SerLoras wrote:The drawing could be considered a derivative work, meaning that at first blush, it might be copyright infringement.
However, American copyright law has a concept called "fair use" which allows people to use another person's copyright without permission, so long as it falls into certain categories. One of these categories is a parody. To me, this seems like a parody, but I am not the arbiter of such things.
However, another issue would be trademark. I have no doubt that Lucas TM-ed Akbar's likeness. I don't know American TM law that well, but the more something is confusingly similar to a TM - to the point where customers may be confused as to the source of goods - the more likley you will be found to be infringing. However, I don't know if Lucas used the Akbar TM in a legal sense (i.e., as a mark that identifies the source of wares).
I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO THINK ANY MORE MAYBE THIS WHOLE THING IS A TRAP.
tl;dr - George Lucas will put a horse's head in your bed tonight.
The other thing to remember is "fair use" is an argument, not a law, and not a right. Just like I can say I was at my grandmother's house even though 8 witnesses saw me snuffleupagus and kill a bus full of people, someone can shout PARODY FAIR USE without it being so.
On a piece like this, it's hard to say. I've said before, this is a million steps ahead of its ilk, in that there's at least a punchline, and not a mashup where Ackbar is, say, in the obama hope poster. that scaffolding is not remotely art, because it's only about selling two references. consider why teefury would possibly take their archive down. But the fact is that Lucas is well known for being overly litigious. He'd have every right to come after a parody, especially compared to some of what he's attacked. And honestly, I'm 100% for it. Parody is wonderful when done well, but you can't just slap someone's IP on a shirt, or likeness on a shirt, and call it fair use. No matter what someone like Jimiyo says.
Because some of us remember Jimiyo complaining about how clients were forcing him to rip other people's styles and designs, and boosting his price astronomically so he'd be dropped so he wouldn't have to be that rip-off. For a guy who would fight to get out of exploiting someone else's art for his own financial gain, he sure is OK with people exploiting other people's property for their own financial gain! Star Wars is no less art than the Mona Lisa, in its own way. Except one actually still has a copyright which can be enforced.