Essential Law for Animators: Protect Your Characters!


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Savannah International Animation Festival Presentation 2012

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Essential Law for Animators: Protect Your Characters!

  1. 1. PROTECTYOUR CHARACTERS! Essential Law for AnimatorsDeborah Gonzalez, Esq.
  2. 2. DISCLAIMER This presentation is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that you seek legal counsel for specific matters. All copyrights and trademarks of images belongto their respective IP owners and are used under Fair Use for educational purposes.
  3. 3. Story BoardCartoon Laws Copyrights Trademarks Online International Q&A/End
  4. 4. Introduction • Who am I? • Who is in the room? • Why is law important for animators?
  5. 5. Cartoon Laws• Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.• Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.• Everything falls faster than an anvil.• Holes are moveable.
  6. 6. CopyrightsWhat is copyright?Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S.Constitution and granted by law for original works ofauthorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.Copyright covers both published and unpublishedworks.US Copyright Office: Circular 44 Cartoons and ComicStrips
  7. 7. CopyrightsBundle of Rights Right to Reproduce the Work: the right to copy, imitate, reproduce, duplicate or transcribe the work in fixed form. Right to Derivative Works: the right to modify the work to create a new work. A new work that is based upon an existing work is a "derivative work". Right to Distribution: the right to distribute the work to the public by sale, rental, lease or lending.
  8. 8. CopyrightsBundle of Rights (cont). Public Display Right: the right to show a copy of the work directly to the public (e.g., hanging up a copy of a painting in a public place) or by means of a website, film, slide, or television image at a public place or to transmit it to the public. Public Performance Right: This is the right to recite, play, dance, act or show the work at a public place or to transmit it to the public.
  9. 9. CopyrightsWhat does copyright protect?Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protectsoriginal works of authorship including literary,dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry,novels, movies, songs, computer software, andarchitecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas,systems, or methods of operation, although it mayprotect the way these things are expressed.
  10. 10. CopyrightsWhen is my work protected?Your work is under copyright protection the moment it iscreated and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptibleeither directly or with the aid of a machine or device.Do I have to register with to be protected?No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright existsfrom the moment the work is created. You will have toregister, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit forinfringement of a U.S. work.
  11. 11. CopyrightsWhat happens if someone infringes me?• Document the incident – research for all the facts and data• Make sure your copyright is registered• Consult an attorney• Send a Cease and Desist Letter• If the item is online send a DMCA Take Down Notice• Weigh the pros and cons of pursuing litigation/arbitration
  12. 12. CopyrightsProtection in Other Countries?• International Treaties and Agreements – WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization• Copyright Offices in Other Countries• EU Commission – _en.htm• Madrid Protocol• United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  13. 13. Copyrights• Portfolio Drawings vs Selling• Public Domain/Fair Use• Appropriation/First Sale Doctrine• First Amendment/Censorship• Work Made for Hire/Contracts/Licensing
  14. 14. CopyrightsJayme Gordon v Dreamworks Animation (Massachusetts, Feb., 2011)
  15. 15. CopyrightsFrom Shakespeare to Shakesgnome
  16. 16. CopyrightsBrownmark Films v Viacom & Comedy Central (Nov, 2010) over “What What in the Butt” viral video (parody)
  17. 17. Trademarks• Words or symbols used to identify a source in commerce.• In today’s world related to branding.• Infringement occurs if and when customers are confused between the two marks because they are too similar.
  18. 18. Trademarks• Difference between ™ and ®• Dilution or diminution of value of trademark • Facebook vs. Lamebook (settled/disclaimer)• Trademarks help in Social Media – for domain names, social media accounts, etc. • XXX. Domain – Cybersquatting • Twitter account policy – Twitter now owns Tweet® • SEO – Keyword Ads
  19. 19. Trademarks
  20. 20. Trademarks
  21. 21. Trademarks
  22. 22. Online & Beyond• Marketing• Exposure/Awareness/Advocacy• Crowdsourcing• Venue – Contracts – Social Media Platform Terms of Use • Cartoon Network #3 – THEY OWN YOUR CONTENT!!!! – Rules/Etiquette• Liabilities – Defamation
  23. 23. Online & Beyond• Licensing• Merchandising• Festivals• Direct Sales
  24. 24. International• Different Countries/Different Laws – Country Embassies/General Consuls/Cultural Attaches – UK:• Always put a copyright/trademark notice on anything you post• Put language that you own your rights and will enforce them• Digital Signatures for Intl Contracts• E-transactions (currency exchange)• Jurisdiction when an infringement occurs• Language
  25. 25. Q&A The Law Office of Deborah Gonzalez, Esq., LLC 706-614-9915