Can creators use stolen intellectual properties?

I am very curious about Patreon’s stance on creators that are ripping off the intellectual properties of other people, and both curious and concerned what kind of legal issue this might cause Patreon as a company. I am also curious about how to report it, if it is not allowed, and if there is an incentive to do so. Thus, I have three basic questions and give examples:

Does Patreon allow for creators to use the intellectual properties of other people, corporations, and entities? (Examples would be Harry Potter, Spider Man, Luke Skywalker, Superman, Sylvanas)

If so, can the proprietary holders of those trademarks and copyrights seek legal action against Patreon if those people were reported to said companies since Patreon was also making their money off the infringed copyright? (Example: Disney or Blizzard get a report that someone with a Patreon is using a stolen intellectual property to make a lot of money and sues the creator and Patreon since both the creator and Patreon was making money off the infringed material)

If not, how would we report the blatant stealing of intellectual properties that might also put Patreon itself at risk for litigation? (Example: I report the creator, Patreon’s QA downloads and tries their game/looks at their art/watches their video seeing that it uses stolen material, their patron is shut down and I am given a $100 bonus that month as a reward for reporting something that could have led to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, thereby helping Patreon proactively)

Maybe asking the questions like this, in their own thread is the way to go!

My understanding is that they permit fair use and fan art creators can get away with it provided they set up a tip jar format rather than a full blown ‘we are making a project, pay us for work on it’ style of thing.

If you’re doing lots of fan art, and have a tip jar tier to access like, the PSDs but otherwise it’s all open and free? You’re probably in the clear.

If you’re making a game and you set up a system of reward tiers that’s based on harry pottery, you’re in trouble.

You do not go around reporting other people’s intellectual property when it has been stolen, except by reporting it to the proper owner. It is illegal for Patreon to take down any content that is posted on due to a copyright infringement claim except when asked by the actual owner of the IP being infringed. It is the duty of the IP holder to defend their copyright, trademarks, and patents. If they do not do so, then they defacto give up control of their copyright.

tl;dr:

  1. Only in the context of fair use, and if the actual owners of that IP do not go to the effort of DMCAing and protecting their copyright (because, again, it’s not Patreon’s job as a content host to police for copyright infringement, that is 100% the duty of the IP owner, all Patreon has an obligation to do is follow the rules laid down in the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act, and even that is sketchy because technically they fall under United Kingdom, not United States law these days.)
  2. Yes, if Patreon fails to adhere to the DMCA after it has been submitted, and if the person doesn’t counter claim. If the creator counter claims against the DMCA, then the IP owner must bring them to court in the jourisdiction that Patreon is located (this is something you agree to as part of your Terms of Service upon joining Patreon and becoming a creator, you don’t get to pick the venue or jurisdiction, it’s gotta be where Patreon is located. This used to be the northern district of California, now it’s somewhere in Britain I believe.)
  3. Not Patreon’s problem, they ain’t paying you to police content. It is not your job to police anything, it is the job of the IP Holder to police their IP and its use. Many such companies have systems by which infringement can be reported but few of them give rewards.
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Oh, wow for Patreon’s legal team you sure use some unprofessional and colorful language! lol

I’m not patreon’s legal team, I’m a member of Team Nimbus and have had some dealings with this on other projects. It’s also just really really scummy to go looking for a bounty on other people’s work when you would have no idea about how fair use or parody would be in play.

Oh, ok, so it’s just conjecture and such. I was hoping for a Patreon response here instead of just opinionated hypothetical subjective folderol. Thanks for your views anyways, but this is not a debate or argument or such, it’s me literally reaching out to know Patreon’s stance. Making money would be a thousand times easier for me if I did not build my world from scratch and could monetize the creative efforts of others for my gain (and vicariously Patreon’s). However, I dare not do it, unless I am told directly from this company’s representatives that it is ok to do so.

It’s not conjecture except on the first few points. Also if you were only looking for a response from patreon’s legal staff, you should have emailed them instead, this is a semi-public forum after all. We are all allowed to weight in with our opinions and own knowledge on a subject.


^This covers their copyright policy.

The rest is based on the actual law underpinning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

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Thank you, but this is not relevant to me. In short, I am not asking for opinions and no opinions have any merit or meaning to me regarding this subject, so sharing them is a futile waste of effort and time.
I know that fair use does not allow one to use say Blizzard characters in a game that is not owned by Blizzard, and even more so, if the characters are used in compromising sexual conditions. I also know that the Fair Use will not work with a sex game full of Disney Princesses or Star Wars characters. I am unsure why you are being emotional, or why you think that I would ever assume legal advice from you, a person uneducated in law and clearly desiring to believe in something due to a desire to believe it rather than its validity, but I’ll simply ask that you kindly leave my thread and allow Patreon to answer the questions for me as I have seen their legal department answer other questions. Thank you.

If you don’t want opinions from people on a message board, you should email patreons legal department directly. This is an open forum.

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It’s fine, I cannot stop you from posting, obviously, it just wastes your time, as unless you are @Weston or part of the Patreon Legal Team, then, it’s really just moot and meaningless. But, yes, you have the power to post, exercise it if you desire. I won’t bother reading it, but go ahead.

I just wanted to thank you for your responses to this post even if the original poster chooses to remain oblivious. As a bystander I chose to look at this thread because the title made me curious and I enjoy being more informed about creative IP. Because of your informative posts I came away having learnt more and I am sure that others who visit this forum will also come away more educated for it. Thank you.

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Unfortunately, we have not learned anything yet. Fair Use won’t stand up in court with someone making thousands of dollars off stolen intellectual property each month. Then, we also need to know what that means to Patreon itself, because the money from the stolen goods is going to them as well.

In other words, @bronwen if you make a video game and call it, “Adventures of the Super Mario Brothers” and it uses Nintendo characters, and you package that and sell it- you will end up sued or maybe even in prison depending on how much you stole. So, don’t listen to that other guy, he’s not an actual lawyer. You should never take legal advice from anyone other than a lawyer.

If you make that same Mario Bros. game on Patreon, and your patreons dump 6k into your patreon every month, now, this company is also taking money made from a stolen intellectual property. So, not only do we not know if we will get in trouble for using it (Fair Use is almost entirely, if not entirely, for free and for educational purposes), but we don’t know if Patreon itself will be held liable. So, I’d take anything else said in here with a grain of salt, until you see the legal department respond.

And that’s obviously not fair use. But if you’re making nintendo fan art, giving it out for free, and just have a tip jar while using patreon to host the work?

Yeah, that’s going to be in a much murkier area and fair use probably applies because you’re not actually profiting from the direct work, you’re making it anyway, people just throw money at you. Whether you can convince a court of that is another question entirely but it’s not like making a whole game and trying to sell it.

And yes, we absolutely do know if Patreon will be held liable.

The answer is ‘no, as long as they follow the procedures lain out by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’ which are all listed in the link above I gave.

Again, I know you keep maintaining the assertion that you are somehow an expert on this subject even though you are a layman and not a lawyer, but let me just show you a few thrown together examples I am talking about and add up the thousands of dollars they are generating by blatantly stealing the intellectual properties of Disney, Universal, Fox, Marvel, DC and Blizzard:

https://www.patreon.com/DeathStarTrainer - Star Wars rip off

https://www.patreon.com/gunsmokegames - They don’t show it, but this entire game is ALL DC characters and sex. Lex Luthor, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, even some Marvel characters. 13k a month!

https://www.patreon.com/sonpih - Using Blizzard-Activision models and characters

This Patreon:

makes Disney Princess adult content games and has for year 5k a month - https://www.patreon.com/posts/princess-trainer-4861583

This one:

Is using multiple females from multiple IP’s including from Fox, Nickelodeon, Disney and more at almost 3k per month

https://www.patreon.com/youngnaughty - Blizzard Overwatch ripoff

https://www.patreon.com/shadow_portal - Blizzard Starcraft ripoff

https://www.patreon.com/feodosiy - Harry Potter ripoffs

https://www.patreon.com/GreatChicken - Harry Potter ripoff characters and places

I know you maintain that they can vreate these video games and make thousands of dollars a month and that neither they nor Patreon needs to worry, but I found these examples in about 5 mins of searching, so how many more are there? And you think these people are all safe? If Patreon says it is ok, then that’s great and I am all for freedom of expression and art (not stealing), but I want to know from the source and not you. You do not know anything with ceritude involving this.

I didn’t say they didn’t need to worry.

I said that it wasn’t the responsibility of Patreon to take them down unless the IP holders first TELL them to take those things down.

Then the person being taken down has a chance to respond, and if they do, claiming it is Fair Use, then the IP holder has to bring them to court over it. During the court case they’d be taken down.

The only claim I made is that they -might- have a case if they aren’t locking those specific pieces behind paywalls, and just use their patreon page as a tip jar (And they would still have to argue it in court, and have their page locked down for the entirety of the proceedings). And if they have any form of paywall, you can bet that they’re in deep trouble without even the least bit of defense in terms of fair use or not.

The creators absolutely have something to worry over, Patreon does not, since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act explicitly provides them with protection from indictment for hosting infringing material provided that they take it down immediately once they have been informed by the copyright holder. Until they are informed and directed to do so by the owner of the copyright, not anyone else, they have no obligation to remove anything however.

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If you say so, layman. I think $30,000 shown right here- and btw it is behind paywalls, is a lot of money for “tips”. This is definitely outside fair use. And, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is well and good- except that out of the 30k worth of monthly income I show here, Patreon is directly profiting too. They are not just hosting it- they profiting right from it.

As I keep saying, behind a pay wall? Then no, it’s absolutely infringing without any ‘fair use’ defense available. Feel free to toss that information to the actual copyright holder. They deserve to get eaten alive for it, but it’s gotta be the copyright holder, no one else, who calls them out to Patreon.

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I’ll keep waiting to hear from a lawyer on this, but thanks anyways.

@GastroenterologistJoe if you are looking for direct contact with our legal team, which it seems to be, please reach out to them directly. You can contact them via legal@patreon.com and they will be happy to assist you with your questions as much as they are able to around such a complicated issue as copyright law. I would like to take this moment to remind you that this forum is for creators to interact in a friendly, helpful, and supportive way. You can review our forum guidelines here if you need a refresher.

@TeamNimbus thank you for providing thoughtful answers to this topic before I was able to reply here.

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