Hi guys I'm new here and am very excited to be in this awesome stop-motion community :)

Basically, I am working on a stop-motion short film until about May for my senior project at my university. Today I met up with my professor and she gave me quite a scare because she said my characters looked oddly familiar to her. She couldn't put her finger on it but I wanted to do some research. Obviously I don't want to plagiarize someone else's hard work. If you think these characters look too similar to another animated character from somewhere else, please let me know! I'm only interested in making unique characters and I don't want to copyright. Thank you!!

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Maybe....***maybe*** a little Tim Burton-ish? If you squint, looking through a piece of cheesecloth, from a distance.

Personally, I think you're in the clear. 

Dennis

Kind of reminds me of this from Beetlejuice…

Or maybe Spy vs Spy??? :\

They are fine, and don't look like anything else to me. I'm not seeing the long beaky look of Plague Doctor/Spy vs Spy.

But at the moment they seem designed as flat 2d graphics, which is fine if you are going to do cut-out animation.  But if you are going with fully rounded stomp puppets, you should sculpt them and see how they translate to 3 dimensions.

If you struck a mould off a puppet, then just painted it to make it look a bit different, that would certainly constitute theft of intellectual property. You would not have done the sculpting.

But if you sculpt the puppets yourself from scratch, they are very unlikely to be exactly the same as another's. Your admirable sensitivity on this matter suggests that you would steer clear of slavish imitation.

Let us imagine the worst-case scenario. You make your film, and then some lawyers contact you, accusing you of copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. Your defence would be very simple - a series of photos showing your design and construction process.

The issue becomes more significant if, for example, you are commissioned to make something for someone's project. This happened to me recently. I was told the theatre company in question had very little money, and would I create a Frankenstein monster for them at a very low fixed deal. They said they would pay me more if they got their grant and full houses, which they did. But they refused to pay any more. I also realised that they might revive the play, so before submitting my invoice I made sure the terms and conditions made it clear that they had permission to use my work only for the specified performances. They did revive the show, and I managed to get some more money out of them in return for a licence agreement. It still does not reflect the time I put into the making, but at least I did not have the frustration of seeing someone exploiting my work for their exclusive financial gain.

This may not be of relevance unless you go on to work professionally, but my advice is to take steps to protect your own intellectual property, and have a written contract whenever money changes hands..... oh, and use other's work as inspiration, by all means, but don't copy.

Thank you for all the comments! I definitely see a little Beetlejuice/Spy VS Spy from my characters. I'm going to make a post of my characters after I sculpted them. I sculpted one and am almost complete, looks fairly original to me. 

Thank you again!

Very informative comment. Thank you for all that info, issues like copyright shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt. I'm sorry that happened to you! I appreciate the info 

Simon Tytherleigh said:

If you struck a mould off a puppet, then just painted it to make it look a bit different, that would certainly constitute theft of intellectual property. You would not have done the sculpting.

But if you sculpt the puppets yourself from scratch, they are very unlikely to be exactly the same as another's. Your admirable sensitivity on this matter suggests that you would steer clear of slavish imitation.

Let us imagine the worst-case scenario. You make your film, and then some lawyers contact you, accusing you of copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. Your defence would be very simple - a series of photos showing your design and construction process.

The issue becomes more significant if, for example, you are commissioned to make something for someone's project. This happened to me recently. I was told the theatre company in question had very little money, and would I create a Frankenstein monster for them at a very low fixed deal. They said they would pay me more if they got their grant and full houses, which they did. But they refused to pay any more. I also realised that they might revive the play, so before submitting my invoice I made sure the terms and conditions made it clear that they had permission to use my work only for the specified performances. They did revive the show, and I managed to get some more money out of them in return for a licence agreement. It still does not reflect the time I put into the making, but at least I did not have the frustration of seeing someone exploiting my work for their exclusive financial gain.

This may not be of relevance unless you go on to work professionally, but my advice is to take steps to protect your own intellectual property, and have a written contract whenever money changes hands..... oh, and use other's work as inspiration, by all means, but don't copy.

Just an illustration to show that it works both ways. Looking forward to seeing your sculpt.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Plagiarism is just theft.

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