Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Georgia

I am currently developing an android ap for cell phones. The purpose of this ap is for Anime Convention attendees to be able to identify the costume of a fellow attendee (cosplayer) by selecting costume attributes from a menu, which will then offer thumbnail images and names of possible character matches. While developing the database of characters, I realized that due to the fact that I intend to use literally thousands of characters from the entire anime industry, it will be near impossible to obtain licenses for them all. I know you probably get asked this all the time, and the answer is usually no, but I was wondering if this project may fall under “fair use” or some other clause which would allow me to avoid obtaining a licensing all of the characters in the database. In my defense, I am not using any one specific work of intellectual property, but referencing the entire industry, spanning hundreds of titles and thousands of characters. I am also not creating any original content, but only referencing existing works. A similar service would be imdb.com (the Internet Movie Database) which allows users to reference character names, images, movie titles, etc. from the entire movie/TV industry. I understand that imdb makes plenty of money and has far greater resources than I do, but I find it difficult to believe they have obtained licensing for all the images and characters they catalogue.

Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


Asked on 2/17/15, 7:17 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Glen Ashman Ashman Law Office also dba Glen Ashman Attorney

Abandon your plan before you face ruinious lawsuits and bankrupt yourself. There is no such thing as calling stealing "fair use" because it is inconvenient or impossible to get licensed. If you do want to proceed, bear in mind a single lawsuit will cost you at leats $25,000 to $100,000 in retainer fees for a lawyer. Besides lawsuits you can be criminally charged.

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Answered on 2/17/15, 8:25 pm
Scott Riddle Law Office of Scott B. Riddle, LLC

One thing you know that is not difficult to believe - YOU don't own the rights to the pictures and graphics. You are getting into a very difficult area that is certainly not answered on a website, and for which you will likely need to spend significant sums on lawyers and for the rights to use photos, etc. If you are not prepared to do that, it only takes one single complaint to shut you down (at the very least).

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Answered on 2/18/15, 7:02 am


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