Riverton, UT asked in Copyright and Trademark for Utah

Q: I want to make some NFT art. Is there a way i can use comic characters, people's likenesses or mythical gods legally?

My art wouldnt be a copy and paste situation. For example, Its more or less a 3d sock puppet that looks like superman.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steve Charles Vondran
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  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA

A: Generally speaking, you need to be careful when tying to use copyrighted pictures, images, characters, or real living third party persons in your NFT's. I know this is a new area of technology, but traditional principles of copyright law still exist. Unless you are making a COLLAGE, for example, where the fair use laws might protect you if you can meet the four factor test for each piece used, this can be risky business with so many artists looking for infringers online. Also note, there is a new "copyright small claims board" opening in Washington D.C. in July of 2022. And the claims are not so small (up to 30k), so you really need to either try to create your own images and characters, find things in the "public domain" or available for use with a creative commons license, or review the fair use four factors. In regard to using a persons image, that can trigger "rights of publicity" that exist in a good number of states, so you have to know what you are doing in that area as well. You can also seek a license for any content as well, this is just usually harder to do, and can cost some money. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Good luck! Its a fun new technology if done right!

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