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I make and sell real life, 3D replicas of daggers from video games, TV, and movies. Currently I am using the original names of the daggers to sell my products (and I am aware that I am likely infringing on intellectual property). However, if I rename the weapons to more generic names to sell them under as opposed to their in game names, would this still be copyright infringement? My main concern is that the appearance is still the same as it is in the game. Is it likely to get me into legal trouble?

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If your sculpture is a derivative work of another sculpture that you have seen in film or photos then you are violating copyright. There is no violation if you make a sword: there is if you make that sword.

  • In the United States, at least, I don't think there's really any per se rule that derivative works violate copyright. – bdb484 May 15 '18 at 15:18
  • How much would the work have to be changed to legally be considered no longer a derivative work? Obviously this is a very difficult question, but in particular this brings to mind the "lightsaber" versus "laser sword" thing. The "laser swords" available for purchase almost always seem like a clear derivative work of lightsabers, yet for the most part they are not sued to my knowledge. Would this be because the concept of lightsabers is generic, or because the laser swords themselves are physically distinguishable enough from lightsabers to not be considered derivative? – Casey C May 15 '18 at 19:50
  • @bdb484 the .exclusive right of the copyright owner to make derivative works is a core part of copyright everywhere including the USA. – Dale M May 15 '18 at 20:18
  • Agreed, but that doesn't make every derivative a copyright violation. U.S. law still leaves quite a bit of room for derivatives through fair use, does it not? – bdb484 May 15 '18 at 20:29
  • @bdb484 I believe fair use only applies in cases where using a portion of a copyrighted work would be nearly unavoidable (like book reviews, scholarly papers, etc) and not in my situation – Casey C May 15 '18 at 20:35

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