Copyright: Can I use famous characters in my drawings?

This is the question we get most here so let's try to clarify a bit the doubts related to this topic.

About using famous characters or brands in their arts, the answer is depends.

Briefly, if the goal is to make money on these gear you can only send them here to ArtishUp if at least one of these conditions apply:

  • You have copyright on the brands and / or characters.
  • You have the license to use these marks and / or characters.
  • The characters have already fallen into the public domain.

Copyright

Copyright is a term used in reference to the list of authors' rights to their intellectual works which may be literary, artistic or scientific, that is, any art whose content has been totally created and idealized by you and which does not refer to creations already existing.

Example, if you invent a new superhero and create artworks to sell, it's totally ok because you're not relying on third-party intellectual property.

License for commercialization

It would be the act of using a formal authorization from the person or company holding the copyright to commercialize works that refer to the intellectual property of the brand or character.

Example, if you create Harry Potter arts, you need a license to make money with them, even if you have drawn it yourself, without anyone's help. In this case, it doesn't matter if you have done it all by yourself, by selling a product like this, people can buy not only for the quality of your design but also because it refers to the famous book.

In the same way if you draw a random character but name it Harry Potter, even if it does not look like the famous wizard, you may need a license because you are using the brand name or character name.

The process for getting a license of a character or brand is not always simple and can vary case by case.

Public domain

If you are interested in creating artwork of famous characters, you can use those that have already fallen into the public domain.

In Brazil, if the author of the character died more than 70 years ago then the work is free to use. For characters that are controlled by American companies, the count is made from the creation date, it means that every year we have new characters falling into the public domain and can be used normally.

Here are some examples:

  • Popeye
  • Aladin
  • Merlin - The supreme magician
  • Frankstein - The Destructed Geisha
  • Ali Baba (in the 40 thieves)
  • Alice (in the old Wonderland)
  • Claude (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  • Cinderella
  • Peter Pan
  • Jane (Tarzan)
  • Pinocchio
  • Sherlock Holmes

You can create arts with these characters and send to ArtishUp without worry because they are already in the public domain.


If you still have questions about the topic and are unsure whether or not to upload your artwork at ArtishUp you can contact us (contact@artishup.com) we will be happy to assist you.

In any case, all the arts sent to us are approved by our moderation, so if we notice something that might cause problems in the future we will reject the art and communicate you the reason.