While I was making my toy prototype for Brandy and Gin (I don’t know I was thinking about changing it to Brandy and Jin what do you think?) and I noticed a murkiness to fair use.
When it came to kit bashing, the art of taking other models or toys apart to make a new prop etc. seems to not be something in developing toys.
If you’ve seen the documentary on Netflix called The Toys That Made Us, in the episode about G.I. Joe the maker from Mego talked about how they kit bashed the original G.I. Joe leaving all except the head and they got sued by Hasbro and lost.
The impression I got from researching online was that it has to be wholly original or else your infringing even the smallest of parts, and it doesn’t matter if you Frankenstein a toy together from other toys, it’s still forbidden.
While I can understand why that case was infringement, if you took different parts from different toys to a toy that is wholly new?
When it comes to art, and what they drilled in us in art school, is Frankensteining different things to make something new is fine but it isn’t for toy design?
Don’t get me twisted I’m not talking about for example YouTube videos using clips and copyrighted imagery to parody or critique that work, while that is fair use it’s not related to my discussion.
Mushing things together is a form of creativity. Linked here is a Ted Talks video about creativity comes from mixing things together and honestly we should welcome it.
Whether that be ripping apart toys to make a new figure or using a song’s bass and drum to make an entirely new song. It should be as long as it’s something new, something different.
Now I may be mistaken and someone could point out that it is acceptable; I really hope someone does. However my gut tells me at best it’s an unwritten rule that can easily reversed at a moment’s notice, and that is shame. However at the end of the day there’s no knowing where you stand, and when you don’t know where you can’t know where you should.