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November 12, 2012
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Copyright characters - drawing only the background?

:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
I'm researching this as I type (well.. after) but I wonder if anyone knows already.. so someone asked me to draw them a background for a scene that will have a character that is copyrighted. I don't want any infringement, but I'm only drawing the background soo what are your thoughts?

Thank you! :3
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:iconmacker33:
macker33 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
As far as i know if you mirror the image you will be ok, i'm not certain though
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:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Oh hahaha there's no copy-pasting, it's the drawing from scratch. But it's okay, I got it figured out now! :3
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:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
You're only drawing a background. As long as the scene isn't also distinctly part of a copyrighted or trademark universe created by the same owner of the rights to the character, you're not liable for anything the other person adds to it. If the person is trying to do a parody or satire piece with both the character and your background, then neither of you has anything to worry about.
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:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Ohh okay then, thank you! :>
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:iconajglass:
AJGlass Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
you're not liable for anything the other person adds to it

Provided you don't know that the other person is going to add a copyrighted character.

Creating a background you know will be used along with a copyrighted character could be akin to aiding and abetting copyright infringement.

Especially if you, as the background creator, get a cut of the proceeds from the sale.

None of this will likely ever get litigated, but it's worth noting.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Or even Canadian case law, since that's where OP is from. (I'm less confident about non-US law, so I won't be surprised if you can prove me wrong in that case.)
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Show me one example anywhere in American case law where someone has been prosecuted for "aiding and abetting copyright infringement".

I don't mean actually facilitating it, like they're saying of Kim Dotcom who is charged with actually providing the means for illicit file sharing, but by doing something as incidental as this. You almost might as well prosecute the art supply shop for selling Copics to the infringer.
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:iconajglass:
AJGlass Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hence the sentence: None of this will likely ever get litigated, but it's worth noting.

Also, one should never underestimate how many charges can be leveled against just about everyone involved - especially when it comes to the sue-happy nature of folks such as the RIAA/MPAA and other rights holders.

They tend to have a shotgun approach to litigation. And in the case of Kim, sometimes "shotgun approach" is taken literally. :paranoid:
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
If it was that big a deal, DeviantArt would have been shut down long ago, or else eliminated the fanart category.

The point is that "aiding and abetting copyright infringement" in this sense is, to my understanding, neither a crime nor a tort. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but not with fearmongering.
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:iconajglass:
AJGlass Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Wait, you're relying on DA to tell you what's a big deal? :O

That alone should be a criminal offense! :lol:
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
If the MPAA hasn't sued the place into oblivion by now, it never will.
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:iconajglass:
AJGlass Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Never say never.

The MPAA has taken it's time before in suing.
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(1 Reply)
:iconcenaris:
Cenaris Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Copyright is used to protect against the unauthorised selling of copyrighted characters. Parody is protected under freedom of expression rules.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This isn't true everywhere. Parody is protected under Fair Use rules in the US, but that's not always the case in Commonwealth nations or the UK. Last I heard, parody was very clearly NOT covered under Fair Dealing in the UK. You might want to double-check.
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:iconcenaris:
Cenaris Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That kind of sucks.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Things might have changed by now. My information is a couple of years old. I *hope* it's changed -- is that likely under a Tory government?
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:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Ahh okay then. Thanks for the information! :>
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:iconkefkewren:
KefkeWren Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
The art that you're being paid for will not contain anything copyrighted, correct? So you can't be held responsible for anything that's done with it by the person making the purchase, as I understand it. Sort of like how if someone used a bolt cutter to steal something, they wouldn't go after the hardware store?
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:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Ahh that is an interesting example. And okay, thank you!
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:iconfelissauria:
Felissauria Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
it's not illegal to draw fan art... It's only illegal to sell it.

Also, why is this in politics?
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:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
It is actually illegal to use fanart for anything other than personal use, like putting up a drawing on your bedroom wall or turning in fanart for a school assignment. The only reason nothing is typically done about it is because the law requires the copyright owner(s) to take steps against it. Either direct action against the infringing party (i.e. a DMCA notice) or giving expressed public non-consent (like how the NFL has their disclaimer right before broadcasts), but most tv/comic/anime/manga studios see fanart as free advertising, so they don't do anything about it. In most cases. Selling official merchandis will get them to wake up and take action against a person, but for fanart made by individuals they'll only do something if they feel it's necessary, but that is not the only thing that copyrights are against. Venues that allow the selling of art typically don't allow the sale of fanart simply because it's a potential liability for these issues. Not because studios go around like hawks looking to sue people, but because some prefer tighter control than others and the venues can't be sure that ever piece of fanart being sold isn't just a copy or tracing of original studio art.
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:iconfelissauria:
Felissauria Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
You can ignore that last one. I'm annoyed by someone else on dA and my mood hasn't lifted yet.
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:iconfelissauria:
Felissauria Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
... Thanks for the wall of text? I'm pretty sure I just said that in less than 10 words?
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:iconnokari:
nokari Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
No you said it was only illegal to sell fanart. I said that's not the only illegal use of fanart, and then explained why. If a company said their characters were not allowed to be made into fanart and sent dA a letter notifying them, dA would have to take down every single one, regardless of whether they were being sold or not. Strictly speaking in legality, personal home use (or school assignments, depending) is the only legal form of creating fanart.
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:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Sorry I should've said, I don't know if this was the right place to put it in.. ahh, also, it's because this is for a commission.

I thought politics since it would fit, I guess not? o: Sorry! >m<
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:iconfelissauria:
Felissauria Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Ah, well if you're not comfortable being paid to draw something that contains copyright characters that don't do it. :B
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:iconraikita:
Raikita Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012   Digital Artist
Okay, thank you! :>
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