DISCLAIMER: This is another rant and thus should not be taken too seriously. If you feel strongly on this subject by all means feel free to discuss it. You'll find I'm not insanely stubborn on my opinions.
I wish to bring attention not to an elephant in the room, as elephants are passe, but rather to a pony in the room. A bright colorful pastel pony of undisclosed intellectual property rights, but possibly belonging to Hasbro. But it is not just this pony we are suddenly concerned with. It is that this particular pony was created by someone else not asking Hasbro's permission. But it's all cool because this is an OC! Though it bears striking resemblance to a major toy and cartoon franchise clearly this is not infringement by any definitions (So long as you ignore all the legal ones, right?). Yet there's more. This pony is yelling, "Art Thief!" to someone who just used their image without permission. An image which is plagiarizing a well known franchise. 30 years back this would have made the plagiarist a laughing stock, and landed them a substantial lawsuit.
I am not singling out fan art, or (F)art to coin a term, as I'm guilty as tried myself. I like the stuff. It makes the interwebz go round like a big psychotic Ferris wheel. But how is it okay for YOU to use an image or likeness clearly not belonging to you while accusing another, anyone, of art theft? What, just because you named your pony Rainbow Rarity or whatever it's all coolsville? You didn't ask Hasbro permission, you didn't ask the Hub, hell you didn't go on Lauren Faust's dA page and ask if it was all good to her. She herself indulges in the (f)art as well. But she didn't create the ponies. Bonnie Zacherle did. And nobody asks her for permission, either.
So you can use the argument, "But they copied and pasted my original artwork." Fine and all, if you ignore the entire found art movement. I suppose this makes Duchamp the greatest art thief of all time. Collage is basically stealing elements others have created and utilizing them in some grander scheme of yours. And art in general is a replication of the world as the artist sees it. So outside of actual museum pieces being spirited away by criminals for ransom, is there really any way to justify any claim of art theft ever? I don't think there is.
Artistic lawsuits are nothing new, and certainly not for Hasbro. They've been notorious for shutting down fan clubs of their products for some time. I also do not believe they are justified in this myself. But how can someone protect their own art? To be honest, and I'm not playing the devil's advocate, I don't know. Hell, this was just a rant. And it's time to pick up the squirrel from the studio so she can have dinner tonight.