Those who have seen Game of Thrones know that it is a violent show with ruthless characters. However, in 2016, it appeared as though the show and HBO may have been threatening a child with a lawsuit. As sensational as it might sound, it turns out that this was not exactly what happened. It seems like a weird case that was not properly understood, but that did not stop the story from getting plenty of attention. Let’s get a closer look at what happened, where the miscommunication took place, and what the legal implications truly are with the case.
Was There a Threat of a Lawsuit?
A 13-year-old autistic girl who was a fan of the show received a warning that supposedly came from HBO regarding her use of the popular phrase “Winter is Coming” on artwork that she created. The girl posted her artwork on Redbubble for an art competition. It was the posting to Redbubble that brought attention to the artwork and the email that she and her parents received regarding the possibility of a lawsuit. The parents were naturally shocked and were afraid that they could be sued by the media giant.
However, when HBO responded, it turns out that it was not quite as much of a problem as the parents believed. They said that they understand that there are fans who are creative and who love the programs they make. They also know that people put the artwork online and say that they have even helped to bring attention to different pieces of artwork.
They also said that sites like Redbubble, which sell a range of products that are created by artists who sign up to the site, have to make sure that the items sold do not infringe on the copyright holder’s rights. They say that she was not targeted because she was a child and that they did not threaten legal action against her.
You might be wondering why there was a possibility of a lawsuit mentioned in the email, though. It turns out that the email came from Redbubble itself. HBO and other companies have worked to make sure that Redbubble does not sell products that use their material, which is protected by copyright. It appears that it was Redbubble being proactive and ensuring that the artwork was taken down before HBO even found out about it.
Of course, the result would have likely been the same if the HBO legal team had been the one to see the artwork first. Companies that are large and small alike, as well as individuals, are rightly very protective about their creations.
Beware of Copyright Infringement
Ultimately, it was not a lawsuit being brought against the teen. It was instead more of a warning. This should also serve as a warning to other artists who are looking to create and sell products online whether they go through a site like Redbubble or they are selling on their own. They have to be careful of the images and phrases that they use, and they need to steer clear of anything that is copyrighted. Copyright holders have every right to go after those who would profit from intellectual properties that belong to someone else.
Those who are in doubt about copyright law and how it applies to work they are creating or items that they want to sell should err on the side of caution. They may also want to get in touch with an attorney who can help them navigate national and international copyright laws.