Selling "Fan Art" Prints

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Original Post

I know it's legal to sell Fan Art prints, (like drawings of popular disney characters and comic book heroes)

but im wondering what the legal right really are, just because i would like to start selling my fan art prints but im not sure if theres a special way i have to go about it.


Posted at 1:52pm Feb 18, 2010 EST


nobody knows the answer to this???

Posted at 3:00pm Feb 18, 2010 EST

craftknack says

I doubt that it is even legal to sell fan art prints. I mean it may be ok by etsy but that doesn't make it legal. you'd still be profiting form a copyrighted character which to me is what makes it a no-no.

Just my 2 cents and certainly not fact! I feel much better making money off things I come up with and not someone else you know?

Posted at 3:36pm Feb 18, 2010 EST

im presuming its ok because hundreds of artists do it, even sell books full of it. iv seen other people bring up the same point you did and they baiscally got yelled at without getting a real answer...

so im hoping someone knows for SURE, but thanks for replying. i worry though that what you say is true and people just "do it anyway"

Posted at 4:26pm Feb 18, 2010 EST

steffmetal says

Generally speaking, it's not legal. You can't draw a picture of Mickey Mouse and call it fan art and sell it.

HOWEVER, there are exceptions:

One, Parody. I'm not a lawyer, or a US citizen, but I know there's a "parody" clause in the law that essentially means you can draw whatever you like as long as it's parodying the subject.

"Inspired by" works in different mediums: Eg, if you're a visual artist, painting a picture inspired by characters in a book, I THINK, but am not sure, that this is fine. Likewise, if you see a painting you like, and write a story about it, and sell the story. I think this might be a big grey area.

Two, artist's permission. I know many authors, like Melissa Marr, state they have absolutely no problem with fan art and fan fiction, as long as the artist realises that she can't look at it, because it puts her in legal danger.

Generally, if you want to sell fan art, it's best to contact the person / company first, and see what you are and aren't allowed to do. You can get in a LOT of trouble if you "assume" something, and you're wrong.

I hope that helps!

Posted at 4:48pm Feb 18, 2010 EST

thanks! maybe i just need to do more research...

Posted at 4:52pm Feb 18, 2010 EST

solocosmo says

I am also very curious about this...I have this fanart and I am pleased with it but would selling prints of it get me into big legal issues? Let me know if you get an answer!!!!

I am not sure it qualifies as a 'parody' and I dont want to just assume that because others sell fan art that its ok....

Posted at 1:35pm Feb 21, 2010 EST

artaltered says

I don't think it's legal to sell fan art unless there is some type of arrangement like CafePress has with the Twilight people.

You can contact the company to see if they have any policies about this issue, but I suspect most will say no or require a licensing approval process, revenue sharing and a contract.

Posted at 1:39pm Feb 21, 2010 EST

flusical says

This is certainly something I'm curious about, especially with the potential of selling Doujinshi. It's probably easier to forgo asking where's the legal line altogether and look at Etsy's ToS. Which I am still confused over its stance on fan arts.

I am also a fan craft making, baking polymer charms of characters though making it blatantly clear that it is NOT official. Have not posted any here, not knowing whether I could. Anyone here have any ideas?


Posted at 6:45am Mar 20, 2010 EDT

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