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  1. #1
    New Member Seanocs'o dy Derioth's Avatar
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    Default How can I copyright my comic book characters?

    Ok I'm working on a few comic characters and I was wondering is there any way I can copyright them!

  2. #2

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    Simply by creating them you own the copyright to them (unless the characters were already created by another individual). Now, if you want to TRADEMARK something, that's a whole different bag.
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  3. #3
    New Member Seanocs'o dy Derioth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linkara View Post
    Simply by creating them you own the copyright to them (unless the characters were already created by another individual). Now, if you want to TRADEMARK something, that's a whole different bag.
    Yeah I think that's it!I want to make sure that no one steals my ideas.

  4. #4
    New Member Seanocs'o dy Derioth's Avatar
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    Can anyone else help me?

  5. #5

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    You cannot copyright an idea, as a general rule. So Shakespeare, for example, cannot sue the producers of West Side Story for plagiarizing Romeo and Juliet. See the lawsuits of Superman vs Shazam or Superman vs the Greatest American Hero.

    If, however, someone wrote a story about an orphan being sent from the planet Krypton to Smallville, where the Kents would adopt him, then that story would violate DC Comics' copyright - it would also be plagiarism.

    With all this in mind, I suggest you speak to an intellectual property lawyer, because he or she can give you the advice you need. This is not something I have real knowledge of, and I cannot give you legal advice.

  6. #6
    internet pope howyadoin's Avatar
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    I could be wrong, but essentially, you need to publish it to trademark it.
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  7. #7
    Terror On Wheels T51R's Avatar
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    Well, essetially you would need to take out multiple copyrights; one for each country. There is currently nothing akin to an International Copyright Law, according to Griffith Hack[patent and trademark attorneys and lawyers] one of whose lectures I attended last year. So, you would need to claim Copyright and insert the Copyright symbol "(c)" onto all of your works first, as well as take advantage of Intellectual Property laws that are still in development[they are rather untested though]

    But what it comes down to is money. Example, if DC wants to copy your characters, then there is nothing you can do about it; they have the monetary resources to drag the entire process out and retain legal teams for that time. Whereas you don't. Which is also why it is VERY important to state in your copyright notice the date which your copyright takes effect from, whch protects you in say, the US. However, if I were to publish a comic in AUstralia with your character featured, under a different name, and you hadn't taken out an AU copyright for said character, there wouldnt be much you could do about it.

    This is my own translation of the law though, and it is the translation of the lawyer whom I spoke to regarding several other products that I have copyrighted and patented the proesses of manufacture for. In the US it may be different, so I would suggest sitting down with the relevant authorities.
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  8. #8
    Fish Emerald Slicer Kara Zor El's Avatar
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    The thing is that no comic strip company is going to steel your characters. They have their own and their own creators. They wouldn't want the bad publicity of you saying they stole their characters either. It is very rare that someone steels your characters. The most likely person to do it would be someone you know being a dick.
    I don't know what your characters are but there are probably similar ones out there in some form or other, because everything has been done. It will be all about your take on it, your writing, and not the actual characters.
    I really wouldn't worry about it, best thing to do is complete your work. Get your comic finished and then show lots of people. If you are good they won't want to rip you off, they will want you to do it, because no one can do it better than you.
    It would be like cutting open the goose that lays the golden eggs.
    But once you have finished your work and even shown it people you know then they can back you up. Show it your local Vicar, and Doctor, IE respectable people. If you get ripped off then they can vouch for you in a court of law, and that would be more than any comic company would want to deal with. But is very, very unlikely anyone will steel your characters. When was the last time you heard of it?

  9. #9
    Member elheffe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara Zor El View Post
    But once you have finished your work and even shown it people you know then they can back you up. Show it your local Vicar, and Doctor, IE respectable people. If you get ripped off then they can vouch for you in a court of law, and that would be more than any comic company would want to deal with.
    A variation of that would be to send the work to yourself in the mail. That way, you have proof of when the work was created in the dated postmark.

    But is very, very unlikely anyone will steel your characters. When was the last time you heard of it?
    And it may be unlikely, but it does happen. And it may not be from a comic company. Always better to be safe than sorry.

  10. #10
    Fish Emerald Slicer Kara Zor El's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elheffe View Post
    A variation of that would be to send the work to yourself in the mail. That way, you have proof of when the work was created in the dated postmark.
    Arguably that can be forged, and wouldn't necessarily stand up in court, for all kinds of reasons. You could send the envelope unopened, and then put work in and seal it at a later date. I used to do this with my stage plays and then stopped once I stopped being paranoid. Also you could use this to copyright the works of others. If they hadn't already done it and you stole there work and sent it to yourself. The modern example of this would be to email, electronic versions to your own account and to others you trust and never delete them, as the electronic dates cannot be forged, or removed.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Lorendiac's Avatar
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    When it comes to understanding the bare essentials of copyrights, here are two resources (both written by the same guy) which I've recommended elsewhere over the years.

    A brief intro to copyright

    10 Big Myths about copyright explained

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