M (m_dono) wrote,

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Should Fanmade Items Be Illegal?

I can’t really recall where this idea sparked from. I think it came to mind whilst I was doing my first—and only, so far—commission for the Help_Haiti community here on LJ. I pondered on it for a while. The thought grew even more when I was in class discussing patents and copyrights. From what I understood, patent is when you register it and copyright is when you just own it by name.

The thought of fan made items being illegal came to mind when I was thinking of how the original creator might feel.

Say for instance, you’ve made a movie. So, many people like said movie and make fan made work of it. Now, when a movie franchise garners a lot of attention, the company that owns it usually makes official items off that movie to sell. A percentage of the money goes to the original creator, as it should since he has the rights to it. Thus, all money gained from sold merchandise based off that movie will go to the creator and company.

Now enter the fans. Us fans love to express our interest for a certain fandom in whatever way we can. We draw, we cook, we create toys of our own, and so on and so forth. Some of us actually go and sell these items. Where am I going with this?

As many of us know, it’s illegal to sell pirated items such as DVDs and VCDs right? And as far as I know, the same goes for fake items like figurines, bags, accessories, etc. From what I understand, this is because the selling of these items have in no way direct or clear connections to the original creator and company. Thus, the people who are selling them are stealing the money that the creator and company should rightfully be earning.

Going back to the fans.

In many cases fans make fan made anything and post it on the Internet. Fanfiction, fanart, fanmixes, you name it. One doesn’t really earn money for writing a story—I myself like reading good fan fiction—and posting it for the world to see.

What makes me wonder is what happens when fans do so?

Sure you’re creating an item that was made by your own sweat and blood. You’ve used your hands to make something you’re proud of and you wish to sell it. I can understand that. But when you sell fan made items of, say, the made up movie I’ve mentioned, doesn’t that also constitute as stealing from the company and creator?

You’re making money, okay. You’ve created the items by yourself, okay. But, the characters used (i.e. a bookmark or fancomic/doujinshi with the movie character on it), are not yours. I’m very sure that a lot of fans do not have direct contact or relations to the creator and company so I’m guessing a lot of the money they earn don’t go to said creator and company. Doesn’t that mean that they’re stealing money that should rightfully be earned by someone else?

Thus I’ve made this discussion to hear everyone’s opinion on the matter.

Note that I am not taking sides. I just want to know everyone’s opinion and views on the matter. And I have no intention in making myself look immaculate in this situation either. I will admit that I myself indulge in buying fanmade items—I love reading a good doujin—and as I’ve said before, made my first and only commission as of now.

I actually like the idea of being able to sell your fanart, it’s fun and easy.

Again, I simply want to hear everyone’s opinion. I am not that well acquainted with the laws regarding copyrights, so much of what I said may be incoherent in some ways, and for that I apologize.

I might either delete this post or disable comments if I ever feel that comments get out of hand.
EDIT: Although I don't reply to all comments, I do read everyone that is posted here. I just wanted to make that clear.
Tags: discussion, misc.
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