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ArkBlitz



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Join date : 2011-09-15

PostSubject: Hello people!   Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:46 am

Hello my fellow people! My name's Carlos, and I am the prince of Talamanca who needs to withdraw his fortune from the Bank of Costa Rica... Okay, not really, I am but a fanatic of all that is libre, free and open. I plan to create a series based upon open-source characters, both from this forum and several other free sources (copylefted games and webcomics, for example). I also have plans to create a manga based on my own characters (which will be eventually copylefted, whenever I draw it). Eventually, an open-source fighting game a la King of Fighters. But hey, dreaming is free!
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great dude



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Join date : 2011-01-02

PostSubject: Re: Hello people!   Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:55 am

Welcome aboard.
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argosail

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Join date : 2010-05-02
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Hello people!   Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:51 am

Sounds great Ark! Welcome aboard! Could you do me a favor? Could you list some of the copylefted games and webcomics that you are a fan of? I don't really know of any, and I'd love to discuss this forum and my site with the creators. Also, are you sure that the characters and settings of the games are copylefted? I think that is often intended for the code of the game engine itself, less for the characters...but I would love to be wrong.

Please feel free to discuss and promote your projects here!
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ArkBlitz



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Join date : 2011-09-15

PostSubject: Re: Hello people!   Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:13 am

Surely! My list is composed (but not limited to):

  • The characters by Simon Kirby (especially Excelsior, Tachyon, Selina and the Scarlet Shade [who totally looks like a girl by the way])
  • Tux the penguin and the Gnu, mascot of the FSF (both copylefted)
  • Blender Foundation's short movies: Elephants Dream, Big Buck Bunny, and Sintel (all CC-BY)
  • A copylefted FPS named Red Eclipse (itself forked from another copylefted and abandoned FPS named Blood Frontier; both are CC-BY-ShareAlike)
  • OpenArena, the (really) open-source version of Quake Arena (GPL)
  • The artworks by Nina Paley (CC-BY-ShareAlike)
  • An obscure Brazilian webcomic named "Nerdson doesn't go to school" (CC-BY). Yep.
  • Camelia Girls, the (hopefully) first copylefted ren'ai visual novel (CC-BY-ShareAlike)

I actually digress from using public domain characters. In any moment, a company will take them, create a story based upon them, and sue everybody else for using those same characters (see Project Superpowers).
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argosail

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Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Hello people!   Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:59 pm

Thanks for the list. Interesting stuff.

On the subject of PD characters, I think they're quite safe to use...possibly more so than open source characters. I keep picturing nightmare scenarios where open source character creators turn around and sau, "just kidding...where's my royalties?" It's basically on the honor system. I think the copyleft symbol looks very reassuring, but then I remember that it has no more legal bearing than a decepticon insignia. I feel a lot better about characters that don't have a single creator, but are created collaboratively, like Jenny Everywhere and the characters created on these boards. Plus I put some faith in the honor of our board members...

I've not heard of Dynamite going after anyone, but I do know they are trying to lock trademarks on PD characters. Trademarks will always be up for grabs, and personally, I don't begrudge them...I wasn't planning to market a series called "Black Terror" anyway. But nobody can take those characters out of public domain...if Dynamite tried to sue you, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on (unless you were obviously basing your work on unique elements of theirs, rather than the original comics). If anything, they'd open themselves to a counter suit. One of the reasons I created the Free Universe site was to create a strong support community for artists, to let them know that they don't have to give into intimidation. It is important for the public to know and understand its rights. I plan to use PD characters, amd I invite anyone to try and sue me...
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ArkBlitz



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PostSubject: Re: Hello people!   Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:37 pm

argosail wrote:
On the subject of PD characters, I think they're quite safe to use...possibly more so than open source characters. I keep picturing nightmare scenarios where open source character creators turn around and sau, "just kidding...where's my royalties?" It's basically on the honor system. I think the copyleft symbol looks very reassuring, but then I remember that it has no more legal bearing than a decepticon insignia. I feel a lot better about characters that don't have a single creator, but are created collaboratively, like Jenny Everywhere and the characters created on these boards. Plus I put some faith in the honor of our board members...
Indeed, that might happen. Unless there's an actual license involved (like Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike or superior, which are actually contracts between the author and the user and don't expire by the author's whim).

argosail wrote:
I've not heard of Dynamite going after anyone, but I do know they are trying to lock trademarks on PD characters. Trademarks will always be up for grabs, and personally, I don't begrudge them...I wasn't planning to market a series called "Black Terror" anyway. But nobody can take those characters out of public domain...if Dynamite tried to sue you, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on (unless you were obviously basing your work on unique elements of theirs, rather than the original comics). If anything, they'd open themselves to a counter suit. One of the reasons I created the Free Universe site was to create a strong support community for artists, to let them know that they don't have to give into intimidation. It is important for the public to know and understand its rights. I plan to use PD characters, amd I invite anyone to try and sue me...
Although characters can't be taken out from the public domain legally, by creating a story based upon them (and as faithful to the original as possible) and then copyrighting it, they can be taken out from the PD in practice. Which is what I fear the most from Dynamite.
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Hello people!   Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:38 am

The thing is though...Dynamite would have to prove that you were utilizing an element unique to their work (like the glowing skull or the folded gloves...and they would have difficulty proving that even those changes were significant enough for protection). As long as your work is based on the original, you have nothing to worry about. It doesn't matter if they take an old issue of Black Terror, and duplicate it almost frame for frame. They can copyright that issue, because the art is theirs...but if you then re-drew the same issue frame for frame, you could copyright your version, and itwould be impossible for Dynamite to argue that you didn't create a derivative of the original Nedor version. So the closer they are to the original, the less Dynamite can lay claim to...that is WHY Dynamite gave him a glowing skull and folded gloves...to make it different enough to be unique. All you need to do is avoid their unique elements. That's why it's important to read the PD comics and be familiar with the original elements.

This works the other way too. There are Superman cartoons that are PD, but the reason you can't create derivative works, featuring Superman is because it would be impossible to prove that you based the works on the character in the PD cartoons and not the nearly identical character in copyrighted comics. If the cartoon character had been more unique...a guy in a red suit with a star on his chest...then you would be able to use that character.

Point is, Dynamite can't claim copyright on PD elements, even in practice...that's why DC was able to publish Terra Obscura at the same time as Project Superpowers. They both used many of the same characters...the fact is...we could all create stories, simultaneously, featuring the same characters.

Try to understand, these PD comic characters are legally no different than Santa Claus or Hercules once their public domain...everyone can use them...nobody can claim them outright in law or in practice...
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