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Hello everyone,

 

I pray all is well. I had a question about copyrighting my work, and I wanted to get some advice. So here's a quick rundown:

 

I'm working on a comic called Lightweightz, and so far I have artwork for my characters and very rough drafts of a few scripts. For each of my main characters (8 in all), I will introduce them to the readers in their own 4-page short story. These are the scripts I am currently working on. More info can be found on my blog, www.rsquaredcomicz.com

 

I've looked up preregistration for a copyright and registration for a copyright. Since I'm not trying to sue anyone for infringement and I'm a very long way before even considering selling the comic for commercial use, it doesn't seem like I should do the preregistration. As for registration of works, It seems like the only completed "works" I have are the character sketches. If so, should I register those now? As for the scripts, I'm assuming that I don't need to register them now, since I am still revising them.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I know I'm in the very early stages, but I want to make sure if I already have something that's "registration copyright" worthy, that I am doing what's necessary to protect my stuff. Thanks in advance and God bless!

 

- Justin

rsquaredcomicz@gmail.com

@RsquaredComicz (Twitter)

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Replies to This Discussion

 

Your best bet is to start here:

 

http://www.copyright.gov/

 

 

Essentially - from what I've gleaned over the years: In the US and Canada, if YOU create it YOU OWN it. Copyright is yours. Anything else is negotiated - UNLESS it's work for hire.

 

Straight from the Copyright Basics PDF off the website linked above:

 

The copyright in the work of authorship
immediately becomes the property of the author who created
the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights
through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
In the case of works made for hire, the employer and not
the employee is considered to be the author.

 

Also from the Copyright Basics:

 

How to Secure a Copyright
Copyright Secured Automatically upon Creation
The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently
misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action
in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. (See
following note.) There are, however, certain definite advantages
to registration.

 

There can be instances where the originator of the art owns their art - though they may not own the characters represented or the story.

 

Please read through that stuff since it will be the best place to get your answers.

 

Thanks for the advice! I didn't make it clear in my initial post, but I've read the FAQ's and a couple of info pdfs from www.copyright.gov, and I was still a little confused. Maybe I'm missing something, but from what I've read from the site, I didn't get a definite sense of "yes I should register" or "no I do not need to register." Although the website says that a copyright is protected the moment I create it, it also says that if I wanted to sue for copyright infringement, I need the copyright to be registered.

 

So I guess I'm trying to figure out what's the difference between "protection" from the simple fact that I created it, and "protection" in the sense that if registered, I could sue someone for infringement. In other words, how is my copyright protected from the moment I created it, yet that's not sufficient to prove copyright ownership in court in the event that someone infringes on my work? Does that make sense? It seems like even though I created it and thus own the copyright, there's no sure protection against copyright infringement. But I guess it seems like there's no sure protection against infringement even if I registered the copyright. I don't know, I have a feeling that I'm either missing something critical, or thinking about it too much. Either way, I need God to intervene, lol...

Thanks Kendall, and congrats again on the wedding!

If I am currently working on a story idea with what I believe to be a unique title but I am nowhere near completing the story; should I copyright the title so no one else will use it after I debut it for critique? How would I ever prove I came up with the title and idea before someone else if I don't register it?



Tim McKenney said:

If I am currently working on a story idea with what I believe to be a unique title but I am nowhere near completing the story; should I copyright the title so no one else will use it after I debut it for critique? How would I ever prove I came up with the title and idea before someone else if I don't register it? That would go for ALL my story ideas even ones I haven't even started developing yet.

Gonna guess you already found an answer by now, but anyway..

(Insert standard "not a lawyer, my understanding is" disclaimer here.)

You can't copyright titles or ideas.

Titles can be trademarked claimed as trademarks. The little TM symbol means something is claimed as a trademark. The little R-in-a-circle mark means it's registered with the government. Registering is somewhat expensive.

Ideas generally can't be protected. Unless someone copied something so closely it counted as copyright infringement. Even then, I think they'd have to pretty much copy your text/art for that to count.

I'll ditto what Martin said in the first response, copyright.gov is the best place to start. Also www.uspto.gov for trademark stuff. That's where you can find the most authoritative info.


Tim McKenney said:

If I am currently working on a story idea with what I believe to be a unique title but I am nowhere near completing the story; should I copyright the title so no one else will use it after I debut it for critique? How would I ever prove I came up with the title and idea before someone else if I don't register it?

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