On Copyrighted Content

4 min read

Deviation Actions

AquaPyrofan's avatar
Some of you may have noticed that I'm rather strict about copyrighted material and things based on any kind of copyrighted material in my projects, YCHs, and other such things.  This is for several reasons:
  1. My projects are clearly commercial, and I don't want to deal with DMCA takedown requests.  This is a major one, and applies even if I'm not directly selling things based on them.  For YCHs, I won't take anything based on copyrighted content, simply because it is illegal to profit off of such things, and points, no matter how you receive them, are based on money.
  2. Anything that is created, registered or not, is copyrighted unless the rights holder says they waive it.  This goes for anything from a photograph to a five minute sketch on paper to official art from a major company.  Now, if it isn't officially registered you probably can't go to court, but if it is posted online, and especially on DA, a DMCA takedown request can still be sent and my account could be in jeopardy.  Posting things for free doesn't necessarily make me exempt from this, either, as simply reposting it can be a violation of rights.
  3. Anything that is recognizable enough as based on specific character or species or other copyrighted thing can be targeted for takedown requests or cease and desists, regardless of whether it is commercial or not.  This includes a recognizable color and marking scheme with a name derived from the copyrighted content, anything clearly based on the copyrighted content, etc.  Derivative works (which this can fall under) are still restricted to the copyright holder.  Rather recently, a free Pokemon fangame got a C&D from Nintendo.
  4. Crediting does not equal permission.  You can look up and credit the copyright holders, but that doesn't make you exempt either.  They still have not given you permission unless you ask and receive it.  Certain companies have given either explicit or heavily implicit permission for fanart, so those are the ones I tend to stick to (and even then, will never put something clearly based on their IP into my projects).
  5. Original species are technically copyrighted, ideas are not.  Copying enough of someone else's work enough to be recognizeable, such as Pikachu's distinctive ears + cheeks, or a Sushi Dog's bandana + cheek markings is a violation of their rights.  Copying something such as the idea of an electric mouse or a food-based dog, however, is not.  General color schemes also (generally) can't be copyrighted, but if it's recognizable as based off a specific character or species, it's probably an infringement.  Click here for a visual example.
  6. Sometimes it can be hard to track when a copyright expires or what is based on a public domain work.  While Alice in Wonderland is long past copyright and is now in the public domain, most adaptations are not.  For example, Disney's cartoon is still under copyright protection until at least 2046.  Any more recent adaptation is similarly under copyright law.  So when creating an adaptation, I would have to be careful not to infringe any of those.  For a work where the rights are owned by a single person, the copyright is valid until 70 years after the creator's death.


  1. Any disclaimers?
    I am not a legal expert, but this is what I have found by researching copyright law.
  2. There's no copyright notice on it.  That means it's public domain, right?
    You do not have to list that something is copyrighted for it to be copyrighted.  Assume that it is unless stated otherwise.
  3. I can still use [fandom-based/traced base] for my MYO, right?
    Nope.  That still infringes copyrights.
  4. I got some images off Google.  Can I use them?
    Check where you got them from.  Google only hosts results from other websites, so chances are they are still copyrighted.
  5. I didn't see a TOS on an adopt I bought using the commission widget, I have full rights, right/ they can't actually enforce their TOS, right?
    I actually checked the TOS that you agree to for the commission widget and it states that you agree to follow the artist's TOS and, additionally, anything that it doesn't cover is a right the artist retains.  So yes, that TOS is enforceable.
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Werewolf-Pirate's avatar
I need to send this to someone.

They are SELLING  Pokémon {in game} for points claiming that one, they're 'donating the points' to people in need here, and since they are asking people to pay points, it's not real money. {Even though I told them people pay real money to get points.}
AquaPyrofan's avatar
Nintendo has actually stated such things are a violation of their copyrights....and yeah, for all intents and purposes, points are money.