Anyone know the legality of a themed keyboard build of a copyrighted superhero?

I am doing a YouTube video where I build one of my childhood friends who is a best selling Super Hero Author, a Spiderman themed keyboard. It’s his favorite superhero. I just don’t know if I will get dinged for it? I emailed Marvel weeks ago and they never replied. I was hoping someone here might be able to answer my question. Really nice forum by the way! I wish I had found this place sooner!


As long as you aren’t selling Marvel’s actual art or copyrighted or trademarked material, or using their copyright protected content (like a few moments or more of audio or video from a movie) you should be fine. Creating something inspired by something else is generally covered under fair-use though that doesn’t mean Marvel won’t get mean about it.


For another example, there are plenty of videos out there on making like a Spider-Man themed Birthday Cake: How to make spiderman cake by phykun - YouTube


As long as the video rides on the build and its creative process with the Marvel theming being incidental to that I think you should be safely in fair use territory. Fan art and the like is usually protected as long as the IP aspect isn’t used as a selling point on for-profit items.

That is, doing a Marvel keeb for someone as a for-profit commission and making a monetized video about the process should be A-OK.

Advertising explicitly Marvel keebs for sale on that video would likely cross the line, as at that point you’d be using the IP itself as a commercial tool.

On the other hand, advertising custom commissions that can implicitly include Marvel ones like appear in the video should be fine, as the selling point is that the thing is custom and produced with your skills, not any particular branding or IP.


Thanks for all the replies! I feel much better about the video now.

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