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Feb. 17th, 2010

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, since it isn't a beware, but a question on copyrights and such, I guess.

I'm been looking into making things like bookmarks. I've drawn a few pokemon ones, to try it out first. But was wondering, could I get in trouble for selling these?

I think I wouldn't, since, for example, you go to a convention, there's tons of fanart being sold, prints, keychains, bookmarks etc. But I'm not completely sure, so I'd like to ask about it ^^ Well, mostly cause my mom is worried about it and questioned me.

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( 96 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 18th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
Technically it's illegal.. but really.. unless your MASS producing and distributing around the world in stores.. i doubt it's a problem. :/ I honestly think cons should ban fan art tho.. But that's my opinion. XP
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
So it shouldn't be a problem to sell some stuff like that online sometimes?

Well, I don't mind fanart myself and it does kinda make sense at anime cons, but, does get repetitive. You see lots of naruto keychains for example lol Now, if you have something very original or done less, then that'd be more cool.
(no subject) - ryunwoofie - Feb. 18th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ichigoneko33 - Feb. 18th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ryunwoofie - Feb. 18th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - dripbat - Feb. 18th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - likeshine - Feb. 18th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nambroth - Feb. 18th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frazzled_niya - Feb. 19th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC)
Most anime conventions have a policy of as long as you don't have more than 25 copies of one image, you're fine. I sell stuff at conventions all the time and I usually have between 5-10 copies of each piece in each size I offer. I'm more paranoid about doing things for US-originating series like Disney things and Avatar, etc. The Japanese are pretty lenient about that kind of stuff and most of the US licensing companies seem to let it fly under the radar as well as long as you're not mass-producing, especially if it's an original image and not just a copy or re-draw of official artwork.
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)
Something like this came up on DA before, I just cannot remember who originally brought it up (or where I can find the info along without it being full of anti-Ramy/Amuria sentiment). But something like this if I recall correctly varies from convention to convention most likely. A lot of the time, its pretty much a sort of A-OK grey territory. Fanart is usually given a blind eye on the small time circuit seeing as that's basically 'free' advertising for the studios and the like yadda yadda... ;p

BUT some cons might have a limit of how many prints of something you can sell when it comes to fanworks, etc. So your safest bet is to review the policies the conventions of your choosing to sell at have for their Artist Alleys.
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:32 am (UTC)
We'll I'm not talking about cons, just mentioned it. I'm mostly going to sell them online. If I sell things at cons, it would be mostly ogirnal stuff or random animals.
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
If I recall, most companies are fine with it unless you're mass distributing and/or are trying to compete with their products. Like you running off a bunch of Pokemon shirts or making your own Pokemon game and selling it.

I remember reading it somewhere on an anime con's artist alley site. I wish I could tell you :(
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:37 am (UTC)
Is oks ^^

Seems I won't get in trouble for some fanart here and there, so I think I'm good now, thankies for the info ^^
(no subject) - kriscynical - Feb. 18th, 2010 09:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - plushabilities - Feb. 18th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC)
I think you would have to look at how Nintendo views fan art honestly, because as previously said some companies like Blizzard encourage it while companies like Disney will kill you over it.

However I'm also in the boat of "I think you should sell original work, not fan works."
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:55 am (UTC)
Ya, seems things like this, from the comments given, won't get me in trouble though.

Ya, I much prefer originals too. But these were done as a test, plus, they were fun to do X3
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:45 am (UTC)
Most Japanese companies are really lenient on anime fanart. They're pretty cool on the idea there. I mean after all, there are mass sold fan comics there where you pretty much never see it here.
Feb. 18th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
This! They have massive conventions dealing only with fanart and fan comics! I think the poster will be okay :D
(no subject) - animehoneybee - Feb. 18th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
I had the same question a little while ago.

Thought you can't take this as a concrete answer to your problem, consider this: there is a market for Dōjinshi both in and out of Japan. It has been said that they are MUCH less likely to sue you for making fan products than American companies. Granted, take this with a grain of salt, but it's something to consider.

Also, I think because you wouldn't be looking to mass produce it, you should be okay.
Feb. 18th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, it seems that the Japanese companies flat out don't care and most of the American licensing companies gloss over it because as long as it's not mass-produced, it's free advertising. I'm not sure about Nickelodeon for their originals like Avatar, and I won't touch Disney with a 250 foot pole.

At one of the conventions I sold at least year they made us take down all Studio Ghibli stuff (Howl's Moving Castle, Totoro, etc.) because Disney held the US Distribution rights. I was pretty sure that didn't mean they owned the character likenesses but only the film and audio, but they made us take it down anyway. 8 hours later they came back and said never mind, research told them Disney only owned the film and audio, not the characters themselves. Losing 8 hours of sales sucked hardcore, but at least we got official word that we were in the clear because Studio Ghibli itself didn't care (and one of the production artists from Totoro was there as a guest and looked around the AA to boot... he thought the art was cool. lol)

....woo. Verbose tangent. Sorry about that. o_o
(no subject) - onesteptwo - Feb. 18th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animehoneybee - Feb. 18th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onesteptwo - Feb. 18th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animehoneybee - Feb. 18th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kriscynical - Feb. 18th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 18th, 2010 06:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's illegal, in the same way going 5 over the speed limit is illegal. Indisputably illegal, but unless you're doing something REALLY STUPID you're not gonna get in any trouble for it.
Feb. 18th, 2010 07:28 am (UTC)
I can say this.

Back in the day Nintendo was very concerned about anything Pokemon outside their own sites (Japanese and English). I'm so OLD!

They later loosened the slack as the internet was booming. They use to have a Fanart section on the Japanese website, though I'm not sure it's there still.

They do not like distribution of their products for free. That's it. Screen shots on sites, original fan works, etc they let slide (unless of course your going mass producing or charging out of the ying yang for it.).

Deviantart has to make sure no one is selling their Pokemon art as prints due to this (the mass producing).

This should clear it up fully.

I personally only do Pokemon art for my own free time and don't sell it however.

And again I feel ancient.
Feb. 18th, 2010 07:30 am (UTC)
Ya, I'm thinking I'll be fine, since I'm only doing a hand full of pokemon bookmarks to sell just to get started then moving on to original/non copyrighted stuff.
Feb. 18th, 2010 07:35 am (UTC)
It's a matter of trademark, not copyright, unless you copied existing images exactly. But just because lots of people are doing it, doesn't mean it legal. Technically you are not allowed to sell their trademarked material. That said, most Japanese companies won't pursue this sort of thing. But then I think Pokemon have been licensed by a US company as well, so there's still a risk of persecution if you go ahead with this. You'll have to weigh the risks and morals of your actions yourself.
Feb. 18th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
Hmm, well, since I'm only going to be doing some, I don't think I'd get in trouble, I think.

I have more fun doing originals, so majority of things being sold by me would be those. These are just starter ones and to get people interested.
(no subject) - animehoneybee - Feb. 18th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 18th, 2010 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you for asking this question! I'd been wondering the same thing. XD
Feb. 18th, 2010 09:11 am (UTC)
Technically, it's illegal. But, as others have told you, if it's in small amounts, companies don't usually bother.

If you really gather a LOT of attention to yourself and your sales (large production etc.), they might come after you, but you must know that the first step is never suing you or going after you in a serious manner, if you're just a fanartist. They will just send you a cease & desist letter. That's when you drop the activity. ;)

It took years for Lucas to actually sue the guy who was scamming people with his fake stormtrooper recasts, and he only did because the man had made oodles of money out of it...

Then again, it's Pokemon you're talking about, so proceed with caution. Nintendo is SCARY. Especially when it comes to Pokemon.
Feb. 18th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
As everyone else has said, it's a trademark violation and so it's illegal (technically).

I avoid fanart when possible. Of course, I also work a variety of conventions, so if you do only anime cons it may be a better idea (although they're cracking down on it in recent years, so I don't think you'll get away with it much longer) than if you work a lot of other cons / have your own original work competing against it.

Feb. 18th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
its only trademark violation if it is a trademark and the action constitutes infringement. Trademarks and copyrights are very different and were created for different purposes. Trademarks are mostly concerned with identifying one company from another and 'passing off' and matters of reputation.

That being said, it is usually a safer idea to avoid fanart, but it also depends on the context of the action. Even if something is claimed to be "illegal", if nothing is done to enforce the law, it becomes less 'illegal' (think of some of those wacky laws still on the books). So if the standard practice is to tolerate fanart to some degree and the one who's intellectual property is being infringed shows indifference, its not all that illegal lol.
(no subject) - nambroth - Feb. 18th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animehoneybee - Feb. 18th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 18th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)

(no subject) - animehoneybee - Feb. 18th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 18th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 18th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
strayd0g bring up some interesting points.

Let me give you another real world scenario in another form of fandom.

Recently among the puppet groups there was a rather heated debate about someone who was putting Muppet-copies up on E-bay and basically said that they were actual Muppets.

Jim never sold original muppets to anyone. Not that people didn't offer him absurd money for one, he just didn't. There are some out there but they were given to the owner by Jim personally. So when you see Original Muppet on Ebay, it isn't.

The person who decided to sell the "muppets" on e-bay made the decision after the Muppets were sold to Disney with their reasoning that 1)Disney didn't deserve the Muppets because of what happened after Jim's death (that's a post in itself and not relevant to this tale) and 2)Disney was a big organization that could afford to let others profit off of their characters.

To most of us in the guild didn't take well to this especially to those of us who had met Jim. But this person just didn't see it.

So we did a few e-mails to people we know who work the legal end for Disney and the Childrens Television Workshop (CTW) and they went to E-Bay and got the person out.

Now we play this dance about every 6 months. This same person under another name puts "muppets" up for sale, we inform Disney and CTW and the person is shut down again.

Which is too bad since they make really good puppets and if they put those up for sale (that are Muppet-like but not Muppets) we would not do anything about it but wish them good luck since the prices they charge are rather absurd.

My puppets have been declared Muppet-like but there are only so many ways that you can make hand and rod puppets. I have only recreated a Muppet or two as an exercise for me to see how it was done and those are never sold or used in public performance.
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