As with any business that keeps growing, I have to address some legal issues. As the molds become more and more popular, more chances arise for my work to become copied and sold without my permission. If I don't do anything, soon there will be other businesses selling molds of my blocks - and there would be nothing I could do about it.
So I've contacted one of the best copyright lawyers available, and we've spent a lot of time together working out the important issues. What follows below is my legal statement, and to the right of it are a few notes about each section. Bruce Hirst, Owner and creator of Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture and Castlemolds(R)
1. All products offered for sale from Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture are original sculptured pieces, are produced from original molds and based on original designs, all of which are copyrighted by Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture and/or Bruce Hirst. Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture also utilizes certain trademarks to protect its legal rights and has gained additional proprietary rights in the design of products which it sells under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)).
This says that all of the original designs are my property. I have also claimed "Castlemolds(R)" as the trademark name for my product.
Hirst Arts is my business name, but I can't use it as my trademark name since trademarks are for products only. By registering "Castlemolds(R)" as my trademark, it gives me more protection over my product. Here's a copy of the logo I'm using:
2. While Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture encourages you to be creative with its products, unauthorized copying, trading and selling of its products, castings based on its original designs and copy molds prepared from our products is strictly prohibited.
This is part of the legal language. It means there is no unauthorized copying. However, I can authorize you to do certain things with my molds. These exceptions are listed in the next paragraph.
3. Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture will, upon reasonable request, license its products and design for copying and resale. Any unauthorized copying and selling of our products or products which are based on our designs, will result in legal action under the applicable copyright and trademark laws. To avoid such legal action, you must obtain express permission from Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture prior to copying and selling its products or preparing molds from its original products for the purpose of casting and resale. Individuals may duplicate and copy the original designs of Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture only for their personal use. Any individual or business which incorporates our products or copies of our original designs in any revised sculptured work shall contact us to determine whether a license agreement is required. Individuals may sell limited quantities of our products and copies of our products without the need for a license agreement as long as their total gross sale of product does not exceed $1,000.00 within any one year period and as long as these products are finished, assembled and painted. Any individual selling more than $1,000.00 per year of our products or copies of our products without express permission, or any business, including but not limited to hobby shops, are precluded from such sales without a license. All business must obtain a license agreement before selling any products made from Hirst Arts materials. No one is allowed to produce molds for sale which use pieces created by Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture.
This says that hobbyists can build and sell finished painted models made from my pieces. No one is allowed to sell molds made from my pieces.
However, if you sell over $1,000 worth of models in a year, then you need a license agreement to do it legally. All business must have a license agreement no matter how much they sell. Making and selling building kits which use the blocks falls under the category of being a business.
A good rule of thumb to follow here is "if you give the impression of being a business - then I consider you to be a business". This includes anyone that acts under a business name or has an online shopping cart. I want my average customers to easily sell their old models, but I also want to control how businesses use my blocks.
That's where the license agreement comes in. A license agreement is a contract between me and the business. With it, I can legally limit what they can do with my blocks (more specific than the standard copyright laws can). However, because of the difficulty and cost in drafting a license agreement, it's reserved for businesses only.
4. Any individual or business intending to promote and sell our products, or to prepare and display sculptures which incorporate our products, are highly encouraged to give credit to Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture and to mention our website address on any sales or display information.
If you do use the blocks to display your miniatures on the internet or in an advertisement, it would be nice if you mentioned my name and web address.
It's not legally required, but it would be the polite thing to do.
5. A sample License Agreement is provided for your review and consideration. If you believe, or upon review of the License Agreement believe, that such license is required for your particular situation, please contact Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture before copying, selling or offering for sale any of our products or copies based on our products. If you do not understand the terms of the License Agreement or any of the requirements set forth above, please contact Hirst Arts Fantasy Architecture before commencing any activity which could lead to our legal enforcement of our intellectual property rights.
If you think you need a license agreement, I've put a copy of it here. It's a PDF file so you'll need Adobe Acrobat to open it. Read it over and then contact me if you think you need one.
Thank you for visiting my legal page. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 660-827-1685 between 10am and 8pm central time, Monday through Friday.