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 Thunder agents Question

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great dude



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PostSubject: Thunder agents Question   Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:29 am

Can The original versions of the thunder agents be used by anyone?
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Thunder agents Question   Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:13 pm

The case of the thunder agents seems a little debatable to me. Basically, the original comic had a copyright symbol on it, but it wasn't legible. So technically, legally it is publoc domain, but the original creator disputes that I believe. Personally, I wouldn't use them...they're cool, but the legal situation seems sticky to me...
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bchat



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PostSubject: Re: Thunder agents Question   Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:21 am

The bulk of the books published by Tower Comics are Public Domain. With the exception of issue one, none of the other comics published carry a Copyright Notice, which means they immediately entered the Public Domain upon publication.

The problem with the THUNDER Agents, as I understand the situation, is John Carbonaro, who at some point purchased "whatever rights, if any" from Tower. Those "rights" are what Carbonaro tried suing David Singer & Deluxe Comics over. From what I read online from Singer himself on comicsbulletin.com, Carbonaro lost his case, but tried again by filing another lawsuit in which, this time, he named several large distributors as co-defendants. Those distributors, in turn, stopped carrying Deluxe Comics' "THUNDER Agents", causing Deluxe to go out of business. Later still, Singer apparently gave-up the rights to Carbonaro for the books he published in the 1980s.

There's no proof that Carbonaro owns anything published by Tower Comics, but unfortunately, he doesn't need proof to simply file a lawsuit against anyone trying to use the characters. Apparently, even losing a case won't stop him. For those reasons, I wouldn't touch the THUNDER Agents characters with a 10-foot pole ... unless I hit the lottery someday.
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kevinryanvt



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PostSubject: Re: Thunder agents Question   Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:11 pm

John Carbanaro being dead, that might hold him back a bit from filing suit.
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Thunder agents Question   Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:37 am

I would still be nervous about his heirs...there's always calculated risk, but for me, it's a little high. When someone creates a high profile work with these characters and without hassles, I'll feel better about them..
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kevinryanvt



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PostSubject: Re: Thunder agents Question   Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:13 pm

Ok, I was hesitant to “take over” another thread, but, here’s the deal on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, as I understand it. Tower Comics first published The Agents in 1965, and screwed up the copyright. First of all, they published the book with no copyrights on the inside of the book, but rather on the cover, which was not what the law required. This is to make sure that there is no separate copyright on the cover art itself. Second, they never registered the copyright with the Copyright Office. So, unlike what you will read elsewhere from pals of John Carbanaro, the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents were public domain from day one.

So, years later, John Carbanaro paid for the rights to T.H.U.N.D.E.R., and began to publish them, using the name Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, which set up a separate trademark. His partner, David Singer and he had a falling out, and Singer declared that he would go on without Carbanaro. Carbanaro sued over copyright, and the judge took ten minutes to grant summary judgment for Singer, finding that indeed, T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents are public domain. Carbanaro sued again, and this time, named every national distributor as a co-defendant to Singer. They all dropped the new book from distribution. Singer settled, and issued a press statement that Carbanaro owned everything.

Well, Carbanaro died in 2009 and his estate sold the rights to DC Comics, which is interesting, because, like the Brooklyn Bridge, the estate didn’t own them, as the court made plain. But now, DC is publishing T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents, and you will find all sort of characters claiming Carbanaro was right all along.

Well, I didn’t know Carbanaro, and frankly, I have no use for bullies. I have looked at the cover of T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #1, and the copyright IS on the cover, hidden in some machinery on the right. If the book ain’t registered, and the notice is published in the wrong place, the damn book is public domain.

Yes, this is a problem with using public domain books. Any jerk can come along and sue you for any slight they feel you’ve done them wrong. You’ll have to deal with that, but they can sue you over your own characters and stories as well. --Best of luck

K
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SuperHeroFan



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PostSubject: THUNDER Agents....   Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:10 am

Tower Comics never registered its titles with the US copyright office, nor did it include a correct copyright notice on their books. The copyright notice on the first issue was not in the proper location of the book which under copyright law at the time of it's publication had to be "either upon the title page or upon the first page of text of each separate number or under the title heading." Secondly, it was hidden in the artwork, which goes against the part of the law that stipulates that "The notice should be permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work under normal conditions of use and should not be concealed from view upon reasonable examination." According to US copyright law, all works published between 1923-1977 that did not comply with copyright law became public domain upon publication. So, because the first issue had an incorrect notice, the characters fell into the public domain.

Only the Tower Comics version of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is in the public domain. All subsequent versions published by DC Comics, JC Comics, Deluxe Comics, etc. are NOT. Also the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents are curretly trademarked by John Carbonaro's estate (Carbonaro himself died in Febuaury 25, 2009).

HUH? Are they usable?

Reason I ask is because of a char named Lightning from the THUNDER Squad, a paramilitary group with no superpowers but each possessing special skills. Later, the Squad's leader Virgil 'Guy' Gilbert was given a super-suit that increases his metabolism and became the super-fast Lightning. His powers come at a considerable price--each time he uses them drains a little bit of his life.


Last edited by SuperHeroFan on Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added new info)
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