Monday, November 24, 2008

A Last WindyCon Comment

I forgot to mention it before, but as always when I see a collection of artworks, I saw another thing... thousands and thousands of dollars worth of actionable torts.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. 765 ILCS 1075, the Illinois Right of Publicity Act.

In the Art Show, there were literally dozens of artworks which showed specific recognizable individuals - mostly, of course, actors shown in their well-known acting roles. A picture of William Shatner dressed as Captain Kirk is, at one and the same time, a picture of a copyrighted fictional character and a picture of a real human being. Both of these grant to their owners certain rights under various legal theories. Not only is commercially selling actor-in-character fanart iffy for copyright purposes, but it's clearly a violation of Illinois law, and this show was in Illinois. Every single one of those fanart pieces, on the wall, was a statutory-minimum $1,000.00, plus fees and costs, tortious violation of the IROPA. Walter Koening, who happened to be attending, could have made a quick three grand plus fees and costs, by my count, by going down to the art show and noting a few names.

Now whether Mr. Koening wants to do that is up to him. Since he makes a nice bit of money attending Cons, he might very well feel that it wouldn't be worth the bad publicity, and that is his right. But the point is that he could, and not only is it unethical to make money off other people's property - including their likeness - without their consent, at least in Illinois, it's illegal. I don't understand why people will insist on doing it. Draw your own pictures, take your own photographs. Please.


No comments: