1. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    Famous character references in your stories

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rabid Fox, Jun 13, 2008.

    I'm in the midst of writing a short story revolving around a young boy who mistakes a monster for a character from the DC universe. I'm curious though, as to how "fair use" or any copyright entanglements might come into play from referencing an established character like Batman or Superman in my own story.

    Mind you, I haven't placed the boy in my story within the DC universe, but is simply a fan of comic books. If I one day try to get said story published, would I need to get some kind of pass from DC? Or does it fall under some kind of fair use clause?

    Any opinions on this would be appreciated.
     
  2. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Using the character in your story can be frought with complications - characters, depending on how well established they are, can be and are subject to both trademark and copyright laws. In the instance of a DC character, it stands to reason to assume that they would be protected under one or more of these laws.

    However, in the instance you describe, I don't feel that any of those would apply as you are not writing specifically about the character - it's more like product placement, if you know what I mean, which is perfectly allowable. If the character takes a more active role in the story, then it's another matter entirely.

    I'm sorry I can't be more specific, some of these laws are vague in themselves. I am no expert, but in general terms this is my understanding.

    :)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't just ask here, where you'll only get lay opinions, as none of us are literary attorneys... go to the source and find out what the laws are:

    www.copyright.gov

    www.uspto.gov [the 'mother' site where you'll also find info on trademark rules 'n regs]

    and for the bottom line skinny on legality, consult a literary attorney...

    btw, 'fair use' doesn't apply here... it only refers to use for commentary, news reporting, scholarly reports and such...
     
  4. Undefined
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    If you are really worried about it then change the names. Batman become The Noir Knight and Superman becomes Protector or something along those lines.
     
  5. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    Thanks, guys. I'm definitely going to check out the legalities of it all should the time come I try to get the story published. For now, I'm content to see what kind of story I can pull from the idea. The creature itself is not going to have any true resemblence to the Batman character, as near as I can tell so far. It's just that the boy has no real frame of reference for what he's seen except for comic books.

    At any rate, I appreciate the opinions.
     

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