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Ace Corona
04-10-2015, 05:56 PM
I am embarking on making my first 16 page comic, but I don't want to copyright it because it's too short, so I plan on making two more 16 page comics with the same characters, then taking the 48 page comic (collection of 3 comic stories, 16 pages each) and copyrighting it as one comic book.

Would I need the VA long form from the copyright office, and is there a way to print it out from their website? I've sen the VA short form that you can print out, but that won't work for a comic with 3 stories. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Bulletboy-Redux
04-10-2015, 06:21 PM
Technically anything you create becomes copyrighted as soon as you're finished creating it. Just make sure you put a visible copyright label somewhere on the thing with the year it was created and your name. That's good enough.

Ace Corona
04-10-2015, 06:38 PM
Technically anything you create becomes copyrighted as soon as you're finished creating it. Just make sure you put a visible copyright label somewhere on the thing with the year it was created and your name. That's good enough.

People say that. but I want to go about it the proper way. Thanks for your help.

ponyrl
04-10-2015, 08:52 PM
https://www.copyright.com/Services/copyrightoncampus/basics/law.html

Ace Corona
04-10-2015, 11:11 PM
https://www.copyright.com/Services/copyrightoncampus/basics/law.html

Thank you ponyrl!

Stewart Vernon
04-11-2015, 02:39 AM
Also, for what it's worth... in addition to the only thing you really need to do being publish and note your copyright when you publish... you're the one who would need to legally pursue any protection of that copyright. Even if you register it, it's up to you to catch people infringing and bring it to their attention to stop or take them to court.

ponyrl
04-11-2015, 02:56 AM
No prob.

MBirkhofer
04-11-2015, 09:59 AM
to repeat and clarify.
The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created and fixed in a tangible form, such as the first time it is written or recorded. No other action is required to secure copyright protection neither publication, registration nor other action in the Copyright Office (although registration is recommended).

The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is recommended. This requirement was eliminated when the United States adhered to the Berne Convention effective March 1, 1989. If a copyright holder wants to use a copyright notice, he or she may do so freely without permission from or registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. In fact, the use of a copyright notice is recommended because it reminds the public that the work is protected by copyright.
again, anything you create is copyrighted on creation.
However, as HDMe mentioned, if anyone ever challenges your copyright, YOU need to be able to prove it.
THAT is why you put the date, and copyright notice, and THAT is why you may do extra things. Mail to yourself, notarize, etc.

L Jamal
04-11-2015, 10:57 AM
"Mail it to yourself" is not a valid way of establish the date of creation.

Ace Corona
04-11-2015, 02:14 PM
Also, for what it's worth... in addition to the only thing you really need to do being publish and note your copyright when you publish... you're the one who would need to legally pursue any protection of that copyright. Even if you register it, it's up to you to catch people infringing and bring it to their attention to stop or take them to court.

I'm not worried about other people infringing, I'm more concerned that if I don't legally copyright it, someone else could legally copyright it in their name and say they created it.

*edit*

If people are pirating it and sharing it online, I don't care, because I feel that could generate more fans for my work. I just want people to be aware that I am the author/artist.

Ace Corona
04-11-2015, 02:20 PM
"Mail it to yourself" is not a valid way of establish the date of creation.

I definitely don't want to go the notary public route, I did that with a TV show I developed when I was 16 and the producer used my idea and I didn't get anything.

L Jamal, what I need to know from you guys is whether it's feasible to publish 3 comic stories that are 16 pages long, for a total of 48 pages, and publish it as one book to save money on copyrights, because at $85 a pop, I can't afford to copyright each 16 page story.

Stewart Vernon
04-11-2015, 04:35 PM
Spending money on filing a copyright doesn't protect you any more than actually publishing the work with your name on it does. There's really no reason to worry about that part. Publish your work, make sure it is dated and has your name on it, and you're good.

Whether you file with the "copyright office" or not is irrelevant to the actual protection of your work.

Ace Corona
04-11-2015, 05:40 PM
Spending money on filing a copyright doesn't protect you any more than actually publishing the work with your name on it does. There's really no reason to worry about that part. Publish your work, make sure it is dated and has your name on it, and you're good.

Whether you file with the "copyright office" or not is irrelevant to the actual protection of your work.

There's certain legal protections with a U.S. copyright though, and I want to do it just to see something I created with a copyright, it means something to me

Ace Corona
04-11-2015, 06:00 PM
Note: this isn't a thread about whether or not you NEED to use the United States copyright office to legally copyright a comic. I've already made my decision that I plan on copyrighting my work; my original question is whether I can copyright three 16-page stories with one copyright payment.

Please don't derail this thread by trying to "convince" me that I don't need to copyright. Can anyone answer my original question?

Bulletboy-Redux
04-12-2015, 12:46 PM
Note: this isn't a thread about whether or not you NEED to use the United States copyright office to legally copyright a comic. I've already made my decision that I plan on copyrighting my work; my original question is whether I can copyright three 16-page stories with one copyright payment.

Please don't derail this thread by trying to "convince" me that I don't need to copyright. Can anyone answer my original question?

I'm pretty sure each work is considered separate and requires it's own copyright. I think you can only copyright individual works, not a broader idea that contains multiple works. If you were writing a whole album of songs, for example, every song would need a copyright, not just the album.

Ace Corona
04-12-2015, 01:53 PM
I'm pretty sure each work is considered separate and requires it's own copyright. I think you can only copyright individual works, not a broader idea that contains multiple works. If you were writing a whole album of songs, for example, every song would need a copyright, not just the album.

Thank you for answering my question

L Jamal
04-12-2015, 02:26 PM
You can file a copyright the individual stories or the collected publication.
The choice is yours as it's just a formality.

Ace Corona
04-12-2015, 08:26 PM
You can file a copyright the individual stories or the collected publication.
The choice is yours as it's just a formality.

Really? That would be easier for me, I can't afford to pop out $85 for each 16-page story, I want to publish a 48-page comic with 3 of my 16-page stories as a collection.

Thanks, L Jamal!

L Jamal
04-13-2015, 12:40 PM
Yes really.
Since copyright applies to content and format, you can choose what you formally copyright.

maverick
04-13-2015, 03:07 PM
"Mail it to yourself" is not a valid way of establish the date of creation.

This.

I can't tell you the numerous arguments I've gotten into with people who actually think this is valid. Apparently, there was a local technical college here with a music production class, and the teacher was actually telling students this was legit. Uffda.

Steven Forbes
04-13-2015, 09:55 PM
Note: this isn't a thread about whether or not you NEED to use the United States copyright office to legally copyright a comic. I've already made my decision that I plan on copyrighting my work; my original question is whether I can copyright three 16-page stories with one copyright payment.

Please don't derail this thread by trying to "convince" me that I don't need to copyright. Can anyone answer my original question?

I think you're being willfully ignorant, and that you really, really want to spend money on this.

You've been told that you don't need to copyright anything, because your creation is copyrighted as soon as you put it in a tangible form. As soon as you write it down, it's copyrighted. You've even been told that you can use the (c) on your work freely, without having to register it, because it's just a reminder that your work is copyrighted as soon as you created it.

You've also been told that it's your responsibility to protect your work from infringers, and that the (c) doesn't protect you at all, it's just a reminder for everyone else that your work is copyrighted.

But you still want to spend money.

Give your money to me, instead. Every time you want to create something and feel the need to register a copyright, give your money to me. There's great things I can do with it.

Screwtape Jenkins
04-14-2015, 12:16 AM
This.

I can't tell you the numerous arguments I've gotten into with people who actually think this is valid. Apparently, there was a local technical college here with a music production class, and the teacher was actually telling students this was legit. Uffda.

There are lots of screenwriting teachers out there still selling the "mail it to yourself" method.

maverick
04-14-2015, 05:57 PM
I think you're being willfully ignorant, and that you really, really want to spend money on this.

You've been told that you don't need to copyright anything, because your creation is copyrighted as soon as you put it in a tangible form. As soon as you write it down, it's copyrighted. You've even been told that you can use the (c) on your work freely, without having to register it, because it's just a reminder that your work is copyrighted as soon as you created it.

You've also been told that it's your responsibility to protect your work from infringers, and that the (c) doesn't protect you at all, it's just a reminder for everyone else that your work is copyrighted.

But you still want to spend money.

Give your money to me, instead. Every time you want to create something and feel the need to register a copyright, give your money to me. There's great things I can do with it.

This is a little uncalled for, imho.

Sure, anything you create is 'technically' yours as soon as you create it, but there are tangible benefits that come from formally registering your work. Number one being the fact that if someone plagiarizes your work, you can't actually sue them for copyright infringement unless you have registered with the copyright office.

DaveyDouble
04-14-2015, 06:08 PM
As far as I can tell, that is the total opposite of the actual truth of the matter.

Forbes was bang on.

Ace Corona
04-14-2015, 07:53 PM
We seem to be split into two camps, those who think a formal copyright with the copyright office is unnecessary, and those who agree that it has benefits. I didn't realize there would be such a split on this issue.

Stewart Vernon
04-15-2015, 12:39 AM
There's a split mainly because a lot of people just don't know what the facts are. Also, the law has changed over time and some people are perhaps familiar with it in an older form rather than the current form.

Are there merits/benefits to actually registering with the Copyright office? That's hard to say. When you consider that actually publishing/producing your work is the only legal requirement now to have copyright on your work, it's hard to see any real benefit from paying to register.

One bit of confusion that comes up sometimes... especially with regard to the "send it to yourself" method some have mentioned... According to current copyright law, you own the copyright as soon as you "fix" your work in some tangible form. So... you come up with an idea for a movie and mail it to yourself but meanwhile someone makes that movie. You're screwed, because they actually fixed/published the work and you didn't.

With self-publishing being easier now than ever before... especially with regards to writing and artwork... the best thing you can do for yourself is to have a Web site and e-publish yourself a completed work and you're done. It helps to add the copyright notice as a reminder to others of your copyright ownership but even that isn't technically required anymore.

The key is creating something and publishing it. You can re-publish later in a different form and you still own that original copyright to protect you against someone taking your idea. Of course the "protection" is only worth as much as you're willing to pay to defend your copyright in court.

Paying the fee to register doesn't help you out in that area... You'd be better off using that registration fee to offset the cost of publishing your work in the first place.

L Jamal
04-15-2015, 01:27 AM
One bit of confusion that comes up sometimes... especially with regard to the "send it to yourself" method some have mentioned... According to current copyright law, you own the copyright as soon as you "fix" your work in some tangible form. So... you come up with an idea for a movie and mail it to yourself but meanwhile someone makes that movie. You're screwed, because they actually fixed/published the work and you didn't.

Wrong! You're not screwed. Fixed format is writing/ typing/ drawing. Physical/ tangible proof of existence. Not an idea in your head, but something that exists. From there, it's a matter of proving that you came up with the idea before the other person and having enough money to successfully sue. If you're worried about paying for a copyright registration fee, then chances are you'll be unable to defend that copyright when/if needed.

The key is creating something and publishing it.
Wrong! The key is creating something that's tangible. You don't have to publish it. it just has to be in fixed format.


Paying the fee to register doesn't help you out in that area... You'd be better off using that registration fee to offset the cost of publishing your work in the first place.
Registration helps establish a date of creation as does publication whether digital or physical. The key to any copyright claim is being able to prove that you created X and that you created X before the defendant created X.

Stewart Vernon
04-15-2015, 02:41 PM
L Jamal... by your responses you seem to be supporting the notion that "mailing it to yourself" will protect you... or am I missing something?

You and I could independently come up with identical ideas without infringing on each other... but the first one of us to publish is going to be the one most able to defend himself in court if it comes to that.

I could write and draw a comic and put it in a drawer and no one ever sees it because I didn't publish it... then a few years later someone else publishes a comic with the same story... and I doubt I'll be able to do much in court to protect my work since I never did anything with it, and it would be hard to prove they copied me unless I had proof of some direct contact between us where they got the idea from me.

That's why it needs to be published somehow to cement your claim on copyright.

L Jamal
04-15-2015, 05:17 PM
Mailing it to yourself is no protection. I can create something today and place it into a sealed envelope mailed 20 years ago by steaming open the envelope. That's why I stipulated that you had to prove the date of creation.

Of course, any infringement case has to prove that infringement occurred. If you had a comic that no one never saw, then no one had the ability to copy your work. The keys to any infringement case is 1) proof that your work was created first and 2) that the new work infringes upon your work. to prove infringement, you have to prove that it's more likely than not that the defendant had access to your work.

Stewart Vernon
04-15-2015, 11:05 PM
Ok, whew... I didn't think we should have been that far apart. We were just using different words to get there.

Filing with the copyright office would certainly give you proof of time/date and creation... but not more so than actually publishing the work, right?

I mean... I could file a copyright application and pay the fee but I could also publish the work using that same money and both would serve equally well as establishing the work and date of creation.

That's all I meant by not being sure of anything that filing for a copyright gives you beyond what you'd get from just publishing in the first place.

L Jamal
04-15-2015, 11:48 PM
As long as publication has a verifiable means of dating the publication. It's a valid method of dating creation of the work. If you print a copy at kinko's and keep it in your desk, you're no better off than before you copied it.

Stewart Vernon
04-16-2015, 02:18 PM
Agreed... I don't know what the minimum requirement would actually be for publishing. I know some people used to make those "ashcan" editions fairly cheaply to distribute at conventions or to publishers as one method to secure rights.

I would think having a Web site and self-publishing there where things get date-stamped would also suffice... but it's a little less tangible than a printed book.

HouseStark
04-17-2015, 04:16 AM
I am embarking on making my first 16 page comic, but I don't want to copyright it because it's too short, so I plan on making two more 16 page comics with the same characters, then taking the 48 page comic (collection of 3 comic stories, 16 pages each) and copyrighting it as one comic book.

Would I need the VA long form from the copyright office, and is there a way to print it out from their website? I've sen the VA short form that you can print out, but that won't work for a comic with 3 stories. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Let me ask a question to get ya'lls opinion on this subject.

Johnwrites a comic book script about a talking dog who has radioactive lice and who saves the world from a evil giant lobster. John never shared his script (or idea) with anyone. John has registered his script with the U.S. Copyright office.

Lisa, who never met John and doesn't even know he exists, publishes a comic book script about a talking dog who has radioactive lice and saves the world from an evil giant lobster. It's very very similar to John's story. It's almost exactly like John's script. Weird, huh? John is furious. What's more, Jan DID NOT have her comic book script or final published comic book registered by the U.S. Copyright office. Lisa's script was written and book published well AFTER John had his script registered with the U.S. Copyright office.

To summarize:


John wrote his script first, has copyright registration, but didn't do squat with it.
Lisa wrote her script much later, did not register it, but published her work.


This scenario reminds me of a math word problem (shiver).

Can John sue Lisa for copyright infringement?

What say you!

L Jamal
04-17-2015, 09:06 AM
You can sue any one at any time about anything, but that doesn't mean that the case has merit. John has to prove copyright infringement by showing that Lisa had access to his script.

B-McKinley
04-17-2015, 10:18 AM
John could sue Lisa for plagiarism, but not copyright infringement. They are different legal ideas. If Lisa publishes John's script without permission, that's copyright infringement. If Lisa uses John's script to create her script, then that is plagiarism. Copyright does not protect your ideas, or you title, or your character designs. It just says you are legal entity that can decide who can make copies of that work.

Stewart Vernon
04-17-2015, 10:27 AM
Yeah... and there's also some weirdness too.

Marvel has a copyright and trademarks to Spider-Man.

If I write my own Spider-Man story and publish it... Marvel can and likely will sue me over it.

But...

Marvel can't take the story I published and publish it as their own, unless I agree to that as part of the settlement when I eventually lose the lawsuit they bring against me for infringing them.

B-McKinley
04-17-2015, 10:45 AM
If it wasn't complicated, then we wouldn't need IP lawyers. We could just find answers in an Internet forum. ;)

crognus
04-17-2015, 07:24 PM
Sorry, Steven, I don't think you are right about this. While the 1976 Copyright Act states that any work you produce is copyright upon creation, in order to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, the copyright must be registered with the Register of Copyrights prior to the infringement or within three months of first publication.

That means you can win a battle in court for someone infringing on your copyright, but without registering your copyright it would be very difficult to recover the legal fees you would have to pay (which would be more than $85.)

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/412.html

crognus
04-17-2015, 07:29 PM
I can search for/include case studies that illustrate this point if you want. (I did my senior project on US IP laws because I was very interested in open source software, it's crazy how much I remember despite being out of high school for 7 years, haha.)