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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3020
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I have artwork that I drew of video game charicters. Its pixel

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I have artwork that I drew of video game charicters. Its pixel art from old video games(pacman, Super Mario Bros, Q*bert...ect) and I hear that I can sell this drawings, so long as 100% of the profits goes to a 501(c) charity. The charity is Young Life ministries, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Could I really do this to help get my kids funds to raise money for our area? Thanks you for the time.
Hello JACUSTOMER,

I'm afraid you have been misinformed. It is not ok to make copies of copyrighted material and sell them if the proceeds go to charity. This would still be considered copyright infringement. The copyright code grants to the owner of the copyright not only the right to sell copyrighted material (to make a profit), but also the exclusive right to control distribution of the copyrighted materials. The copyright owner has the right to have his materials distributed in the way he sees fit in order to protect its image. Thus, for example in your situation the copyright owner may not want the the video game characters associated with your charity. The copyright owner may want the characters to be associated with another charity or no charity at all. And the copyright code gives this right of choice to the copyright owner.

So before selling any copyrighted artwork for charity it is wise to seek permission from the copyright owner.

Thomas
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