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"Webcomics and Copyright", 24th Oct 2012, 10:45 PM #1
Micah

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Hey everyone,

I realize I am barely ever on the forums, because my life is really busy, and for that I apologize. But I have a question, and I'm not sure if this has been addressed before, but I can't find anything pertinent in a Google search.

I'm fairly serious about my comic, and I intend to publish it one day either professionally or on my own. My question is, is there some sort of organization/guild/etc that I should register my comic with? I live in Canada, and I am aware that the copyright laws (for writing) are essentially that if you can prove you wrote it, you own it. I don't know how it applies to comics though. Does anyone know more about this? or know where I can find more information?
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24th Oct 2012, 11:52 PM #2
moizmad

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Seems to me a publisher would ask you to sign a waiver of sorts whereby you declare the work to be yours outright and absolve the publisher from any harm or damage if proven otherwise. Of course with a comic/cartoon, having the original artwork is a big plus, and if it came down to it, would a copycat be able to produce new material of the same quality?
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25th Oct 2012, 12:48 AM #3
Micah

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moizmad:Seems to me a publisher would ask you to sign a waiver of sorts whereby you declare the work to be yours outright and absolve the publisher from any harm or damage if proven otherwise. Of course with a comic/cartoon, having the original artwork is a big plus, and if it came down to it, would a copycat be able to produce new material of the same quality?


That seems to be the most logical conclusion I can come to. I just wanted to see if there was anything I was missing. With bands, for instance, you have to register your name with some musician's guild so that other people can't use your band name. I was wondering if there was a similar process for comic artists.
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25th Oct 2012, 12:51 AM #4
Robotwin.com

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While a minority of countries don't offer foreigners any copyright protection, most of the civilized world has signed international treaties for this called the Universal Copyright Convention and the Berne Convention. For your protection, put "© 2012 Micah. All rights reserved." on the work and you're good to go in all participating countries. Enforcing against infringement requires a lawyer, however. It seems unlikely that any pirate could profit from your work more than you could.

For the name of your book, that's a bit more tricky because you can't copyright names. It's possible to get relatively efficient multinational trademark protection through the Madrid System or the Paris Convention.

By the way, your legal copyright applies to comics and webcomics the same way it does with both written works and visual artworks. To facilitate maximum legal proof of ownership, you need to file a registration with your nation's copyright office.
25th Oct 2012, 4:22 AM #5
ranger_brianna_new
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Robotwin.com:For your protection, put "© 2012 Micah. All rights reserved." on the work and you're good to go in all participating countries.
Which ComicFury has pretty much automatically. You just need to replaced [Author Name] with your own.
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25th Oct 2012, 7:00 AM #6
MediocreMind

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Micah:I live in Canada, and I am aware that the copyright laws (for writing) are essentially that if you can prove you wrote it, you own it. I don't know how it applies to comics though.


In most countries, the same logic applies to pretty much all intellectual work.

If you want to make doubly sure, just add a copyright line to your layout/comic to be sure it's in plain view so no lawyer can argue on clarity of copyright claim, and you'll be set.

Some years ago, I had some issues with Newgrounds because of a really popular animate gif I created. They made buttloads of money off of my work without giving me ANY credit, all because they're sneaky bastards and I never added a copyright disclaimer to my work or blog (where I posted the .gif in question).

Protect yourself, just to be certain.
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25th Oct 2012, 9:05 AM #7
Micah

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moizmad:Seems to me a publisher would ask you to sign a waiver of sorts whereby you declare the work to be yours outright and absolve the publisher from any harm or damage if proven otherwise. Of course with a comic/cartoon, having the original artwork is a big plus, and if it came down to it, would a copycat be able to produce new material of the same quality?


Holy crap I just realized what your username means! Maureen O iz mad! haha cool. I'm gonna read some of your comics now. =)
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25th Oct 2012, 6:30 PM #8
moizmad

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That's right Micah, Mo is mad! A few years ago, Yahoo erased my group and my username in one fell swoop. I was really mad, needed a new user name, so Mo is mad was perfect. Back on subject, years ago I had some cartoons published in a magazine, all they asked was "first time use" rights otherwise original art and cartoon was mine thereafter. Seemed fair enough, unfortunately no one seems interested in any second time use, sob..sob.
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25th Oct 2012, 11:03 PM #9
Micah

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moizmad:That's right Micah, Mo is mad! A few years ago, Yahoo erased my group and my username in one fell swoop. I was really mad, needed a new user name, so Mo is mad was perfect. Back on subject, years ago I had some cartoons published in a magazine, all they asked was "first time use" rights otherwise original art and cartoon was mine thereafter. Seemed fair enough, unfortunately no one seems interested in any second time use, sob..sob.



Aw... I would totally second time use you... I mean your comics. =D
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30th Oct 2012, 7:43 PM #10
Owen (Odmo) MacRae

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Copyright, I believe, can be a little bit too complicated, especially in this field of webcomics. All you ever need to do is include the copyright symbol with your name and date on every page you produce and on the footer of your website, too. As far as I'm aware, that's all that needs to be done.

...Unless I'm wrong.... Being I live in the UK.
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25th Apr 2013, 3:14 PM #11
BAKAnnabubs

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Owen (Odmo) MacRae:Copyright, I believe, can be a little bit too complicated, especially in this field of webcomics. All you ever need to do is include the copyright symbol with your name and date on every page you produce and on the footer of your website, too. As far as I'm aware, that's all that needs to be done.

...Unless I'm wrong.... Being I live in the UK.


I live in the UK as well, and I've been wondering about this whole Copyright thing for a while. Apparently, as soon as you create your webcomic ("create" as in have some physical form or file created,) you automatically have rights to it. However, if anything comes up (for example, some idiot steals your work,) and you have to prove that you are the owner of that material, then getting an official Copyright License makes the process a lot easier. (Sometimes you might have to pay a price to get that official copyright)

I am aware that ComicFury let's you have a Copyright on you webcomic site which SHOULD also include a copyright to your actual comic too, but I'm not really sure...I've had a look on the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy page, but I couldn't really find anything specifically mentioning the copyright of your comic. I'm assuming that ComicFury is assuming that your webcomic is copyrighted. But really, I think the little Copyright thing at the bottom of your website page should be enough evidence.

There are other ways of making sure that your work is absolutely copyrighted. One way is to put a copyright with your name and date onto the comic page itself. I've also seen people put their signature on their works. I personally don't do that because I'd like to think that it's not really necessary, but that's just me. Also, I always make sure that I save drafts and unfinished pages etc somewhere on my computer so that I've got something to show that I've done it. Most computers also automatically date your work, so there's that too.

For things like titles, from what I've read, you cannot copyright them. You can't copyright a word. For things like themes, story and characters, I believe you can officially copyright them, but I haven't found out how to yet. Technically, they ARE automatically yours, it's just that if you want to add an extra layer of protection, then it's best to get an official copyright for your work. :)

If you live in the UK and you want to find out more, I recommend going to this site:
www.ipo.gov.uk
I've heard that the UK and USA Copyright laws are very similar apparently.

And just in case you're curious, I HAVE had a few lessons on Copyright law and Trademarks at school so...I hope this helps? xD (Even I still find it slightly confusing after all this time...)

And sorry for the long-winded reply. xD
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