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September 10, 2012
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Fan Art Law

Mon Sep 10, 2012, 6:58 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:







Fan Art Law


Mon Sep 10, 2012 by techgnotic












I

t seems there’s nothing quite as dear to the hearts of many of our deviants as their production of fan art, and at the same time, there is nothing so knotted with legal and ethical headaches. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in the form of fan art it has also become one of the most frustratingly complicated. At some point, the sheer volume of fan art around a single property may become so large that the issue rises to another level of scrutiny by the creators of the original work.



With this dynamic in mind, we thought the following panel that Josh Wattles, our Advisor In Chief here at deviantART, and a mystery guest named Harold Smith, gave at Comic Con this year might be of immense help in understanding the ever evolving elements of fan art law.



Josh Wattles, makepictures is an expert on copyright law bringing perspective and experience to the issue from multiple creative industries. From art, film, music, and books, Josh has been directly involved in or advised on copyright issues for the biggest properties in the world. He is also a copyright professor teaching courses at at Loyola, Southwestern and the University of Southern California law schools in Los Angeles.











And for all of you Star Trek Fans out there, Josh was the first lawyer at Paramount Pictures to work with Gene Roddenberry on creating policy around the massive quantities of fan fiction submitted to Gene and to the studio some of which ended up as Star Trek stories published by Simon and Shuster.
















Interview withJosh Wattles







Should I worry about drawing or writing stories about characters from my favorite books, TV shows and movies?


makepictures:Not if it is a private activity.



Does whether I sell them or not make a difference?


makepictures:Yes. It’s not the best idea.







Can I copyright my own fan art which is based on already copyrighted material?


makepictures:It depends on how much of the original work you used and if the original work can be completely removed from the second work. When you file for a copyright you must disclose all pre-existing content that does not belong to you and you must have authority to use it. That’s a complicated question with fan art.









Different authors, artists and companies seem to have different attitudes about fan art, with some encouraging it and others forbidding it.  How can I find out which entities I might get in trouble with and who’s completely cool?


makepictures:You can’t unless you contact the owners yourself and ask. There are some situations that are ok because the owner is encouraging fan art, such as in contests.



Is there a list or index?


makepictures:No.






Am I responsible for other people circulating my fan art all over the Internet without my express approval or even my knowledge they’re doing it?


makepictures:Technically, maybe.



Are there websites I should familiarize myself with that explain how to stay “safe” within the bounds of “legal” fan art creation?


makepictures:
















2 QuestionsFOR DEVIANTS ABOUT FAN ART:






How do you feel when creating a piece of fan art or fan fiction around your favorite character or story?   







Is fan art a pathway in your evolution as an artist?









Josh Wattles, $makepictures is an expert on copyright law bringing perspective and experience to the issue from multiple creative industries. From art, film, music, and books, Josh has been directly involved in or advised on copyright issues for the biggest properties in the world. He is also a copyright professor teaching courses at at Loyola, Southwestern and the University of Southern California law schools in Los Angeles.

Highlighted Comments
[link] by *KrisCynical



Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
Panel Speaker: $makepictures
Video: *toddgrossman & `neither-field
Add a Comment:
 
:iconpascua-tanya:
Pascua-Tanya Featured By Owner Edited 5 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good night makepictures. The theme of Fan Art is very confusing to me :(.

I have a big doubt about it: When the fan art is completely legal?. Since a few years ago I learned the true reality of the Fan Art and it was not pretty. I no longer have the same opinion as before and honestly the issue scares me. Since I was small I thought it did not matter if I drew my favorite character when I want. I thought that was normal, fully permitted without any charge. And now know that this belief is a lie....Now I know that the Fan Art is illegal o.O.

For me the Fan Art is a hobby and also a means to honor those characters that I like and their creators. My intention is not to make money with Fan Art or my original art, because I have no interest in doing business with my art. In my gallery not there Prints (only one but it's no big deal), for that reason. However, I am still concerned about the Fan Art and Copyright. Does Fan Art is only illegal when I want to get monetary benefit to him? Is it legal if I do just for fun and publish websites like deviantART or my personal blog?.

I really want to know if the Fan Art is legal in certain circumstances, if I will not have legal problems and if I can keep doing fan art without fear. I also have original characters (based on the style of a series but with design and own history, which if it is legal) and original art, but I love Fan Art and do not want to stop. But I do not want to believe that I'm doing something wrong just by do fan art.
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:iconmakepictures:
makepictures Featured By Owner 5 days ago
I hope you watched the video about this on YouTube: youtu.be/xKBsTUjd910 It will calm your concerns considerably and provide you with good direction.  Making fan art and not selling it is considered to be a welcomed interaction with the subject of the fandom.  Companies that control major fan properties like Star Wars have come to realize that fan art is just the same as someone posting a personal review or writing a friend to recommend a movie or book.  Fan art starts to be an issue for these companies when it is sold (even if it is sold for charity) or when it damages the property.  Bad art, is OK, but art that shows bad things might not be.  Of course, copyright law and trademark is on the side of the property owner.  As a technical matter you need permission but on a practical level you don't - - in many cases.  Please watch the video.  It will help.
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:iconzarwhitetaker:
zarwhitetaker Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014
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:iconcupcakequeen16:
Cupcakequeen16 Featured By Owner May 9, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I really need think twice about the art I'm submitting right now. I do not want to get into trouble.
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:iconthomassir857:
thomassir857 Featured By Owner May 2, 2014
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