Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Oh, the toys you will be forbidden to mod by DMCA

Slashdot posted to Old Toy Modding?
as Oh, the toys you will be forbidden to mod by DMCA:

Believe it or not it's illegal to play non-Teddy-Ruxpin tapes in a Teddy Ruxpin bear, because by doing so you're creating a derivative "audiovisual work comprising animated plush toy bear with unique voice."

IANAL, however I see this claim made about the Teddy Ruxpin cases (Worlds of Wonder v. Veritel Learning Systems & Worlds of
Wonder v. Vector Int'l) on numerous web sites.

The key phrase here is "toy bear with unique voice". The unauthorized derivative works were being marketed as new Teddy Ruxpin stories, and used a similar-sounding voice actor and custom recorded data channel to capitalize on the original (copyrighted) Teddy Ruxpin "Look and Feel", the "ruxpin experience" which the children expected.

If you were to attempt to market a "Ruxpin-compatible" tape which caused Teddy's eyes to roll back in his head and intone a backwards-masked satanic mass recorded by Iron Maiden (One of the few groups to intentionally backmask on a metal album), you might be able to prevail against Worlds of Wonder.

OTOH, the market for black mass teddy ruxpin tapes is (hopefully) rather small.


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