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Kattwinkel Speaks on Copyright Issues Relating to Fan Art

OWE’s Linda Joy Kattwinkel participated in a well-received panel discussion entitled “Pop Culture and Fan Art” at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in San Diego earlier this month.

Here’s how the conference program described the panel:  “Fans of pop culture genre works, like television series based on science fiction and Wild West themes, have expressed their enthusiasm for these programs by creating original art works featuring characters and scenes from these programs. The mid-sixties series Star Trek heralded a heightened level of fan art creativity, which has grown exponentially in the digital age. Fan art sites like DeviantArt.com and the Otaku.com (featuring anime fan art) offer a showcase for these works. This panel will explore the impact of copyright’s “transformative” doctrine on infringement claims in fan art, the uneasy relationship between original creators and production companies and the fan artist community, and the growing problem of fan art in the pop culture convention space.”

Linda Joy spoke on the topic “Are character mash-ups fair use?” in light of the recent decision regarding the Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up book (opining no fair use under copyright and trademark law) and the many authorized Hello Kitty mash-ups created by Sanrio and many more unauthorized Hello Kitty mash-ups created by fans.  Sanrio (and Hello Kitty) are longtime clients of OWE.

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