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There's a maker of toys on the market and they only produce physical toys which are quite peculiar, unique and distinct from everything else. Suppose I have an idea to buy several toys from them, make photographs and drawings of those and sell that art on my website. Is there a general law (in the US) that could prohibit me from doing that or is it decided strictly by the producer of the original product?

Could a copyright even apply to works like these? And is it enforceable? There may be different variations of it, such as: a specific toy appearing amongst other objects in a busy image, or a very stylized type of art that is only broadly reminiscent of the original object that inspired it.

My question is not "how different can it be before copyright kicks in...", it's about two different representations of a product, different mediums. I.e. I'm not comparing a painting to a painting reproduction, rather I'm trying to understand the relationship between a physical three-dimensional object intended for play and leisure and its representation in 2D intended by me as "art".

  • Please read the copyright FAQs. For purposes of copyright law the medium of reproduction does not determine whether something has been "copied." – feetwet Jun 13 '17 at 16:07

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