EDIT: You might have to full screen it or download it for it to display properly. Thank you!
I had this in the process for awhile. There was a contest on here about what you, as a member of DA, would like to see improved. I remember one of this issues I had was I reported some users for selling fan art (which is illegal) and the staff didn't care, they basically said "well everyone does it". I felt highly offended at that remark and concept. So, I figured I would enter the contest with this as my backup- a booklet, raising awareness on how fan art is deemed illegal, and the US laws to back it up. Not only that, but to show the audience and artists of DA how US Law and copyright come into place, all in one.
Now I was worried that when posting this, some of my friends might feel offended because I have a lot of friends who do enjoy fan art, and this book isn't to offend or say fan art is bad, or put anybody and their work down, but rather to raise awareness and have this as a reference here on DA, for everybody to look at, see, and refer to.
This book is from a creative professionals outlook, from my experiences and research. I want to try and show high school students or individuals looking into art school or college what to do, and from experiences, what to not do.
To prevent the book from sounding so negative, I added a questionnaire at the end for users to comment if they agree, disagree, or are neutral to the topic. I wanted to involve the community somehow, the audience of DA. So I asked some of my watchers to participate, and am thankful for those who did. I am always open to suggestions and recommendations on this topic. Instead of aiming this towards the DA staff, I am working more towards the artists in this community.
Now for people who know me, I am not a fanartist. I would like to add a section FOR people who are fanartists, and their view on the subject, perhaps the subject through their eyes. A hobbyist which is more appropriate, to showcase if the creative professional has a point, the carelessness of corporations, etc. I might eventually post this later on my website.
So if there are any fan artists out there, who feel their personal rights are being threatened, or if any professionals out there had an issue with this topic, feel free to post your experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc. If you would like me to include your feedback in the book, please message me. I would be more than happy to talk with others interested in this topic. If you are NOT from the USA and would like to talk about the laws in your country regarding infringement and fan art, I would be more than happy to speak with you about that, and adding perhaps another section on foreign law.
Thank you all. Please be respectful and professional about this. It might not be every-bodies taste, but I do respect each and every-bodies opinions, whether it be for the topic or not, which I am stating not only here, but in the book ALONG with the inspiration to why I am posting this.
If you have any questions or see errors, please do say so. I didn't see any; I kept the user comments unedited so people could see how they feel through their eyes and words.
• How do you feel about users profiting from fan art? I think it is a form of theft, unless they have written permission from the original makers. I personally will never sell fan art for profit. It is not fair for the original makers since they did all the work.
• Are you a fan artist? What is it about Fan art you enjoy?
I am a fan artist, but I am mostly focusing on original artwork more. I enjoy making fan art to draw my favorite characters in my own style. I tend to make someone else's characters in different situation than the original one. I like seeing new things within fan art, than just 100% replicas of something that has been done many times. For example, drawing Sonic the hedgehog in Green Hill Zone. That has been done many times and I would rather draw Sonic in a new scene than a familar one, unless I am making a tribute picture. For now, though, I am focusing more on original art and doing small fan art projects as I go.
• If you dislike fan art, please state your reasoning.
I do not hate fan art, but I do not care for it when people try to make money off of it when not authorized.
• How do you feel about staffing in communities such as DA who do nothing to protect against the selling of fan art and profits?
I just hope nothing bad happens to where everyone suffers. Personally, I think they should be more strict on "commissions" and selling fan art prints on here; those should not be allowed.
Great article. I learned a few things here. I plan on being a professional animator and digital artist in the future.
Excellent article. I'm been wavering on me doing fan art recently (though it's still in my gall) but I mostly stopped unless I'm drawing someone's own character under their permission. To tell you the truth I'm working on a tribute image to my favorite cartoon right now (Wakfu) for the sake of my own enjoyment, but I've promised to call it quits after that >.< However, I don't agree with what ~osmanassem said, that "fan artists are not creative people". You'd have to be pretty imaginative to think of certain scenarios for characters. It's a contradiction to what he said at the end. He likes fan art if it's put into unique situations... isn't almost all fan art put into unique situations?
Thank you very much. I always wanted to put something together with the facts.
I guess for people who always make up their own characters, worlds, etc it isn't seen as being as "creative". I actually have professors who agree on that aspect; fan art shows lack of originality and creativity. I try to remain neutral because I do have friends who are fan artists, and try to respect that they enjoy it even when I personally dislike it, it inspires them. Professionally I will say that I can agree with what my professors speak and Osman about "Fan artists not being creative people"; because the characters you yourself do not own, therefore what right do you have to even put them in ANY given situation? It violates copyright since the characters belong to a 3rd party, so not only are you disrespecting the law (my school is big into legality), but also the companies which you may some day work for and jeopardizing you future work showcasing you do not have the originality to create your own. Nobody wants somebody like that. Professionally speaking.
That is how my industry looks at it. I know for many it seems extreme, but the way I look at it- I can see why they want us to not work with it. Companies who see somebody draw fan art look at it as a liability; they wouldn't want that person working for them because they cannot be "trusted". Every interview I went on, I was asked who the characters were, and thankfully I am able to say my own. If I would have said fan art, I would have been rejected from the job immediately. I knew some talented fan artists who unfortunately never got a chance because of the fact they were seen as being uncreative, unoriginal, etc. However the law does change if you have the permission; actual written permission.
Which is why I feel hobby art and professional art has a HUGE gap. For people who draw for fun and pleasure, they don't need to research or feel they need to look at the law because they simply do what they enjoy, I have a lot of friends like this. However in the professional world, you have one picture showcasing a character you do not own, all hell breaks lose. Seriously. I had one company I worked for, just to draw their character for a trial design before hiring I had to sign a ton of paperwork. I cannot include this item online at all because of the terms. Some companies are VERY strict that way with their reputation and characters.
I used to draw tons of Pokemon; since I started college I had to go through and delete EVERYTHING. Every piece depicting a character I do not own. I can't have a single piece of fan art in my gallery. That is how serious it is in my profession. We are taught to be self-reliable, to create and invent ourselves, while we can draw inspiration from what is around us, we never create what is... there. Some of my friends feel it is a bit ridiculous to have to go through and delete good art that people enjoy even if it i fan art, I look at it as I need to do this- because it could jeopardize my work in the future.
Which is why I don't work with it or support it much anymore. I can understand both sides. I can understand it can really inspire people, help them feel creative and maybe eventually draw their own characters. Yet at the same time, as a professional, it is a huge negative and can cause major issues. Heck even some specified art styles are deemed unworthy and looked down at in my industry. It's really crazy and complex.
From a personal experience, since I could remember I always created my own characters. Granted Pokemon helped me when I felt down or in a rut, but from as long as I could remember I felt more inspiration from new, original ideas than what already existed. I'm still that way to this day. I have spoke with people from all over, in different trades, majors and professions and there are so many different views and perspectives of fan art, it is crazy. I spoke with one fan artist who felt their realism and talent wasn't noticed, just the fandom which made them start to draw original characters and portraits of real people. I met a painter who did incredible watercolors, only to feel she was left out and to fit in, she would draw fanart and anime even if she didn't enjoy it. I met someone else who felt fan art inspired them to create their own style, characters, world, etc. I have met others who have no tolerance at all for it. It is a complicated issue.
Which is why I wanted to put something together. I am required to take business and law classes as a part of my major, and have taken up a particular interest in copyright law. These classes are so useful and have provided me with such value, and hopefully helpful insight I can tell others. After high school, seeing good friends get rejected from a future education simply from fan art and anime, I never realized why it was such a "bad" thing to do. I know many high school students looking to go into design or become a creative professional, and felt these problems could be avoided perhaps if they had this knowledge. I know, I lived through it. I have seen it happen, and it's truly a sad thing, but also preventable.
So when I view something, it is from my education and foundations; more so from a professional and business perspective. Not everybody is like that or needs to take everything so strict. Like I said before, I try to respect everybody draws inspiration and creativity from different things. Which is why I added at the end an area for different people to speak up if they agree, disagree, etc.
I'm sorry for leaving this hanging; was on a hiatus :< call me hard-headed but I still disagree with what your professors have said. But I can't really explain how I disagree, if that makes any sense I still doodle fan art of characters in my notebook or for kids I babysit, etc, but I'm finding it very hard to stop drawing it publicly. There's this itch to express what you love, and show it to everyone around you, you know? But I need to stop it since I'm an animation major.
If someone was to draw fan art of something I created, personally I'd feel honored that someone took the time out of their life to draw something that's not theirs, but if they sold it that might cross the line (depending on the case)...
What was/is your course of study, if you don't mind me asking? Graphic design? Would you recommend that every art major take some kind of law/copyright class? Unfortunately the college I'm in doesn't have anything like that.
I guess I am just so used of being taught to do something a certain way, I just learned to agree and accept what is said. I used to have so much fun drawing fandoms when I was younger; and 4 years of college and basically being told you can't do that, remove all your work, etc... you just learn to practice it and not work with it.
I feel kind of the same way; I usually state a disclaimer for permission, people can draw "fan art" of my characters but not for profit, and they must contact me upon showcasing that and uploading. It might sound silly, but I don't know how many times I have seen people rip off characters and generic-tizing them. I also don't like my characters to be displayed on other people's websites without credit; I had one person, although I was honored they drew for me, post my characters on their site with no credit, making people believe the characters were indeed their own, which wasn't true. I would read the comments too, where people would compliment my characters and the artist wouldn't even credit me, they would just be like "oh thanks, it was fun to draw!". Nothing. Which really kind of got to me... I never post fan art or art I draw for others because for one I am told all work 100% original and yours. I DO post logos and printed materials I do for clients however; that is in my terms and agreement.
My course of study is Graphic Design/ New Media. I HIGHLY recommend if you can get into law classes, take business law and cyberlaw/ copyright law. Cyberlaw will be the huge benefit for you; it will go over copyright, trademarks, patents, etc all of the legality issues you as an artist will be faced and challenged with in the real world. Something as simple as a TV chanell showcasing sports in a small store can actually be illegal here in the US, seeing that if you draw customers in with "channels and TV you do not own" (I don't think anybody owns their own TV show hah), you need to have a written signature and permission from the actual companies to showcase their channel at your place, publicly. Things like that can really showcase that you understand the law, and it makes your clients feel MUCH more comfortable and at ease with you. I have had people chose me over other designers because of the fact they feel so safe; I research everything from the fonts I use in my work to the images provided to make sure everything is 100% legal. It truly makes all the difference.
That's terrible. My sister had a problem like that, but the person credited her afterwards but took everything down later... the person who stole from you didn't even comply. This is why I get irked when someone does fan art, be it good or bad, but doesn't even put down who owns it. They could at least do that...
We have a business course of study and there is a half-semester long class on copyright, but my financial aid won't pay for classes outside my course (and I'm heavily relying on aid right now). Luckily it's in the Fall and I'll hopefully have a job by then. But what is the case for all these sports diners, bars, etc? What they're showcasing on tv is really illegal?
Oh wow. That is awful. I know how she feels. Some people out there are just so disrespectful. They feel like just because they draw whatever it is, THEY own it and have the rights to it. So not true.
Aha. Well for example, say you are opening up a sports bar and you want to have the sports channel on the 3 TV's in your bar. Because you are using the channel to draw in customers, with a TV channel that exists and will be making you profit, you need to have permission to show those channels on your TV's since it will be a marketing device for you basically. There are actually people who go around monitoring; since they have lists of who is and isn't subscribed. People who are not on the list can get at the least a 500K lawsuit on their hands for not complying with the law.
Another thing I thought was interesting was printed materials. When I was younger, (very young) my dad wanted to have custom Pokemon decals made to put on the walls of our office area. The man at the studio couldn't charge us because of the fact it was illegal for him to do so.
Using pirated content in a business is also a huge problem. Companies who do not have validated licenses for programs can also have a similar thing happen with the TV issue. Whenever I visit a small business to help them out, I always go over the legality claims. I actually got my programs in high school legally because of the fact I was on internship and was required to have certain programs.
Another thing I thought was interesting was re-branding logos. If you were to take say, a famous logo (example- google) and wanted to re-design it for fun, that is actually illegal. HOWEVER- if you are in an educational setting (ie- college), this is 100% legal because of the fact it is for educational purposes.
There's so many interesting aspects of law. And many people don't research it, and I truly believe that it only benefits the artist and designer. Especially in the US, everybody is suing everybody else. I knew students who pirated work, gave it to the clients who didn't know the work was stolen, and ended up getting some major issues on their hand (not sure if the lawsuits were pending or what) since the students were pirating copy-written content of other companies and artists.
I just find it so interesting.
I research cyberlaw things for fun. Because I think it is so crucial when it comes to getting out there and working.
Sad thing is DA doesn't really seem to care about the legal implications for profiting off fanart, especially when they allow one of their own ^gallery moderators^ to do it. It would take a lawsuit from a really big wig company to whip the admins into shape.
It's sad, because the community will most likely be shut down because of it. Like Megaupload was. The staff KNOW it is going on and do nothing, heck they promote it. You go on other art sites, they specifically state NO FANART even for fun because of the legality issues and they could get sued. DA doesn't care. At least hire somebody who KNOWS this stuff and can make a change. Artists and people will suffer at the hand of theft because of the lack of care.
They really should, then maybe people will start taking DA seriously as an art site; a site that actually follows their own rules instead of kissing the butts of their staff. That gallery mod actually blocked me after I posed the question about the fanart they were selling! It won't be until it's too late that people will think "Oh, we should have done something about that". I have an odd feeling that day is coming.
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More