Welcome to Inkbunny...
Allowed ratings
To view member-only content, create an account. ( Hide )
bbmbbf

Can you copyright a character?

by
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_you_get_a_copyright_on_a...

guys, copyright and trademark aren't the same thing
Viewed: 380 times
Added: 5 years, 11 months ago
 
Halo
5 years, 11 months ago
why make a fuss about it. its ment to just say its my char or my art dont take it. no matter if its called copywrite trademark of pingelinged....

why does it matter?
CharlesDragon
5 years, 11 months ago
Ah You just found a Lupe Hole in there. If they only have a copyright symbole but not a Trademark on it then it may be ok but check it out first
Zeikcied
5 years, 11 months ago
It's not really a loophole.  Unless you really go through the process of registering the character for an actual trademark, I don't know how much of a legal standing you have.  It's still a jerk move to take someone's character and use them as your own.
CharlesDragon
5 years, 11 months ago
I not Saying that but I saying this if There no Traidmark on the coppyright then They can figure away around it. But a Traidmark can block it. I know how long a coppyright will last let say it was 1900 then it fase out in 2000 then it will be in big trouble there. But with Traidmark then it will keep that coppywright for ever.
Radiaction
5 years, 10 months ago
lawl. Lupe hole x3
IndigoNeko
5 years, 11 months ago
Very educational post. Thank you.
biohazard
5 years, 11 months ago
I trademarked an early version of my rat characters back in the '80s; the design has changed considerably since then, but I like the fact that my drawings are still sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere in DC...
cheetahjab
5 years, 11 months ago
Damn straight :)  I should get around to (tm) the cnc cast just for shit n giggles.
Eiko
5 years, 11 months ago
Well, I haven't seen anyone file a lawsuit over a furry character or image on inkbunny or furaffinity. I think regardless of whatever legal protections people think they have, they are just trying to make a claim on what they consider to be their intellectual property. I don't think the AVERAGE user on this site has a working knowledge of the legal regulations regarding intellectual property (I certainly don't). We pretty much just use the honor system around here anyhow, which is good, because from an outside perspective a LOT of furry characters look VERY similar to other people's characters and even a few legally trademarked characters. Though if you want some lulz, look up some of the things large corporations have tried to claim as their intellectual property *coughapplecough*.

TL;DR: What Zeikcied said.
InaasgaEl
5 years, 11 months ago
Interesting... however the only difference between how a person's work is copyrighted and how a person's work is trademarked is how they're presented on paper.  You don't have to register for a trademark or a copyright on your work, unless you expect such a claim to stand up in court.  
pillowcaselaw
5 years, 11 months ago
If you live in a Berne Convention signatory nation, all work is copyrighted upon creation. Registered copyright only affords certain extra avenues of recourse in certain signatory nations (e.g., in the USA only a work whose copyright is registered can be subject to statutory per-copy damages for infringement, but otherwise ALL other infringement protections apply). Trademark, however, is a different beast with a separate set of intricacies.
InaasgaEl
5 years, 11 months ago
In the United States, all one must do to trademark their work is place the trademark label on it, which is what I was referring to.  If you wish to use the circle R that requires actual registration and I believe it is substantially more expensive than registering for a copyright in the U.S., though I admit it has been many years since I have read up on the basics of copyrights and trademarks.

Edited to add:  The Trademark symbol is a simple TM written mainly in superscript at the end of a trademarked name.  That is a legal trademark, but a Registered Trademark is what uses the circle R, and it is the Registered Trademark that requires payment and filing.
pillowcaselaw
5 years, 10 months ago
I was referring to your bit specifically about needing to register a copyright if you wanted protection to stand up in court. That was *all* I was responding to, and my last sentence existed solely to state that trademark was out of the scope of what I was talking about. The fact of the matter is still that an unregistered copyright (and I'm still only talking about copyright) has at least some legal protection and avenue of civil recourse for infringement in all Berne signatory nations. I'm still not talking about trademark, just for the record.
InaasgaEl
5 years, 10 months ago
Ah, thank you for the clarification.

However, to enforce copyright protection you must prove that your original work is, in fact, your creation.  The only way I am aware of that has been claimed to offer protection for unregistered copyright holders is to mail the work to oneself and never open it... but that means of protection, from what I understand, doesn't work in court.  I don't understand why it doesn't work, only that people have claimed that in practice it doesn't work.

Finally, I only know the very basics of U.S. copyright law, so your references to "Berne Convention Nations" is something that I am not familiar with and thus is irrelevant to me, unless the United States is a part of this Berne Convention you speak of.
bahamutdragons
5 years, 11 months ago
I'm not sure what the difference is between a copyright and a trademark is and how the rules differ between the two.
hintofmint
5 years, 11 months ago
Correct. They are two different things. I found an example of this:
Take "Micky Mouse," for example. The character is a COPYRIGHTED cartoon character and is TRADEMARKETED that he came from Disney. You would violate the copyright by putting Mickey in your own cartoons and violate the trademarket by using a picture of Micky on your own merchandise.
RedReynart
5 years, 11 months ago
Also note the diffrence between a TradeMark (TM) and a Registered TradeMark (R). Names, Characters, Products all fall under TradeMarks. Ideas, Writing, Audio, and so forth fall under Copyright.

There is alot of complexity to it though you can actrually read the entire process and laws at ECO.gov That stands for Electronic Copyright Office. They also handle Trademarks and has a link to the seperate section there.
Kizzneth
5 years, 11 months ago
characters fall under the category of intellectual property and are protected as such.
dmfalk
5 years, 11 months ago
There are only three kinds of intellectual property protected under the law: Creative works (which can be copyrighted), names and other distinguishing characteristics used in commercial, but non-editorial/educational, uses (trademarks), and mechanical ideas, processes & patterns (patents - Non-mechanical concepts cannot be patented). Worlds and their characters are none of the above, but works detailing them can be copyrighted!

d.m.f.
Kizzneth
5 years, 10 months ago
I never said they could be formally copyrighted dear. I said they are protected as intellectual property as a creative work. Formal copyrights can only be held on works involving the character however they are held under protection as intellectual property. I sat down and read the copyright law one night because I was bored.
dmfalk
5 years, 11 months ago
I actually dealt with this years ago in my battle for fans' rights against legal harassment, back in the mid '90s. First off, while it's intellectual property, characters and worldverses actually don't fall under copyrights (for specific works), trademarks (specific images or marks, such as names and design characteristics, only applicable in acts of trade, not editorial or other content) and patents (methods, design patters for fabrics and prints, and devices). Copyrights enjoy automatic protection, only requiring proof of origin, if need be, and are protected for life plus so many years. (Commercial copyrights are by so many years, depending on jurisdiction, as much as 75 years.) Trademarks and patents expire after much shorter periods, and require filing fees of $250, irrespective of standard TM, Registed or Service mark.

Each have limitations, and each have Fair Use clauses.

(This apples to most countries that have signed accords like the Berne Convention for copyrights.)

Corporates exploit peoples' ignorance when they harass users of their trademarks or of their copyrighted material.

So no, you can't copyright a character (it is a concept, not a work), and unless you're planning to sell works with said character (a commission is a work for hire, and another matter, entirely- only if said commission is sold outside of editorial usage would it be of legal concern), a trademark isn't applicable.

Parodies fall under Fair Use for both copyrights and trademarks.

So what can you do? Just say "such-and-such character is mine"- Don't abuse the Circle-C!

(FWIW, I'm fond of Creative Commons and other alternative copyright licenses, and generally issue my works under a CC BY-SA-NC license (any version).)

d.m.f.
Muddypaws
5 years, 11 months ago
Research the "Fair Use" clause though, because what may look like a case of "Fair Use" sometimes is not.

In the education profession, you can apply this clause, but the guidelines are specific (usually limited to lessons as well as 1 classroom set).
dmfalk
5 years, 11 months ago
Actually, I'm familiar with both congressional acts (the Copyright Act and the Lanham Act for trademarks) as well as a substantial body of case law that was supplied to me by a lawyer back in the mid '90s. Fair Use can apply to many different instances, such as news and commentary, as well as educational. If it's an incidental usage, it depends on the degree of originality of the creative work.

d.m.f.
FritzRand
5 years, 11 months ago
Wats the point, whats the difference between those two words?   Sounds like legal junk trying to hide from someones goals.
dmfalk
5 years, 11 months ago
Copyrights and trademarks are two very different things! A trademark is exactly as it sounds- a mark (name, likeness, pattern, shape) used in an act of trade-- For example, the phrase "Coca-Cola" and the swoosh line on a can of a certain brand of soda are trademarks. A copyright is the right of ownership of a creative work, including how the work is published and how it is credited.

d.m.f.
IGAKattack
5 years, 11 months ago
Interesting. Something to remember. ^_^
thecooler
5 years, 11 months ago
In simple words: trade mark is some thing you can commercialize whit permission, copyright means your the creator of it and that credit goes to you only and ppl cant copy it as their own and say they did it. but you don't really sale it. thats why some ppl actually copy stuff they redistribute it and say its ok cause they are giving you full credit of the story, character or what ever and its not making any profit form it.
CyberCornEntropic
5 years, 11 months ago
When it comes to copyright, sometimes it's a good idea to also review 10 Big Myths to make sure everyone's on the same page.  "My character is copyrighted!" could be #12, with [icon]dmfalk's[/i] post above in response.
dmfalk
5 years, 11 months ago
Actually, that falls under #5. :)

Oh, and to link to another user, use the "at" symbol before the username, no spaces, for users here on IB. :)

d.m.f.
CyberCornEntropic
5 years, 10 months ago
Also, I could try to remember to finish typing "icon" in [/icon]. :o
Muddypaws
5 years, 11 months ago
YES... If it's your creation, whether it be a cartoon, character, oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel, industrial design, mechanical gizmo, etc, you CAN!

Start here!  http://www.uspto.gov/
dmfalk
5 years, 11 months ago
You can trademark a character's name and likeness, but not copyright it. The principle limitation of this protection is that a trademark only applies for an act of trade, such as a commercial product. It does not apply to editorial or documentary content.

The US Patent & Trademark Office doesn't cover copyrights.

d.m.f.
Muddypaws
5 years, 10 months ago
Thanks to Disney (that copyrighted MIckey Mouse - because it's a corporate Icon) you can.
CrystalMendrilia
5 years, 10 months ago
Actually this is a bad journal linking bad source material for evidence.  Intellectual property trumps what you are referring to.  My Character for example, Crystal is intellectual property. You guys were once commissioned to do a picture of my character and utterly failed to draw the character in every respect. Everything that defines Crystal was not drawn therefore if I hadn't given permission to draw my character (which I do give as a default) then I could have pressed charges. However since everything that defines my characters as my character was not drawn, then it was either parody or simply not my character.

In U.S. law, a character has to be at least 30% different from the original to be considered Parody.   In Palcomix case, Only the fact the character was a bunny and white equals Crystal therefore technically if it was meant to be Crystal (as the commissioner wanted) it was technically parody since everything was wrong.

Is a character Copyrightable or just trademarkable?   Those are not mutaully exclusive. If a character is trademarked, they are also copyrighted,. If a character is just copyrighted, then you cannot steal said character but doesn't mean I make money off the trademark.   :p

Your journal interests me that you woudl post it though.  Is this how Law works in Mexico? (If memory serves, that's where you are from)
Hebiyoujo
5 years, 10 months ago
Hmm... Thanks for sharing this.
New Comment:
Move reply box to top
Log in or create an account to comment.