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GninjaGnome

Owning a Digital Playmate

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Recently I’ve started working with an Indie studio doing the cg special effects on a short sci fi film. The job requires me to build a full body nude digital likeness of a Playboy model. I’m working on this for free. (Like standing in front of a Playboy model with a camera isn’t payment enough :)) , but I’d like to ask her for the rights to her digital model as compensation. Is there a legal way to acquire the rights to someone’s “digital self”. If not, what about the cg model? Would I be allowed to use it in a game cut scene or sell it if I wanted? I’m not even an amateur lawyer, so any input would be great. Thanks

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Look up "model release" - as long as she's not a member of an actors' union that might give you a start on what kinds of things need to be included in the agreement. But if she's a union actress, then there are other rules that apply.
Also, there's the question of using her name as well as her body's likeness.
And there may also be issues with using the terms "Playboy" and "Playmate" in any advertising copy or the credits.
I think you really need to get a lawyer involved in drafting the agreement. I'm not one, I should add.

And this question of compensation is confusing. The party who should be compensating you is the film studio, not the model. So you asking her for the rights to her 3D model (as your compensation) doesn't make sense. And she needs to be compensated in cash - the rights to her 3D model (if you're saying you'd grant her those, the opposite of what you wrote) isn't much compensation for her; she has no way of capitalizing on them unless she has the 3D model to provide to potential customers. So I'm very confused by this part of what you wrote.

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Thanks Tom,

Sorry if it was a bit confusing, it was just an afterthought on the way back from the production meeting. I know there is no way I could use “Playboy” or “Playmate” in any description and I had planned on going through the studio to ask for the cg model rights. (I’m sure she’s being compensated well)

But after mulling it over, I decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle and that most games that rely on celebrities as selling points a crap anyway. The film will be a great portfolio piece if nothing else.

Thanks for the help though and btw: thanks for the Game Design page on your web site. It’s a good read.

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