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Ryan T.
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Question a customer asked me.
Feb 12th, 2018 at 1:57pm
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A woman came in today and said "minerals are the very heart of the scifi and fantasy genres, even if we don't know it. For instance, minerals lay at the heart of every lightsaber. So, why don't you market some of your minerals as such; lightsaber crystals, elfstones, Skyrim soul gems, etc?"

I don't because I can't, correct? I can't just slap a picture of Darth Vader on a tub of Turtle Wax and sell it as Sith Armor Polish. I can't carve a staff, put runes on it, and call it Allanon's Staff. I don't even think I can even make a sign in my store saying "Amethysts, like what Mace Windu had in his lightsaber". I could carve a generic wizard wand, put runes on it, and have a mineral at the top. I could potentially contact Terry Brooks, show him some of  my tumbled minerals, and ask him if he'd sell a pouch of them alongside his books, but that's not going to happen.

I wonder why that's never happened, though? I have read countless works of fiction that feature minerals as the main plot point, but not one (to my knowledge) have offered a mineral with their books, not even a low grade couple buck single terminated citrine, which around here, a low grade one the size of your pinkie costs about $3. I never realized how important merchandise is. Star Wars merchandise has brought in double the revenue of the movies, because merchandise takes an intangible thing, like a movie world, and puts it in the palm of your hand. Hmm, now I have ideas, if I ever get off my butt and publish the fantasy book that I've been writing for over a decade.

Anyway, you can't do what my customer was suggesting, correct? I'm not a lawyer, but common sense dictates that I can't just take a black Bic, put some type of decal on it, and market it as Darth Vader's cigarette lighter. Hmm Darth Vader might not have been a good fit, maybe a better one would have been that robot guy with the smoker's cough. Anyway, you can't just take someone's intellectual property like that, correct? If you could, you'd see Jabba the Hutt hookahs at every head shop across the country. Then George Lucas would be suing the bejesus out of everyone.
  
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lizziebird
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Re: Question a customer asked me.
Reply #1 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 3:46pm
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I'm no lawyer either, but you are definitely correct.  The Star Wars name (as well as it's characters and names of things specifically tied to Star Wars) is most definitely copyright and rights retained by whomever owns/manages the entire Star Wars corporation.  "You could just say super powerful magic rocks, like in the movies!" or make up your own goofy names for things.  Any other company that uses Star Wars trademark items has had to pay a pretty penny for the rights to do so legally.

  
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JoeM
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Re: Question a customer asked me.
Reply #2 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 5:11pm
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Skyrim Soul Gems, man, that's funky.
I like that. Mind if I use it?

A trademarked name is a no brainer. I don't even use any of the metaphysical names, because who knows if you got one? Huh

It is a lot simpler just to call them what they are. Wink
  
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Ryan T.
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Re: Question a customer asked me.
Reply #3 - Feb 12th, 2018 at 5:42pm
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I actually owe quite a bit of my customer count to Skyrim; more specifically to the mod creators. One guy made a mineral mod to the game, where you can mine 200 + minerals from Skyrim soil. A second guy made a fossil mod, and a third guy made a museum where you can put all of your fossils and minerals on display. So, I have, on average, ten people a day asking things like " I found something called chrysocolla today, the mod said it was a real mineral, would you by chance have any of that?"

And a lot of people ask if there's a real world equivalent of Skyrim's soul gems. Sure do; smoky quartz and titanium aura. So, thank you, Skyrim and it's mod creators !
  
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