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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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Is artistic style copyrighted?

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Is artistic style copyrighted? For example, if I were illustrating a children's book, would it be infringement to create characters that evoke the look and feel of Maurice Sendak characters while not being exact copies? In others words, is it infringement to create original characters that look and are designed in the style of Sendak?

Alex Reese :


Alex Reese :

typically copyright only protects particular works (e.g. photos, artwork, graphics etc) from exact or substantially similar copying

Alex Reese :

however, there is some protection for "look and feel" if the work is particularly creative/distinctive, but this is a gray area of copyright law that is very subjective (Even more than the normal copyright law)

Alex Reese :

and in the case of characters, it may overlap with trademark rights as well....but the basic answer to your question is that if a reasonable observer/consumer thinks of the original work/author when they look at your work, then there is definitely a case for copyright/TM infringement

Alex Reese :

so in that sense the style could be protected


Interesting. Thanks for your help.

Alex Reese :

you're welcome, best of luck

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