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Old 07-24-2006, 04:31 PM   #1
ComradeTim
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Copyrights and Contracts

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.
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:50 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ComradeTim
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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Old 07-24-2006, 05:02 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:50 PM   #5
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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 $$ they made using your character/story. It's not very much per script.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:50 PM   #6
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Any agreement that 2 parties signed is a contract.
It doesn't have to be filled with legalese to be a contract. It just has to be a meeting of 2 minds.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGranger
I copyright everything. If you don't have a copyright with the US Gov. then you can only sue to get someone to stop using your character/story. If you do then you can also sue for any $$ they made using your character/story. It's not very much per script.

Agreed.
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Old 07-25-2006, 12:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljamal
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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Old 07-25-2006, 01:19 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 07-25-2006, 01:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljamal
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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Old 07-25-2006, 02:33 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:02 AM   #12
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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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Old 07-25-2006, 09:59 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:54 AM   #14
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:00 AM   #15
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Hey! I'm watching The People's Court as I type this!

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