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How do I go about copyrighting model sheets, or character sheets?

 
 
Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2011 07:25 pm
Model sheets are character sheets- sheets cartoonists use to help draw characters from different views and expressions, poses, etc. They can be copyrighted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_sheets

Copyright and fair use

Model sheets are not typically in the public domain, but are copyrighted material owned by the animation studio which created it. There used to be a lot of model sheets on the internet, however many[who?] studios demanded that they be taken down.

Although model sheets originally are intended for artists who work for the studios that own the characters for which these templates are developed, other artists, such as those who create fan art, profit from them by adapting their characters to their own uses. In addition, parents often download and print model sheets as free coloring books for their children.

How do I go about copyrighting them? Do I register them for copyright with the Library of Congress? Please help-thank you.
 
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2011 11:08 pm
Why wouldn't a character/model sheet constitute a fixed work?
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JGoldman10
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 08:53 pm
No one here is a cartoonist? Can someone here please answer this question?
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Robert Gentel
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 09:03 pm
@JGoldman10,
You can register it here: http://www.copyright.gov/
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 09:06 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I will contact them and ask.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 09:53 pm
I see you are well taken care of, goldman.
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 09:54 pm
@edgarblythe,
Hi edgar- do you have any info regarding this?
edgarblythe
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 09:59 pm
@JGoldman10,
Robert has offered very good information. I have always been told you could mail yourself a copy. Keep it sealed. It is dated by the post office. This is supposed to be as good as getting a copyright like Robert suggests, but I like his way better.
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 10:00 pm
@edgarblythe,
Is that what your brother did when he made his comics?
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Robert Gentel
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 10:29 pm
@edgarblythe,
This advice is based on the fact that copyright is something automatic and that registering for it is just a way to more easily prove that you created the work.

The registered mail to self advice is basically just a way some suggest to establish such proof yourself, but you don't need to do anything other than create the work in fixed form to have copyright.

So in other words JGoldman10, your work is already copyrighted whether you register it or mail it to yourself or not.
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 10:57 pm
@Robert Gentel,
If I don't do that and I showcase my work and hypotheitcally if someone were to steal it how would I prove it was mine?
Robert Gentel
 
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Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 11:03 pm
@JGoldman10,
I don't know, if you are worried then by all means register the copyright.

But in my experience writers and artists often spend too much time worrying about others stealing their work and not enough worrying about whether they have anything worth stealing. Don't let your concern over the former eclipse the latter.
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 01:29 am
@Robert Gentel,
I emailed the LOC about copyrighting model sheets. I am waiting to hear back from them.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 04:41 am
@Robert Gentel,
Excellent advice. There actually are generally not enough thieves out there to make fear of theft worth the effort.
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 10:00 am
@edgarblythe,
Do you have any work posted on devianrtart.com or any other online art forum? I have heard stories about online art theft, that's why for a long time I was leery about posting any artwork online.
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JGoldman10
 
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Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 12:51 pm
@edgarblythe,
I wish I had realized this years ago.
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JGoldman10
 
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Reply Tue 26 Apr, 2011 12:52 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thank you for your help, man. If you are interested, I'll let you know what the LOC says about copyrighting model sheets in a few days when I hear back from them.
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JGoldman10
 
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Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 10:03 am
@Robert Gentel,
I am going to make some artwork up and make copies of it. Should I mail the originals to myself or the copies? Should I register the copies or originals for copyright?

Hypothetically if art theft did happen, how would I be able to prove they art they stole was mine if I mail the originals to myself? Where would I go from there?
Robert Gentel
 
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Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 03:11 pm
@JGoldman10,
You may want to talk to a copyright lawyer for better advice but I would not bother with either personally.

But as for copies versus original I do not think you need to use the original. Again, you may want to talk to a copyright lawyer though.

But I reiterate my point: this is a cost/risk scenario you need to weigh. I suspect the costs outweigh the risks for you right now and that you should spend the time and money on the art instead.
JGoldman10
 
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Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 06:08 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'll find one online-I'm sure there's some who wouldn't mind me asking them for free.
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