The Comic book industry is now taking shape in Zimbabwe and other industry is likely to rise with this industry.
If you’ve ever been to Comexposed a comic convention. You will see Zimbabwe has many comic book fans and the industry could be big. All the artists who exhibited at Comexposed make and sell art. This year they was a fan who came dressed up as RazorMan, and you could see the Fan Art.
And by “fan art” I mean merchandise featuring characters the artist does not own: prints, buttons, tee shirts, key chains, hats, bags.
Very few copyright issues are as troublesome as fan creations. Whether it is fan fiction for a popular fantasy series or fan art of a popular movie, these creations almost instantly walk into a copyright mess that can be enough to make even the boldest attorney cringe.
Maybe you smile or laugh when you pass that little day care centre with the horrid painting of Mickey Mouse and Ben 10 on their durawalls but are they playing with major copyright violation?
The guys at Enigma Comix Africa have released some guide lines if you want to use there work.
Good day everyone. Enigma Comix Africa is honoured to be a part of the Zimbabwean comic book and pop culture community. We are excited for the various stakeholders and creatives involved, the opportunities we have identified in the past year, and the achievements we have made as a community. We hope for continues success across the board.
However, our community is slowly changing into an industry and certain practices no longer have a communal benefit but rather contribute to the compromise of any one group’s (creative) efforts. We are speaking to the intellectual property owned by Enigma Comix Africa, and the following is our official stance on fan art of our material.
We hope all our fellow creators and Comexposed (which has operated as our forerunner) will respect our courteous regulation for using any of our characters from here on out:
Umzingeli, Black Zeus, Arcadia Knight, Nhepfenyuro, Razorman,Drama Mama,The lightning kid
These are not to be reproduced or sold in any form included, but are not limited to bookmarks, posters, comic strips for sale at fairs, expos or conventions. Our market is too small for us not to be set back by this.
1) We will not endorse or permit any use (especially recreation) of our characters names or likenesses without our written permission outside of our publications or website.
2) We will not permit or endorse the sale of any material bearing a likeness or representation of our work without our express permission.
3) We won’t consider artwork produced by a professional in our community “fan art” if he or she is ultimately paid for it without our permission.
There are no rules or laws governing these things in Zimbabwe, since the industry and copyright laws and procedures are not tailored for comic books. Our gazetted regulations are admissible in any arbitration and we believe our fellow comic book creators will honour our position.
We work as hard as you do to create characters for our universe please acknowledge and respect it as privately owned intellectual property and not communal.
The EnigmaComix team
According to copyright law in Zimbabwe, copyright holders have the sole right to distribute plagiaristic works based on an original creation. This includes sequels and any other work that includes copyrightable elements from the original creation.
That being said, if you are a fan and into Fan Art, fair use may protect you, but most of the time its handled on a case-by-case basis, looking at the facts of the actual work. In most cases fans art don’t parody or criticize the birthplace of the material, which would provide a great deal of protection, nor are they highly transformative, meaning that they are less likely to win in the even that such a suit takes place.
Legal sources that spoke to Techunzipped, said having fun drawing and painting is ok but when profiting by selling legally protected images does involve legal risk.The key point to remember is this: Fan fiction and fan art are, usually, an infringement of the right of the copyright holder to prepare and license derivative works based on the original. This is almost without exception.