Use of Parody Laws

  • @Will-Terry
    Will, regarding your book "Little" could you explain what considerations you need to take to make sure the characters designs you use from other people fall under parody laws or (other laws?) so you can sell the work. How much does a character need to changed? Do you need to make any kind of legal statement on the piece or in the book when doing such things. Thanks

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    I sent Will a message asking about this so I'm sure he will chime in. Overall, Will's book (and most fan art) could possibly fall under parody laws. Typically fan is technically a copyright infringement, but most of the time it's sort of just accepted. To be honest, it's a really grey area.

    A few things make this riskier than others. A big one is selling the item. Again, under copyright laws only original creators and copyright holders can make a derivative version of a character. So even our December contest on "re-design a star wars character" is technically a copyright infringement. Now, we aren't going to be selling it or anything, so we are pretty safe, BUT just know where the line is and know how and when you are crossing it.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

  • @lee-white thanks for the link and feedback, very much appreciated

  • @rcartwright It really depends on who you talk to. There are some attorneys who will advise against any fan art creation. Then there are attorneys who say that you'll probably be fine if you are clearly creating a parody of the original work. You'll run into artists that either love it or hate it and everything inbetween. There is NO single answer that will satisfy everyone.

    Here are a few things I've experienced.

    1. While I know artists who have received cease and desist letters - I've never received one.

    2. Some of the artists who have received these letters are making complete copies of images from super hero movies without adding any new concept.

    3. I have had my star wars parody art bought by the legal department at Disney to hang in their offices - the executives who bought the art never mentioned anything about copyright but just fell in love with the characters and wanted them in their conference room.

    4. I purposely never created any "likenesses" to the actual actors who play the characters I chose to portray - to stay one more step away from infringement.

    5. I tried to create a concept for each character that you never see in any of the stories, books, tv shows, or movies the characters appeared in - this creates a new derivative work covered under parody law.

    Keep in mind that properties like SNL, Blazing Saddles, Mad magazine, etc. all claim parody in order to create their works for profit.

  • @will-terry thanks for the comments you make some good points that help

  • @will-terry Didn't you make a video regarding this subject using your book as talking point? I'm pretty sure you did but I have been known to be wrong in the past!

    @rcartwright I tend to do fan art to boost my social media presence but I don't sell any prints just because it is such a grey area.

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