Rights for 3D Artists (Specific)

Hi all,

New to the forum and have been learning Blender. I had a basic question about rights as an artist.

Basically, I want to recreate an animation of a comic book that I like. I would like to display my work in progress, create a full length (maybe 30 seconds - 5 minute) 3D animation of the comic, and display this animation of the internet via forums, social media, and a blog.

I have no intentions of doing this for generating revenue or money of any kind. I would also give full credit to the original author of the comic. I just want to a) practice my skills and use this as a goal of something to create and b) want to recreate something that I love so much.

What are my rights as an artist? Would I have the chance to be sued or held into court for trying to do something like this? Is there anyway that I could recreate a comic without the fear of being held responsible for legal reasons.

Thanks for any future input. It’s nice to meet everyone and look forward to hearing your responses. I’ll be posting more in the future. Cheers!

Jeremy Deighan

I don’t know if my last post never made it through or if it’s still being moderated, but I figured I’d give it another try. I’ll keep this one a little shorter:

I’m basically wondering what rights artists have to remake a comic or other art form into 3D. I don’t have plans on reproducing or selling the animation and would give full credit to the original author of the comic. But for practice purposes and to recreate something that I truly love, I would like to make an animation of a comic book that I read growing up as a kid.

I want to post the progress and final animation on my blog and various sites such as this and other forums. I just don’t want to get sued or get into any legal battle and would like to know how far my rights and the owner’s rights go. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

I’m new to the forum and look forward to talking to everyone! Cheers!

I think that would fall under the same category as any other “fan art.” People are always reproducing popular designs/characters/objects for the fun of it.

If you credit all work that the original author, I see no reason why not. If you want, say “based on the comic by [author’s name]” or “original concept by [author’s name] in [comic name]”

I’d name your animation the same as the comic. As for copyright issues, better check up on that for your country.

P.S This is called “Fan Art”. Google it.

Works of this sort technically fall under the category of copyright infringement, but these days the amount of media out there that is “technically” copyright infringement is incalculable. It’s not a big deal.

I’d name your animation the same as the comic.

Using the artist’s own title/trademark is just further infringement. By all means credit the artist, but specify in a footnote that your work is in no way authorized or endorsed by the artist or rights holder.

Nevertheless, if I was going to display the work on the Internet, I would ask permission.

As a routine matter of course, clearly display the copyright notice of the original work with an appropriate disclaimer. But even so, I would also go on-record as having made a reasonable effort to “ask, first.”

Asking first is definitely the right route.

Local laws being what they are, it’s really unlikely that you’ll get sued or brought to court; but in cases where the holder of the trademark feels that you might be representing their product/creation/idea in a manner which is bad for their business, they may issue a cease and desist which you should obviously pay attention to. Trademark law is kindof lumped with copyright law in the larger “intellectual property” bucket, but copyright deals with the “physical” expression of an idea, whereas trademarks deal with ideas that are unique identifiers, such as a character or a slogan.

It is very unlikely that they would try to sue you over it but to be on the safe side you should always ask first.

Also, intellectual property laws aside for a moment, many artists (who aren’t contacted on a regular basis) may greatly appreciate the contact from people who like their work. Don’t be afraid of sending a respectful e-mail!

This is all very good information! I’ll have to do more research into the copyright and trademark laws. As I know there isn’t much of a business any more for the comic that I’m aware of. And I’m really unsure how I would go about asking the original artists permission. Does anyone have any ideas on how you go about contacting someone for this kind of info?

Jeremy

popular artists usually have some sort of contact info on their website. I would look there. I’m not sure if you contact the artist directly, or through someone, but it’s a start.

The author stopped doing the comic some time ago and there is no main website for it or the author. I might be able to contact the publisher to see if I can contact them but I don’t see any direct method of contacting them…hmm…

Then i would advise looking in the book for publishing info, like a mailing address. If you can get in touch with the publisher, I’m sure they could get a hold of the author, even if he no longer publishes. This might work or not, but then I don’t have alot of experience with this kind of thing

Also, I would think if you are using the animation for purely recreational purposes and you cite the copyright, you wouldn’t really need authors permision, but i could be wrong.

That’s sort of what I was thinking but do you know how heart wrenching it would be to be sued by your inspiration? Haha that would really suck, but I do have all intentions and purposes of giving full due credit to the artist. I don’t want to take anything away from what he created but put out another media of something that I grew up with and loved so much. I think with an attempt to contact, a proper disclaimer, and full credit before and after the film I wouldn’t have any problems. Just wanted to see everyone’s insight on this. Thank you!

Jeremy

Call it “covering your butt” or call it “professional courtesy,” I think that it’s entirely the right thing to do … to spend a little “due diligence” trying to find the name of the most-reasonable party that you could now ask. (And, “think outside the box” here. This is the 21st century. Doesn’t the artist in question have a Facebook page? :rolleyes:)

It is, indeed, quite unlikely that you’d be sued by anyone. But the simple point is that “anyone can plainly see” that you treated both the author and his/her copyright with recognition, appreciation, admiration (maybe), and professional respect … and, legally speaking, “due diligence.” You can show that you diligently sought out anyone who might object to your apparently “fair use” of the material, before using the material. You show that you made it your business to identify the apparent copyright holders and to correctly identify their copyrights.

They’ll probably be proud-as-punch.

And if they want to be a (!) … you’re covered. (When the letter comes, you obligingly “cease and desist,” and mutter, “***hole.” :wink: )

@Jeremy Deighnan
AFAIK there are two main reasons for bringing a case of copyright infringement

  1. Loss of revenue
  2. Loss of reputation
    While you may not intend to make a profit from your work or sully the reputation of the original artist it is possible for someone else to do so.
    For example ; Product placement and juxtaposition. If the resulting animation is successful and someone places ads on the same page.
    The person hosting the ad is obviously making profit which may not be shared with the original creator.
    If the ad is for something controversial like fur and the original artist is opposed to the fur trade, then his/her reputation may be compromised.
    It is definitely a good idea to contact the original artist. It may be that the original artist already has a contract in place with another animation company.
    A note about copyright history
    Back in medieval England when the printing press arrived the King decided it wasn’t a good idea to let people print ( copy ) whatever they liked, so he passed a law that printers must be licensed, However he only issued one license so that the only words ever printed were those he found agreeable.
    About two hundred years later, a couple of bloody wars, were one king lost his head, and the establishment of a parliament. A new law was passed called the rule of saint Anne. This gave everyone the right to say what they liked and even print it ( make copies ). So you see copyright is just as much about freedom of expression as it is about tyranny.
    Its my opinion that most judges in a copyright case will find in favour of freedom of expression, its just common sense. ( Imagine the ridiculous situation were a judge copyrights his own verdict and then charges every other judge who feels obliged to make the same verdict. )
    Artist have been copying one another since time immemorial, in fact for a long time it was an essential part of the artists apprenticeship, and the better the copy the better the artist. So copying is a good thing until the artist tries to sell the copy as an original work in which case he is a criminal.
    And here’s the point copyright infringement is not a criminal offense but in most successful cases there is a thin line between what is and isn’t a criminal offense. ( which I guess is why people say copyright theft even though no theft has taken place ).
    So I guess if there is a clear indication that you ( or your partners ) intended to deceive, defraud, exploit, hoodwink then you could face a heavy fine. But if its just fan art then your probably okay.

Great information. Thanks a lot!