Comic Book Copyright Law

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bound by Law, brought to you by Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Learn about intellectual property, fair use, public domain, length of copyright, etc.

Read more about it here.


Syl said...

Excellent resource.

We in the 'arts' communitues have studied this stuff well--merchants and users alike.

Everything we download, from meshes through textures and resources for creating same, comes with a license agreement covering what further use we can make of the material--whether the download was a freebie or cost money.

(In terms of copyright it doesn't matter if you give something away for free. Unless you specifically release to public domain, the copyright remains yours whether you sold the item or not.)

I think the blogosphere still has a lot to learn about copyrights and infringement. We would never ever ever take another artist's work, 'photoshop it', then display it on a web page.

The 'arts' communities have been around far longer than the blogosphere so have had more time to learn and work things out. And the fact that in certain communities artists are creating stuff for other artists to use accelerated the process. Everyone needs to be protected.

Thus Artist A can obtain, free or otherwise, a texture from Artist B to put on Artist C's mesh, and incorporate both into an image that Artist A holds the copyright on. Artist A, however, is barred from redistributing B and C's work, or parts thereof, in any other manner.

The license agreement also states whether commercial use is allowed. If not, then the use can be for personal images only which does allow exhibition on a web page but doesn't allow Artist A to enter the image in a contest, for example, or, of course, to sell it.

Most agreements, however, do allow commercial use even if the item is for free. It's interesting that the general exception is from artists in Japan (and some from Germany). In Japan it's a cultural thing. Otherwise I believe it's only personal with the artist as to whether he/she will allow his/her work used in commercial images.

That restriction, however, is extremly rare for items that aren't freebies.

More than you ever wanted (or needed) to know, I'm sure. :)