Fan Art: Selling Art.. legality?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by weewoo, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. weewoo

    weewoo Veteran

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    I think this forum is the best place to ask.. does anyone know the legality of selling prints/items containing your transformers artwork?

    I'm interested in opening a Cafepress store, but don't want to be sued.

    Ebay is full of non-licenced transformers items. Last night a friend spotted some cigarette holders with my art printed on them, so I've been thinking if other people can make money off my art, why can't I?

    Many people are widely known for their services in reproducing toy parts, stickers and creating accessories, so I'd be inclined to think it's safe.. ?
     
  2. Venksta

    Venksta Render Project Creations TFW2005 Supporter

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    I remember when Dan Khana was selling his TF prints, I read that he was okay to do so as long as his prints never had the names of TF characters, or the Transformer name on it. This was several years ago. So I'm not too sure if its changed. But I have seen several artist sell prints of comic book characters on their website. And they never put the names of the characters on the actual prints. Hope this helps. :) 
     
  3. Primus

    Primus Beware, the modelers. Veteran

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    Yeah, I think you'd be okay too. Just don't use anything that is trademarked or copywritten like "Transformers" or the autobot or decepticon logo. I don't think they would bother regardless but if you leave those out you should be safe.

    I can't wait to see your cafe press store :D 
     
  4. Admiral Lilwall

    Admiral Lilwall Lilwall Leader

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    Yup, as long as you aren't putting any character names, faction names, series names, etc etc on the images, then you should be fine. play it safe and just don't put any words on them, hehe
     
  5. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

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    It never hurts to add a little small print on the bottom or the side of the print that states the copyright and year you drew the piece. (something like "copyright Hasbro 2006")

    I use to be a comic book editor and some of the Artists I use to work with would add this if doing a convention sketch or selling prints of their work.
     
  6. Brave Magnus

    Brave Magnus Hecho en Argentina

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    Sure, as long you don't lie saying it's official art it's ok. ^_^
     
  7. Matt Nelson

    Matt Nelson Sinner

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    I should warn you that when I was doing Super Deformers, and had a Cafe Press store, I eventually had to close it down because I had some representations of characters such as Optimus, Megatron, etc. even without any names or official logos on them. You are not likely to last long on Cafe Press.

    Matt
     
  8. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Actually that's not such a good idea. The copyright for the artwork lies with you; putting on a copyright claim for Hasbro on it would imply that they own the copyright to your image and granted you the license to sell it.
     
  9. Admiral Lilwall

    Admiral Lilwall Lilwall Leader

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    which opens a door for them to kick your ass
     
  10. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

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    I can see how you could read it that way, Nevermore, but it's usually done in recognition of the character's copyright. And I'm not saying all artist do this, just a few that I've worked with in the past.

    Generally any art done is owned by the artist no matter the content. It's when copies of the original art are sold that the question of copyright comes in to play. (If the art contains copyrighted characters)
     
  11. Diaclone Magnus

    Diaclone Magnus long live Microman, too

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    I thought it was a 'no go' to do something like this, but couldn't find a clear answer, so I contacted Cafepress about it. Here is their reply:

    The use of the likeness of a Transformers character for commercial advantage
    without prior authorization is problematic as that use may constitute copyright
    infringement against the rights holders of the Transformer's property, even if
    you create the artwork yourself.

    As you may know there are two distinct Intellectual Property Rights
    (copyrights/trademarks) in the artwork that you create. The first Intellectual
    Property Right belongs to the party who created the artwork or design. The
    second Intellectual Property Right belongs to the individual or business that
    owns the rights to the content being depicted in the artwork.

    For example, if you create a design that looks similar to Mickey Mouse, even if
    you own the rights to the artwork or drawing, you may not own the rights to
    utilize the likeness of Mickey Mouse. Therefore the use of Mickey Mouse for sale
    of merchandise in this example may infringe on the rights of Disney.

    Similarly, the use of a Transformers character may infringe on the rights of the
    individual or organization that holds the Intellectual Property rights to that
    content.

    With this said, if you have any specific information or rights to use the
    designs, such as a license for commercial sale, please let us know. Otherwise,
    we cannot allow the sale of the content you describe through the CafePress.com
    service.


    Hope that clears it up.
     
  12. weewoo

    weewoo Veteran

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    there were some interesting points brought up in this thread.. sadly Diaclone Magnus's official response from Cafepress puts an end to any ideas I might've had about selling art :( 

    For those wondering what I had in mind, I was going to start out with an updated version of my old Matrix render, on things like magnets, stickers, a journal, clock, hat, poster print, mousepad and throw pillow. They looked great, too :( 

    Maybe I'll just order a pillow or something for myself, as I did with my invader zim prints and my rejected warpath statue ._.
     
  13. Primus

    Primus Beware, the modelers. Veteran

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    they do stickers and Magnets? I may have to have some of those made.
     

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