Fan art has become a fundamental aspect of fan culture. Whenever people fall in love with a particular universe, they want to contribute any way that they can. We've seen this phenomenon occur for everything from Star Wars to The Walking Dead. Now it seems that the father of a 13-year-old Game of Thrones fan is claiming that HBO threatened to sue her over her own online fan art -- although his claims don't completely add up.
According to The Daily Mail, the father of 13-year-old Felicity Wilcox is claiming that the young girl was threatened with a lawsuit by HBO for illegally using the phrase "winter is coming" on a piece of fan art she posted to the popular website Redbubble. He claims that she received an email stating that Felicity would face legal action if she did not remove the show's tagline from her work of art -- which she had submitted as part of a fan competition. His assertions have definitely generated quite a bit of controversy, as his arguments have framed HBO as a bully specifically targeting a young girl, telling the the network they could "shove it where the sun doesn't shine."
Of course, there are always two sides to every story, and as such HBO issued a statement provide its own take on the narrative. Spoiler alert: it's not quite as extreme. The network said, per EW:
We love when fans are creative in their support of our programmes...These works live online in many incarnations, and in the past we have celebrated them by drawing attention to them. Many for-profit websites that sell products, such as Redbubble, take steps to avoid infringements as part of their standard operating procedure. To suggest a particular individual was targeted, or that HBO threatened legal action against her, is simply untrue.
As of right now Redbubble's version of the story appears to corroborate HBO's take on the situation. The email Felicity received from the online art community merely states that her artwork was taken down in accordance with past complaints made by HBO, as well as Redbubble's own intellectual property policies. With that in mind, the evidence continues to mount supporting the fact that HBO never actually threatened Felicity with legal action.
Ultimately this sounds like it was little more than a minor copyright violation -- which occurs constantly on online communities like YouTube and Redbubble -- so to make anything more of it feels a bit extreme. Don't worry; the defining court case of our time will not involve Felicity Wilcox defending her fair use of a three-word phrase.
CinemaBlend will bring you all of the latest and greatest Game of Thrones new as more information becomes available to us. The series will return for its seventh season in 2017. For more information related to all of your other most highly anticipated spring television debuts, make sure to check out our comprehensive midseason premiere guide and fill out your TV watching calendars accordingly!