Blog / 2020 / Why I Am Comfortable Making #LifesaversFanArt Despite Copyright

September 17, 2020

This post goes out to the concerned people in my life who believe that my new fan art series will result in me getting sued to pieces. In it, I explain why I feel fairly safe poking the corporate copyright monster:

  1. Lifesavers Fan Art falls under the fair use limitation on copyright.
  2. You don’t have to get permission to use pop culture characters or other copyrighted material if you are using the imagery to make commentary. Lifesavers Fan Art is a direct critique of the anti-mask messaging coming out of the White House and my attempt at counteracting the danger that 45’s anti-science attitude has put all of us in. The series is also intended as a nudge for media companies to start producing content that reflects public health recommendations.

    Of course, I could still be sued by rights holders, even if these corporations know perfectly well that my use is fair. After all, companies are not human and their sole purpose is to generate profits, so, by definition, they have no morals. Using spurious lawsuits to bully independent artists who can’t afford legal fees is standard corporate practice. (FYI, it’s because of this inequality that I refuse to participate in copyright with my art.)

  3. I am willing to make a lot of noise if someone tries to sue me over this work.
  4. I’m talking about the noisiest kind of noise: bad press! I’d rather that the big media corps that own popular culture leave me alone and simply start making some pro-mask art of their own. But, if they do try to bully me, I will make sure that everybody knows exactly how awful they are.

  5. My Lifesavers Fan Art will not go on any third party art-selling sites.
  6. I’m not publishing this work to my print-on-demand shop and, if I had an Etsy page, I would never put the originals on it or on any similar site.

    For reasons that I will never understand, those art-selling sites do the dirty work of the media corps and come down hard on the creatives—you know, the people whose participation is what makes the art-selling sites actually function. The complicity of the art-selling sites allows the corporate owners of our favorite characters to be incredibly lazy. They focus a lot of energy on getting these third-party sites to punish artists for them. My solution? Avoid publishing #LifesaversFanArt to these corporate lapdog sites.

making of mixed media Princess Poppy fan art

If you feel alright about the risk, pinky swear that you will join in this effort to protect all of us! Share this image or make your own masked up fan art, and tag the images #LifesaversFanArt so we can bring all these inspiring works together.

mixed media Trolls fan art of Poppy pinky swearing to wear a face covering because of the pandemic
Gwenn Seemel
I Will Wear a Mask No Matter What. I Pinky Promise.
acrylic, colored pencil, and marker on paper
8 x 8 inches

The original Princess Poppy painting is for sale for $150 plus shipping—see all currently available artworks.

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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