Ok, so I might be opening a giant can of worms (read that: passionate discussion) but I thought I'd take a chance on it just being an interesting topic.
As most of us know, if we make a variation of something that someone else has made, then it's considered a derivative work (or fan-art). It therefore wouldn't violate US Copyright laws.
I was recently pointed to a blog on which I was featured (by the author). She said how much she liked my finger puppets & one in particular. She then said, that because she liked it so much, she felt she must own it and therefore put it on her to-do list to make it for herself.
Now instantly I thought, but..but...it's mine! I made it! You can buy it, but I made it! You can't make it! It's mine! (you can see that my instant thoughts are much like that of an advanced 2-year-old)
I encouraged her to make her own designs (or buy the kits Craft: sells). She meant no malice whatsoever, and seems to be a very nice person. There's no sense in meanly saying, "yeah but dude, copyright." to very nice people. Of course I'd prefer for her to buy the puppet flat out, but I don't know her situation, so I can't expect or push for that. And really, it boils down to the fact that I am very thankful that people like my work, especially enough to write about it...
Well, now that I'm far, far away from the situation (a week is far, far away, right?), I'm left to think about fan-art. There is nothing to keep her from making this puppet for herself. No one would really know if she did. But legally, if she wanted to, she could make all of my puppets with mustaches, as long as she doesn't distribute or profit from them in any way.
I guess I'd just never before thought about fan art based on my own work. I know I'm not the first to experience this, and I certainly won't be the last, so I'm curious to hear about others' opinions on the matter.
Alright then: Opinion away!