: Ringo, from the e440 squirrel, said he would take a look at the site when he had a bit more time.

On topic: I'll be following this discussion with interest, as I'm struggling with this too. It's the main reason why my toys aren't available for general download yet.
Thanks for the link to the gomediazine article--I think it's right on target. I do think "Nicepapertoys" is a spot where it is relatively safe to launch designs, a kind of hub for people who care about the craft and have a good feel for Who is doing What in the scene. By the way, I went to your site--like your work!
I think Rembrand (MindBase21) has got it. That's how I feel. I mean, I'm very secretive upfront, until I am ready to really announce something, and then I put it on my site and my blog and now here, so people can see that it's mine, and it's dated and so on. But part of the idea of this site is to encourage people to share their ideas and creations with each other. That's what creativity is all about, no? Of course that doesn't mean to steal people work. But if you are posting things here, you are doing so to an audience of many paper toy fans and artists. I think that protects you even more, in many ways. Of course it is each persons responsibility to be clear and honest as to what is what. I mean, if you customize someone else's template, but use your own character, that doesn't make the toy yours, nor does the creator of the template gain the rights to your character.

Here's a little story for ya... My first paper toys, the NiceBunny toys on my site, came about while I was customizing Sjors Trimbach's "BrickBoy" toy. I got really into it, and changed it up a bit, and added lots of accessories. I believe it really became something quite different. So different in fact, that I considered it my own creation. I was all excited and I posted them up. It wasn't long before Sjo was like, "dude, what's up with that?" I felt horrible. I had no intention of ripping him off. I didn't even think about it. But when I did, I realized that my toys use all of the same parts as his, from his template that he designed. Well that's not cool. Thankfully Sjo is a great guy and was very understanding, and liked what I had created, so I happily agreed to place a disclaimer with them that states, "Based on the BrickBoy templates © Sjors Trimbach, used with permission." Now, the best part is that some new toys (NiceBunny) have come out of his BrickBoy toys, which helps expand the paper toy scene, it helped a new paper toy artist emerge (me) and it even helps Sjo, because everyone who goes to see my NiceBunny toys also sees the disclaimer and the BrickBoy name.

The point is, as designers and artists, we are constantly changing things we se or trying to improve on them or mash it up, whatever, to make something fresh and new. That's what we do. And of course every situation is going to be different. But I think that as long as no one is blatantly ripping off someone's work, or worse yet, making money from it and calling it there own, it's just part of the creative process. And sharing ideas helps them to spread and grow and keep things fresh. And that makes it all worth the risk, to me anyway. If I do run into a situation where someone is stealing from me I cross that bridge when I come to it.
@Mindbase: Good article at GoMedia. Good point. You can't stop assholes stealing your stuff, but you can (and should) call them out when you catch them.

@Brian: Yeah, I'm probably going to just publish it and hope for the best.

I noticed that most people "sign" their toys on the bottom of the feet or something. I've also seen one that had a small text at the bottom of the PDF which basically said: "I'm giving this away for free. So... please don't steal it. "

I guess we can only hope... :-)

Besides, now we have this site, with papertoy fans from all over the web, so rip offs will be caught faster...

By the way, Brian: Did you invite Sjors here?
Of course I invited Sjors. He's my buddy now. :) And he is already here. His member name is Sjo.
The Gomedia article was a good summary of the situation. Nicepapertoys will allow people to share their Stuff in a highly visible place. Thanks for the pointers. I'd have to echo Tephlon's response. Hope, label your stuff in a reasonable manner, and let people enjoy your effort.
You have a great point here, Brian. Working in motion graphics, and storyboarding for film and TV, we ALWAYS recycle other peoples boards, elements, photos, textures, models, the list goes on and on. Its how much of the original can we make our own. You must make it your own, however. I look at it like a remix. If I hear a remix, and its just the original song with another beat behind it, it annoys me. Sure, someone will like it, because its different or refreshing, But its not the same as if someone took an original song , sampled it, and created something completely different.

My absolute FAVORITE example if this is Daft Punk. Daft Punk only has about 4 original songs out of 40, BUT they have manage to sample decades of music and create modern disco-tech versions of them, giving the samples a fresh and clean start for newer generations to enjoy. A lot of people hate Daft Punk for that, But I think they are heros. It goes without say, it took A LOT of work, they just didnt sample a piece and loop it, they owned the samples, twissting and turning them to the point of nonrecognition in most cases. This is fine by me because of the effort. Otherwise, its a Rip.

As far as using the word STEAL, depends on the context. To look at ones reel and steal composition idea and style, opposed to jacking your cinema 4d files from a project at a studio is two totally different things in my estimation.
Good story Brian :D

Always add the 'Copyright by Me 2008' on anything you make.

In the Netherlands you put your designs in an sealed envelope and send it to yourself. The post date is a legal claim on when you made that design. You can also get a date stamp and the tax office.

Creative commons is a good, free and understandable way to protect your work.

But whatever you do, grow a thick skin because you WILL be ripped-off. Online=rip-off.
Send the person a friendly email explaining that what they do is wrong and that might solve a lot. In a case of a (big clothing) company doing it start yelling up the tree as high as possible. Send a warning email to any address at the company you can find. Start posting the rip-off (with evidence!) on several boards and blogs. Their legal department will contact you soon and the promised promised free clothes never show up. But that is live.

With all that said, here's to anyone who thinks 'designing' a Readymech like model is being creative: you're not.
Duly noted.
Thanks for putting it out there plain and simple, Sjo. Sounds like you've had your fair share of experience in this!
I wouldn't have come and joined a community if I was not interested in sharing, thats for sure =)

I am here not only to share, but also to learn!
For even more information on this subjects, please be sure to read the forum topic "New and trying to get started".


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