Regarding Fan Art…

Dreamer Fan Art by Suzie Duncan

Dreamer Fan Art, properly attributed in her description, by Suzie Duncan.

I am always reluctant to use the word “fans” to describe the readers of The Dreamer. I know the bulk of you are silent readers who do not contribute in the comments or other online communities surrounding The Dreamer, and, though you enjoy the story, you would not self-apply the term “fan.”

To you, I say thank you for reading! I follow many online sites and comics which I enjoy, yet I do not rise to the ranks of a devoted “fan.”

So to my readers, I thank you for coming back every week to see what happens in the pages of The Dreamer.  I’m so glad that you’re enjoying my comic and I hope you stick around for a long time to come.

This message isn’t for you.

Now if you’ve ever thrown Nathan Hale a birthday party, written a fanfic where Bea dies so you can marry Alan Warren, or hit “refresh” so many times on a Thursday night that you crashed your computer, you’re probably a “fan.”

If you’re a fan of The Dreamer, I have something I’d like to say…

Recently several instances have occurred where people have sent me links of unauthorized uses of my work around the internet.  I don’t know if you watched DeviantART’s talk on copyright infringement at Comic Con a few months back, but it is terrifying stuff. I’m not sure you can even talk about Alan Warren without me being legally able to sue you. (If you do a lot of fan art for any fandom, you need to watch this to be informed).

Since I have long celebrated the community of fan-works surrounding The Dreamer, I wanted to take a moment to let you know what I, as the copyright owner of my art and characters, am okay with, and what I ask you please refrain from.

(There is a real, legitimate, filed-with-the-Library-of-Congress copyright that covers all the characters and artwork in The Dreamer, including the historical figures. For instance, I own the copyright to draw teenaged Alexander Hamilton the way I do. You do not.)

I provide The Dreamer for you to read and love entirely free of cost.  You might never buy one of my graphic novels, a short story, a teeshirt, or click on a sponsor link—and that is all perfectly within the parameters of legitimacy. You’re not stealing anything by doing this.

But because I am constantly fighting to find other sources of income to continue making the comic free (five years and counting) one of the biggest—and completely free!—ways you can “pay me back” is by spreading the word.

And you guys are fantastic at this. You give The Dreamer to your history professors. You give it to your siblings. You share it with your parents. You give me #FF shoutouts. You tie your friends to chairs Clockwork Orange style and force them to read the comic until they love it too. You drag these unbelievers to historic sites, comic conventions and Nathan Hale’s old school house just so you’ll have someone else to gush with about Dreamer Updates. You have “the kiss” as the wallpaper on your phone, your tumblr icon is Nathan’s sexy face, and when someone says “What is that from?” your response is: fakddlgsjldk!!!

I in no way want to crush the spirit of the fandom surrounding The Dreamer. Nothing would make me sadder. But, perhaps you can help me out when you’re celebrating it.

When you see a funny gif or meme on Tumblr, and it is from Dr. Who I don’t think many people say, “What is that from?” The Dreamer does not share that notoriety. So if you are using my art for things like this, I would like to ask that you provide a link back to the source.

That way when you’re spreading the love it is not just being sent out into the abyss; there is a breadcrumb trail back home for people who think it’s interesting and want to check it out.  With a link back or a proper credit, it is easy for them to find the comic.

And if you only do one thing to support The Dreamer, buy my book. ;) But if you do two… spread the word and do it with a credit or link back to the source. Increasing the readership is the greatest non-monetary “thank you” you can give me!

So there is no confusion here is a list the ways I do and do not mind you creating fan works:

  • YES: Drawing my characters/writing fan fics/makings songs/fan videos, etc for the love it. When this is posted online, adding proper link backs and credits.
  • NO: Selling prints, advertising space on a fan site, making shirts, buttons or anything else that draws a monetary value.
  • YES: gifs and memes that celebrate the fandom, with a link back to The Dreamer.
  • NO: gifs, memes or fan art that does not coincide with the spirit of myself or The Dreamer. (Not limited to but including adult themes, harsh language, hateful/critical/mean spirited subjects. If you wouldn’t see it in my comic, please don’t associate me or my work with it outside my comic.)
  • YES: Using art as icons, wallpapers on your phone, facebook account, etc. (In an online setting, drop me a credit in the description. On something private like a phone or desktop, just enjoy!)
  • NO: redrawing my art and changing clothing/hair styles to make them other characters, and posting it as if it is original. (I don’t mind you practicing drawing by copying my work, so long as you link back to my original.)
  • YES: Cosplaying at a show, dressing up for halloween, going to class dressed like Nathan Hale. (Just send me pictures, please!!)
  • NO: creating a Twitter feed/ tumblr account, etc, from one of my characters in such a way that it can be mistaken for an official account run by me. If you’re interested in something like this, just ask me first!  I don’t bite.  :)

This isn’t an exhaustive list.  But I hope it gets us on the same page.

I appreciate all the messages I’ve gotten from folks lately about seeing my work in unauthorized ways.  I appreciate that you look out for me!  My eyes can’t be everywhere at once.

Hopefully this lets you know when it’s okay to just have fun and enjoy the fandom, and when I’d hope you would report a misuse to me.

I love you guys! This was not meant to scare anyone.

Your silliness and devotion to The Dreamer is one of my most favorite parts of this entire process. I never want that to go away.

 

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6 Responses to Regarding Fan Art…

  1. Caera says:

    Serious business, fanart. Well no worries, I’d never sell unauthorized Dreamer merch. I will, of course, cover my toga in your own buttons though. As we have seen. ;)

  2. Pj Perez says:

    Well said. I “watched” that entire fan art/copyright video the other day while coloring pages, and even though I know well the basics of IP law (having to, sadly, have sent out cease-and-desists myself in the past), it’s a great refresher. And it’s good of you to outline so clearly what is and isn’t “cool.” Keep up the good work!

    • Lora says:

      So much of it seems harmless, I had no idea it was technically copyright infringement. Guess I’ve been breaking the law since I first started making Ghostbusters fan-comics in second grade… ;)

      A fantastic and informative video. So glad they posted it.

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  4. Scott M says:

    I don’t have any ideas of this sort myself at the moment, but on reading your list this situation came to mind. You specify that selling buttons, T-shirts and the like based on Dreamer stuff is not okay, which is certainly correct and understandable. However, suppose someone who enjoys graphic design had a brainwave for a Dreamer t-shirt/button/mug/bumper sticker design which does not currently exist, and noodled around with Photoshop or the like to create it – if they then sent the design itself your way for you to produce and sell if you wish, would that be okay?