UK Tabloid Daily Mail recently reported that HBO has threatened Felicity Wilcox with a lawsuit, a 13 year old autistic girl, who posted a Game of Thrones fan art (see above pic) on the artwork marketplace website Redbubble. Daily Mail also quoted the girl’s father, Jonathan Wilcox, who bashed the network for targeting his daughter:
“My daughter, who happens to be autistic, was doing an art challenge which consisted of doing a piece of art based on a different colour as you worked your way round a colour wheel. She was uploading her pictures to a variety of sites and sharing them on Facebook and for this particular piece, she decided to title it ‘winter is coming’. I do not believe she uploaded the picture to RedBubble to make any particular financial gain – she just thought it a sensible place to showcase her work.”
Felicity then received the below email from Redbubble informing that her artwork has been removed.
“Why are they picking on a 13-year-old girl? I think they’ve got bigger fish to fry if I’m honest. It’s very petty if you ask me – my initial reaction was shock, like, what the hell is going on? It is just so heavy-handed for something so menial. When your daughter gets upset and shows you her laptop which says she is being threatened for posting an innocent picture on the internet – it’s the world gone mad. Flic was really scared when the email mentioned the complaint and the possibility of a lawsuit. HBO can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine to be honest, like I’ve said before, they need to get a life.”
HBO has since taken a note of the incident and denies sending the email to Felicity. The email was in fact a generic notice that Redbubble sends to artists who violate the network’s copyright (due to past complaints) and it was only Redbubble who made the decision of removing the girl’s artwork, not HBO. The network also released the following statement, maintaining that they have always encouraged artists and the claims of them sending Felicity a legal notice are entirely baseless:
“We love when fans are creative in their support of our programs. 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 evident by the email, Redbubble was simply being proactive but it can of course be traumatic for a child to receive such a notice. However, reports claiming that HBO is bullying kids over a fan art and threatening to sue them are also misleading.