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Aikarin

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the long hoof of the law [Jan. 16th, 2007|11:38 pm]
Aikarin
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[mood |hopefulhopeful]

A lot of you are following this matter regarding the legalities of pony customizing.

A quick update for everyone (crossposted at the MLP Arena):
Yes, I did write back. Basically, I summarized my understanding of their e-mail and what I planned to do. Guessing at what's bugging Hasbro: the pics of boxes, logos, "My Little Pony" when describing customs, replicas, and designs based on existing ponies. I will add disclaimers to each page saying that "My Little Pony" is owned by Hasbro and the customs are not endorsed by them.

I asked to have my e-mail forwarded to the appropriate people at Hasbro, so they can determine if further changes need to be made on my website. I tried to explain how customizing really helps to increase interest in ponies and makes the fans happy (which in turn increases sales for them). I'm not asking to have free reign in terms of customizing, but just hoping that Hasbro will meet us collectors/customizers somewhere in the middle.

The lawyer wrote back today, saying that she will get back to me after hearing from Hasbro. So, to answer everyone's question...the e-mail is indeed real. The domain of the e-mail address matches the law firm which Hasbro uses. I seriously doubt someone is intercepting that law firm's e-mail! I agree that they might have sent a snail mail letter or called if e-mail didn't work. It is generally a good idea to answer ANY legal concerns promptly.

I've really been wondering, "why now and why my customs?" A change in management at Hasbro? Too many calls asking which stores stocked "Princess Broccoli" during the holiday season? Or maybe some early replica customs which were recently re-sold on eBay because the owner needed money? That last possibility might lead them to think I was making a large number of them. Also, with the replicas, there's a chance that someone would pass them off as the real thing (even though they are all signed).

This is a significant event, since Hasbro hasn't asked anyone to remove custom ponies from their websites until this point in time. However, we're still unclear WHICH custom ponies are problematic from Hasbro's point of view. Just hoping their answer isn't going to be "ALL of the ones made from MLP bases". I'll definitely keep everyone updated on the situation.

Thanks for all of the support! ^_^
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: garney
2007-01-17 08:42 am (UTC)
I know the inability to customise ponies would seriously impact how many ponies I buy, and I know I'm not alone in that area. Granted, I customise mainly for my own personal enjoyment, but I've been venturing away from my safe area and I have a few offers waiting for when my schedule settles down.

Surely there has to be a middleground somewhere, it is a scary thought otherwise.
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the comment.
I agree. I'm downsizing my collection and buy G3 ponies mostly to customize as well. I do hope Hasbro will listen to the fans. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: kaikaku
2007-01-17 09:25 am (UTC)
I really hope things work out alright. Keep us updated to the degree you can! I wish they hadn't gone after you, too. :(

My concern is that if they're going after customizing in general, I'd expect them to go after you first. Your site is remarkably well done and it's the first thing that pops up on Google for 'custom pony.' Hopefully they just have a problem with the boxes.

I admire your work and hope you won't have to stop. I wish Princess Broccoli was sold in stores. I don't really see what Hasbro stands to win by going after artists like you--chances are it will hurt their sales.

Best wishes. Glad you seem to be keeping pretty upbeat even in the face of this.

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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:39 am (UTC)
Thanks for the message. Yes, I'm trying to stay positive. No word from them yet. I really think it's the replica ponies and the boxes that they have a problem with.
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[User Picture]From: akanekun
2007-01-17 09:42 am (UTC)
It does stink that they chose to go after you. :/ Though on the brighter side, I think it's because your craftsmanship and skill is so high that you're making better designs and ponies than they are and thus their panic that yours are better than the real thing. ;)
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for writing. ^_^ LOL, maybe I should lower the quality of my customs...that way, people won't try to sell my replicas as the real thing. ^_~
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[User Picture]From: gypsystears
2007-01-17 03:27 pm (UTC)
Call me warped, but there might be an eventual bright side to all of this (bear with me here) -

Say they're dogging you because your works are so beautiful and look so real. Your customs help keep people interested in ponies and buying them, and lots of collectors know your site and how good you are. Even MLP conventions all over know who you are. <3 Shutting you down would be BAAAAD for PR.

The bright side? Maybe after this whole ordeal they'll offer you a job designing new ponies for them. Hiring a highly-respected customizer to design ponies for them couldn't do anything but help them.

Kinda from out in left field, but a thought. //_^ *huggles* Either way, I'm sure everything will be fine.
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:46 am (UTC)
Awwww...thanks. ^_^
I hope they don't ask me to take the whole site down. People get antsy when I post the monthly desktop background a few days late...they're definitely going to get a lot of complaints!
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From: weymouthbridoon
2007-01-17 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for keeping us masses abreast of the situation. I'm telling you, if Hasbro tries to pull a stunt and deny you the option of making customs, I will be the FIRST name on the petition to get them to revoke such a stupid decision. :-)
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for the support! I'm going to continue with the non-replica, non-Hasbro based customs until I hear back from them. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: kashuarashi
2007-01-18 06:23 am (UTC)
*thumbs up* Sounds good so far! Will be keeping an eye on things.
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:58 am (UTC)
Thanks! ^_^
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From: nattykank
2007-01-18 07:25 pm (UTC)

Poo-poo.

Well, I still think it's all a big hullabaloo for nothin'. Keep your chin up girl! We'll be here awaiting details and backing you up whole-heartedly!!
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 02:58 am (UTC)

Re: Poo-poo.

I hope you're right. Thanks for the support. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: nenufar
2007-01-18 07:29 pm (UTC)
"just hoping their answer isn't going to be "ALL of the ones made from MLP bases""
Sure, I also hope that isn't!
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 03:02 am (UTC)
Ummm...that's my fear too. They'd be losing a LOT of customers if that's their answer.
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[User Picture]From: missy_bug
2007-01-18 08:47 pm (UTC)
Aikarin, i read your post on the MLParena, and was deeply saddened that Hasbro was targeting your for this. Thanks for keeping us updated at all times! Honestly, if i wouldnt have stumbled apon your sight, I honestly would have NEVER even thought about buying my little ponies, or finding my old box of ponies from when i was little. Without you Aikarin, ponies wouldnt have excisted for me at all. And without you, i dont think i would be the collector i am today. Honestly, without you, hasbro wouldnt lose alot of buyers!

~Missy Bug
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[User Picture]From: missy_bug
2007-01-18 08:48 pm (UTC)
Eek i ment to say WOULD lose alot of buyers... he he
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 03:03 am (UTC)
Awwww...thanks. LOL, I knew what you meant. ^_^
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From: elfleidy
2007-01-18 11:50 pm (UTC)
here's to being optimistic!!! it can't be all bad if they responded quickly. hasbro stands to risk a lot of bad pr if they push the censorship envelope. my name would definitely be second on the petition list if it ever comes to that.
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 03:12 am (UTC)
I agree. I think Hasbro works really hard to preserve their warm, family-friendly image...I don't expect them to do anything rash.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-01-20 09:54 pm (UTC)

Inept Hasbro from SaveThePonies

I find it remarkable that a company such as Hasbro would send out such an inept legal letter to anyone! They should definitely have been clear on EXACTLY what their problem with you're customs are. It appears that the corporation is flexing it's legal muscles into scaring you.
Personally I find it reprehensible that Hasbro should have done this to you, and can only conclude that they are indeed threatened by you're skills and the fact that you so generously share the methods of customizing to others. I do not believe that Hasbro has thought this through at all, they need to work on their customer relations and realize that a significant proportion of their current sales are from people who want to customize ponies. The sale of customs does not detract from Hasbro's sale figures, people who buy a custom pony would not have spent the money on a new Hasbro pony instead of the custom. I do not believe that Hasbro would be able to enforce any attempt to stop people customizing ponies, even if they should try to.
On a personal note I hope that Hasbro takes the time to read ALL of the support you have had from the My Little Pony community of fans. Also I think that they need to be aware of how many people would react very negatively to this course of action.
I found you're site about a year ago when I was looking for information on how to restore original ponies. You're site is well constructed and thought out, also you inspired me to try customizing ponies for my daughter. I wonder if you could organize an on-line petition that we could all digitally sign to be presented to Hasbro to show how strongly the community feels about this.
Kind regards and I hope this works out well for you personally,
SaveThePonies
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 03:24 am (UTC)

Re: Inept Hasbro from SaveThePonies

Thanks for the comments and the support. ^_^
Yes, I'm also surprised that Hasbro is unaware of how customizing is a huge part of pony collecting. I think most collectors have tried customizing, or will try customizing, as part of the hobby.

Someone else also mentioned that maybe they're targeting me because of my customs tutorials. Not only am I making customs, I'm encouraging and teaching others to do it. Hmmmmmm.

As for a petition or boycott...several fans were talking about this, but I think it's too early. Lets wait and hear Hasbro's reply first. Hope for good news! ^_^
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-01-21 05:28 am (UTC)

Hello,

Hello,

¶I am French and fan of my small pony.¶
¶How to make to buy one of them personalized??¶
¶Thank you
¶Good day
¶Axelle ¶
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 03:25 am (UTC)

Re: Hello,

Thanks for writing. I'm not selling customs at this time. You could learn to make one of your own, though. I have some tutorials on my site at:
http://www.aikarin.com/mlp/customs/customtutorials.html
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-01-21 08:17 pm (UTC)
HOPEFULLY you can stiil make customs. Mabie on the front of the boxes on the heart you can put Aikarin:)
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[User Picture]From: aikarin
2007-01-22 03:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! LOL, I think I'm going to skip the boxes for now. ^_^
Even though I change the design on the front, they could still say it's too similar. The same shape and all. Some people are looking into alternate forms of packaging.
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