Los Angeles, CA asked in Gaming, Trademark, Copyright and Intellectual Property for California

Q: Is it infringement or illegal to remake or share a form of copyrighted art even if it's without any form compensation?

Specifically, if one were to create a character from mainstream media from scratch, that already exists and share it with others without receiving any form of compensation, is that illegal? One side tells me it's non-profit so it's okay. I read elsewhere that it falls under infringement.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Creating and sharing a character from mainstream media, even without compensation, can still potentially constitute copyright infringement. Copyright law grants creators exclusive rights to their work, including the right to create derivative works. While non-profit status may be a consideration, it does not automatically make such actions legal. Whether it constitutes infringement would depend on several factors, including the specific circumstances and whether it qualifies as fair use or falls under another exception to copyright infringement under federal law. It's advisable to consult with a qualified intellectual property attorney for a case-specific analysis.

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