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July 18, 2013
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As I've advertised many a times before, I have a store here www.redbubble.com/people/lilly… on a site called Redbubble. It sells Tees, Hoodies, Stickers, Posters, iPhone and iPad covers. One of the things I love about it is I can get pop culture Tees there for my obscenely large Geek Shirt Collection where other printing groups, like Cafepress, Zazzle and even DA its self refuse to sell fanart because of the copyright issues.

I have no problem with this refusal, they're abiding by the rules and respecting the original artists. That's a GOOD thing...

However... Being a fan artist myself, when it comes to copyright infringement of pop culture icons, I'm guiltily ambivilant. I love fan art, I love seeing people's different interpretations, I love the terrible terrible jokes we make about our fandoms... and I will buy, and will continue to buy tees, stickers and prints done by fan artists.

The fact is merchandising is both glutted and starving. Take "Kids" media. My Little Pony, Monster High, Adventure Time, Ever After High, Nintendo, Dragonball Z, Avatar, the Last Airbender etc. The companies that produce the merchandise seem to be short sighted. It's for kids, right? Lets make EVERYTHING aimed at kids and ignore the glaring and painfully well advertised fact adults make up 90% of our collectors. Hasbro keeps looking for new ways of marketing MLP in crappy, badly made, annoyingly patronizing, completely oblivious to their own canon ways. Look at their latest paltry attempt with Equestria girls. No one can deny it's a marketing gesture, and while that's perfectly fine, they ARE there to make money, they're sitting on a HUGE cash cow if they chose to actually open their eyes and listen to their fans instead of a group of marketing experts who have never actually watched the show. If they put money into decent plush toys, we'd buy them, instead of those horrible, malformed, strip haired THINGS they put out recently. If they made bigger figures with fixed hair, instead of small, crappy six year old aimed stock standard vinyl things with crappy, rooted hair and a cutie mark only on one side in totally un-canon packs. Scooter riding Rarity? She wouldn't be seen DEAD doing that. Tea Party Rainbow Dash? Just as unlikely, if not more so. If they made the popular characters instead of just the Mane six and random, make-believe ponies no one has ever really seen- Trixie, BonBon and Lyra, Daring Doo, Vinyl Scratch, Octavia... the list goes on. If they made villians instead of endless versions of Pinklestia- Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis... Could you imagine the collective joy of a Discord toy? You'd even get casual watchers and Trekkies in on that one... But no.*

Monster High is a little better. They aim their toys knowing full well who their collectors are. Roller Derby and Music Festival? Really? You can't convince me that's a popular kids activity... However, they fall flat when it comes to things like clothing. A handful of pretty rubbish shirts for kids, that's it.

This is a story repeated over and over again with Multiple fandoms. Western Society seems to be incapable of accepting cartoons as a legitimate art form that adults can like... and so in step fan artists, making tees, jokes, plushies and posters.

This kind of fan merchandising has supporters and objectors. The supporters quite correctly say this sort of thing only helps increase and perpetuate their canon, helping it grow. The objectors say, ALSO correctly, that it's marketing off someone else's success

I personally feel it's something the creators and companies should decide for themselves, and people should respect the wishes of the creators and companies for either decision. I'm personally FOR fanart selling, but I'm not really in a position to be unbiased.

 

However.

 

The one things that annoys me more than anything with fan art merchandising is the fact it opens the path for a slew of Art theft.

I was looking at MLP tees on Redbubble, just perusing for designs I like, and I found it almost impossible to distiguish who was a real artist and who was just stealing others' work. I'd find multiple versions of the same piece, and in most cases, the "artist" was clever enough to make sure all the work in their "folio" was similar in style. This sort of things is rampant on Redbubble and excpetionally hard to track, especially with something like MLP where people try and match the style of the cartoon, so there are few things to distinguish who drew what.

Unfortunately, when you relax rules enough to allow fanart, it creates a loophole for art theft as well. I know some people consider fanart Art theft, but there's a world of difference between someone drawing a rendition of something they love, then slapping it on a tee to someone picking and choosing designs they think will sell, ripping them, then selling them.

But what can we do about it? places like Redbubble would go nuts trying to hunt down the theives and sort throught he mess of stolen art.

The responsibility lies on us, the buyer. If you go on these sites, check the galleries of the artists, see if their work matches, do they add comments? Join Groups? Tag the images well? Do they have a profile? Can you find them on any art or fan site? It's not foolproof, but I'm finding these little things are all indicators of an artist over an art theif.

Be careful when you buy. Support the Canon as well as the Fans and respect the wishes of the creators.



*I'm aware Hasbro subleased their pony titles to a different company an a good handful of figures were made of some of the Mentioned Characters... but why was Hasbro so scared of releasing these generally, and under their own name??

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ABC- ANIMATED BURLESQUE CABERET is now located on my Main Page below the gallery widget.


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Social Networking and Other places you can find Lilly Kitten

lillykitten.tumblr.com/ Lilly Kitten Tumblr: Has most of the art you get here, as well as other bits and pieces I don't put up on DA, like Chibies, Previews, Sketches, Progress shots, Con Pics and general discussion. You can ask my various Fan OCs, questions and get pictoral answers.

shortpsychoticalienmonkey.tumb… SPAM Tumblr: Has repeats of the SPAM Comics posted here, as well as an Ask a SPAM Cast option for pictoral and Comic Replies, Master Roshi's Love Advice column, Nappa Kareoke, chibies, sketches and one shots you don't get to see on DA.

www.redbubble.com/people/lilly… Lilly Kitten Redbubble: Online Store with Tees, Hoodies, Stickers, Posters, Cards, Prints, iPhone Covers and iPad Covers of my art, including and especially a lot of the fan art pieces.

www.cafepress.com/lillykitten Lilly Kitten Cafepress: (Under heavy Construction!) Online store with just about every product you can imagine. Tee's, Mugs, Prints, Mousepads, bags, Pillow cases, Curtains, Rugs, Pet collars, Jewelery... Seriously, they have everything. HOWEVER, the guidelines are very strict and no fanart is allowed, so only original Pin Up works are there as well as a few cute designs made specifically for kids clothing.

lilly_Kitten Lilly Kitten on Twitter: Tweets about what I'm drawing, uploading and what's coming next, balls and events I'm attending and Cons I'll be at, as well as the typical day to day garbage one gets on Twitter like what's going on in my highly eccentric workplace, odd and unusual things I'm doing during the day and bad puns.

lilly_Kitten Lilly Kitten on Instagram: Previews of art as it gets done as well as my creepy doll collection and examples of the slightly bizarre world I'm a part of, from Fairy Parades in the center of town, the Undead Cupcakes my co worker brings in, snippits of the villainous lair I call home and shots of my resident familiar, a big fat cat called Eric the Black

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:iconlyssana11:
Lyssana11 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Student General Artist
Excellent argument. I wonder if companies will ever realize this.
Reply
:iconlillykitten:
LillyKitten Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Professional General Artist
If they did I would be a happy, happy artist. But I doubt it.
Reply
:iconpuddingvalkyrie:
PuddingValkyrie Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree it's a thorny issue.  I'm on the fence myself.  And darn it, why do we have this problem in the West about things being 'for kids' and not seeing past that?  Bugs the life out of me!

My work is pretty ambiguous it seems, but I didn't do it on purpose...
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:iconlexiorian:
LeXiOrIaN Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree totally! 
Reply
:iconeternalnightmare1016:
EternalNightmare1016 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Student Photographer
This is a really good point and as I grow older I notice this more and more. Companies could so easily rake in more money if they were smart enough to remember that a lot of these cartoons have been around for a long time and therefore have lifetime fans that are getting older each year, so why not tailor their merchandise to adults as well? I've never understood it, their sitting on a goldmine and choosing to ignore it. And to me fanart is art, but I have definitely seen the rip offs that you're referring to, to me it's no different then when other steal people's ideas and designs with non fan art, unfortunately that's the world we live in :/ I wish people were more honest and considerate. Fanart to me, is the highest form of flattery, that means that someone loves a show, character, story so much that they wanted to put that love on paper and show the world. And there are some terrific creations out there! And wonderful artists behind them! It's sad when people rip off of that.
Reply
:iconillyriadeltori:
IllyriaDeltori Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I honestly think fan art should be sold, and more so looked at by the companies. There are people here that make fantastic plushies of MLP and even stuffed toys from other shows. I've seen what the toys look like on the shelves in most stores and its horrible most of all when you can see that they can be made much better than produced.

I mean yeah they're made by fans, but why don't the companies just simply find the good ones and like for the plushies or plastic toys, BUY the design from them and have the artist get part of the profit or let them keep making it and so on? I think companies would flourish under such tatics and if they looked into the fandom for such things they'd also be getting the target audience's look on things.

I do agree that art theft is a problem, most of all when a not so talented artist gets ripped off by a more talented artist and their work is placed for all to see, not claiming the other. I personally, or should i say fortunately haven't come across such things like stolen t-shirt designs but if i see more than one i'll do my research before buying!
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:iconicemanv:
IcemanV Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It is that great question, How far are people willing to let something be distinguished as fanart and when does pass that line into art theft. I have seen some works on here that they look like they we just screenshots of the actual shows but enough of a change to not be flagged for it.
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