Notes on Copyright Law: For Creators and Artists (Part 1)

Here’s what you need to know about the copyright law.

First, you own copyright to your work at the very moment you created it. This means that you don’t have to license or register your work in the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

However, your work must be published since publication (or making it public) is your only evidence that you have created it.


Publication doesn’t necesarily mean having a printed comics and sold on comic cons or bookstores or a comic posted on FB or Webtoons, etc.THERE IS NO NEED TO CREATE A COMICS WHERE YOUR CHARACTER CAN APPEAR. The term, “publication,” could refer to whatever ways your work is made viewable by others provided that there is a non-tamperable date to it.

So, for instance, if you’ve created an awesome original character and you posted it on Facebook with “friends” or “public” audience, that’s enough for the publication requirement. This is so since every post that we do in FB, there is a date to it. In case someone claims ownership to your work, the date of “publication/posting” will be the deciding evidence for real ownership. In other words, it’s a “first-to-post” basis. Whoever posted it first on FB owns the character.

Hence, it is advisable to circulate you original character to as many FB pages and as soon as possible. You can also post your work in any website with a posting date indicated.

With regards to commissions, the one who hires the service of the artist automatically owns the copyright both to the art and to the orginal character. However, the artist also co-owns the copyright but only to the piece of art, which he made but not to the character.

However, the creator/owner must be able to secure an evidence showing that the commissioning has really occured. In most cases, commissioning an artist happens in a conversation in messenger. Hence, as an evidence that the artist only drew the character because you’ve commssioned him/her, you must secure a copy of all your conversations. You can do this by downloading your entire conversation. Open your fb conversation using a Google browser and click the download button at the upper right corner of the page.

NOTE: A character doesn’t become an ORIGINAL character by simply having a unique costume design, hairstyle, backstory, or by being in a different universe. The character must have unique abilities or powers. This is specially true to superhero or supervillain characters.

Continue to Part 2: “What is an Original Superhero?”

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