Mr Feel

AKA: somehow all Cat's characters end up being just as melodramatic as she is: animated edition

I have a problem: I have no idea how copyright laws work.

You’d think that I, an avid fanfiction writer of many years, would know a thing or two about copyright. And in all fairness, I do– when it comes to writing. I know my way around the odd clause or two, and I also know you can get away with most fanfiction pretty easily so long as it remains a) free and b) written for entertainment purposes. After all, those fanfics I wrote when I was twelve weren’t written to be picked up by a publisher so I could earn a fortune writing about Loki or Warrior Cats. They were written because I was enamoured by the worlds presented to me by media at the time, and because I wanted to use the powerful elements they had harnassed to tell stories of my own. And, in some instances, because my favourite characters were killed off and I was absolutely unable to accept that. But for the most part, they were a young teen’s wild imagination let loose on sketchy websites where I could type to my heart’s content, and no lawyer was going to waste their time sueing me for chuckling Sherlock Holmes into the Avengers Tower. Eventually, those haphazardly stitched-together tales led to more original characters than borrowed ones, and now I write stories void of stolen characters (although I will admit I still take great joy out of the occasional reference). The fanfiction phase was a gateway to greater, more original ideas, but never in itself intended to make me money, even if sharing the tales gained me some following. So then.. how does that work with animation?

Well, that’s the part I have no idea about.

I’m inclined to take the same approach. Surely, if I borrow audio fragments from popular songs to animate my blorbos (beloved characters, for the less internet-lingo familiar in your midst) to, nobody is going to sue me… right? Instagram’s policies allow all sorts of music to be put under their reels, since they have their own licensed agreements with the music rights holders. That makes it easy for me on that front: if its in Instagram’s library, I can use it on Instagram. Easy. YouTube gets a little more complicated– they allow you to use some music, but if the music is copyrighted you merely lose the right to monetize that video. Seems fair– I don’t own the audio, so I can’t make money off of that unless I procure a license myself. (Still unfortunate given the time put into animating all of it, but that’s my fault for picking a pop song from the radio.) But what about other platforms? Take this website, for example. If I post an animation here with audio I don’t technically own the rights to, that’s a copyright violation, right? Or what about social media platforms that don’t have their own agreements and licensing (yet), like Cara?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to all those questions as of yet. I am, after all, a mere student in this grand field of animation, and I have much yet to learn. For the moment, our teachers aren’t reprimanding us for the use of copyrighted audio if it helps further our skills. They are gradually encouraging us to find and make our own music more and more, but there is so much to learn that there is room for mistakes and taking things easy. So for the time being, my solution is simple: I won’t post clips with copyrighted audio here. Instead, I’ll give you guys my favourite screenshots, babble on a bit about the characters (or in this case, an issue that ties into the making of the video) and then share a link to a YouTube video. In this case I can even embed it right here in the text, so it hardly makes a difference for all you lovely people (in fact, it makes it even easier for you to go ahead and click on that little profile picture and give my YouTube channel a follow, while you’re at it ;D).

Sometimes, the solution to a problem is just to make it someone else’s problem ;). Enjoy the animation!

Mr Feel: Animatic/Animation on YouTube by Lt CatBolt

That’s all folks, have a good one!

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