I'm resigned to the fact that fan art will never be my own original design I know I can't sell my fan-works (but perhaps, with some permission, my fandom OCs are plausible for selling, but who wants to buy that? haha)
I respect the original creator's copyright but that won't stop me from doing fan art. So my opinion is fan works should be tolerated, as long as they aren't sold without consent of the original designer. Heck, you might even make more if they commissioned you to make art of their original designs. Licensing and all that
For now, fan works are a ticket to getting attention in the art industry. You use fan works to practice your skills and make works for your portfolio (and I have decided to do that also, haha). I heard that some Avatar:The Last Airbender fan artists now work for Mike and Bryan on Korra I also saw this this anime-ed version of a scene of the Simpsons and the dA user said it helped her get a job.
Why should people make money off of someone's idea? If you though Spiderman was SUPER AWESOME! So you created someone called...Arachnidman, who used the same colors and almost had the exact same story and you thought you were inspired and creative, you're really just a thief, IF you try to make money.
Labor? You wanna know what REAL labor is? it's coming up with an original character or idea. That's what labor is. Fan art is fun every now and then, but devoting yourself to it is unoriginal, and selling it is illegal. Someone else worked hard to design it, why not design your own?
I'm pretty sure it's only illegal if you claim to have created the concept and characters or sell it, or derivative works are prohibited. I'm okay with this; you should not really be profiting off of someone else's ideas. Fan labor is done because you like the source material and not for profit and some copyright-holders even encourage it.
Plus, I don't think the SWAT team is going to bang down some random person's door because they wrote a story about two characters they liked together, even if the original owner prohibited derivative works or they are making a couple dollars off it. Especially if it's a large company or popular work; there will be so much of this sort of thing the creator will probably only go after the ones where significant money is involved.
First: fan-art is not illegal, profiting from the creations of others is. Being originally created by someone else, that someone else has the power to control what's done with their creations. So the owner of Naruto can tell you to stop drawing him having sex with Sauske, but the government can't come to your home and confisate all your slash fiction. Second: a great deal of fan-creations become legal because their creators submit ideas to the original owners and can be hired, or given permission to create them. I mean there's a reason there's a million Star Trek books out there and it isn't because Gene Roddenberry was just a fucking prolific writer.
People only get butthurt and whine about fan-art being "illegal" when they try to co-opt the original content for their own profit. You can't steal a Mercedes and paint it blue and call it a Cermedes and sell it as your own car. The same applies to fan works.
From what I've read, the legal status of fanfiction/fanart mainly depend on the series and/or author, but is pretty much only illegal if you're claiming the characters/series as your own and/or trying to make a profit off of it. Or if the author chooses to prohibit derivative works based upon their work, which they have the right to do. But thankfully, most series/authors don't seem to mind, and many actually ENCOURAGE it (i.e.: Nintendo, Sega)
Still though, even with that, I agree with this topic. By the way, have you heard of the OTW (Organization for Transformative Works)? They're an organization that advocates for the legality of fan works, and I totally commend them for that!
Unless you'd like to prove you actually know what you're talking about, as opposed to spouting more of the erroneous pop-culture-BS-view-of-copyright-and-fanwork that almost everyone in this thread who disagrees with the OP has been spouting.
Unless you would like to cite some legal precedence (based on actual jurisdiction/choice of law) I'd say at best your effort is the only spouting going on. To that end, it is vacuous and just as shrill as the OP.
You don't have to like it, but that doesn't change the legal scaffolding this all holds to. As someone who may not be a lawyer, but has actual training and experience in IP related legal issues (12+ years professionally), including 6 years working for a copyright-enforcement firm...feel free to "call my bluff", if you think one actually exists.
Or try to prove a negative. I enjoy petulant people grinding out futility with so much conviction. It reinforces my elitism.
That's it? Goddamn you are bitter for not being taken at face value. But hey, let's take your link and unpack it a bit, since it actually refers to some of the very things I am referring to. In the third section it actually states:
"The law, however, does not clearly define whether fictitious characters, worlds, histories and names are copyright protected."
In the fourth section, "Whether a court will view this as the case for a particular work of fan fiction depends on how much of the story relies on copyrighted materials, whether the story is sold, or affects the market for the copyrighted work, and other factors. There is no easy answer to the question, which is why it is often a good idea to consult a lawyer who can assess the particular facts of your case. "
(note that looking at it, the page seems to presume jurisdiction is the US or a similar Berne convention adherent)
That same FAQ references other limitations and other aspects and edge cases that may or may not apply to the OPs inchoate rant.
Your "respect" isn't a legal convention. Nor is fanfiction inherently illegal. Depending on jurisdiction it could be if published, or if sold for profit (or both). Depending on jurisdiction and venue (where one chooses to publish) the venue may opt to take a conservative position and disallow publication; in the case of a private entity (i.e. fanfiction.net or deviantart.com) they may opt to do so under any number of conventions that could be more restrictive than the law requires (i.e. Terms of Service/Terms and Conditions).
This is not just IP, but also contract law at work. Also, choosing to term your effort as "labor" is from a legal standpoint, misguided. Unless you were doing the work with the expectation of compensation, its not "labor".
Also a lot of property is considered public domain, and is legal to make derivations of for profit.
If fan-fiction and fan art was considered the same legally as the originals I would hate it. For one thing, it is a lot harder to create work with original concepts, and eventually more fulfilling. Producing art that is derivative of someone else's concepts is a creative crutch, because you have not put an ounce of work into world-building, and if you have, you're discrediting your own work to leech off a bigger name for attention.
fuck ponies...I like lions though and horses. When it came to Disney buying Lucas Films, all the books became uncanon because the next movie is going to have nothing to do with the work already written, or so they say.
I think that would open up a pretty big can of worms, I think the way it's handled now is relatively successful, enough not to warrant drastic changes anyway. Full legality would almost certainly introduce a lot of negative consequences to creators.