This note explores these questions and suggests a preliminary response regarding what the law should be with respect to the use of avatars in derivative and original works of authorship. First, avatars are copyrightable, to a certain extent and within certain circumstances. Copyright ownership of avatars and virtual representations should be clearly defined to account for the creation of content that feature avatars as the primary subjects. Second, regardless of whether an avatar can be copyrighted in its virtual space of origin, content creators should be given the right to ownership over works that they create using avatars taken out of their respective virtual worlds. To avoid stifling creativity in the new age of virtual creation, there must be clear guiding principles that allow for creators to make use of the virtual representations they inhabit without running the risk of retaliation from the creators of those virtual spaces.
Avatars and Derivative Works: Harmonizing the Interests of Creators and Consumers,
73 Hastings L.J. 919
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_law_journal/vol73/iss3/8