Having been to a couple of cons in the past month, I was struck by the sheer amount of fan art that attending artists had for sale. I saw prints, drawings, and sketch cards on full display and priced to move.
It made me want to look deeper into the issue of commercialized fan art.
I used to offer the odd fan image here on my blog and at shows without giving it much thought as it seemed the norm at conventions.
I think I had a pair of blinders on, though.
This week I decided to take those blinders off and look much harder at the practice of selling this type of work. I hunted the internet for a decent article and discussion of the topic and found the following article on “Plagiarism Today”, entitled ” The Messy World of Fan Art and Copyright”.
I think this article is super informative on the subject.
What was the overwhelming and logical conclusion drawn by the article ?
Unless express permission is granted by the rights holder–It is infringement according to copyright law.
It falls squarely under the category of “derivative work” in most cases ( with very few exceptions).
There is some shockingly bad discussion going on out there and much of it stems from basic misunderstanding of modern copyright law and where fan art falls within that discussion.
I’m glad I found the article and it is leading me down a better road for my studio and creative efforts.
It has also crystallized my budding thoughts on the subject and given words to my growing unease with the practice of selling fan art.
I hope you find it useful. :)
If you have thoughts to share on the topic, please do!