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Is it okay to sell fan art on Etsy? There’s lots of conflicting advice out there over whether it’s okay or not to sell fan art on Etsy or anywhere else for that that matter. So I’m gonna dig into this and hopefully help you out a little. I totally understand the temptation. When the Mandalorian came out and baby Yoda appeared or the child or whatever his actual real name is. Everybody wanted a baby. Yoda and Disney had dropped the ball before that Christmas. They weren’t selling any stuff. So, yeah, we all had a go at making it. So the sellers that did make baby Yoda things to sell on. Etsy made a killing massive demand and no supply equals. Lots of money. But was it okay. Should I have jumped on the trend and printed out masses of copies of my Yoda and stuck them on mugs and then retired to my yacht in the Caribbean? Let me know in the comments below. Do you think I would have been able to sell that? Obviously before we get started. I want to say I’m not a lawyer and I’m not offering legal advice on this. This is just a start of the conversation, and if you decide after watching this that you still want to sell fan art or things inspired by other people’s work, then I strongly advise that you research this further and perhaps get some proper legal advice so to understand this, I’ve got to cover some terms and then talk about what we know about the law. So first, what is copyright or trademark copyright covers recorded artistic or literary work literary? This includes dances, photographs, tutorials, and it is an automatic international. Right, you don’t have to apply for it. So whatever you photographed, you own the copyright to unless you give other people permission to use it. A trademark is a name, a word, a slogan a design that’s associated with your company. It’s a unique identifier and again in common law. Even if you don’t register it, you can still have some protection. If people recognize your work from your trademark, so you don’t necessarily have to register it for it to apply, and they’re there to prevent someone else passing themselves off as you or your brand so that they don’t. Confuse your customers into thinking they’re buying from you so to prove something’s your trademark. You would need to be proving that you’ve been using it and customers. Identify it with you and also prove that it’s harming your business by someone else using it. Now, if this is something you worry about, you can absolutely get extra protection by registering your trademark now. The copyright owner of something. If they find that somebody ie, you has infringed on their work, they have the right to recover. Any damages suffered as a result of you using their their work and also any profited attributed. So whatever you’ve made based on that infringement, but copyright infringement isn’t cut and dried, it needs to be determined in a court of law. This is where people think they’re able to say. Oh, it’s all okay, because it is not black and white. The only way you know if something is totally okay is by going to court, and are you gonna go to court up against Disney? I’m not as it stands just now on places like Etsy, the copyright holder Disney or yourself, if someone’s ripping you off has to apply to the platform and tell them to take it down, so they have to apply to eat. See, tell them. Hey, that’s my stuff! Get it taken down. Etsy is not here to decide who is copyright infringing. As we’ve said, It’s a legal thing Etsy don’t know, so eat, see, take it down and let you know why it’s been taken down, and you have a certain amount of time to counter claim to say back to say Disney. Nope, that’s not your stuff. I’m totally okay to sell it. And if you counter claim, if you say that, their claim is incorrect, they can either drop it. And then you’re okay to sell the item or they can take you to court so for the rules. Whoever has the copyright has the right to make and sell derivative work as well as whatever is there, sequels, characters or just plot elements are all are all covered here. So that is one thing. I hear a lot saying it’s okay if you drew it yourself or you sculpted it yourself or if it’s in slightly different pose, all this kind of fan art is derivative work. So if you’re not sure, here’s some questions, you can ask yourself just to see if you think there’s a chance you might get into trouble. Are you making something brand new? If so on you go. Are you competing? For instance, if I’d made baby Yoda. It would be competing against potential future sales from the Mandalorian so that would have been competing. It’s also not brand new, giving credit, saying no copyright intended or based on. This is not okay. It doesn’t cover you for copyright. Although if it’s definitely a smaller creator that you’re copying, they might be happy enough just to have attributes attribute. They might be happy enough to have you attributed their work and links to where people can go so it might work for exposure for them and they might not decide to take legal action, but it’s certainly not a defense. How much of the item are you using, baby Yoda? That’s the whole thing and we’re not saying I’m going through the whole mandalorian universe, like if I put baby Yoda in a different setting, it’s okay, because maybe only 50 of my setting was baby Yoda. No baby Yoda. Is that term baby yoda’s the recognizable aspect. So if I use all a baby Yoda, I’m using 100 of their copyrighted trademark item and also the quality of it, not just. How much are you using? For example, if you gave away the end point of how to kill the big bad in the game or you told the ending of the movie? If you completely spoil the thing so that people don’t have to go out and buy it then obviously that’s worse than if you’re just taking a small point away. Why do so many people get away with it? There are several reasons why so many people get away with it. Not all companies mind. They don’t chase up or they don’t chase up all the time. It’s a lot of work, obviously. It’s easier to find people selling Disney stuff on Etsy than it is to find them selling stuff at a load, local craft, fair or fan convention. I’ve heard it explained as Unetsy. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel if they want to catch people if they want to scare people, all they need to do is search their own name and they’ll find people that they can take to court. So, yeah, it takes time to be able to find you. You might see lots of shops with these things. There were lots of baby Yoda shops. That’s absolutely true, and it’s just because it takes the time for them to be able to find everybody. It’s easier to find the people that are top on the search that are making the most sales. So those are the ones they want to hit first, but that’s they’re playing whack-a-mole here as they get rid of 10 another 10 pop up, so it might look like it’s okay to sell. They just haven’t been caught yet. Another thing is the companies don’t necessarily want to make fans hate them. Certain things like One-off one-of-a-kind fan art. Sometimes companies are happy to let that slide other times. They’re not, and that really sours a fan base to the creator. I believe there’s been things seen with Anne Rice. In her interview with a vampire book, she was pretty angry at people writing fan fiction based on that, whereas some other people totally love it. They love the universe of all their fans, so they don’t want to annoy their fans. Now, obviously, as I said, using logos or their train, marked terms is bad, It makes it easier for them to find you. But if you don’t use their trademark names, it doesn’t mean you’re okay. It just means you’re harder to find. So if you said the Mandalorian’s baby Yoda, super easy to find if I said inspired by baby Yoda still easy to find and also still illegal. But if I just said three-toed green, cute alien baby, you can still tell what it is. It’s harder for them to find it, but if they do find it, it’s still really clear what it’s based on so it doesn’t matter. If you use the terms, it still could be breaking the copyright, but your legal defense. How sometimes people can get away with it, it’s? What is called in law? Fair use fair use is defined as criticism commentary, news reporting, teaching scholarship research, quote, quotation preservation and parody in general, there’s four factors that a lawyer will consider in these cases the purpose of it is it commercial intent. If you’re making it to sell, that’s going to be held against you worse than if you were doing it for a non-profit if you were painting a Muriel to chill, cheer up a children’s ward, even though that’s not covered and sometimes they do get into trouble, but if you’re making it to sell to make your millions to live on the yacht, then you’re more likely to get into trouble as we already said, the amount of it used the amount of the copyrighted character, or if you return an online review of a movie, the amount of the movie you physically showed. Compared to the amount of the commentary you were given to the movie will be taken into account 20 minutes of me sitting watching a movie going compared to me giving a commentary with clips coming up over the top that are necessary to explain what I’m saying the nature of what you’re using again Also important, and how important is it to the point that you’re making and the effect on the market or value? What a lot of the time is being protected. Here is people’s opinion of the brand. If you make stuff and people think that it came from Disney and its rubbish quality, your items have hurt their brand, but none of this is set in stone. It is up to the courts to decide so it is really difficult to know if something will be under fair use and not only that all companies define things differently check. It could be that they allow people to use some things. Perhaps write some fanfiction draw some fan art. They might allow it for personal use. They might allow it for commercial use. They might allow it if you contact them and ask them so. How can we legally sell this kind of fan? Stuff people are saying we can sell it. Can we well? If you find royalty-free images images with commercial intent images that allow you to do this. There are places on the internet, for example. If you want to make your own paintings, but you don’t have a great landscape to go out and look at. You could use these sites to find beautiful landscapes that you’re legally allowed to paint and sell or you could go directly and get permission from the copyright holder. Lucasfilm does have or did have a place on its website. You can email them and ask if you can get a license. I did email them a couple of years back. I’ve not heard, so it’s not easy, but it’s possible, and there’s also places like Redbubble. Redbubble actually has some licensing in there. Some agreements with certain companies, brands and TV film TV shows. So you can totally go to there and see what’s allowable. Your work has to be checked out, but you’re allowed to sell on that platform. Certain things, so check that out and the final thing. If you really want to sell it, you can go to court. Find out if you legally can. I’m totally not going to do that. I hope that helps clear up some of the confusion with what you can legally sell. Nobody really knows unless you have direct permission to use the items, or you’ve been to court and found out that you’re right, so don’t take anybody’s advice research into it. It’s really not worth getting taken down by Disney. Just because you thought you could make some disney items.