ARTCAST #109 The Right To Make And Sell Art - Part 2

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Hi all ...A follow up to yesterday's video about my store getting shut down.

Download the 'audio only' version of this show -

Thanks, and see you Monday 


Christopher Hack said...

via Facebook
Good luck mate. Can't wait to see what you do next. I'm sure it'll be awesome!

LHudsonART said...

via Google+
Sorry to hear about this jeff I really am, if you were making hundreds of copies I would see why people may have a problem but surely it's a drop in the ocean compared to what the originators make.

Scott Serkland said...

via Google+
Sorry to hear this news Jeff, Fan art is a risky business. On one hand it can be lucrative because you're tapping into a market that is already established on the other hand if the license holders decide you're infringing on their property they can shut you down. Sure many companies turn a blind eye, but I wonder how long that will last. If most or all of an artist product is based on characters owned by someone else they are in danger of literally being put out of business overnight should the license holders start cracking down.

I've done my fair share of fan art. I have some pop-culture parody prints for sell and still participate in Fan Art Friday, But lately if been trying to build my on brand, It's not easy but it can be done. I know you enjoy working on your original fantasy paintings and no one can stop you from making prints of those and I doubt anyone will stop you from selling original paintings of popular fiction any time soon. I think the prints are the issue. It might not hurt to start building a fan base of your original stuff along with your commissions because that stuff is great.

As far as Store Envy goes I think it's shitty that they shut you down with no recourse. I had someone flag one of my Tee Public designs as trademark infringement and they pulled it. Had I any say in the matter I would have had a pretty good argument that it was a parody, but at least they only took the one design down and not shut down the whole store. I'm wondering if I should remove my parody pieces from Store Envy, because it sounds like if they wanted to they could shut my entire store down as well even though 90% of what I'm selling is my original stuff.

In your case I have to imagine there are other ways to sell your prints, there has to be some open source shopping cart that you have more control over and wont jump the gun because someone flags your work and currently I don't see anyone cracking down on fan art at comic conventions. I'm sure you will find a way to overcome this set back, you have a good mind for business and you are way to talented to go back to painting houses.

Good Luck!

Steven Hall said...

via Facebook
I really feel for u Jeff Lafferty, ur a nice guy who works his butt off to earn for your family, and u bring joy to alot of people with your work, myself included. Your an inspiration and I've learnt good techniques from watching you, thousands of artists produce fan art and nothing gets said, this guy who had a pop at you is obviously threatened by you ability. I don't think u should stop the fan art but I know u gotta watch your own back and do what u gotta do, ur fantasy work is top dollar so Im confident you'll will make a success from that, stay strong , take the hits and keep moving forward brother!!

Sam said...

I'm guessing this artist complainant saw your latest Gandalf piece and got butthurt because of his LOTR license and feels he must police the likenesses for all those characters.

Ironic, since he mentions he acquired that license by doing fanart in Artists' Alley at Comic-Con.

Funny too that he's basically copying Drew Struzan's composition and technique note-for-note.

I'd upload your prints again minus the LOTR stuff and see what happens.

Lisa Eldred said...

don't give up! keep making fantastic artwork. I can't wait to see your new fantasy piece when it's done. It already looks amazing!

Del Swanson said...

via Facebook
Legally, you're wrong. Guys like Adam Huges have permission to sell at the shows because they have or are working for the comic studios and have an agreement with them. Here's the thing Jeff, you're good enough to paint your own stuff. I think you come out of this just fine working on your own artwork and even selling prints of your work as well and not having to look over your shoulder all the time.

Tawny Fritz said...

via Facebook
Your fantasy art is superb, have you considered submitting it to things like Spectrum and IlluxCon?

Tawny Fritz said...

via Facebook
Your fantasy art is superb, have you considered submitting it to things like Spectrum and IlluxCon?

Tawny Fritz said...

via Facebook
Sorry for the double post, my internet is being screwy.

Chris Mason said...

via Facebook
Jeff - I've had this same thing happen to me on more than one occasion.. It sucks! - Just keep fighting the good fight my friend!

Kieran Beech said...

via Facebook
I'm with Steven Jeff my friend. Don't stop drawing the things you love to. But just learn from the experience, you will probably still receive commissions for those kind of things, just keep it to the commission's and do as you say keep them private and not show them in videos or on your website.
I'm sure the success you've built will continue, I look forward to seeing the next steps in your art career. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Gibran Redinger said...

via Facebook
They are just forcing you into greatness.......destiny can be a mother....cant wait.

Jesse Cobb said...

Heroes or villains....I stand with you Jeff. All the way to the end. Luck in battle no matter where it takes you. I look forward to your next video and the next amazing piece of art.

Tristen Grant said...

via Google+
I look forward to seeing your next chapter in art. It sucks that this happened but in the end it might be a good thing, bring you to bigger and better things. I wish you the best of luck Jeff. You'll always have my support.

Kenny Keen said...

via Google+
Looking forward to seeing your future paintings and I wish you much success. I see this as a huge turning point for you as you continue to excel while flipping a big middle finger to the ones who stirred all of this up.

J.Damien Harrelson said...

Jeff, I am very sorry to hear the trouble your having with your fan art, I have been on both sides of this issue as an Executive Director of the oldest Anime convention the the US, I as well as others in a similar position in other conventions have had to deal with the ever changing laws on "intellectual property" and their effect on fan art.

At the same time I'm an artiest trying to make it in this world with my art just as you are, and exploring all revenue streams for my art, fan art being one of them, and have come to a similar conclusion as you, it's not worth the hassle, and possible legal actions, art is now more then ever a commodity, it is no longer just an expression of an artiest talent and vision, and the definition has been broaden, to include movies, animation 2D and 3D and the art that promotes those properties, and the characters and their images created for those properties, and the artiest and studios that create those images now own the ideas and concept of those images, which now falls under the "intellectual property" clause of copy right law, so even the idea it's self and the imagery that illustrates that idea bringing it into a visual reality are owned but someone, that is where licensing that imagery as a property comes into play.

Star Wars and Lucas and to some extent Disney started this when they started merchandizing the imagery and characters from their movies and animations, there is much more money made in the merchandizing of films then in the tickets sold to view them, so the studios (or whomever owns the rights to those "intellectual property") have to defend their ownership or lose millions in after market sales to places like China, who would flood the market with cheap knock off them with out paying a dime to the rightful owners of those properties, there by destroying the market value of those properties.

And in our legal system that requires them to go after ANYONE selling unlicensed imagery of those properties, in any form or fashion, and that's where it impacts people like us, we have little impact on their after markets sales what so ever, if any, but to stop the big boys they have to stop everyone or the real pirates of the world could do whatever they want. And that brings us to the situation your having with that other artiest, he evidently has paid or is paying his licensing fees to legally be granted the right to sell his art based on similar licensed properties that your selling unlicensed images of, so in his mind your not playing by the rules and are profiting by that fact, by not paying the same licensing fees he is, so you are pirating those images for personal gain.

The other reason is to defend the acceptable use of said imagery, or you woulds have action figures and much more imagery on the mainstream market showing Leia doing things to, or having things done to her, while she was a captive in Jabba's palace for example.

This doesn't make it right for everyone across the board, and some collateral damage will occur, it just is the way things work in our capitalistic world of today, where there is profit involved there will be laws to protect it, no matter how unfair they may seem.

Jeromy Taylor said...

via Google+
I don't care if it's illegal either. It will never stop me from creating what I want. Rock on.

PHeMoX said...

via Google+
You can do it man, keep up doing art. Maybe not fan art. For now. But you can only look forward anyway, look at it from the bright side man. The very best of luck!

Sutton1022 said...

via Google+
Don't take down your video for that guy! Good for you standing your ground. It's free speech man you CAN do that. I wish art was just art and people could draw what they want. All this crap that comes with it is insane. 

Brad Utterstrom said...

via Facebook
Really bummed for you about this, but you are very driven and I think you have plenty of options for different directions you can steer your art and still be successful.

I've never understood WHY people or companies or whatever don't like art that is helping to promote them or their show or whatever? It's just confusing to me.

I've had similar experiences in the past. I don't really want to air it all publicly, but I had a legal threat about 10 years ago that I think put a sour taste in my mouth about the whole deal, and I think in large part it contributed to me walking away from art altogether for several years.

And as recent as about a year ago, I had a professional athlete who has always been a supporter of mine turn on me, and I just didn't get it. I have done commissions for him in the past, I have made trades where he signed prints for me in return for some of the art, things like that. I told him I was producing a business card/trading card set, and he offered to sign some for me and even help promote them! And then when they were all printed up and I contacted him with info, he said he wanted me to pull his card from the set and that I no longer had permission to do any artwork of him. I was confused, obviously, and he just made some statement about how he's tired of people taking advantage of him, which makes me think he had a bad experience with someone ELSE, and is transferring it onto me. Anyway, that just goes to what I was saying about how me creating art of him is HELPING HIM, not taking money from him.

That was a bit of a tangent, but the point I'm trying to make is I can relate and it flat out sucks. As artists we end up having to try to 'fly under the radar', or be careful about how we promote our art and that sort of thing. As you pointed out with the Tiger Woods case, when it comes down to it I think artists ARE in the clear legally, BUT you just don't want to be in that situation to begin with.

Jonathan Myers said...

You have a set fan base for your art dude. sure folks love a great painting of Indy, but I'll bet they'll clamor for your fantasy art. via Facebook
They're invested in you and your talent. NOT the subject matter. I'm gonna start focusing on original concepts more and keep the fan art as a minimal thing in the future. I have waaaay more satisfaction drawing my own ideas anyway. The great thing is when we get some Jeff Lafferty original fantasy art the haters are just gonna have to watch and weep as you succeed my friend.

Eryck Webb said...

via Facebook
Damn, will check this out, sorry to hear!

Brian Plaza said...

Jeff keep your head up and keep producing kick ass art!!! I agree with you 100%. You should be able to paint and sell whatever you want in your own style, which you have. If another artist wants to preach from his high horse that he has a license to paint this and blah blah fucken blah I say fuck that elite egotistical attitude. When it comes down to brass tax you are his competition. Your artwork is on the same level and better in a lot of aspects then his. You produce works quicker & you sell your prints cheaper than he does. He was losing out on revenue because of you. SO he did the chicken shit thing and reported you. I'm mad for you! But I will say this, I own an original piece of your fantasy art and honestly, your fantasy art absolutely stomps a huge shit hole it that other guys work. I'm not saying said artist is a bad guy or campaigning against him but reporting your store is just plain chicken shit in my opinion. Jeff you inspire a ton of people with your work, I hope you never stop the fan art or commissions. Keep up the fight!

Eli Camacho said...

via Google+
Hey man don't let that dude intimidate you. You can still do fan art just avoid doing Lord of the Rings fan art then because he supposedly has a license so just do fan art for something else then

lobotomous said...

Via DeviantArt
i guess as a character creator and writer... i would appreciate artists drawing my characters when i am a nobody (like right now). it is great publicity. but at some point if there is success and i am paying out to artists for sequentials and concept work (which i have)... or the publisher is my partner in that endeavor... then yeah, i guess there is something problematic about other people exploiting the property for personal gain. i figure you understand that point... the publisher and creator risked all the overhead.

however! that is neither here nor there for me. what really concerns me is that if you are not vigilant legally in protecting your characters and so forth then people come along and do unoriginal spins on it. for example... i created a character called Chainsaw Girl... and when i used this site a lot about three years ago there were a few thousand people that came into contact with the design... and an artist on dA copied the character... did a few tweaks and just made a claim that it was original. when i commented on the art piece... there was denial.

what can i do about it? the character has no market value at the moment... the authenticity of the character is simply with the fact that a dozen artists have drawn her based on my specifications. but what really pisses me off is that a new version can be done and played off as original. it could be even be claimed as fanart for preexisting properties and get integrated into those properties.

then again! i have a character called Sir Đ¯eal who has exactly the same power as Marvel's Apocalypse. nothing else about them is the same, but Marvel and Disney could claim somehow that I am exploiting some kind of cache. I don't think that would ever hold up legally. I think that if you are creating your own property it needs to be more-or-less totally original. then exploit the hell out of it. and that is what i endeavor to do.

and finally! i believe that if your art of copyright protected characters is true to the spirit of the character as manifested through work that was commissioned and paid for in order to define that character, then any artist should be able to do a rendering and sell it as a craft that they have honed. what you are selling is only partly a painting of chewbacca... but mainly you are selling to another human a token of culture, technology and civilization... you are a stakeholder in that and have a right to sell that token to someone else. you have acquired illustrative ability and people are after that as much or more as they are after chewbacca... if this weren't true, people would just draw art for themselves.

at some point legally, there needs to be a breakdown of meaning through semiotics on intellectual property.

i would never want to see "fanart" of chainsaw girl raping or being raped and then seeing it sold on hentaifoundry or wherever that stuff finds a market. i would send lawyers in if i had the money. but if people draw the character with the spirit of her in mind and it is a true representation and presentation of her... then whatever... you are selling your craft at the end of the day... and frankly artists shouldn't be required to be writers, storytellers and creators.

in fact that is a big problem with comics these days... and video games... is an attitude that engineers and illustrators can handle narrative duties... they can't! let writers write and let illustrators illustrate... let programmers program.

so i think that if your art of copyright property is in the spirit of the character as defined by the creator (which is verified through the canonical representations and renderings) then you should be able to sell your renderings. you are selling a token of your achievement as a human and your talent as an illustrator. -cont.

lobotomous said...

via DeviantArt
addendum! i am not against the avant-garde, but I do believe that representations that are highly interpretive should not be able to be sold if the property doesn't belong to the artist... it bastardizes the character and dilutes the value of a property that has been invested in by the creator. i edit old films to create new narratives... and i would not expect to make money off of those film... it is formal play with the medium for me and i believe that i should be able to post the content anywhere under fair use law. but not make money from it.

turbosuo said...

via DeviantArt
I definitely agree with some of what you said. Intellectual property is such an abstract concept that there really needs to be a set of protocols for narrowing it down a bit or making it a little more opaque. And yes, if you do not defend your creation then it is going to get stolen from you. Unfortunately people are going to copy. Screw that "copying is the highest form of flattery". Its lazy and underhanded. That said, there are no original ideas, just new interpretations and the line between interpretation and copying has a very fuzzy edge.

What I do disagree with is artists drawing characters in commissions. I agree that someone shouldn't be able to come along and draw chainsaw girl and put that drawing on coffee cups and tee shirts. However, if an artist is commissioned to draw her, not actively creating and distributing an inventory, then that's where there should be some wiggle room.

And YES. There are people out there who do it all, but damn few. Most of us can learn to do one thing really well. I think where that attitude of making everyone participate in writting is coming from the fact that there is a little bit of overlap. A sequential artist has to know how to tell a story. He only uses the basics, true, but he still needs to understand how storytelling works. Why? Because he is taking the writer's story and telling it visually. You do need to have a little understand of why the writer did this or that. But only a tiny bit. The push for that is overkill. Do you want a master of one skill or a jack of all trades (master of none)? You really need to have a master to craft a quality product.

lobotomous said...

via DeviantArt
i totally agree with you about layouts and how that is a form of narrative construction - one where the illustrator learns mastery and not the writer. I found that working with :icong-david: and :icond33ablo: involved a lot of collaboration in that respect. and their structuring of panels based on my comic script required some real skill and nuanced intuition for the medium.

Peter Palmiotti said...

via Google+
I know you can do it, keep plugging away Jeff!