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Legal pressure from Apple prompts cancelation of Steve Jobs action figure

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
An action figure from Hong Kong designed to look like late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been canceled, after Apple's legal team and the Jobs family threatened the company behind the toy.

In Icon, the Chinese company that created the doll, said in a statement that the doll is no longer being made and is not available for sale, according to PC World. They said they "received immense pressure from the lawyers of Apple and Steve Jobs family."

"Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figuring out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family," Tandy Cheung of In Icon said.

The retail price of the plastic doll is $99, but reseller prices on sites like eBay were significantly higher. The figurine came with a pair of black socks, glasses, a leather belt, a bar stool, a "One More Thing" backdrop, and two apples, with a bite taken out of one of them.

Word that Apple was attempting to halt sales of the action figure first surfaced earlier this month. The Cupertino, Calif., company asserted that it owns the rights to the likeness of Jobs.




Cheung said he originally created the action figure of Jobs as a tribute to him. It is a poseable figurine that was shown in promotional images delivering a keynote, sitting on a stool, and pointing, mimicking things Jobs did in real life.

The action figure isn't the first object to carry a likeness of Jobs that Apple shut down. Om December of 2010, the company also halted sales of a miniature statue depicting Jobs holding an iPhone and standing atop an Apple logo.
post #2 of 33
A tribute. A $99 tribute, each.
Please don't be insane.
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post #3 of 33
What a cowardly position to take by the action figure maker company!

I had one of these on pre-order. It's all good though, I'm sure that I'll be able to find something else to spend $110 dollars on. The action figure maker should have known that this kind of reaction from Apple was coming. Were they expecting Apple to approve of it? Duh

It's not like this same exact thing hasn't happened before with an earlier Steve Jobs figure. Were they not aware of that? They should have gone ahead and let themselves be sued. Maybe Apple could have stopped the action figure in certain jurisdictions, but not everywhere and not in every state. The action figure didn't infringe on any Apple trademarks because no Apple products came with the action figure.

Maybe I'll get one of those Planet of the Apes action figures that I saw a while ago instead. Those look pretty realistic and impressive too. They had better because those are around twice the price.
post #4 of 33
People should leave basements of their parents sometime and go outside. I know it's scary, but singing birds and fresh air is free.
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

People should leave basements of their parents sometime and go outside. I know it's scary, but singing birds and fresh air is free.

That's the pot calling the kettle black...
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Post

You know, I'm starting to think that we've all been incredibly Poe'd. Like, everyone. Because we take at face value what we see here. Sure, we see through the easy trolls and the blatant anti-Apple shills, but I can't help but wonder if we've been missing the big one all along.

Hiding in plain sight comes to mind. As do all the other clichéd phrases about this sort of thing.

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“The only thing more insecure than Android is its userbase.” – Can’t Remember

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post #7 of 33
... get a couple before they pull them off the market,
then wait 10 years,
and sell it on eBay for $450000 ... or a million and a half.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by gto65l View Post

That's the pot calling the kettle black...

Racist pot.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

A tribute. A $99 tribute, each.

I don't really get this "tribute." Seems opportunistic. Sort of like Franklin Mint's "Twin Towers 2001" collectible coins. There are better ways to pay tribute than that.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #10 of 33
Apple is getting to be such assholes. It's a tribute and I can see a whole lot of Apple/Jobs fans who would like to have a remembrance like that action figure. Why not cut a deal to say n% goes to some charity that Job's liked.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I don't really get this "tribute." Seems opportunistic. Sort of like Franklin Mint's "Twin Towers 2001" collectible coins. There are better ways to pay tribute than that.

I thought calling it a tribute was pretty funny, in a sleazy sort of way. No, no, it isn't a product at all. We wouldn't dare make any money from it.

Actually I'm surprised that they stopped production entirely. The kind of rights Apple and Steve's family are exerting aren't protected everywhere. Certainly not in China.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Touch1 View Post

... get a couple before they pull them off the market,
then wait 10 years,
and sell it on eBay for $450000 ... or a million and a half.

....and get sued by AAPL then. Fuggetabouddit.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbop View Post

Apple is getting to be such assholes. It's a tribute and I can see a whole lot of Apple/Jobs fans who would like to have a remembrance like that action figure. Why not cut a deal to say n% goes to some charity that Job's liked.

From what I understand, Jobs didn't like any charity. "Tribute" my eye. It is profiteering, plain and simple. If a person can't own and control their own likeness, what can they control. Although we already know you don't control your own cells, organs, etc...
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

From what I understand, Jobs didn't like any charity. "Tribute" my eye. It is profiteering, plain and simple. If a person can't own and control their own likeness, what can they control.

Indeed, and since Apple legally DOES control Steve's likeness in at least some states, this figurine's legality is moot.

Quote:
Although we already know you don't control your own cells, organs, etc...

At the risk of being off-topic, to what are you referring here?

“The only thing more insecure than Android is its userbase.” – Can’t Remember

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“The only thing more insecure than Android is its userbase.” – Can’t Remember

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post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You know, I'm starting to think that we've all been incredibly Poe'd. Like, everyone. Because we take at face value what we see here. Sure, we see through the easy trolls and the blatant anti-Apple shills, but I can't help but wonder if we've been missing the big one all along.

Hiding in plain sight comes to mind. As do all the other clichéd phrases about this sort of thing.

Is there something that leads you to believe that what I wrote is not the case? That is one of my more straightforward posts, without any irony or sarcasm involved.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Indeed, and since Apple legally DOES control Steve's likeness in at least some states, this figurine's legality is moot.

And that's why the figure maker should have gone ahead with it. It may have been banned in some states, like California, but I would have still gotten mine, since only a few states have those kind of laws.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Indeed, and since Apple legally DOES control Steve's likeness in at least some states, this figurine's legality is moot.

We don't actually know if Apple controls his likeness. We'd expect it to be owned by his heirs, unless the rights were assigned to Apple on his death. That's possible, but no article I've seen on this subject says so. It's also noteworthy that the doll manufacturer is saying that the pressure came from Steve's family as well.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

From what I understand, Jobs didn't like any charity.

You understand wrong. there is no evidence that he didn't like charities, only that he would not talk about charitable giving. Some of the public actions of Apple under Jobs have been seting up the Product (Red) items (donating the profits to fighting AIDS in Africa), and selling the Bridge School Collections in iTunes (available nowhere else, all the proceeds going to the Bridge School).

Nobody has any idea of Jobs' private view of charities and charitable giving.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Racist pot.

I know it's a joke, but I've actually had someone say this to me (and completely serious when she did it too).

I had to explain it was an idiom ... the meaning behind it being that at the time it was created both pots and tea kettles were made of cast iron, so they were both "black." And that it had nothing to do with the color of the person to whom it was being referenced. Then I had to explain what an idiom was, because she didn't know the word, so I said, "a colloquial metaphor ..." Still a blank expression, so I said, "it's an expression ..." Then the lightbulb when on ...

Some people really are that stupid ...
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I don't really get this "tribute." Seems opportunistic. Sort of like Franklin Mint's "Twin Towers 2001" collectible coins. There are better ways to pay tribute than that.

Whether it's a tribute or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether it is legal. I'm disappointed that won't be tested.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Indeed, and since Apple legally DOES control Steve's likeness in at least some states, this figurine's legality is moot.

What? Where did you hear this? Since when do our employers control our likeness? I would expect that to belong to Jobs' estate.
post #22 of 33
I consider the doll obscene and am glad it has been removed. Imagine someone taking detailed images of your mother, sister, or daughter, then making an exact, scale sex doll with the same face, anatomical proportions, and everything. To make matters worse, they sell it for ONLY $99 without giving you any of it. That may not be illegal, but it probably ought to be. It is certainly distasteful.

And, yes, I would have eventually bought an SJ doll. That does not make it any less distasteful, and I am still glad it was stopped. Don't bother pointing out my double standards, I could write a book about them.
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

What? Where did you hear this? Since when do our employers control our likeness? I would expect that to belong to Jobs' estate.

See this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

We don't actually know if Apple controls his likeness. We'd expect it to be owned by his heirs, unless the rights were assigned to Apple on his death. That's possible, but no article I've seen on this subject says so. It's also noteworthy that the doll manufacturer is saying that the pressure came from Steve's family as well.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Touch1 View Post

... get a couple before they pull them off the market,
then wait 10 years,
and sell it on eBay for $450000 ... or a million and a half.

That's what I'm doing, I'm a doll collector and the Jobs doll is hi dollar. I already have John Lennon with gunshot wound, Kim Johng il and tupac. Just need Jobs and I'll be good for a few $$ in 20 years. Woop
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Touch1 View Post

... get a couple before they pull them off the market,
then wait 10 years,
and sell it on eBay for $450000 ... or a million and a half.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

....and get sued by AAPL then. Fuggetabouddit.

Slappy has guaranteed me that Apple won't be here in 10 years.
na na na na na...
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na na na na na...
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post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouncerman View Post

That's what I'm doing, I'm a doll collector and the Jobs doll is hi dollar. I already have John Lennon with gunshot wound, Kim Johng il and tupac. Just need Jobs and I'll be good for a few $$ in 20 years. Woop

What about Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi and Osama Bin Laden dolls from the murdered dictators collection?
na na na na na...
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na na na na na...
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post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

From what I understand, Jobs didn't like any charity. "Tribute" my eye. It is profiteering, plain and simple. If a person can't own and control their own likeness, what can they control. Although we already know you don't control your own cells, organs, etc...

So it's not profiteering for book publishers of unauthorized biographies, or magazine publishers to use Jobs image on covers to sell more units? Or for websites to use his name and photo to get more clicks and page views to generate more advertising revenue? Or to put together a special magazine issue of a compilation of all Jobs related articles from the past? Hmmm. Seems like a rather nonsensical argument.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

From what I understand, Jobs didn't like any charity. "Tribute" my eye. It is profiteering, plain and simple. If a person can't own and control their own likeness, what can they control. Although we already know you don't control your own cells, organs, etc...

So profiteering is a bad thing? And where do you draw the line? How about the November issue of Fortune designed to sell more magazines?

Here is the headline and also had a full cover photo of Steve:

Steve Jobs: The biography ... his rivalry with Bill
Steve and Bill were the ultimate frenemies. In this exclusive excerpt from his new book, Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson shows how their relationship evolved from a contentious disdain to a grudging respect.

Steve and me
Fortune contributor Brent Schlender shares some of the stories and personal photographs he collected during more than two decades as Steve Jobs' chronicler and confidant.

post #29 of 33
I'm thinking that stopping production also came with a silent donation to the doll company.

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #30 of 33
No, that's what I thought.

You have the rights to your own likeness, at least over a number of years after your death. Especially since Jobs is so identified with the Apple brand.
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbop View Post

Apple is getting to be such assholes. It's a tribute and I can see a whole lot of Apple/Jobs fans who would like to have a remembrance like that action figure. Why not cut a deal to say n% goes to some charity that Job's liked.

I guess Job's wife and kids are assholes too? Coz they don't want it either..
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

So profiteering is a bad thing? And where do you draw the line? How about the November issue of Fortune designed to sell more magazines?

You really don't see the difference between a news magazine dedicated to finance running stories about SJ's legacy and a random company pumping out an overpriced "collectible"?
post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

People should leave basements of their parents sometime and go outside. I know it's scary, but singing birds and fresh air is free.

you are so insensitive, amazing!
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