How to Copyright Your Comic Creations (article) - Victoria McGrath

Bound By Law? (comic, PDF) - Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins

Mandatory disclaimer number two: I’m not a copyright lawyer! Also, the rules I’m stating are for the US and Canada. Make sure to check your local laws before you make any decisions. When in doubt talk to a professional.

In the US and Canada, Copyright is free and automatic once a project is created. No registration is required. What you pay for when you DO register your product is a “filing fee”. The government takes your documents and stores them for future use.

Then why should I bother registering?

To quote the Canadian Intellectual Property Office: “The Copyright Act states that a certificate of registration of copyright is evidence that copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner of the copyright.”

This essentially means registration is meant to act as a paper trail in the case you need to invoke your copyright claims (someone is trying to sue you or vice versa). Once again, registration is not a requirement (in US or Canada) for Copyright to be enacted.

I’m no expert on the matter so I’ll leave the decision to you whether or not you think it’s worth it to officially register your Copyright (and if you live outside of the US or Canada, you might be required to).

I will say that things tend to get more complicated when multiple people are to share ownership of a copyright so it may be worth sorting things out officially, though you should also be defining that kind of stuff in any contracts you have with your collaborators.

Also of note, trademarks are NOT automatic (phrase, book title, team name) and must be registered explicitly.

Self-Publishing Basics: The Copyright Page (article) - Joel Friedlander

You know the page(s) in a book with all the fine print about publication information? That’s called the front matter (or back matter if it’s in the back).

If you’re self publishing your own book, this front matter isn’t strictly required (though I highly encourage you to include it).

The front matter of a book should include at least the following information:

  • A copyright notice for your product. While in some countries copyright is free and automatic, it’s still important to mention it in writing.

Copyright © <insert year of first publication here> by <insert owner of copyright here> All rights reserved.

  • A Trademark (TM) notice for any content you have a trademark registered for. Only include this if you actually purchased a trademark!

<Insert name of trademarked things here>TM are registered trademarks of <insert owner of trademark here>

  • Publisher information. If the comic is produced through a publisher, they’ll want to include their name and potentially some order information. Don’t worry about this as the publisher should handle it themselves.

  • Your reservation of rights / warning statement. This is where you mention how your product can and can’t be used. The message itself is more of a formality but if you wish to include one (and I encourage that you do) the message’s content depends on whether or not you want to allow redistribution.

If you don’t want to allow redistribution of your comic (which is what you want in most cases), you can use this template provided by Joel Friedlander or the variation that I use:

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, [except for short excerpts for review purposes] without the express written permission of <insert owner here>.

If you want your comic to be free to distribute, you can use this website to generate a creative commons license. You can choose the degree to which you want to allow redistribution.

  • The country of printing. I’m not sure exactly why this is included but it’s probably for customs and tax related purposes.

Printed in <insert country here>.

  • A fiction Disclaimer. I don’t include this myself but I see it in many books.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, without satiric intent, is purely coincidental.

  • Your contact Information. Optional but you may want to include a means of contact.

For permission requests, contact <insert e-mail or phone number here> or write to the address below. <actually insert your address below>

  • The ISBN or UPC number (not the whole barcode) of your book.

ISBN: <insert number here>