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.

But TAKE NOTE OF THIS!!!

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?”

Teralodon

Old rival and whacky friend of Dagadon.

King of the Pacific and ruler of the megs. He’s actually the reason why the megalodon species became almost extinct. He decimated the megs because they are voracious eaters and hostile to humans.


Teralodon is an original character created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Arya

Real Name: Arya

Height: 5′ 7″

Age:

Badjao boy who discovered Dagadon, the whale of Jonah. He can’t communicate with sea animals and can’t control water but can control the interaction of water molecules with fish bones or anything with calcium such as shells.

He, thus, can also change the pressure that water exerts on the body of a fish. He doesn’t normally reveal this ability since it is his special attack.

He only needs to touch the part of the fish where its bone is not covered with thick skin. Once he did this, he can control the interaction of water molecules with the bones so that he can maniputale the movements of the fish.

Since his bones have same material with turtle shells, he can manipulate water molecules as they interact with his body, thus, allowing him to breathe and swim fast underwater.

His weapons are two circular shurikens (20″ diameter) made from megalodon teeth. Sometimes, he brings with him a larger shuriken which he puts on his back. He can make shurikens travel underwater at speeds even faster than bullets traveling on air.

He fought against Dagadon and won. This made Dagadon respect him and made him his friend.



Arya is an original character created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Kampyon

Real Name: Yulo Balyente

Height: 6′

Age: 26

ABILITIES: super strength, super speed, invulnerability, flight, and power blast

Yulo is a progidy at the recently concluded 2019 SEA Games. Though being a first timer, he participated in three different events and set a record for winning the greatest number of gold medals. Despite all these, he remained humble and generous. During the awarding, something mysterious happened. Yulo received a mystical gold medal that allows him to transform into the superhero, Kampeon.

In order to transform, he traces a circle in the air using his five fingers by twisting his hand. The circle traced produces a radiant ring whose inside is black. He enters his hand on the ring and pulls out the medal (with a red lace) as if pulling it from another dimension. He then wears the medal and shouts, “AKO ANG KAMPEON!” During the transformation, the medal and its lace become part of the costume.

In order to shoot his power blast, he has to trace again a circle in the air. Then he poses his palm right after the radiant ring. The medal on his chest glows and a glowing line connects the medal to the little circles at the tip of his fingers. As soon as the five circles in his fingers glow, a powerful energy beams out of the ring. He draws the energy for his power blast from the mystical dimension.

BACK STORY

A long time ago, twelve South East Asian nations were united as one kingdom called Maharlika. But things changed after the most dominant nation coveted power over the entire kingdom.

The SEA Games was created for the purpose of uniting the eleven SEA nations and to hold an annual sports competition in order to find the true Kampeon worthy to be granted the powers through a medal.

The symbol in the medal is the Baybayin letter “ka”.

In the 2019 SEA Games, the eleven Elders debated whether a worthy champion is already found. They were divided as to their opinion of the worthiness of Yulo. But since the situation is already urgent and the twelf (tyranical) country, China, is already in the move, they finally agreed to a conditional bestowing of the medal on Yulo. The condition is that the medal will be taken back if a person more worthy will arise.

ALL ATHLETIC PROWESS COMBINED

Kampyon’s strength is the sum total of the combined strength, speed, and versatility of all athletics in the world from the very beginning the value of sportsmanship came to the consciousness of men and pursued as a virtue through athletic competition. The power of the medallion draws from this. So long as men and women aspire for athletic greatness through training, self mastery, and discipline, the medal will continue to power Kampyon.


GALLERY


Kampyon is an original character created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Lieutenant J

Real Name: Lt. Lady Justice
Height: 5′ 7′
Age: 27

A sexy and beautiful police woman who transforms into a powerful superheroine. In order to transform, she has to wear her magical handcuffs and then breaks the pair apart while shouting, “JUSTICE UNBIND!” The chains lengthen and wrap around her wrists. She can use them to deflect bullets or enemies’ attacks.

POWERS: super strength, super speed, flight, enhanced empathy

Empathy: She can sense heightened emotions especially distress from a distance of 10 km. Once she senses the emotion, she can concentrate on its source and re-construct the image and identify whether it comes from a human male, female, adult or child. She can even identify the person if she/he is a former acquaintance. She can also sense other emotions, such as anger and killing motive but her range is more limited.

Healing factor: If injured, her cuffs allow her body to heal with accelerated speed.

Without her cuffs, she still has her superstrength, speed, durability, and enhanced empathy but she can’t fly or fire energy and her defences are lower.

SPECIAL ATTACK:
She can project energy in the form of a handcuff. The chain (can lengthen up to 50 m) and the cuff (can grow bigger to fit the size of the enemy) are made of pure energy emanating from the cuffs on her wrist.

In order to use her special attack, she has to toss the energy cuff to catch the enemy. She then connects the chains in her wrists, snaps them again, and the cuff explodes. Connecting the chains and snapping them, therefore, acts like a fuse detonating the energy cuff.

For maximum damage, she has to catch the enemy with the two energy handcuffs projected from her hands respectively. The two exploding as one will cause 10x more powerful blast than a single cuff.

The blast yield can also be raised up to 100x if charged sufficiently. This would take time though. But the two cuffs binding the enemy normally are enough to give the time needed for the charging.


Lieutenant J is an original character created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Royal Blue

Real Name: Smash Dash
Height: 7′ 11″
Age: 10 as Smash, 35 as Royal Blue

Smash, half Filipino and half American, rides a tractor tire. He can spin the tire by his mere will while standing on top of it. When he encounters a foe, he merges with the tire, transforming into his alter ego, Royal Blue.

When the rubber tire covers his entire body, it increases his strength and resistance verging on the ultimate. But even before transformation, Smash is quite strong already. During power-up, he can modify the rubber material into its hardest state, making his color shiny black, his hair royal blue, and eyes glow.

Healing factor: If he is damaged, he can heal by simply absorbing more tires.

Size changing: He can grow bigger and stronger. When transformed, he may age physically but his personality doesn’t change. He loves to jokingly tease people especially his enemies by frightening them with his appearance since he can also change his face into an ugly monster.

Smash’ third form (Royal Blue’s first/raw form). This happens after Smash learned to merge with a tire. His height here is 8′ 9″. There is a mistake in the drawing since he should be barefooted.

Transformations

Smash has seven level transformations. The first two are still in Smash form. Even before transformation, Smash is already strong since his body was permanently altered after he obtained his power. Third to seventh are Royal Blue forms. In his seventh (final form), his whole body’s color turns into shiny black-blue like this:

“That’s the reason why they call me Royal Blue.”

Weakness

Smash sees the whole world as his playground. He seems unable to distinguish a fight from play. This was already his original personality but was higthened by the power that alters the physical properties of his heart. The source of his power fused with his heart and this explains why it becomes impossible to change his personality and his dominant feelings. His heart is literally glowing.

Because of this, he’s not always reliable in the battlefield. The fiercer the enemy is or the more destructive the fight becomes, the more he gets excited. And the more he is excited, the more his strength manifests. The stronger he becomes, the more he sees everything as mere play.

There are two ways to defeat Royal Blue. One is to get him bored and the other is to distract him with something that excites him more.


GALLERY


Royal Blue and Smash Dash are original characters created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Olen

Costume design by Art of Smudge.

Real Name: Oliver Neil Flores

Height: 5′ 10″

Age: 17

Oliver is the son of a wealthy businessman. His mother is a physicist with two Ph. D. degrees, namely, in nano-technology and nuclear chemistry. He has no superpowers, but because of his Niphilim blood, he has abilities that are above the normal:

  • He is a stand out genius in terms of intellect and dexterity.
  • His body matures as normal humans do but when it reaches its peak (about 33 years old), his body ages slowly. His ancestors actually reached 140 – 180 years old.
  • His body has superior degree of absorbing vitamins and minerals so that he quickly heals by intaking the right food and medication.
  • Finally, unlike the ordinary human body which reaches a limit to learning skills, his body doesn’t stop developing and learning skills so that if he continue practicing, his skill level continues to increase. However, the level of this skill still doesn’t amount to a superhuman power even if it is beyond normal.

In school, he excelled at almost all sports. He is a taekwondo, swimming, and darts champion. Above all, he loves to play holens (marbles). As a young kid, he was fascinated with those little colorful spherical marbles and developed the skill of transferring a holen from one finger to another the way magicians do with coins.

Aware of the threat from dubious individuals to their family and seeing the exceptional talent of Olen, his mother created him a powerful nano-tech suit that enhanced Olen’s strength. Initially, his suit was powered by atomic energy but later by hell-fire technologically harnessed by his mother.

His suit is made out of carbon nanotube fibers – the strongest material on Earth and is also extremely lightweight. On his lower arms are cartridges where he stores marbles. The cartridges drop marbles to his palms. With his suit, he can flick marbles using his thumbs at a maximum range of 4,600 meters. These can attain a velocity higher than that of bullets. He is extremely dextrous and accurate when shooting marbles.

He has plain marbles, marbles with spikes that protrude upon release from his fingers, explosive marbles, tracking marbles, camera marbles, and smoke marbles. He stores his extra marbles on his belt.

Finally, he has grappling devices in each of his lower arms. 1 mm thick carbon nanotube cables are wound in the cartridges respectively. Attached on the end of the cables are marbles with spikes that protrude after the marbles embed on the wall. These marbles are Bluetooth enabled so that he can remotely turn off the spikes allowing them to be released from the walls. With his grappling devices, Olen can swing from one building to another.

Olen, using his grappling devices. Note: Olen is not a rip-off of Spiderman. He’s just too clever that he’s able to invent the best grappling device ever – allowing him to swing from one building to another. (Background image credits to Luca Bucken @ Unsplash.)

Most of the time, Olen is wearing a thinner inner suit covered with his jacket and jeans. All are made of carbon nanotubes, including his shoes, so that his body is completely bullet-proofed. Carbon nanotubes are so light that all he wears are only as heavy as a single leather jacket.

GALLERY


Olen is an original character created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Si Ato

Name: Ato

Height: 5′ 9″

Ato wields two indestructible wooden (siato/siatong) sticks. They were originally Moses staff. The first stick is 7 inches long. But it can increase up to 30 inches, which is the length of the other stick, so that the two can be used as Arnis (Escrima) weapon. They can also be connected together to form a single longer stick. When struck by the longer stick, the shorter stick acts as an energized projectile destroying enemies in its path. Ato can control at will the path of the shorter stick, make it rotate, or return to him.

The sticks allow limited flight to Ato. He does this by striking the shorter stick to the sky and pulling himself up towards the airborne stick.

Ato is the main hero in the comics we’re creating.

SPECIAL ATTACKS:

He can energize the stick to extremely high level by spinning – creating his alpha (right spin) and or omega-tirabung attack (left spin). The first shreds an enemy’s body, transforming it into energy and is spread throughout the environment, causing plants to rapidly grow, flowers bloom, and wounded animals heal. The second, forbidden from use against any rational being, acts like a black hole that absorbs everything in its path.

He can also summon sixty nine shadow short sticks to fire his seventy-rounds gatling-tirabung.

This drawing is traced from a pre-existing image the site address of which the author can’t remember anymore.

Ato is an original character created by Redentor de la Rosa.

Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020. All rights reserved.

Copyright in Characters

How does the copyright law protect original characters?

It is true that ideas or concepts cannot be copyrighted and that is precisely the reason why you need to illustrate it and describe your character’s unique powers or abilities into writing. Copyright takes effect at the very moment you created it. You don’t need to license it. But publication is a requirement since it is your evidence that you have created it. Post your drawing anywhere that is public or viewable by the public. A public FB post is enough for the publication requirement since it has a non-tamperable date. Date of creation is important in case of conflicting claims. You can also share it in group pages like this.

Other writers and artists infer that concepts or ideas can’t be copyrighted because they saw Marvel and DC have similar characters. But actually, if you look closely at those characters, it’s either they have generic and or public domain abilities or the DC character, even if a rip-off, didn’t really copied the unique ability (the one protected by copyright law) of the Marvel character or vice versa.

Let’s take one example. There are many Captain America-like characters that were created by DC and other creators. They also have shields (wielding a shield is a public domain ability), some are circular others are not. But none of these characters’ shields can be thrown and return back. There’s a court battle between Marvel and another creator. The judge ruled that the creator can retain his Captain America-like character but he can’t throw his shield because this concept (ability) is unique to Marvel’s Captain America.

Finally, if you can see a Captain America-like character who can throw his/her shield and the shield can also return, check it again since, for sure, it is also a Marvel character. Part of the right of the copyright owner of a character is that he can copy his own creation or make derivatives out of it.

There are spiderman rip-offs but none really webs like the way Spiderman do it. It is copyrighted. Another is Batman. You can have a genuis, detective, and ninja-like character who also have grappling guns but he cannot throw a bat-shaped shuriken and can’t have a bat-shaped cape.

Instead of copying an original character or its abilities, which is illegal, ask the original creator whether he can allow you to use his character for free in your comics. Most likely, he will since he’s also interested with the free promotion your comics can give to his character. Both of you can also agree on some little modifications on the design and backstory you can make to the character.

Adding awesome characters created by others can make your comics more interesting and, hence, increase your sales. At the same time, it will also promote the said characters. So, the benefit is mutual.