Kickstarter Doesn’t Prohibit Character Rip-Offs

I hesitate to give this kind of thing more attention, but I’m counting on the fact that you’re all smart enough not to give projects like this any money.

I discovered, due to a spam link on my site, that someone wants $80,000 to make a “non-profit” Hellblazer video web series, and they’re using Kickstarter to try and get it. I hope they fail for all the obvious reasons.

More surprisingly, I discovered that copyright violation or ripping off someone’s else’s property isn’t prohibited by Kickstarter. Kickstarter only wants you to report a project for the following reasons:

  • “This project creator is spamming me. Project creators are not permitted to spam. This includes sending unsolicited mass emails and unsolicited @messages on Twitter.” (That’s good to know the next time I get one of those tweets.)
  • Soliciting for a charity isn’t allowed.
  • Non-projects (without clear goals) aren’t allowed.
  • If it’s a raffle, coupon, contest, or investment offer.
  • If it’s in the wrong type category.

They go into more detail on their page of prohibited items, but intellectual property violations aren’t mentioned at all. Mostly, they don’t want people using the site to sell things to each other without some kind of creative aspect.

While the aspiring moviemakers prominently disclaimered their project with

Hellblazer is an unofficial fan series made by Hellblazer fans. Hellblazer and all related things are property of Vertigo/DC Comics.

wouldn’t you think someone would know that DC Comics has lots of scary lawyers that won’t look kindly at someone trying to trade on their brand to get attention? Especially when they’re selling t-shirts, posters, and lighters? And worse, promoting this rip-off with comic book art they’re calling their “storyboards”? And promising a Swamp Thing guest appearance?

All that considered, I think my favorite clueless statement is

HELLBLAZER fans around the world who’ve been waiting for a live action adaptation of Hellblazer it is now time

(Posted as is with missing punctuation.) I guess they somehow missed the movie?

Update: Antony Johnston reminds us that Kickstarter approves every project before it gets posted, so someone at their company looked at this and thought it was perfectly fine.

Update 2: And it’s cancelled. I wonder if the poster was contacted by DC?

Hellblazer Kickstarter cancelled

3 Responses to “Kickstarter Doesn’t Prohibit Character Rip-Offs”

  1. James Schee Says:

    How odd, and darn a lot of money too. I saw something similar on…. iBooks or one of the book selling aps. That has Superman, Supergirl, etc. comics for sale, done by fan writers, artists etc. I wonder how those aren’t getting cease and desist?

  2. Johanna Says:

    Cause the right people don’t know about them, I bet. Which is one reason I wanted to talk about this, to see whether it would get shut down.

  3. PD Shaw Says:

    John Byrne has often said that his (and others’) art commissions of established characters exist only within the framework of an unstated gentlemen’s agreement. As long as the commissions don’t interfere with the big guys’ bottom lines, the IP rights won’t be enforced to their utmost. I fear that abuse of that tolerance will ultimately result in killing a lot of fun stuff.




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