Fanart, legal, laws, rights & NFT

Article / 13 September 2022

Some years ago, I drew Kochō Shinobu 胡(こ)蝶(ちょう)しのぶ from 鬼(き)滅(めつ)の刃(やいば)Kimetsu no Yaiba series publication on the Weekly Shōnen Jump and created by the amazing woman mangaka Koyoharu Gotôge (吾峠呼世晴 Gotôge Koyoharu). AND YOU CAN'T USE IT AS A NFT. 


The first publication of this manga was in February 2016, I drew this in February 2020 and now we are in February 2022.


This is fan art I made for myself and share with my mutuals on Twitter. Nothing much, but fan art is a huge subject in the art industry.


Because in fact, it's illegal. You can't publish any licensed content without the author's agreement and even less sell it for your benefit.

Most companies have a huge tolerance for fan art production. Because you can't stop fans to create from something they like? Sure. But it's not the main point. When you share a fan art on the internet, you make free advertising for the license, so it's very tolerated.

In fact, for professional creators like me, the visibility generated by the license can profit to us even tho. It seems like a good compromise for everyone but it's not always the case.

Pokemon Uranium was a fangame made on RPGMaker based on the famous Pokémon series.


After one and a half million downloads, the download links for Pokémon Uranium were taken down from the official website because The Pokémon Company and Game Freak wanted to "respect Nintendo's wishes", after receiving multiple DMCA Letters from lawyers.

Following the announcement, community members created a new website, and if you search well, the game build is still available.

In the summer of 2019 customs services went in the Japan Expo Paris Edition went on amateur and professional stands to commandeer a lot of licensed fan-made products and forbid these sales.

Why did the customs officers go to the young designers when there are a ton of Chinese counterfeits sold by the professionals? Companies didn't instruct the police to do it for a lack of commercial benefits. 


But these examples are a clear reminder the commercial or non-commercial use of a license you don't own is illegal. It's tolerated but illegal. Usually, licensed series can communicate their policy about fan-made products, for law purposes. 

NFT system is attempting to be a game-changer in the fan-art community. Unfortunately, like most artists, I saw a lot of issues with this system. (Someone can take any of your art to generate a token, what will happen when you will die? Author permissions... And the fact that you literally can't own a digital image etc)

Even very respected and famous artists are used to post or create fan art online. It's now a manner in the digital art world. Professionals perfectly know that they can't make a profit on fan art (or at least, they're supposed to know it but do it anyway) it's not always the case for small creators, amateurs, and individuals...

The law isn't set internationally... When is it legal to sell fanart? Or where?

And is it even legal to create fan art? Post it online?

Creating fan art is a very risky proposition, so what most artists are still doing it?

Will NFT ever protect official merchandising products?

Did I go wrong by drawing this Shinobu fan art and tweeting it?

What is your opinion on fan arts?

With this NFT trend, copyright protections companies, IA image searching systems to notify the original author can have a brilliant future