I have a question abour fursonas. I see many people have their fursona based on an existing character, or maybe just 80% or more. When I look at that OC of them, I think maybe they love that character so much, and I never approved that those OCs are worth being called "original." Like, they clearly just copy the details, ideas, and they just call that their fursona.
But now, I do the same. I basically love a monster in a game so much that I made him an OC of mine. Then I feel bad because does that make me a thief? Did I steal the character and make it my own? Would people think the same as I did before? I have a concern about that. It's bugging me a lot lately.
That's my thought for now. Thank you for reading my letter.
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There are two issues to deal with here: 1) creating a fursona based on a copyrighted character, such as a character in a TV show, movie, comic book, or video game; and 2) creating a fursona based on another furry's OC.
Let's talk about #1 first (makes sense!) Copyright law (to simplify things greatly) basically says that you can't make money off someone else's original idea. A good example of this is making a music video of some artist's song and selling the video for money. That's a copyright violation and you are going to get your fuzzy butt sued if the performer, studio, or agent finds out. Another example would be wearing a Mickey Mouse costume in front of a used car dealership in order to draw in customers for the big year-end sale (and you're implying that Disney endorses your business, which they might not). That sort of thing. If you are doing it for free, that is generally okay. For example, you can invite your friends to your house and perform your favorite songs on the piano for them without having to pay royalties.
On occasion, I do see furries wearing copyrighted fursuits at conventions. For example, I've seen Minnie Mouse and Brer Fox costumes. Again, this is okay because they are not paid performers; it's like wearing a Goofy costume for Halloween. Not a problem. Where Disney does get upset is when some people draw pornographic images of their characters, and sometimes they prosecute for that. But I digress....
The point is that if people are taking a character from some other media source and adapting it for their fursonas, that's not illegal. I guess you could call it "stealing," except they aren't making money on it. What it is, however, is very unoriginal. One thing I adore about the furry fandom is that almost everyone creates their OC's (it's not unheard of for someone to ask others for help in doing this), and many of these are very fanciful, beautiful, and creative. So, if you wish to, say, steal a Pokemon character, adapt it a little, and use it for your fursona, that's okay. But it is rather meh.
On to #2. This does happen in the fandom from time to time, and while you are unlikely to be sued for stealing a furry's fursona, it is the most uncool thing you can possibly do in the fandom. If a lot of people find out, you will lose a lot of respect and may be subjected to considerable shunning and banning. So, don't do it unless you enjoy being a jerk and getting people to dislike you.
Anyone who uses an existing character--even if they adapt it slightly--shouldn't call it an Original Character (OC) because it certainly isn't, by definition. It might be their fursona, but it is not original. Papabear considers such a practice to be lazy and uninspired, but even worse than that is that the furries who do it are missing out on a big part of what is fun in furry: self-expression through your fursona. Your fursona should be, ideally, an extension of yourself--perhaps it is an idealized version of you, perhaps a truer version of you, perhaps the kind of you that you would like to be. That's what is so cool about being a furry and what distinguishes this fandom from the people who attend Comic-Con or Wondercon or places like that. Sure, it's fun to pretend you're Wonder Woman or Rocket Raccoon, but you are just borrowing someone else's fantasy. Furries, in this bear's humble opinion, are a step above all that.
I encourage you, therefore, to seek out the inner furry in you and come up with something more original. Explore, create, and express yourself!
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