Fair Use and Fan Works (BCM112 Weekly Digest)

 > Fan Works

There are a few ways to use copyrighted work without permission from the owner, most of which involve a critique or parody of the work – however, many companies and brands maneuver copyright laws in a way that censors and removes content that could negatively impact the way it is viewed. When it comes to allowed content, the company often has the final say.


Fanart is, by nature, a positive reaction to copyrighted content, and therefore would not fall under “fair use,” however. Let’s think about why it is allowed to persist in spite of that. The first, and most gargantuan, is that it wouldn’t be feasible for a company to get rid of it all due to the free-sharing nature of the internet; consumers are no longer restricted to that role, and create and share content as easily as they would review or discuss the original. Second, often these fan works provide a place for an original work’s culture and image to thrive and evolve outside of officially created content. Fan communities are often encouraged to stay engaged with the brand for as long as possible. Perhaps fighting the fans would damage the brand’s image more than the fan work itself does.

These are all legitimate reasons, but still very speculative and not often discussed due to the legal grey area. Why do you think fan-made works are so often allowed to persist despite copyright laws?


One thought on “Fair Use and Fan Works (BCM112 Weekly Digest)

  1. You’ve made an excellent point I never even thought about fanart when I think of copywrited works. I’ve found that some smaller companies and brands have even used some fan art as inspiration for the actual shows or other content they supply. I can’t quite remember what company I heard of doing this, maybe Steven’s universe in it’s earlier days before they had solidified the art style. Anyways great post!


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