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I’ve no­ticed hun­dreds of artists out there who draw the Harry Pot­ter se­ries, es­pe­cially on So­ci­ety6. I can’t help but won­der about copy­right. Is there a way around it, or is it that they don’t care? I just want to be care­ful be­fore I start mak­ing my own art­work. Jen­try Tay­lor, via email Beren replies First of all, nice name! And sec­ond, this is a great ques­tion, whether you’re start­ing out as an artist or you’re just not sure about copy­right. As a rule of thumb, it’s fine to do your own ver­sion of an­other artist/com­pany’s IP (in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty – like Harry Pot­ter), as long as you’re not mak­ing money from it. If you’re do­ing it be­cause you’re in­spired by said char­ac­ter/world, then all is groovy! But if you’re mak­ing a stack of pen­nies from some­one’s hard work, that’s ut­terly un­groovy. Also il­le­gal. Which is bad.

This kind of bleeds into other ar­eas of artis­tic hon­esty. There are in­fa­mous cases of peo­ple tak­ing artists’ work (whether in part or in whole), copy­ing it and then sell­ing it off as their own. Whether they made money or not, that is, quite frankly, to­tally jive.

Back to your ques­tion: just look at pro­fes­sional artists like Dave Rapoza. He got a lot of at­ten­tion for his per­sonal (not com­mis­sioned) se­ries of the char­ac­ters from He-Man. They were bril­liantly done, and he wasn’t mak­ing cash from them. Just loads of cool points from fel­low artists. He prob­a­bly got paid work off the back of it too, be­cause it was a show­case for his tal­ents.

Dave Rapoza’s re­al­is­tic take on char­ac­ters from the He-Man car­toons was a per­sonal project that gar­nered a lot of praise and raised his pro­file, too.

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