American copyright law allows for the production, display and distribution of derivative works if they fall under a fair use exemption, 17 U.S.C. § 107
A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.
§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106
, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
e.g. Mona Lisa With a Moustache
It could easily be seen as a parody of two pop-culture icons, each based on pre-existing television pop-culture icons (Wagon Train and Sherlock Holmes) that would never intersect otherwise except in such drivative. eg Family Guy 'Blue Harvest' or just about every third Robot Chicken sketch. The vectors based on much larger works in which only small portions were referenced and not being used for profit. If I were a Master selling skins, their might be an argument for abuse for profit as it could be misconstrued as my trademark or logo.