How to Copyright Your Comic Creations

By Victoria McGrath

Comic creations feature an abundance of copyrightable matter, including detailed art work, unique graphics and creative text. You can register your original creative work as a literary work or a visual art work. Complete the copyright registration application online or on paper. For paper applications, use form TX for literary works or form VA for visual art. You must include at least one copy of your comic creation with your electronic or paper application.

Step 1

Start your application by providing the title of the comic creation and any previous titles used for this piece. Briefly describe the nature of the work, as a comic book, comic strip or other type of comic creation. State if this comic creation exists as a contribution to a series or collection of creative works.

Step 2

Name each author of the comic creation and provide each author's nationality. Include all authors who contributed a significant amount of copyrightable work to the comic. If many authors contributed individual comics to a collection, name the author of the collective work. State if the comic is a work for hire created by an employee within the scope of employment.

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Step 3

Include the nature of the work that each author contributed. For literary work, the nature of work might include the "entire text," "editorial revisions," or "English translations." For visual arts, check the appropriate box for the nature of the authorship. Specify if the contribution includes two-dimensional art work, a reproduction of the artwork, photography or text used in the comic creation.

Step 4

Specify the year of creation and earliest date of publication. The year of creation refers to the date that the author completed the comic creation. The date of first publication means the date the comic creation was made available for public display, distribution or sale. Include the month, day and year of publication, along with the country of publication.

Step 5

Name each copyright claimant. The claimants may be the same as the authors, or may be different if the comic was created as a work for hire or was transferred from the author to the claimant. You must include a brief statement of how copyrights transferred to the claimant, if the claimant did not author the work.

Step 6

Provide information about any earlier registration of the comic creation, and clarify if the comic creation derives from any earlier works with previous copyright registration. State if the comic depends on preexisting work, and distinguish any newly added material from the preexisting work.

Step 7

Include information about your deposit account. Note whether you're a first-time copyright filer or if you prefer to pay your copyright fees through an account already set-up.

Step 8

Fill out contact information for future correspondence. Provide the name of the person to contact regarding the copyright registration application. Include a complete address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address.

Step 9

Sign the certification at the end of the application. You must certify that you are a copyright claimant, author of the creative work, exclusive owner of the copyrights or an authorized agent of the copyright owner. You print or type you name and date the certification. Hand sign the paper application, or electronically sign the online application.

Step 10

Complete the mailing address for the copyright certificate to be mailed to you, before you submit your application. Include the nonrefundable filing fee with your application and a copy of your comic creation. For work first published in the United States, one copy satisfies the registration and the Library of Congress requirement.

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How Rappers Copyright Their Work


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A List of Copyright Rules & Procedures

Copyrights protect original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. They prohibit anyone other than the author from copying or performing the work without the author's permission. Violation of a copyright is called infringement. If your copyright has been infringed, you may be entitled to damages. These protections are provided by the U.S. federal government. They are embodied in Title 17 of the U.S. Code. State protections also exist, but these vary from state to state.

How to Obtain an Illustration Copyright

If you are the creator of any kind of artwork, including a line drawing or other illustration, then you are the copyright owner of that work. It's important to remember the legal rights inherent in copyright, as well as the registration process for actually protecting your copyright in the eyes of the law.

Comic Copyright Laws

Copyright law protects original works from unlicensed copying or reproduction. The copyright belongs to the creator of the work and exists from the moment the work is produced in a fixed form. Copyright extends to both pictorial and written expressions and therefore includes both the writing and the pictures contained in comics. Depending on the nature and style of the comic, it can be classified as either a work of visual arts or a literary work. The Copyright Act can be found in Title 17 of the United States Code.


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