Debate and Discussion

Fan art: legit or copyright infringement?
Beanbag Fairy at 1:02AM, Feb. 1, 2006
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Personally, I think it depends on the individual case. What if someone put a lot of time and effort into a fanwork - any fanwork? If the concept for it was original, even if the characters or setting weren't, I think they should legally be allowed to sell it. ON THE CONDITION that they pay tribute to the company that came up with the nonoriginal elements. Because part of the fanwork is the effort that goes into it…

But if it's something with no effort in it, that's just done to make money directly (not to draw customers), it should definitely be banned. I don't think doujinshi is bad unless it gives the original company a bad name or undermines the franchise.

Here's a situation for you: I've had an idea for a continuing fan-comic. Right now I'm working very hard on it. When I've finished with the plot arc and it's been on the web for a while, I'd like to upload it to Lulu and buy a few copies to give to people as gifts - no intention to sell, it would be a one-shot deal, and I'd be paying for it myself. What's your stand on that?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:15AM
jalford at 1:14AM, Feb. 1, 2006
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I notice that alot of the fan art sold at comic conventions usually label somewhere on each piece whoever or whatever its copyrighted to. Like “Wolverine: copyright Marvel Comics”. I wonder if more anime fan artists would do that if would help them avoid anything like what Otakon is trying to throw at them. Most anime fan art doesn't list copyrights on them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 8:08AM, Feb. 1, 2006
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What if someone put a lot of time and effort into a fanwork - any fanwork? If the concept for it was original, even if the characters or setting weren't, I think they should legally be allowed to sell it.

So people should be allowed to break the law, assuming they put a lot of effort into it?

ON THE CONDITION that they pay tribute to the company that came up with the nonoriginal elements.

That's usually the case now, except that there is no set amount. People need permission from the company or person who holds the rights to a franchise in order to immitate it. Some people give that out for free, others may charge for it. It's a case by case thing, though, and depends on content, use, etc. I'm sure a company like Nintendo wouldn't appreciate someone selling pornographic images of Princess Peach online, reguardless of the amount of effort that went into it or how much tribute they were paid. It tarnishes the image of the character, the franchise, and the company even if it is a labor of love for the artist and not a money grabbing scheme.

Doujin doesn't have the same place in the US. In Japan, it can serve as a form of advertising because anime and manga in and of themselves are advertising merchandise. If doujin gets people to pick up a magazine or tune in for the show, all the better since both earn money through advertising and not sales. In the US, though, the manga and the anime ARE the merchandise. Doujin would be directly competing with legitimate offerings from the license holders. What's more, there is less incentive in the US to be a doujin artist. Apart from drawing characters you already like, your career potential as an artist is seriously hampered by the fact that you are limiting yourself both stylistically and in terms of content. What is often considered training in Japan, is typically frowned on by publishers in the US.

I'd like to upload it to Lulu and buy a few copies to give to people as gifts - no intention to sell, it would be a one-shot deal, and I'd be paying for it myself. What's your stand on that?

Last time I checked, there were no laws against printing. You personally are paying for ink and paper and if you aren't openly selling the comic, I doubt anyone would object.

I wonder if more anime fan artists would do that if would help them avoid anything like what Otakon is trying to throw at them.

It really doesn't matter. Crediting the original artist doesn't make it legal.

.: isukun :.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:03PM
jalford at 1:49PM, Feb. 1, 2006
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Yet, you don't see companies like DC jumping on guys in the artist alley for selling artwork of Batman or something.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
isukun at 7:36PM, Feb. 1, 2006
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That's probably because the American comics market isn't structured like the American manga market. How much bootleg merchandise gets sold in the art galleries at comic conventions? How reliant are companies like DC on comic sales these days as opposed to advertising and licensing? Companies tend to take things like that into consideration more than whether or not an artist or company was credited.

.: isukun :.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:03PM

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