Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesVisual ArtsDrawing & Illustration · 7 months ago

Tee shirt companies ripping off fan art, what can an artist do legally?

Fan art is completely legal, as long as you aren't trying to sell it...I think. Though, I see fan art sell all the time and if it's the artist's own original work, I personally think it's fine to look the other way in most cases...

But, as of late I've seen many online tee shirt companies stealing fan art and selling it on mugs, tees... and I don't think that's right. An artist put a lot of time into these drawings and to have them ripped off like this and sold without them getting a dime just seems wrong to me.

Is there anything they can do?


Yes, because I've contacted the actual artists numerous times. It was taken without permission.

5 Answers

  • John
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    All copyright does is give you the right to sue. There are no copyright police. And you are certain that the work you see wasn't legally contracted?

  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    Have a t-shirt printed saying that XXXX are ripping off artists. Stand outside their place of business and jeer anyone entering.

  • Robert
    Lv 6
    7 months ago

    It is illegal to steal intellectual property. It is up to the artist to protect his work. If the artist can prove a company is selling tees with his work on it, he would be entitled to royalty fees. Like most things it requires time, effort and money to go after the offenders. Attorney fees can make it not worth the effort, but you can always send a cease and desist order to the company. They may respond with some kind of an offer...a nickel for each unit sold or something. That can open the door to having your work get noticed. In the grand scheme though they can not legally market your designs.

  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    Actually, fan art may not be legal even if you don't sell it. Fan fiction isn't legal, although in general the author and publisher ignore it unless and until the writer attempts to sell it. I think it's a safe assumption that fan art, especially around trademarked characters, settings, or events, is covered by the same law.

    As to what the artist can do? Consult an attorney, which won't be free, to confirm that what I think I know is right. If you, the artist, stole work to which you do not have the rights, then you have no legal recourse when someone in turn steals your work.

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  • 7 months ago

    If its your art AND you REGISTER your copyright, you can SUE for copyright infringement. There IS a,LEGAL precedent in federal court case when

    John Audubon's family sued T- shirts shops in New Orleans for selling T shirts with Audubon paintings. A highschool friend of mine was a lawyer on that case. The family won.

    Good luck on finding a lawyer. They do NOT work for free.

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