We've been getting a few of these recently.
The talk of Alamo City Comic Con artist alley was a rumor that ran wild that Marvel will be handing out cease and desist orders to any artist selling unauthorized print at NYCC next month. A couple of big name cover artists were freaking out.
And just yesterday,
I was in artist alley at Baltimore this past weekend and several of the artists were very concerned around a rumored crackdown byMarvel/Disney at the upcoming New York show aimed at Artist Alley. Especially on Star Wars and Marvel unlicensed prints. One artist was even doing a mass selloff trying to clear stock in advance of this "crackdown."
So I asked around. And while, as I understand it, there is no official "crackdown" per se, I have been told by Marvel sources that "tolerance is growing thin. Especially from companies who legally pay for the licenses to comic art from all the different companies. And from Marvel artists who sell legal prints but are being undercut by hacks who have never worked for Marvel before."
It looks like it may be a self policing move, with companies who have paid for licenses and creators who have agreed deals wit their publisher snitching on those who, well, haven't. And yet still create and sell them anyway…
Unlicensed prints of any company's characters are just that… unlicensed. Which means if you are selling them, that's an illegal act, if the copyright owner chooses to pursue it. Companies like Marvel and Disney have usually turned a blind eye to original works of art, but unlicensed prints smack of a production line. And it's that which is getting the attention, especially when it contravenes the legal language that vendors agree to before setting up in Artists Alley…