Q: Are character and franchise names or concepts protected under copyright?
I would like to create a card game in which I use the names of certain people and characters from popular culture, both fictional and real. The pictures in the game are entirely original, but based on the general idea of the people and characters. Is this protected under parody, or is this a violation of copyright? An example may be a card with the name "Harry Potter" and an original artwork of a boy that resembles the character from the Harry Potter series.
A: Use of another brand's characters may constitute both copyright infringement as well as trademark infringement/dilution. There are limitations to the fair use and parody such as, the effect on marketability/sales that such use may have on a parodied brand. Consult with an attorney for more information specific to your use.
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