The Etsy Blog

Fan Art and Fair Use: One Truth and Five Myths

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

SarahSays

As we can see from You be the Judge articles, news stories, and even Law and Order, there are at least two sides to every legal dispute. Sometimes a seemingly clear cut case can get turned on its head by a legitimate excuse, which makes the behavior perfectly legal. In the case of an allegation of copyright infringement, one excuse is the “Fair Use” Doctrine.

But what is the Fair Use Doctrine?
In the U.S. the Fair Use Doctrine is one defense to an allegation of copyright infringement. It’s a way to say, “Yes, I copied, but my excuse is so good that I should be allowed to copy.” Section 107 of the Copyright Act outlines certain purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. According to this section, there are four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

And take that with a grain of salt because courts disagree about how to interpret these factors or which ones are most important.

Truth 1: Relying on the Fair Use Doctrine as a loophole to copy might be dangerous.
Each artist should research potential legal issues and use good faith when assessing the risks and benefits associated with creating and selling art. Sure, the Fair Use Doctrine may provide a defense to copyright infringement for some artists in some cases. But the four part test is complex and unpredictable as many lawyers, judges and artists may disagree on which factor(s) are the most important. The Fair Use Doctrine is not a loophole for copying.

Myth 1: All intellectual property owners have the same ideas regarding fan art.

Some intellectual property owners may see a specific use as free advertising, fan art, or otherwise fair. However, others may see a similar use as lost licensing profits, branding issues, and/or copyright infringement. The intellectual property owner’s conclusion may depend on a number of factors and may vary from use to use.

As you may know, Etsy removes material when we have proper notice according to Etsy’s policies. Many times Etsy is not privy to the reasons behind an attorney’s complaint — or lack of complaint. Here’s an example: One time an attorney for a popular brand contacted Etsy and asked us to take down a handful of items. At the same time, she explained that she saw other items on Etsy that were likely copyright infringement. However, she told me that her client appreciates fan art. Not all intellectual property owners share this theory.

Myth 2: Fair Use always protects fan art.
As discussed above, the Fair Use Doctrine is complex and can be unpredictable. Different intellectual property owners may have different ideas for what constitutes infringement, and what they deem as “fair” and good for their brand. And then, if a case goes to court, the fair use defense is likely unpredictable. Just because an artist is a fan and creates art, does not necessarily mean a court would find that this fan art is protected by fair use.

For more information on fan art, please check out the podcast we did with USC Annenberg School of Communications Professor Henry Jenkins, formerly of MIT.

Myth 3: Fair Use does not protect those who sell the fan art or otherwise make money by using copyrighted work.
The Fair Use Doctrine takes into consideration whether the work was created for a “nonprofit” purpose, and some courts place the most weight on the fourth factor — “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.” However, the mere act of selling an item does not necessarily mean that a court would find against fair use.

Myth 4: Fair Use protects artists who only use 10% of the original work.
There are no rules outlining a specific percentage to change in order for a work to be deemed protected by the Fair Use Doctrine.

Myth 5: Fair Use is easy to determine.
The Fair Use Doctrine is complicated, unpredictable and even courts disagree on a finding of fair use. In fact, in at least one case the Court of Appeals found infringement, and the Supreme Court reversed, finding fair use. Many lawyers, judges, courts and artists may disagree as to whether a use constitutes copyright infringement or should be deemed fair use.

In conclusion, it’s up to each artist to analyze risks of making and selling items that borrow from others’ brands, characters, or imagery, and make the best decisions possible for their businesses.

Resources:

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. The content should not be construed as legal advice. The author and Etsy, Inc. disclaim all responsibility for any and all losses, damages, or causes of action that may arise or be connected with the use of these materials. Please consult a licensed attorney in your area with specific legal questions or concerns.

Sarah Feingold is Etsy's in-house attorney. She is also a jeweler with an extreme sweet tooth.

  • Ayca

    Ayca says:

    Thanks for info!

    4 years ago

  • theeye

    theeye says:

    thanks for the information

    4 years ago

  • TessaKim

    TessaKim says:

    Very interesting, thank you so much!

    4 years ago

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy says:

    It's so much less complicated to create your own original characters and designs. Thanks for this post. There are questions every day in the forums about this subject.

    4 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    Interesting post sometimes its difficult to know where you fit in 'fair use' rather than just ripping off someone elses work.

    4 years ago

  • laurelinsailor

    laurelinsailor says:

    Fun article! Thanks!

    4 years ago

  • AFinishingTouch

    AFinishingTouch says:

    Very Interesting blog! Great job on articulating it!

    4 years ago

  • Spiderbite

    Spiderbite says:

    I agree with worksofwhimsy, it's so much less complicated to create your own original characters and designs and I might add much nobler!

    4 years ago

  • greenwoodpottery

    greenwoodpottery says:

    So interesting since really, everyone is inspired by something or someone so it's hard to know where to draw the line sometimes.. The key is to take something inspiring and make it your own, right? A true artist will always have some process of evolution behind their work - from thoughts, to sketches, to other work along the same vein... I think at the end of the day, it's pretty easy to catch the 'copycat's' work because of a lack of imbued presence, or passion behind the work. People can tell! Great article though :)

    4 years ago

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie says:

    Great article...and 411 on Fair Use. Thanks!

    4 years ago

  • kclarkphotography

    kclarkphotography says:

    Good information to know-thanks for sharing.

    4 years ago

  • wensaccessories

    wensaccessories says:

    Interesting

    4 years ago

  • silkstory

    silkstory says:

    So nice pics and thank you for sharing information!

    4 years ago

  • moosomething

    moosomething says:

    As an artist, this is very good information. Thank you.

    4 years ago

  • BauerDesigns

    BauerDesigns says:

    Once we were contacted by a shady 'law firm' that pays their employees to surf websites like Etsy for artist who are recycling/upcycling brand name products. The 'law firm' then takes that information to the "Brand" company that's been infringed and tells them they'll fight the lawsuit if they can keep a percentage of the settlement. At the time we were using empty beverage cans that would normally be thrown away and turning them into something new and useful, oblivious to any ill repercussions. After 4 months of legal wrangling we got them to leave us alone (without paying any money which they had demanded to 'settle' the issue) - and they never contacted the 'Brand' Company. It was a harrowing experience that taught us a good lesson - because we are small artists does not mean we are unseen and untouchable by big government laws. Never use any bit of someone else's work without permission. And if you have any doubts don't use it.. make something cool from your own design.

    4 years ago

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey says:

    interesting info, thanks for sharing

    4 years ago

  • VedaArts

    VedaArts says:

    thank you for the need to know!!! <3

    4 years ago

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 says:

    Very intersting, thank-you for sharing that!

    4 years ago

  • EvenAndy

    EvenAndy says:

    Thanks for giving us this information. I know they talk about copyright a lot in the forums but I had never heard of anyone speak about fair use.

    4 years ago

  • kadlubik

    kadlubik says:

    thanks for sharing!

    4 years ago

  • NicheWomensClothing

    NicheWomensClothing says:

    One of the things I love about Etsy....thank you for educating us! This article is very enlightening! Thank You SarahSays!

    4 years ago

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit says:

    Thank you-this continues to confuse and amaze me with complexities!!!

    4 years ago

  • humblebea

    humblebea says:

    Thank you, SarahSays! Great information! (-:

    4 years ago

  • saintesmariesjewelry

    saintesmariesjewelry says:

    Great article.... great info!

    4 years ago

  • oldworldprimitives

    oldworldprimitives says:

    Very helpful information that I'm sure some of us will need to refer back to at points in the future.

    4 years ago

  • jargonhead

    jargonhead says:

    I agree with worksofwhimsy as well. It is so much more rewarding when you create something original. I am so glad that you shed some light on this. There are so many artists that are unaware of intellectual property rights! It is one thing to be inspired by other works/artists, it is another to undermine their hard work by creating something the same/similar.

    4 years ago

  • ebrukSupplies

    ebrukSupplies says:

    Great article.Thank you

    4 years ago

  • MariesVintage

    MariesVintage says:

    This was an interesting read, thanks for educating us!

    4 years ago

  • AllureByU

    AllureByU says:

    Interesting article. Thanks

    4 years ago

  • aisle3studio

    aisle3studio says:

    fans are back! cool

    4 years ago

  • desertnana

    desertnana says:

    The clearest writing on this subject I have read to date. Bravo! Sarah! with Gratitude, DesertNana

    4 years ago

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage says:

    interesting!

    4 years ago

  • cindylouwho2

    cindylouwho2 says:

    thank you for explaining this to people! it is also worth noting that many countries do not have "fair use" doctrines, so you need to check what jurisdiction's laws apply if you are thinking of arguing it. In Canada we have "fair dealing", which definitely does not cover most of the things acceptable under fair use. Many countries have narrow interpretations of what is acceptable in copyright infringement, so be careful!

    4 years ago

  • ReDesignTechnologies

    ReDesignTechnologies says:

    i consulted a business lawyer before launching my chandelier line because i am not the originator of the paper clip lighting concept. after reviewing my concept, sketches, process, research and synthesis of periods in history and deconstruction elements, he concluded that there was no infringement issue. a great deal of work is invested in this line and at times i question that lawyer's advice, so I've been working on new concepts behind the scenes and testing, testing, testing. i think that if it doesn't feel right it isn't right somewhere along the line. learning to trust my own instincts over a lawyer's has been a valuable lesson (and an expensive one in terms of finance and time).

    4 years ago

  • ReDesignTechnologies

    ReDesignTechnologies says:

    i also wish mention that both the name (ReDesign Technologies Handmade) and one of my designs have already been appropriated by large-scale lighting companies. so the question is who is right and who really owns the rights to these concepts?

    4 years ago

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry says:

    This is great information. I think this is the perfect reason to be yourself, find your own niche and protect it. Make sure your work is true to your own design and not a copy of some else's successful hard work. Think of it this way, if it's your design or idea that has been protected being used without consent, you'd be upset too.

    4 years ago

  • HillTribeCulture

    HillTribeCulture says:

    This is gorgeous and lots of cute explaining Love it all information!

    4 years ago

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares says:

    thanks for a little legal advice. there is so much to research on this subject, especially when reproducing vintage images to use in art and resell. thanks for the links and summary.

    4 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    I'm so glad to read the positive feedback. Legal issues can be difficult to explain, I hope that I've made this one issue a little more clear. @BauerDesigns- thanks for sharing your story. @cindylouwho2- thanks for putting a Canadian spin on this issue. @ReDesignTechnologies- Thanks for sharing your story about all the research that went into your art (and yeah, sometimes your own instincts can be much more valuable than a lawyer's). Sarah

    4 years ago

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions says:

    This is good information. Thank you!

    4 years ago

  • dreamyvintage

    dreamyvintage says:

    Thank you for the information. I love the "fan" art finds :)

    4 years ago

  • elemegibere

    elemegibere says:

    Wonderful!Copyright significant

    4 years ago

  • dizzydaydreamer

    dizzydaydreamer says:

    this is a very interesting topic, especially in terms of discussing the concept of appropriated art, and where lines can be drawn... ReDesignTechnologies you reminded me of something, a friend once told me that a way to sort of "copyright" your ideas/concepts/images/etc might be to have digital files of them, put them on a flash drive, and mail the flash drive to yourself (keep the envelope unopened - the postmark date would serve as a proof of when you thought of the concept)... the same might be done with a company name -- you could type up a short document stating that you call your company XYZ name, print/sign/date it, and mail that to yourself, keeping the envelope sealed in the same fashion..... strange, but makes sense, no?

    4 years ago

  • MABjewelry

    MABjewelry says:

    This really is great info, and a topic that a lot of people don't know much about. Thanks for the post.

    4 years ago

  • SarahSays Admin

    SarahSays says:

    @dizzydaydreamer - you bring up another copyright myth...The Poor Man's Copyright. I have an article on that topic... http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/sarahsays-poor-mans-copyright-209/ Sarah

    4 years ago

  • ClementinesJewelry

    ClementinesJewelry says:

    Great article!

    4 years ago

  • JeweledAmbrosia
  • MetroGypsy

    MetroGypsy says:

    Fascinating...thanks for the article post!

    4 years ago

  • HoldTheWire

    HoldTheWire says:

    Great article. Thanks for breaking down this information!

    4 years ago

  • dizzydaydreamer

    dizzydaydreamer says:

    haha! glad i brought it up then, that other article is good info too!

    4 years ago

  • bstrung

    bstrung says:

    Thanks

    4 years ago

  • HazelLily

    HazelLily says:

    Great information! I find issues of appropriation and copyright completely fascinating. Like countless artists before me, I make use of appropriation. I have worked with/for various arts organizations over the years and have learned a great deal, enough to feel confident in my choices with regards to appropriation. I do see items on Etsy (especially 'fan' items) that I am sure would not be protected in the case of legal action. It's important to be informed before you run into trouble... Thanks again!!

    4 years ago

  • SEOWebDesign

    SEOWebDesign says:

    Thank you for the very good useful information. I wish it was all very clear cut and simple but alas . . .

    4 years ago

  • PoisonApplePotions

    PoisonApplePotions says:

    Very interesting. Things are rarely ever clear cut- just look at every supreme court case

    4 years ago

  • MadameKoiteh

    MadameKoiteh says:

    Nice to know. There are lots of myths about Fair Use...

    4 years ago

  • deesadornments

    deesadornments says:

    A well-researched article, it's great to see pieces like this that don't end up perpetuating misunderstandings. :)

    4 years ago

  • thewhimsytrove

    thewhimsytrove says:

    I really liked the use of fans for the featured items. Oh, and good article too.

    4 years ago

  • ggiotta

    ggiotta says:

    everything is derivative; some people are just better at hiding their sources

    4 years ago

  • hellomica

    hellomica says:

    Surely the related items and the pun lead-in picture are not the "fan art" the well-written article refers to.

    4 years ago

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset says:

    This is good information to study thank you

    4 years ago

  • diannek

    diannek says:

    Good article but really nothing is really new just a new way of doing it!

    4 years ago

  • pinkquartzminerals

    pinkquartzminerals says:

    Great article, I'd love to see one about trade dress infringement.

    4 years ago

  • Panterina

    Panterina says:

    Godd reading. The tips are very useful

    4 years ago

  • StarForeman

    StarForeman says:

    I do wish Etsy would take a hand in removing obvious copyright violations. To say they don't have to because it is the artist's responsibility to report the theft is like saying that if i went to someone's house and saw they had stolen my Mom's antique jewelry, that only my Mom could report it to the police.

    4 years ago

  • GwensArtDreamscape

    GwensArtDreamscape says:

    Thank you very much for the information. There seems to be a lot of confusion sometimes around this issue. When I see an image of something that has been copied from the owner of the copyright I just kind of cringe. It's interesting to note though that some are alright with "fan" art. That is interesting that some are fine with it while others are not.

    4 years ago

  • SandraDarling

    SandraDarling says:

    good read - very interesting and hot topic!

    4 years ago

  • mulberrymuse

    mulberrymuse says:

    Helpful advice but not very encouraging. It seems the law is often in favour with those copying or infringing. It is also hard to do anything about copyright problems unless you have the finances to fight. So the problems continue and get worse, branding is watered down as others think they too can do that and sell cheaper.Despite the quality being degraded. The internet provides rich pickings for image thieves. Should we not be educating people to respect the rights and hard work of others.

    4 years ago

  • mulberrymuse

    mulberrymuse says:

    Interesting but not encouraging. The law seems more helpful to the copyright infringers! Should we not be educating people on the importance of valuing the rights and properties of others. The internet provides rich pickings for image thieves and few of us have the resources to do anything about the problem. We continue to suffer from the watering down of our branding and lose income to the copiers and infringers who sell so much cheaper with poor quality merchandise.

    4 years ago

  • MonstrousIndustry

    MonstrousIndustry says:

    thanks! i appreciate the emphasis on fair use in talking about these issues.

    4 years ago

  • pasin

    pasin says:

    Great article

    4 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle says:

    Seems to me laws need change!! Thanks for posting this!

    4 years ago

  • craftpile

    craftpile says:

    Thanks!

    4 years ago

  • HeyMichelle

    HeyMichelle says:

    Great article, Sarah! So many people have questions about this; it will be great to have this article to answer these common questions!

    4 years ago

  • sharonclancydesigns

    sharonclancydesigns says:

    Really interesting. Thanks for sharing. LOVE amberalexander's painting!!!

    4 years ago

  • schin

    schin says:

    I've been researching this too, and it's quite an issue with us artists. It really is a matter of respect and how you accept it as well if you're the artist.

    4 years ago

  • thedootdootstore

    thedootdootstore says:

    Fair use is an important aspect of the U.S. copyright doctrine. One poster mentioned above that it helps infringers, but that is too simple an understanding of the doctrine. Fair use acknowledges that culture and art is built upon the use of existing creative works. Use that is fair should be allowed. If you lock up every form of expressive content under copyright, no one will be allowed to create anything. Copyright law in the U.S. is constitutionally compelled to promote intellectual and artistic progress. You do not have a natural right in your intellectual property. Copyright law protects it in so far as it helps to further the aims of cultural and artistic growth. One way of furthering creation is to provide protections under copyright given to artists give them incentive to create, and so the copyright system has created those rights. However, these proprietary rights will be limited in instances where another is using your art in a 'fair' way so that people, also to further cultural and artistic growth. It is a really unsettled defence and, as the article mentioned, it is difficult to tell what falls under this umbrella. It is always useful to focus on the transformative aspect of your contribution in assessing the fairness of the use. What sort of critical or artistic contribution have you made to the work so that it stands apart as something entirely different? Fair use helps creators AND users. Every creator is also a user. Artists that have sued others for copyright infringement have in turn been sued for the same.

    4 years ago

  • javagirls

    javagirls says:

    Thanks for this very important information.

    4 years ago

  • worksandfinds

    worksandfinds says:

    This is great.

    4 years ago

  • AvianInspirations

    AvianInspirations says:

    Thank you everyone for giving me a lot to think about.

    4 years ago

  • KimsCraftyApple

    KimsCraftyApple says:

    Thanks for taking the time to writer this!

    4 years ago

  • Serenstitches

    Serenstitches says:

    Loved the article, very informative!

    4 years ago

  • mumatopia

    mumatopia says:

    Thanks for the article. My son does fan art through a blog but we've encouraged him to always seek permission and when he did that, he was granted permission, even to use the company's name in his blog title. We all felt a lot better for it. Copyright and IP is such a minefield, especially for us non-lawyer types who just love to sit and sew.

    4 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:

    Interesting.

    4 years ago

  • JaniceCordeiro

    JaniceCordeiro says:

    Really good information.

    4 years ago

  • PeculiarForest

    PeculiarForest says:

    Thanks for this, great info!

    4 years ago

  • etincelledesign

    etincelledesign says:

    very useful and interesting iformation ! I had been thinking over this issue recently and had some of my questions answered - thank you !

    4 years ago

  • CosplayOtaku

    CosplayOtaku says:

    Nice article.

    4 years ago

  • Pennamite

    Pennamite says:

    mumatopia, yes! I use no-known-copyright historical images from Flickr Commons, but I always show the posting institutions what I'm making. They're fine with it--in fact they're happy that someone is enjoying the images this much--but it gives me that extra sense of security. And if it ever somehow came to a dispute, at least I'd have a good record of being open and above-board in my doings.

    4 years ago

  • BerylBlue

    BerylBlue says:

    @dizzydaydreamer: Mailing a letter/package to yourself does NOT work. It doesn't prove anything about when you created whatever is in the envelope/package. It only proves the date you mailed it. It does not create a copyright.

    4 years ago

  • gertuine

    gertuine says:

    I can agree with the dootdootstore. I agree that everyone is a user and a creator, and it's impossible, and ridiculous, to try and "lock up every form of expressive content" (as dootdootstore said). At times like this, I am reminded of a phrase which, if I recall correctly, can be attributed to Richard Dawkins; this is an example of "the tyranny of the discontinuous mind." The mind (and the people who own those minds) likes to put things into neat little boxes, but so rarely in life is this possible. Fair use is, of course, another example we have seen where there is no cut-and-dry classification system we can use. Each instance must be carefully examined. It behooves us all to calmly address each issue which is presented to us of "fair use," and, better yet, to examine why we are determining something is or is not fair use. We can learn a lot about ourselves by this exercise.

    4 years ago

  • 6catsart

    6catsart says:

    Interesting subject with many aspects that are being debated a great deal. Decisions are being overturned and laws revised all the time. We do not live a vacuum . . . it is often difficult to know where being inspired by ends and infringement begins.

    4 years ago

  • kyleclements

    kyleclements says:

    Great post, its rare to find an article that so succinctly sums up the mess that is copyright law. One thing this article does not mention is art covered by something called the creative commons, where the artist abandons the usual 'all rights reserved' attitude, and instead goes for a 'some rights reserved' approach, granting fans certain rights to use/share/remix their material with certain conditions (eg. credit the original author, re-use must be non-commercial, etc. Taking inspiration, images, characters and ideas from artists who use creative commons licencing on their work is a much safer bet, since their opinion on the re-use of their work is clearly stated.

    4 years ago

  • LANCERIKA

    LANCERIKA says:

    Grateful for this educational article, so many different points of view on this*fair* subject.

    4 years ago

  • mulberrymuse

    mulberrymuse says:

    Has it occured to etsy that profiting from shops that sell images obtained illegally that could make etsy liable also?

    4 years ago

  • BotanicalBead

    BotanicalBead says:

    Very interesting, good info, thank you.

    4 years ago

  • CarlaLovato

    CarlaLovato says:

    Excellent article!

    4 years ago

  • ZenBrush

    ZenBrush says:

    Asking the artist first to use work, is always appreciated. It's tradtional in asia to copy copy copy to learn how to paint.

    3 years ago

  • Lipeony

    Lipeony says:

    very good topic to address there's always been this kind of discussion when it comes to fan art esp. in Japanese Anime/manga world

    3 years ago

  • BreadandButterSilver

    BreadandButterSilver says:

    What do you do when you discover another Etsy artist copying your work and selling it? I just searched for one of my items using a key word and saw the exact same thing posted a few days after I introduced my piece by an Etsy "artist" in DC. Kind of miffed but not sure that there is anything I can do about it since I haven't copyrighted it. Any advise on how to handle this...or not?

    3 years ago

  • Mostlyflowers

    Mostlyflowers says:

    BreadandButter -- I just asked a copyright question in the forums and they pointed me to this webpage http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/ According to them, your art is copyrighted the moment it is created, even if you did not register it. Hope that helps!

    3 years ago

  • VALLEYGIRLBEADS

    VALLEYGIRLBEADS says:

    Thanks for taking the time to research and write about such a hot topic...

    3 years ago

  • plumfactory

    plumfactory says:

    great information

    3 years ago

  • deliciousink

    deliciousink says:

    Do you think my tonights the night print falls under fair use? I'm really trying to figure this out. Please tell me what you think

    3 years ago

  • shelleyssoap

    shelleyssoap says:

    I've wondered about this issue many times. While I make primarily unscented soaps to sell, I was always curious about selling scented soaps. I do not make the fragrance oils, and although I purchase them as I would fabric in a store, would I be in violation by using them in soaps and selling the soaps? How is that different from purchasing fabric and selling an item made from it? I can always buy more fragrance oils just as I can always buy more fabric. Good grief!

    3 years ago

  • mistajonz

    mistajonz says:

    So people selling t-shirts, invitations, and other items using either "official art" or fan art are excused? There's so many items listed on this site that use characters that aren't owned by the artists selling the merchandise, yet, the items are never removed...Etsy needs to pay more attention to what's on their site in my honest opinion, before listing all these rights and whatnot.

    3 years ago

  • TucksButterflies

    TucksButterflies says:

    After reading this and some of the other posts about it, I am still left with soooo many questions. I love to paint things. Alot of times we see something we LOVE and must put our talents to the test. I love silhouettes. so if I were to paint a silhouette of Elvis Presley, (which I have done) I would not be able to sell it?????

    2 years ago

  • hugandkiss

    Amanda Hagemann from hugandkiss says:

    This is really helpful! I agree with above posters that it is nobler to make original work, but some times it is fun to pay tribute to characters you love and admire. In those cases it is very tricky to see where you stand in the law. Thank you for posting this!

    1 year ago

  • bribrijoy715

    Brianna Klassen from ElephantInTheSky says:

    I am wondering about using quotes. I love to make embroidered designs with quotes from famous people, and I see it a lot around Etsy. Are their any legal ramifications to that?

    1 year ago

  • bethaua

    bethaua says:

    I'm wondering how this ties in with prints of things. When clients pay for the item and not the print, how does that tie in. An example, retro prints of cartoon characters actually have a notice that they are only for quilting (fabric). Some people make items and sell the item here made with that print. In which case they have regular non licensed prints selling for the same price, so they are selling the item and not the print (that is licensed). Would that be fair use or fan art? What about when we design satirical prints of popular characters and print them... So I think I need information. But this article left me with questions! Hugs! Beth

    43 days ago