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ComradeTim
07-24-2006, 04:31 PM
Hey, I was just wondering what the norm is on copyrighting comics. I have written a script for the first three issues of the comic and they are currently being drawn and inked. Do we apply for a copyright now or wait until the comic is finished and then get a copyright?
Secondly, I'm working on contracts with the inker and colorist. Does anyone have a sample of a collaboration contract that they would be willing to share just so I can see what a typical one might look like? Thanks for any help.

JasonM
07-24-2006, 04:50 PM
Personally, I never bothered to copyright anything in any official capacity. I can proove, with the sheer proponderance of work that I can proove when I developed my concepts and the progression of that creation. For something without that history, send away once you're done, you'll be copyrighting the content (though I may be worng).

TM's are always good if you feel your creation has legs, but thats a bit pricey.

Jason Powell
07-24-2006, 04:57 PM
Hey, I was just wondering what the norm is on copyrighting comics. I have written a script for the first three issues of the comic and they are currently being drawn and inked. Do we apply for a copyright now or wait until the comic is finished and then get a copyright?
Secondly, I'm working on contracts with the inker and colorist. Does anyone have a sample of a collaboration contract that they would be willing to share just so I can see what a typical one might look like? Thanks for any help.

There are all kinds of copyrights. You can copyright your script now and character designs. Then, when you have the comic done, you can copyright all of it (though it may overkill). Up to you.

Contracts are pretty easy. I suggest using a lawyer however cause there are a lot of legal things you need to be aware of. A term of agreement can be written out fairly easy. Just write down exactly what you all agree, try to be as clear as possible so there is no confusion, and sign it. It is not a contract but if the terms are in black & white then a lawyer can use it in court most of the time (however laws do differ depending on what state/country presides over the case - for instance digital signatures are legal in America but not in Canada).

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albone
07-24-2006, 05:02 PM
For contracts, check out the top thread in Creator Community (this forum), Sticky: [Info] Creator Resources and then scroll down to: Contract Resources.

Great stuff to be found.

MrGranger
07-24-2006, 05:50 PM
I copyright everything. If you don't have a copyright with the US Gov. then you can only sue to get someone to stop using your character/story. If you do then you can also sue for any $$ they made using your character/story. It's not very much per script.

L Jamal
07-24-2006, 05:50 PM
Any agreement that 2 parties signed is a contract.
It doesn't have to be filled with legalese to be a contract. It just has to be a meeting of 2 minds.

T.J. May
07-24-2006, 08:20 PM
I copyright everything. If you don't have a copyright with the US Gov. then you can only sue to get someone to stop using your character/story. If you do then you can also sue for any $$ they made using your character/story. It's not very much per script.


Agreed.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 12:48 AM
Any agreement that 2 parties signed is a contract.
It doesn't have to be filled with legalese to be a contract. It just has to be a meeting of 2 minds.

Not always true, some states/countries require that a agreement be notarized to make it a legal contract. That is why I said it depends on who presides over it. So, for example, if the agreement says the state of Alabama will preside over the case/agreement then you need to know the laws of Alabama. Getting it in writing is always good but be sure it is usable in court (if it goes to court). Of course I always recommend that you know someone (how they work, other people's experiences) before you deal with them.

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L Jamal
07-25-2006, 01:19 AM
Really? Which states/ countries? Which types of contracts? Do you even know?

Jurisdicition is provided in most contracts so that the parties know where the contract must be contested, so that you are not taken to court anywhere. Any of my contracts require you to file the contract in North Carolina because that's where I live.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 01:46 AM
Really? Which states/ countries? Which types of contracts? Do you even know?

Jurisdicition is provided in most contracts so that the parties know where the contract must be contested, so that you are not taken to court anywhere. Any of my contracts require you to file the contract in North Carolina because that's where I live.

This is only an example but The state of Alabama requires all construction contracts be notarized to make them legal. My sister is an assistant to the probate judge. Part of her job is notarizing contracts.

Also look at a marriage. A marriage is basically just a contract between a husband and wife (or wife/wife, husband/husband - whatever). However (and I guess this is true in all of the US - at least) a marriage is not legal until it is notarized and filed.

Now, here is another example, I know, from personal experience (I can not go into detail because of a NDA), that digital signatures are not legal in Canada (at least not yet) and they are in the US. A contract I signed said the laws of Canada would provide over the contract. There for, any digital signature where not legal. I contacted a lawyer about this and they agreed that I couldn't do anything about it, and it would be a waste of money to try, do to the fact that the US is not presiding over the contract.

Now, I am not disagreeing that an agreement is allowable in court (at least in the US) however an agreement is not always considered a contract.

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L Jamal
07-25-2006, 02:33 AM
An agreement is always a contract, but that doesn't mean it's legally valid.
Many jurisdictions only require notarized contracts with real estate ventures (that would include construction).

Digital signature are only valid in the US because of an act signed into law by Clinton. The act however leaves it to the states to define exactly what constitutes a digital signature. Not all contracts with digital signatures are considered valid.

Verbal agreement are contracts. Email agreements are contracts. All that is required to form a contract is 2 parties having a meeting of the minds regarding an exchange of goods or services.

Since this thread is about copyrights and contracts, I think it's a safe assumption that we are talking specifically about contracts dealing with copyrights. In the case of copyrights, the contract need not be notarized but it must be written. Whether written means printed or electronic is still undecided,so so you are best suited to stick with printed and signed documents for all copyright contracts.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 03:02 AM
Jamal, I agree that you could define an agreement as a contract but legally (and I am talking legal definition), as I said, an agreement is not always a contract. There is, and we need to make it clear, a difference in a legal contract and a agreement. It is like, I agree you could argue a verbal agreement is a contract but verbal agreements are not allowed in some courts and even when they are you need proof or it is just hearsay. So I think we need to define the difference in a contract (which is legal in all courts of law - well most I am sure other countries are different) where as an agreement may or may not. And truthfully, if you file a copyright with the Government (which is the best and safest way to do it) the agreement is notarized and filed to make it a legal contract.

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kdmelrose
07-25-2006, 09:59 AM
The discussion isn't about real estate law, or marriage; they're their own areas of law.

It's about creator contracts. And that, as Jamal said, requires a meeting of the minds between competent parties. Beyond that, an offer has to be made and accepted, with each party benefiting. That's a contract.

You can throw in as much legal jargon as you want for pages and pages, but all that's required for a legal work agreement is what's stated above. It doesn't require notarization.

And while they may not be smart practice, oral agreements are generally binding (but sometimes difficult to prove).

However, U.S. law requires a written transfer/assignment of copyright between creators.

L Jamal
07-25-2006, 10:54 AM
Jason, you're right. You're always right. Even when everyone else (and the law) is against you. We all just watch too many of those court shows like People's Court and Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown and Judge Mathis while you are holding it down in law school.

kdmelrose
07-25-2006, 11:00 AM
Hey! I'm watching The People's Court as I type this!

:man:

L Jamal
07-25-2006, 11:04 AM
LOL, I love those shows.
One can learn a lot about basic law concepts just from watching them such as
1) always get a signed contract
2) a contract is a any agreement that involves an exchange and the meeting of the minds
3) when you air your dirty laundry in public, you look like a fool and people will laugh at you

kdmelrose
07-25-2006, 11:35 AM
And now, the more I think about/re-read things ...

Jamal, I agree that you could define an agreement as a contract but legally (and I am talking legal definition), as I said, an agreement is not always a contract. There is, and we need to make it clear, a difference in a legal contract and a agreement.

For argument's sake, what is that difference?

Contracts take two forms: implied and expressed -- not "legal-legal" and some nebulous "agreement." An agreement is a contract, as long as it meets the requirements of one (competence, meeting of the minds, offer and acceptance, exchange of something of value).

An expressed contract is just what it seems like: a contract in which the terms are specifically stated, orally or in writing. An implied contract is one in which the terms aren't expressed in words.

I enter into an implied contract with McDonald's when I order a Happy Meal: I give the cashier money in exchange for food. If I hand over the cash but they don't give me food, they're in breach of that agreement. When I go to the chiropractor, we enter into an implied contract: He'll try to put my back into place, and I'll pay him.

Those are legal, binding agreements.

It is like, I agree you could argue a verbal agreement is a contract but verbal agreements are not allowed in some courts and even when they are you need proof or it is just hearsay.

What courts don't allow oral agreements? A good number of people work their daily jobs without written contracts (of the jobs I've had at daily newspapers, I believe only one was under a written contract, and that was only because of guild rules). Does that mean those people can work for six months only have their employer say, "Sorry, I didn't agree to pay you"? Of course not. Most any court would recognize there was some sort of employment agreement at work. Hashing out wages might get tricky, but the law recognizes the implied contract of labor in exchange for money.

So I think we need to define the difference in a contract (which is legal in all courts of law - well most I am sure other countries are different) where as an agreement may or may not.

We've done that.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 04:35 PM
Jason, you're right. You're always right. Even when everyone else (and the law) is against you. We all just watch too many of those court shows like People's Court and Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown and Judge Mathis while you are holding it down in law school.


First of all, those are TV shows. People who go on them have to sign a legal contract agreeing to abide by whatever the judge rules (whether he/she is correct or not). Judges are not allowed to act like some of these judges do (for instance Judge Judy has called people sluts several time - which against the US law since she is doing it in public (on TV no less) and it is, supposedly filled in legal records - it is called defamation of character).

Second of all, they are all in different states. You can't use them for reference if they are not in your state or the state that presides over the case cause laws are defined different in different states (you, Jamal, said this yourself), also you better hope they are correct.

Third, I have already proved there are at least two types of agreements (which Jamal, you agreed is true) that require notarization and filing to be considered legal.

So other than repeating what I said over and over trying to prove me wrong, how about lay out some proof of your own which states that in all countries and all states say all agreements (un notarized) are considered a legal contract.

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kdmelrose
07-25-2006, 04:46 PM
First of all, those are TV shows. People who go on them have to sign a legal contract agreeing to abide by whatever the judge rules (whether he/she is correct or not).

It's binding arbitration, only on television.

Judges are not allowed to act like some of these judges do

Within their courtrooms, judges hold a tremendous amount of power. They can fine people, order them jailed for contempt of court for any variety of reasons (including the way they're dressed), and hand down "creative sentences."

I've seen and read about outlandish behavior by judges who have harsh words for the defendants, attorneys, witnesses and members of the media. Judges are "allowed" to act a lot of ways until their rulings are appealed, an oversight body steps in, or, in some jurisdictions, they are defeated in the general election or impeached.

(for instance Judge Judy has called people sluts several time - which against the US law since she is doing it in public (on TV no less) and it is, supposedly filled in legal records - it is called defamation of character).

I've watched Judge Judy five days a week for longer than I remember, and I've never heard her call someone a "slut." And even if she did, it's not likely an offense that would rise to defamation of character.

Third, I have already proved there are at least two types of agreements (which Jamal, you agreed is true) that require notarization and filing to be considered legal.

Again, you're straying far from creator contracts. Real estate and marriage laws operate differently.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 04:53 PM
Kdmelrose, this is the definition of a contract.

conĚtract ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kntrkt)
n.

An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law. See Synonyms at bargain.

Now, what does that underlined part mean? Why did they add it? Simple, cause some people consider an agreement a legal contract and some don't. What I was talking about with construction contracts and a marriage contracts was showing two types of contracts that require notarization and filing to be considered legal. You can't just sign a paper and shake hands and your agreement be legal and enforceable by law. Jamal asked for examples, I gave them. I really don't know about creator rights in all states and countries that is why I said you need to talk to a lawyer (who can find out).

Now a verbal agreement is legal in Alabama but only if there is proof (and I am sure it is the same in all states in the US). Take McDonalds (your example - I used to be a manager for one myself and actually had to go to school for this stuff - believe it or not). When you go to McDonalds if you have complaint, and the staff doesn't just give you what you want (as long as it is reasonable) like they are supposed to do (by McDonlad Corp. policy) and you want to sue then you need proof (a receipt, the menu, physical proof (burn, cut, bugger in the burger - something like that), a witness) for it to hold up it court. Just saying it happened will not win the case.

Now before I go on and on, how about you guys ask a lawyer about this instead of relying on Judge Judy.

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Buckyrig
07-25-2006, 04:55 PM
(for instance Judge Judy has called people sluts several time - which against the US law since she is doing it in public (on TV no less) and it is, supposedly filled in legal records - it is called defamation of character).

Judge Judy is an imperceptive asshole!

Just felt the need to say that.

kdmelrose
07-25-2006, 04:59 PM
conĚtract ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kntrkt)
n.

An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law. See Synonyms at bargain.

Jason, your problem may be that you're relying on a one-sentence definition from an online dictionary. If that's the breadth of your knowledge on the subject, well ...

Now, what does that underlined part mean? Why did they add it? Simple cause some people consider an agreement a legal contract and some don't.

It doesn't matter what "some people" consider as a legal contract; it's what is considered by law (and not by an online dictionary).

Now before I go on and on, how about you guys as a lawyer about this instead of relying on Judge Judy.

If you promise to do the same, instead of relying on Dictionary.com.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 05:05 PM
Jason, your problem may be that you're relying on a one-sentence definition from an online dictionary. If that's the breadth of your knowledge on the subject, well ...



It doesn't matter what "some people" consider as a legal contract; it's what is considered by law (and not by an online dictionary).



If you promise to do the same, instead of relying on Dictionary.com.

Look, I gave you two examples of contracts that are not legal until notarized and an example of how laws differ in other states/countries, so I have proved my point. Beyond that you are just arguing details.

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kdmelrose
07-25-2006, 05:07 PM
:laugh:

Strawmen, Jason. Strawmen.

L Jamal
07-25-2006, 06:04 PM
Not always true, some states/countries require that a agreement be notarized to make it a legal contract.

Look, I gave you two examples of contracts that are not legal until notarized and an example of how laws differ in other states/countries, so I have proved my point. Beyond that you are just arguing details.

No, Jason, you gave us 2 instances where most states require contracts be notarized. Two instances that we all have agreed are true. However your original statement is that "states/countries require that a agreement be notarized to make it a legal contract." That is the claim I expect you to back up because I know that the agreement and contact are synonomous. I also know that while there are contracts that can not be enforced legally most contracts of any type are legal and are thus "legal contracts" without the need to be notarized. I'm not saying that having contracts notarized is a bad idea, I'm saying that it's unneccessary. All that protects you against is some one saying they didn't sign the contract. It in no way make the words on the paper more or less legal.

Jason Powell
07-25-2006, 09:31 PM
No, Jason, you gave us 2 instances where most states require contracts be notarized. Two instances that we all have agreed are true. However your original statement is that "states/countries require that a agreement be notarized to make it a legal contract." That is the claim I expect you to back up because I know that the agreement and contact are synonomous. I also know that while there are contracts that can not be enforced legally most contracts of any type are legal and are thus "legal contracts" without the need to be notarized. I'm not saying that having contracts notarized is a bad idea, I'm saying that it's unneccessary. All that protects you against is some one saying they didn't sign the contract. It in no way make the words on the paper more or less legal.

Whatever Jamal, I know you always have to be right so I concede to your overwhelming wealth of knowledge. :yawn:

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L Jamal
07-25-2006, 11:39 PM
It's not that I'm right. It's that quite often you're wrong and persist no matter how wrong. Funny how no one is defending you're position and everyone supports mine.

Buckyrig
07-25-2006, 11:48 PM
It's not that I'm right. It's that quite often you're wrong and persist no matter how wrong. Funny how no one is defending you're position and everyone supports mine.

Fine, you're wrong...I wrote it. Now it's true. :nyah:

L Jamal
07-26-2006, 01:30 AM
you're a liar :D
and not a good one

acgrant
07-26-2006, 11:37 AM
I just love it when these discussions get all "legal."

Strictly speaking, a marriage license is not a contract as the term is generally understood in commercial relations because the terms are not subject to negotiation and there is no real exchange of value. It is an agreement to enter into a relationship that entails certain property rights and other, more personal, legal ramifications under the law of the jurisdiction in which the marriage licensees are domiciled. In Florida, as an example, a marriage license itself does not require notarization, but the affidavit that must be filed to get one must be sworn to before a person authorized to administe an oath, such as a notary public.

Also, in Florida real property must be conveyed in writing before two subscribing witnesses. No notary is required.

By and large, ljamal and kdmelrose are otherwise correct. A verbal agreement can constitute a legally enforceable contract if the proper elements are present (legal purpose, offer and acceptance, meeting of the minds, exchange of value). If a dispute arises under a verbal agreement, then resolving the dispute is a matter of who the judge or jury is going to believe regarding the terms or existence of the agreement because the evidence would be almost entirely testimonial in nature (which is not, by the way, hearsay. Hearsay is an impermissible form of evidence in which a witness offers testimony of another person's statement in order to prove the truth of that statement. For example, a witness testifying that "Kevin said Jamal ate the peach cobbler" is not admissable as evidence to prove that Jamal ate the cobbler (absent additional facts that would make the statement an exception to the hearsay rules). Extrinsic evidence may be involved in proving that one party performed his part of the bargain, or was ready to, but lack of such evidence would not necessarily be fatal to an action seeking enforcement of the agreement.

However, issues of enforceability of a non-written contract aside, my recommendation is almost always to put an agreement in writing to spell out the details and minimize the risk of misinterpretation and to thwart unscrupulous fudging on the stand.

albone
07-26-2006, 12:05 PM
However, issues of enforceability of a non-written contract aside, my recommendation is almost always to put an agreement in writing to spell out the details and minimize the risk of misinterpretation and to thwart unscrupulous fudging on the stand.

This is exactly why I use contracts. Not to try and bend someone half a world away, but just to keep everyone on the same page.

L Jamal
07-26-2006, 12:06 PM
For example, a witness testifying that "Kevin said Jamal ate the peach cobbler" is not admissable as evidence to prove that Jamal ate the cobbler (absent additional facts that would make the statement an exception to the hearsay rules).
Either Kevin or the witness is a liar. I hate peach cobbler.

Imboden
07-26-2006, 09:15 PM
Jamal ate a cobbler?!? What'd he do, fuck up a pair of shoes he was making for you? Damn, bro....
:huh:

Buckyrig
07-26-2006, 09:27 PM
Jamal ate a cobbler?!? What'd he do, fuck up a pair of shoes he was making for you? Damn, bro....
:huh:

You're fired. :man:

MrGranger
07-27-2006, 10:20 AM
Either Kevin or the witness is a liar. I hate peach cobbler.

Fruit pies have always freaked me out.