Copyrighting a character?

How do you get copyrights for a character you have modeled and you use in your artwork like posters, cards etc. :confused:

You stamp © your name 2006 on it.

I’m not a lawyer (disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer) but I believe that you can copyright artwork created with your character or the data from which the character is made, but to protect the character itself you might be better off with a trademark. In any event, U.S. copyright law says that you are the holder of the copyright to works that you create as soon as you create them. However, if someone were to steal the material, and you wanted to sue, you’d have to be able to prove that you created the concept first, AND you’d have to prove that their character was substantially similar to yours so as to be identical or derivative. The only reliable way to establish the date of your creation is to register it (in the U.S., that would be with the Patent Office). Most other countries have similar rules and procedures. YMMV, of course, and you should consult an attorney before proceeding with any legal action (disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer).

I have heard that some CG artists hide small but easily identifiable patterns in their meshes to guard against outright theft of the data when posting or otherwise distributing it, so they can verifiably identify their property in court.

It is also my understanding that adding a letter “C” in parentheses is not considered a valid declaration of copyright, but that the special symbol of a small “C” inside a circle is required.

Just a note, in the US, you’ll want to go to the office, not the patent office - that’s for inventions. Alternately, you might might want to trademark a character if its a specific image, which would be kind of like a logo.
As well as the circled C, you can type out Copyright <year>.
Also, technology like Digimarc (sp?) can imbed invisible “codes” in a picture, which supposedly can survive some editing. YMMV

My mistake… :o I knew that the patent offce handled trademarks and patents, and that they have copyright information at their web site. Thanks for getting the right info out. :slight_smile:

What does the year mean anyway? Is it copyrighted only that year or is it that the copyright was made that year or what?

It’s the year in which the material was created. Copyrights have a lifetime of several years (can’t recall off the top of my head how many) and they can be renewed (at least a limited number of times). Some material will show multiple years, indicating that there were multiple creations in it.

For example, I have software that I’ve created that shows copyright years of 2003, 2005 which means that I wrote it in 2003, and added material in 2005. I have some that shows copyright years of 2002-2006, meaning I wrote it in 2002 and added material each year after (and in this case, will probably be adding material until I die of old age, but that’s another story… :))

for some problems that Disney has run into with their MM copyright, and learn. Hopefully learn more than that, because…

“several years”??? Try, the date means that it will not expire within the lifetime of several generations of your descents!

/Rant time.
The US mega media corps have lobbied and $$$ enough that anything from the creation of Mickey Mou$e (copyright Walt Disney Corp, 12500 BC - ah, okay, 1928) so that the Sonny Bono etc bill extended existing copyright for another 20 years - a copyright expiration moratorium.

This is directly contrary to the entire spirit of the copyright act.

The whole point of copyright is to encourage the creation of cultural works for the enrichment and benefit of society, by providing a LIMITED time of protection and exclusive benefit and enrichment for the author. It was originally something like 14 years with one optional renewal.

Then it kept getting longer… and longer. It’s now 70 years after the author’s death!!! Corporate ownerships are almost as bad. Copyright was to encourage author’s monetarily to contribute to society, not to let your lazy, greedy great-great-grandkids (that you never even met) to sponge off your work long after you’re gone a century later.

And they are the reason for the current moratorium on ALL expirations. Disney really doesn’t want the Mouse to go public domain, even though it was KNOWN that this would happen long ago. They’re so big and powerful, they think they should be exempt… and of course, all the other little artists. But especially them. And that’s regardless of the author’s intent, expectation (Disney certainly didn’t expect his work to still be protected today), and whether there is any commercial value. It is and will continue to devestate research and all kinds of other works that benefit society.

See for an explanation of the original and the rest of the site for some other options.

This whole subject is vital right now, because if unbreakable DRM (cough) gets put on material now, effectively, copyright will NEVER EXPIRE. Even if material IS public domain, the DRM laws from the US’ DCMA say you aren’t allowed to even try to break encryption. So to exercise your rights, you would have to break the law, effectively creating a perpectual copyright.
That’s not right. And Canada’s looking at doing the same thing due to pressure from the (especially US) media corps, Australia just did enact a DMCA, Europe, and Japan’s close too. The estate of Joyce for example has prevented readings, performances, etc and even DISPLAY of manuscripts and notebooks in galleries, libraries, etc in Ireland!
BAH. :mad: /rant off.

Hmmm… see for some info about the issue, looks interesting…

a trick
you need a proof of copyrgith but how ?

take a copy of you drawing put it in a sealed envelope and sent it to yourself but don’t open it - This envelope then because a proof of the date of the copyright

nice trick


Nice trick, but be aware that it may not hold up in court. This is from the FAQ at the US Copyright Office’s web site:

I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?

The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.


Give us the mouse.
You got to use Pocohontas, the Hunchback, Aladdin et al… now give us “The Mouse” already.

It is not met to be an equivalent to registration which is always the better way.

You go trough the official registration when you have something which is a finish work and not a work in progress changing every week for a while.

But as a minimum it gives a date at which you put the C on your whatever
Drawing or picture ect with a date
if you don’t want to take the time to register it officialy

or if you need to do a lot of modification in the near futur and want to wait till its more complete as a work of art.

it’s Better than nothing fast and cheap

and by the way in the US even if you have a copyright or hold a patent

If there is money to be made with this patent some big company are ready to break it and be ready with your lawyer and a few 100 thousand (or millions ) in lawers cost to defend it to the death .
Company have lawyer ressources like you don’t have and they are ready to do anything to make a profit and keep going in court to try to prove the improveable but they can afford it while you cannot as a little guy or small company.

but its a country where you can find freedom
freedom for the rich but not for the poor

but may be i’m wrong who knows