This was a very interesting video, thanks for posting! I sell fanart in conventions, but since it's a limited amount of prints (unlike DA, which will keep printing for you, I guess!) it's less under the radar probably. XD Even though it's still quite dubious, yes.
Yeah I always wondered that. Like pairing two unoriginal characters together and then selling mass prints to people for profits. I always really just thought it was kind of...rude. I don't feel the same about personal people wanting to see a loved character in your style and personally pay you to do that. But the way it runs in Comic con, I always found it strange.
I know a guy all he does is draw superheroes at comic cons and sell them. I personally would never do that because it always felt like at any moment Dc,Marvel etc could come out and slap you with a fat infringement lawsuit. Ive heard of people who sell prints of Kingdom Hearts characters get a personal warning from Disney employees at the last con I was at. That was because they foolishly tagged disney logo stuff into their work...I think this will overall become an issue with someone doing these things in the future.
This is a great video, but the Harold Smith story completely throws me off since he managed to work for productions such as the Simpsons, Marvel, DC, etc. by doing nothing but fanarts and crossovers, which is what got him noticed.
BTW I did Comic Con for the first time this year and literally EVERYONE in my row at artist alley was selling fanart. and even one of the locals that I know is well known for his Hello-Kitty/Superhero crossovers.
I've asked many times about this prior to the convention and still after and have gotten varying and vague answers. But the general thing most seem to agree on is that its permissible as long as you don't outshine the Big Two, which seems to be supported by Harold Smith's story about getting in trouble with Marvel/DC when he sold 100,000 copies of his fanart
"This is a great video, but the Harold Smith story completely throws me off since he managed to work for productions such as the Simpsons, Marvel, DC, etc. by doing nothing but fanarts and crossovers, which is what got him noticed."
Exactly! I'm kind of getting mixed signals here too.
Don't sell too much fanart...
BUT If you do you will possibly work for all of the major companies and enjoy a successful career!
I guess that's the nature of the beast though, it's a big grey area
As far as the laws go, it seems like this should be common sense. What's really interesting is the Q&A at the end where he addresses their questions with the playground, real world, and black letter rules he stated earlier in the video. In the end I guess it's all about the owners controlling the flow of money like he said. If it takes you making a little money off of them for them to earn even more money, or you just showing some love for them for them to make even more money, they'll GENERALLY allow it even if it's against the law.
I thought it was interesting that he said putting a disclaimer in your description can actually help protect you as long as it's sincere. I didn't think it would have so that's good to know.
P.S. I wonder if any of this actually counts if you're not from the US though.
I rarely draw fan art unless i want to for fun because i am growing as an artist and i want to draw my favorite artist's character(s) in my own style to learn, improve and give tribute to the original artist.
Not anymore. I prefer to expend the energy from that need to draw a cool Batman pose, and make up my own character. I get that desire to draw that image in my brain, and I do something more productive.
I think the important thing to take from this is that for the most part you don't have to worry about getting a call from Marvel's or DC's lawyers for posting fan art on DA, nor are you more than likely to be sued for drawing a commission of Batman to a single person. Imagine if DC or Marvel or some big company sent a team of lawyers to a comic convention to stroll through Artist's Alley to flip through artist's book of prints for sale and told them they can't sell this print of Spider-Man or Mary Jane. Pretty soon there would be no more comic conventions, and conventions are a big marketing tool for comic companies so it is doubtful we have much to worry about unless you make 10,000 copies of a drawing of Superman and sell them on the internet or self-publish your own Star Wars comic and sell it to comic book stores. These companies have bigger fish to fry than us fans doing a $25-$50 commission of one of their characters.
hasbro did just that recently. they told all third parties that where not licensed to sell any artbooks ,sketches or toys based on their creations at their convention. marvel and DC maintain entire floors of lawyers that do nothing but look for copy write infringement. you always have to remember that these are major companies and they will go through many lengths to protect their property. disney is know to send cease and desist letter when they feel they have be infringed on, and now they own marvel. the video has some good info in it.
Haven't watched the video all the way through yet but as was explained to me by legal pundits, one of a kind limited commission work between you and a client isn't the same thing as doing a 'fan art' piece, printing up thousands of copies and selling at cons but this is likely an issue of the black letter of the law, could fall under the whole Fair Use 'yee haw' and so forth - so seek legal counsel on all things. Don't just take my word for it obviously.
Fair Use is not really about the quantity of the prints you sell; rather, it's about the purpose of the "fan art" (e.g. nonprofit educational uses are generally all good) and/or how much originality of your own you bring to the table. That's a gross simplification of it anyway. Fair Use as a whole is not just about fan art, so there's a lot of it that might not apply directly to fan art communities.
You're right though, that big companies are unlikely to go after people who do fan art commissions on dA. They're not aware of every single person who makes fanart of their characters for money, and even when they know, it's bad PR for a big shark to chomp down on a small shrimp. So even though they have legal right to stop you, they usually won't bother unless it has some potentially serious repercussions.
"Potentially serious repercussions" can mean a lot of different things. Examples include porn fanarts of kiddy shows (bad for company image), a feature length fan movie that's being distributed for free (such a serious project could be mistaken as an official movie, which is also bad), someone getting rich from selling fanarts (this makes them a competitor, and obviously companies don't want more competition...), etc etc.
The wikipedia article on fair use is a good place to start reading. [link]
Yeah I couldn't remember precisely what was being referred to back when I was told that and talking about that and I -very- rarely deal in fan art myself so I forgot but basically - yeah - that's basically the bottom line I received especially as it pertained to imagery of their characters that is damaging or you making -so- much money you're a competitor. There's a difference between that recent story involving the creator of Ghost Rider - and some artist or animator selling convention sketches or sketchbooks that has a drawing of Wolverine in it. It's all a very good thing to be educated on and to know both the precise letter of the law and what's also going on in action.
Just repeating what I was told. I will pay you to draw me a sketch of Wonder-Woman is different from 'I will pay you to draw me a sketch of wonder woman that looks exactly like this one Jim Lee did that DC is selling.' Don't go by my word alone though. This video's got the right of it but I doubt anyone's going to come knocking on your DA account any time soon and tons of things are considered. Certainly something to learn about and know your stuff on.