for a private project of mine I’m preparing some stickers with a retro gaming theme. I thought about creating a whole bunch and making it a set for GraphicRiver as I think it would be a fun project. But then it occurred to me that there would probably be a copyright problem:
If I create a sticker with a PAC man, or Super Mario, or Galaxian figure on it, surely these figures are copyrighted and cannot be sold as part of a creative package? I do draw every pixel of the myself, but they will of course look exactly as the originals.
I hadn’t put much thought it but it occurred to me when over the weekend I bought a couple of T-shirts with a PAC man and a space invader painted on them. Surely this must also be illegal? Even though I bought them in a high street branch I can’t imagine them paying royalties to Namco or Nintendo!
Regardless of the fact that you are redrawing the image pixel by pixel, as long as it is a duplicate of the original designs, then you are going to infringe on their copyright.
There is the argument that some designs can be redrawn with the artists’ own interpretation, but as long as it is based on the original copyrighted design and bears similarity, then you will still be infringing on its rights as long as you make any commercial gain from it.
As for the T-Shirts you bought; You’ll be surprised, every single manufacturer is indeed paying royalties otherwise the merchandise gets stopped in the customs of your country and both the importer and the exporter get fined. For sure there are manufacturers out there that use the images without any permission or royalty payments, but they can only manufacture and sell locally and even that is quite risky if they are doing so in the “first world” countries.
Hi, thanks for that!
I pretty much imagined it to be this way, so my retro stickers will be for my own use only