When designing stickers, it’s extremely important to consider copyright issues. This has been discussed in the facebook groups, but we thought it prudent to repeat that information here.
Let’s start with “Copyright 101” from Tanya Marsh. If you haven’t seen it previously, please watch the entire video.
Fast forward to the 8:50 mark for a discussion of Fair Use Doctrine. Fast forward to the 23:07 mark for the executive summary.
Now that you know a little about copyright, we will move on to what the band has graciously allowed us to do. We are in a unique situation in that the band has agreed to let us use their name and likeness in creating fan art to distribute for free to other fans. Here are the band’s wishes, as we understand them.
• Nothing you create that uses their name, likeness, or lyrics can be sold for profit in any way. There can be no quid-pro-quo when it comes to anything you create that depicts the band.
• You can use the name of the band in your designs. Again, only if what you create is not for sale.
• You can use their likenesses, but only from photos you have taken or have explicit permission to use. Again, nothing you create with their likeness can be offered for sale.
• You can use partial lyrics. Do not reproduce entire songs or huge chunks of material. Again, ONLY if what you create is not for sale or profit in any way.
• Do not use their art. Don’t use album covers, official merch designs, poster designs, etc when creating your stickers or swag.
As for some general copyright rules:
• Don’t save an image from the internet and add lyrics and call it a day. You need to create your own art. If you want to use someone else’s image in your creations, ask permission and get it before using the image.
• Parodies are fine, but don’t use characters from movies / tv / etc without some modifications or your own artistic spin. I’m sure your idea of using the Incredibles is really cool, but don’t just cut and paste entire characters in your sticker. Someone else owns that image.
• When in doubt, don’t do it. Sometimes copyright can be confusing. If you aren’t sure if what you’re creating is violating any copyright laws, just don’t do it.