Whenever anyone chooses to make a fan film, the biggest risk that they take is the fact that they are using characters that they don’t own the rights to, and therefore run the risk of getting shut down by the company that does hold the rights to those characters. Of course, it doesn’t happen very often, and there’s the whole “fair use” excuse, often including a disclaimer at the beginning or the end claiming that they are making no profit on this intellectual property and the rights belong to whichever company it may be. On top of that, there are literally dozens of fan films that are made every year, some even get upwards of a million views on YouTube and they are allowed to remain with no consequences whatsoever. But what happens when it’s your project that gets shut down? What rights do you have, what options are out there, and if you’re just a fan that wants to see a good film regardless of who owns the characters, how can you actually get the chance to see it? Unfortunately, when a company chooses to use the dreaded “Copyright Infringement” hammer, there’s not really much you can do. And if they are the ones who own the character, isn’t it really their right to exercise?
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