When New York artists create a piece of art, of any medium, they often feel as though it is an extension of themselves. If someone else uses that work without the artist’s permission, it is essentially theft. This is why many artists make use of copyright law to protect their intellectual property. Unfortunately, this kind of theft still happens, and it may be partly because on the occasions that it happens to a larger company, the company can afford to fight it, or even afford to ignore it. This is what many people say happened recently with Disney and one of its newest characters, unofficially named “Baby Yoda.”
The Baby Yoda character is part of one of Disney’s newest episodic television shows, “The Mandalorian,” on its Disney+ streaming service. Fans of the show have embraced the character and were hopeful that Disney would release merchandise featuring it ahead of the holiday shopping season. Disney was adamant that the character be kept secret ahead of the release of the show, so it didn’t have any official merchandise prepared. What happened instead is that many independent artists decided to create their own products featuring “Baby Yoda” to fill the gap.
Disney is often described as a litigious company that likes to protect its intellectual property, but experts say that thus far, it doesn’t seem to be pursuing any civil claims against artists who have created Baby Yoda products. Some speculate that this may be because there are too many for Disney to keep up with. Others point out that Disney may not feel that it is worth its time and effort to do so, since it is a multi-billion dollar corporation.
When a large company like this one essentially looks the other way regarding intellectual property, it can mistakenly incentivize people or other companies to misuse the artwork of artists who may not have the same resources. This is why it is imperative that artists around the country, and not only in New York, ensure that their work is protected through copyright law. Those who are unsure of how to do so may want to consult an attorney who has thorough knowledge of what copyright law entails.