Opinions of dolls based off of celebrities?

Sep 15, 2017

    1. What are your perceptions of dolls based off of celebrities, or buying dolls based off them? Next doll I make I really am thinking about making Prince or David Bowie doll. Both celebs who were great musicians and inspired me a lot. Now that they have passed I think it would be amazing to do them in doll and kind of commemorate their memory.
       
    2. Personally I don't like dolls that look like a well-known person. It seems to limit the doll to having that person's personality and story in my mind.
      I also wonder if you would run into franchise issues. I seem to believe that if you use a person's image that image has to be approved by the person or the estate of the person.
       
    3. I have a few and plan on more. In my opinion, they're no different to existing toys of those people. That said, I do not role play with my dolls, nor would I take any photos that I deemed to be disrespectful. They're just toys, the same as the existing action figures that I'm pretty sure the people in question know exist.

      I know some people dislike them, but I dislike other things that some people do. I suppose it's each to their own!

      Unless you're making a LOT of money, or doing something incredibly disrespectful I doubt most people would care to sue you! (I have seen an incident of a German footballer threatening to sue a Chinese company making dolls in his image, but they put him in a nazi uniform! So he was understandably upset. There are 1/6 scale head sculpts available on eBay of pretty much every actor and actress you can think of... Not a lot of suing going on!)
       
      #3 Spuggey, Sep 15, 2017
      Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2017
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    4. I want to make a doll based on Penelope Garcia, from Criminal Minds, as a child. It would be so much fun to put together outfits for a little Penelope. A little Abby Sciuto from NCIS would be fun too. Does anyone have a source for yosd glasses?
       
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    5. Since I love old movies so much and most of the actors passed away before I even had a chance to "know" them per se, I've always preferred dolls that reminded me of a favorite celebrity. It's a way to celebrate their memory (respectfully of course) and recreating their iconic looks is always lots of fun too.

      Good luck making your Prince and/or David Bowie. Some wonderful fashion ideas there! : )
       
    6. Most of the time such companies pay interest to said actors. BJD companies get away by making small limited runs, claiming their heads are only 80% alike to the person or claim the heads are inspired by said person, but do not copy said persons image. All celebreties have the right to their apperance and it is illegal for other people to profit from said celebreties looks. I remember that there were some cases then people would trace celebreties photos and place traced pictures on their goods. They would sometimes get sued and pay big money in the end.

      All in all, though borderline illegal I love minimees :hug: Minimees can be made to look like different people or chacters, too.
       
    7. I love mini-me heads - cause they tend to look older than the average BJD & I can use them to shell my more mature characters LOL I've got Rumpelstiltskin (from Once Upon A Time), Jeremy Northrup, & Sarah Jane (Dr Who) all doing that w/no intentions of ever being the famous person they were sculpted after. Also, Iplehouse often does sculpts meant to be celebrities - I've a Dexter who is a not-so-subtle Michael C. Hall mini-me, in effect. My Dexter is a totally different character.
      I've got several sculpts inspired by Asian stars and I always get them - cause my crew are cosplayers so that comes in very handy (that said resin character 'looks like' the celebrity LOL)
       
    8. I know there was a run of David Bowie mini me heads a few years back, and someone made one up to look like Jareth the Goblin King, from Labyrinth. And it really looked JUST like him.

      If I could ever get my hands on one of those heads I would TOTALLY make my own Jareth. Labyrinth is my favorite movie and pretty much what turned me into a David Bowie fan in the first place. :)

      I personally see nothing wrong with celebrity sculpts, especially if it's being used to embody the characters they've portrayed in movies and such.
       
    9. I posted something here but changed my mind in case I started an argument... I don't wanna argue!:XD:
       
      #9 Spuggey, Sep 15, 2017
      Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
    10. While an artist likely won't get sued, they are likely to get a "cease and desist" letter from the copyright holder if the legal owner gets wind of it. Remember a few years back when one small company did "Twilight" characters? They got slapped with a C&D before the dolls opened for pre-order.

      The video game company I worked for sent a C&D to a fan artist who was selling calendars of "pin-up" drawings of our characters on Etsy or something like that. While the artwork was original and the artist wasn't making a fortune, our company owned the rights to the characters. (Legal department shut the sales down because the images were tasteless and devaluing our intellectual property.)
       
    11. I have several opinions, really.

      I feel like if you're making the doll as fan art to own yourself, it's not a problem. Lots of people draw fan art. The problem may be when you run into licensing issues by selling someone's likeness without their permission, but since I'm not very knowledgeable about that, I'm going to leave that one alone.

      Personally, if the person is roleplaying a real live celebrity, I find that kind of disturbing, just because I'd feel super weird if someone was writing stories and roleplaying me. Same goes for shipping them in doll form or sexy photostories. That's a little too much for me. Celeb dolls are fine when it's a respectful tribute or memorial.

      On the other hand, if your doll is your OC with similar traits to a favorite celeb, I see no issue with it. You're not claiming your doll/character IS that person, just sharing traits with them.
       
    12. Same guh! How awesome would it be have a mini goblin king.:D
       
    13. The are definitely cool however i would never get one. Unless they make all lotr actors lol. I like making my own characters though.
       
    14. There was an Orlando Bloom (Legolas) mini me run, too. :)
       
    15. The Minimees based off of real people are very uncomfortable from both a privacy and Uncanny Valley standpoint in my eyes. Doesn't matter how they're being used.
       
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    16. It really walks the fine line between inspired/based on the likeness, and purely copying the look of a said celebrity. I don't really take issue to those inspired by celebrities, especially if it's a younger likeness, especially if it's based around one of the musician/actor/actress's music/movie/TV roles. A fictional character can be the actor playing them, but also be an entirely separate entity altogether. Like when creating a Johnny Depp bjd based on his role in Pirates of the Caribbean, or David Bowie as his role as the Goblin King in Labyrinth---sure, it's their likeness, but the characters themselves are separate, fictitious entities. Even basing one solely on a period in their career is just mirroring the fan's affectation for that time frame in the celebrity's life---not tracking their day-to-day activities. It's when it gets to the point of obsessively copying a celebrity's every move that it gets creepy.

      As for the legal liabilities...there's a lot of legal gray areas in the practice. For personal use is fine, and sold in very limited quantities seems okay. It's when you try and make a real profit that it gets into murky legal territory. Plagiarism is highly frowned on in the art world, and making something a 100% copy of a copyright-able property will get you all the wrong kinds of attention.

      Personally, I don't mind it too much. I'm more for the ones based off certain famous actor's characters rather than the celebrity specifically. (Good examples: Tom Hiddleston's Loki, Lee Pace's Thranduil, Benedict Cumberbach's Sherlock/Doctor Strange, etc)
       
    17. I've never been big into following celebrities in the first place, so the idea never quite clicked with me. But I do have some friends that collect action figures and stuff like that from shows, so it's not too weird to me. Then again, most of those action figures were made with legal licenses they bought from the actual owners of the content, and the same can't always be said for BJDs. I think jade-eyed-cat put it pretty well. As long as it's a fictional character, and not the actual person who play them that you base your doll off, it's completely fine.
       
    18. As always, there are exceptions to this rule. IOS presented their fully licensed Dr. Strange figure/doll.

      Basically, all of my crew are based on existing characters/celebrities. However, none of them are Minimees. I had mich more fun hunting existing sculpts and customizing them as close as possible to the character I had in mind.

      Even when I wanted to create my very own character, someone wrote that he gets a heavy David Bowie-vibe. Which is nothing bad, I just found it interesting (I like David Bowie's look a lot).

      I can find nothing bad about Minimees, as long as you do not make them for sale. Then IMO you have to approach the company and get a license.
       
    19. I understand that there is a fine line but for me I recognize that line? Many artists do painted portraits of celebrities or other people and sell them for profit. People from pop culture is always in artwork. As long as that work isn't a copy-cat of a previous work (whether it be photography photo ect.) I do not think one has to worry about copyright laws. Copyright laws clearly state that one can not copyright things of natural state of being and are not a man-made creation. So from flowers to people you wouldn't have to worry about copyright as long as you are using several references I imagine and creating your own unique piece of work.

      I actually think you would run into more legal trouble using actors characters as the said characters can be considered as intellectual property (if you plan on selling or advertising.)
       
    20. personally I've always found dolls of based off of real people very off putting. I'm totally down with dolls that look like celebrities in character roles but just a doll of a celebrity as themselves has always been creepy to me. I know I wouldn't want someone making a doll in my likeness and doing who knows what with it. There's just something dehumanizing about taking a real live person and reducing them to an object. Then aga in I find celebrity fan culture off putting just by itself.
       
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