Originally Posted by VanillaSky
No, I did not say that Disney is not harmed at all but someone making their own Mickey Mouse figurine instead of buying a decopac is not getting the final product without paying for it - just a facsimile, which depending on how good a sculptor that person is, may look pretty close to Mickey Mouse. But you can usually tell that the figurine is not an exact replica of MIckey Mouse.
Unfortunately copyright law does not work that way...saying that the copy of someone else's work is just a reasonable facsimile instead of an exact copy is not a defense, unless the copy is transformational in nature (like a parody) or of such poor quality that you cannot identify what it was supposed to be based on.
The whole point of copyright law is to allow the creators of original work (whether that work is a cartoon character, song, movie, book, etc.) to protect their investment and have some control over how their work is used, within the limits of fair use.
some, like me, dont like plastic figurines on my cakes, so i wouldnt buy them. which is why I don't agree that every unlicensed figurine equates to one foregone sale of a decopac. somepeople would never buy a decopac.
The fact that the licensed products you would prefer to buy are not available is not a valid defense for copyright infringement.
The music downloader is getting the final product with out paying for it as he or sshe almost always gets the full artist's recording and you can't tell the difference from hearing it whether someone paid for it or not.
Nope. When you download MP3 files you are getting an inferior copy of the original in terms of audio quality, the audio in a MP3 file is typically 128-192 Kbps and you can tell the difference between the digital track and a CD quality recording.
Even a CD quality recording is inferior to the original master recording. If anything the original master would be considered the "final product", with CDs and high quality digital files for purchase from iTunes and the like being licensed copies, and MP3 files recorded from CDs without permission being unlicensed infringing copies. In the Mickey Mouse example Disney's in-house produced art could be considered the "final product", with licensed figurines and decopacs being the equivalent of legal CDs and digital music files, and unlicensed products using Mickey's likeness without permission (t-shirts, dolls, cakes) as the infringing items.
(The analogous situation for cakes is if I liked a song, but instead of buying that song, i had my garage band recreate that song)
You would still need to purchase a license if you want to legally recreate and record a copyrighted song (i.e. a cover version), this is called a mechanical license:
If the cover will not be recorded but will instead be played in public, a different type of license is required, but this is usually covered by the venue:
Bottom line: both songs and cartoon characters are creative works, both are protected by copyright and/or trademark law, and as the case in this thread has shown the Supreme Court does not think an appeal of an infringement penalty due to the unreasonableness of a $675K fine on an individual is worth hearing.
You're correct that the music industry has been tougher on enforcement than the owners of cartoon characters, probably due to advancing technology that makes it trivial to copy digital audio. As technology continues to advance and it becomes easier and cheaper to duplicate 2D artwork in edible form you can eventually expect a similar response from Disney and the like. When ubiquitous personal 3D fabrication arrives (probably within the next 10-20 years) IP protection will be a very serious issue for these companies.