Fan Art & Fair Use

Fan Art & Fair Use

Disclaimer: This is going to be quite a long post.  The creation of this article has taken quite some time due to the amount of research involved.  Whilst it was initially planned to be as objective as possible, I will be calling out certain practices I believe to be illegitimate.  I am not a legal professional and am presenting my limited understanding of the subject matter.  I will be presenting both facts and opinions. An Introduction Fan art is something that you’ll see on many artists’ Instagrams, Facebook pages and convention stalls.  At it’s core, fan art is arguably the ultimate expression of someone’s love and adoration of a particular series, franchise or Intellectual Property (IP).  There’s no doubt that fan art can come from a good, well-intentioned, place and be born of love, however it’s also fair to say that fan art can be damaging to an IP holder and there could be legal consequences, especially if the fan art’s being sold. A common response from the fan art community is that they’re legally protected by Fair Use.  I’ll be taking an in-depth look at Fair Use (sometimes referred to as Fair Dealing, Free Use or Fair Practice) to try and determine whether any protection does exist, or whether it’s a widespread misconception amongst the community. There are many arguments for and against fan art, as well as a number of different approaches employed by various companies to both tackle and support it.  The issue stretches across more than comics, covering movies, TV shows and video games to name but a few.  In addition to reviewing the law,...

The Economics of Indie Comics

This is a post I debated putting up, however after thinking about it I think this information needs to be out there for the benefit of: Aspiring and existing indie comic artists, Consumers, fans and con-goers, Convention organisers and staff. This post will talk, very frankly, about the costs of creating and selling independent comic books in the UK.  Prices will be in GBP and based upon my personal experiences, as well as conversations I’ve had with other creators.  In the best interests of all involved there will be absolute anonymity.  Additionally, this posts aims to be positive, proactive and, where it does highlight problems, suggest solutions.  Let’s go! How much does it cost to sell at a convention? The cost of appearing at a convention varies wildly from show to show.  There are also multiple costs involved.  Below, I’ve broken down the common, recurring, costs that apply to pretty much every convention (yes, some conventions have costs unique to them) as well as the most and least I have ever personally spent on that item.  After talking about the costs, I’ll talk about how I decide whether those costs are reasonable. Table Most conventions supply a 6ft by 2ft table, though you need to bring your own tablecloth.  You’ll be charged for table hire and use of the space around your table.  The least I’ve ever paid was £0, yes I’ve had a ‘free’ table before although it was on a condition that I run 2 panels over the course of the convention lasting at least 1 hour each and appear on a 3rd panel which was basically...

Time For A Big Update

I’ve been extremely busy lately with a lot of very exciting things, some of which I can share with you now. Superheroes Ltd #2 The comic is looking absolutely beautiful and I’m really impressed with how it’s coming out so far.  I think this issue is really going to be a showcase for exactly what I am capable of and I think you’re all going to love it.  There’s tension, there’s mystery, there’s intrigue and, of course, a little humour. Here is a preview image while you’re waiting for the finished product: Comic Conventions! So, a few convention bits to announce, first of all, GemuCon has officially been cancelled by it’s organizers, making it kind of impossible for me to attend.  Good news is that I am confirmed for Independent’s Day on June 21st, a day where several indie creators will be gathering outside Komix, Melksham as a sort of miniature convention.  It’ll be great fun, come along!  Also, the big one, I will be at Thought Bubble later this year!  It’ll be my first time attending Thought Bubble so excited is an understatement. Don’t forget, May 10th and 11th I will be at Bristol Comic Expo in, well, Bristol.  Come on down and say hi! One more thing while we’re talking about conventions… I’m going to help organize one.  MetaCon is due to run June 2015 (exact dates to be confirmed).  I am in charge of the artist alley, dealer’s room, and also the art direction.  Expect me to make it a very pretty convention! Bromham Carnival A fun family day out in the heart of a local village...

Art Challenge Week 2 – Sir Giraffe

I can’t believe I forgot to post this when it was completed.  I apologise for the delay.  Here is week 2 of the art challenge, Sir Giraffe!  At my day job, we were discussing what noise a giraffe makes.  A colleague suggested that, due to the length of their necks, any sound a giraffe made couldn’t travel to their mouths (they were wrong, but the logic and reason was there at least).  This was followed by the best sentence I’d heard that week, “But how will they ever share their most exquisite thoughts with...

Return From Kitacon, Art Challenge, A Traitor’s Reasons

First of all, Kitacon!  I literally just got back in the door from this year’s Kitacon and wow, it’s easily still the most insanely fun convention the UK has to offer!  While I wasn’t selling at Kitacon, I did get the chance to catch up with some fellow creators and held a panel called “How to Draw Your Own Comic Or Manga”, which people found to be very helpful.  Unfortunately, the panel was not filmed but I do intend on releasing a video of the presentation slides with myself talking over them.  I can’t reproduce the talk verbatim because there were some deviations and tangential subjects that I simply cannot recall accurately enough to include.  That said, I still think the information in there is going to be invaluable to anyone who is thinking about creating their own book. Speaking of panels, Ubisoft’s Reflections studio held a panel on getting into the video game industry which was very informative and I even won a copy of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag during their talk.  Now I just need to pick up where I left off in Assassin’s Creed Revelations and then beat III before I can play it.  The ones I’ve played so far have taught me I cannot afford to skip entries where the plot is concerned. Fellow comic creator Tab Kimpton of Khaos Komix also gave a panel on “Kickstarting Your Comic” which had plenty of useful advice for comic creators, direct from a veteran of the webcomic community. Kitacon held it’s reputation as being the party convention, and this is proven by the fact that I...

Gemucon – Now I’m Home

I’ve been home from Gemucon for a few days now, but, as always, things have been a bit hectic. Now that I have had time to actually sit down and collect my thoughts, I figure I should share them with you. First and foremost, I thoroughly enjoyed being on the artist alley, I got to meet some awesome new people, such as Sarah of Gyzra.com and Kayt of Blue Fayt, I got to show my artwork to the public, picked up some awesome tips that will help with future conventions, and was able to decide that this is something I want to keep doing! In that respect, you may have already noticed the sidebar containing my convention appearances now lists some new conventions, namely Comica and Bristol Comics Expo. These were both last minute bookings, but they show how enthusiastic and energized Gemucon made me. This is something I’m passionate about and can really sink my teeth into. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who stopped by my table at Gemucon, and an especially big thank you to those of you who bought something, you’re helping me to continue chasing the dream. Arcadia is now available at some retailers too! The Incredible Comic Shop, located in Swindon, Komix, found in the town of Melksham, and Excelsior Comics in the city of Bristol all have limited stock. I’m awaiting the green light on Arcadia appearing on the online store UK On Display, once that’s up and running, you’ll be able to purchase it online...