Protection of fictional characters

And now for a bit of necessary legalese: Gaiman could not copyright a character described merely as an unexpectedly knowledgeable old wino, that is true; but that is not his claim.

Studies In Fair Use. Conclusion There may be other forms of legal protection available in given instances including patent laws but in an effort to keep this difficult subject matter somewhat simple, I have not discussed these other areas. Because of that, some companies have tried to protect works that are or will soon be in the public domain through claims of trademark infringement, as a way of extending copyright protection.

Similarly, the character of James Bond was awarded copyright protection on the grounds of being both sufficiently Protection of fictional characters as well as central to the story being told.

The American judiciary has followed both these tests. These methods include the character delineation test, the story telling test, an extrinsic test that ascertains whether there is a substantial similarity in the theme, plot and sequence, settings, mood, dialogues, and characters and finally an intrinsic test that looks at the total concept and feel of a fictional character to determine if that character has been copied and whether there is a substantial similarity in copyrightable expression.

Ohio 12 used this test to decide whether something is pornographic. Modal [xx] rejected the sweat of the brow doctrine, and held that the work must be original and different in character with a distinguishable variation with minimal degree of creativity. However, there are cases in which the public domain characters such as Little Miss Muffet, Little Red Riding Hood and similar characters were denied trademark protection because, as public domain characters, the public does not identify those characters with a particular source but instead merely as literary characters.

Since one of the rights of copyright is the right to make derivative works based on the work, if there is such protection, the author or whoever is the proprietor of the rights in and to the text including the character retains the right to make further use of that character in such derivative works.

In Lone Ranger, Inc. For instance, a character created in a book whether just textually described or depicted is owned, at least presumptively, by the author or other copyright proprietor of such rights in the book.

The court held that to market those goods under the mark ELVIS would obviously seek to evoke the name and memory of Elvis Presley; but it would seek to do so as descriptive of a popular hero, not as distinctive of the connection between the soap and the proprietor of the mark.

Thus, while it is possible that a third party may use a public domain version of a character, they may not be able to use the still-protected version.

But then, after the initial success of the films, Fleming wrote another novel with the character which, he admitted, contained elements based on the character as developed in the movies.

Copyright protection for fictional characters

Today we focus on trademark protection for fictional characters from our monthly guest columnist, Kelley Way, a lawyer specializing in literary law and other aspects of law. Therefore, as a generalization, fictional characters have less legal protection than graphic characters.

Copyright Protection For Fictional Characters

There should be proof of independent creation of the allegedly infringing work. The fame of the mark, according to Schienke, would be adjudged by statutory law, as is provided for in the Federal Trademark Dilution Act. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items carried in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the characters were copyrightable basing its decision on the traditional premise that for copyrightability all a character needs is "a name and a characterisation".

TRADEMARK PROTECTION. A fictional character, similar to a graphic character, cannot obtain trademark protection for its own protection, but may only be protected when the trademark indicates a particular source of goods and services.

However, unlike for graphic characters, courts have not fully embraced trademark protection for fictional characters. Nov 08,  · Trademark Protection. Trademark law may protect the names, physical appearance, catchphrases, and certain other elements of fictional characters, provided that.

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Protection of Fictional Characters

Today we focus on trademark protection for fictional characters from our monthly guest columnist, Kelley Way, a lawyer specializing in literary law and other aspects of law. Perhaps fictional characters appearing on merchandise a few weeks/months after their movies are released is also an example of the same.

And like I said in the post – these four characteristics could be the basis of examination by the courts, and a good stepping stone for character protection.


Protecting Fictional Characters Under U.S. Copyright Law

These statutes may touch on issues related to fictional characters since even if the character being portrayed by the user is of a fictional character, by definition it includes the likeness of. Thus, character protection under trademark law can exist concurrently with such protection under copyright law or can exist after the expiration of rights under that copyright law since trademark rights can go on virtually forever as long as the use qualifies, the mark is not “abandoned” or has not become “generic” and the appropriate filings are made.

Protection of fictional characters
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Protecting Fictional Characters Under U.S. Copyright Law |