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Copyright issues - to illustrate film characters

Discussion in 'Illustration Forum:' started by missdwight, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. missdwight

    missdwight New Member

    Hi guys! I would like to do a zine or maybe a self-published book related to film. I would like to draw some characters from my favourite movies, and obviously I would credit the movie, director and actor but actually I don't know if it is legal. I've been told that by changing the background and some elements like the clothing you don't infringe the copyright. It would be great if some of you have some information about this.
    Thank you!
  2. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    No - you cannot change a percentage of something and then claim it as your own work - it simply doesn't work that way.

    A lot of actors have their image managed and you would need rights to reproduce that image if it's on something that's promotional, like a t-shirt, see relevant case Rhianna vs TopShop(Topman).

    However, if the piece is simply a review or editorial about the film that doesn't portray the characters in a derogatory manner then it should be fine, as long as you're not using that piece as the main selling piece, or selling that drawing to another 3rd party for use on whatever they want.
  3. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I hear this a lot, and I have no idea where/why the thinking came about. Copyright laws are in place to stop exactly this kind of behaviour, taking someone else's work, changing it a little bit, and calling it your own. You can only do that if the original copyright owner has given permission for derivative works based on their work to be created.

    I think you'd be ok (read: unlikely to get in too much trouble) if you were just publishing a small run of zines, but if you're looking to produce a book, you'd definitely want to look into gaining permission or licensing the use of images, especially if you were wanting to use an actor's image.

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