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 Captain Nazi?

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TheCosmicMoth

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PostSubject: Captain Nazi?   Fri May 21, 2010 11:23 am

Hi, I'm an independent comic writer/creator who loves your Public Domain Super Heroes site. I want to use the Golden Age version of Captain Nazi (that your site reports as public domain) as the villain in a time travel story featuring some of my own characters. However, I know that DC owns versions of the character and am worried that they would interfere. I guess I'm just asking if anyone knows for sure that the Golden Age Captain Nazi is free for use in the public domain. Not that I'm doubting your site, but I'm sure most of you know how tricky these things are. Can anyone confirm this character can be used by anyone?
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Tue May 25, 2010 4:34 pm

Well, let me be clear that I'm not a lawyer and I haven't really researched this independently, but I do think the PDSH wiki has it right with Captain Nazi. There is always some risk of course, and I think that most people are careful about using characters that are being actively used by a giant like DC. However, the law is the law, and if DC can't prove that it or Fawcett renewed the copyright to Master Comics #21, then you can legally use any information that could be ascertained about the character from that issue, or any other issue that was printed before the publication date of a copyrighted issue featuring the character. I would recommend downloading the earliest issues and make sure you are using public domain info. Some features of the character, as he is known in the DCU, may be from later copyrighted issues. Stick to the early comics, and if you can, try to put a little bit of your own twist on the character to distinguish it from the DC version.

Remember, just because you are in the legal right, doesn't mean DC won't come after you anyway, just to maintain exclusive rights to the character through intimidation. I'm pretty sure they'd go after you if you used Plastic Man, even though he is public domain. Then again, I don't think Captain Nazi is that valuable, and unless you're making big money on your story, I doubt they'd even hear about it, much less care. Dave Sim used copyrighted characters in stories, so I don't think anyone's going to hassle you about using a 70 year old PD character that is embarrassingly un-PC. If you feel uncomfortable about it, there are tons of other Nazi supervillains such as Iron Jaw, Baron Doom, Super Brain, etc, from comics that were never inherited by another company.
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TheCosmicMoth

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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Fri May 28, 2010 9:51 am

Thanks for your input and advice, Argosail. I figured that was probably the truth of the matter but wanted to hear at least one outside opinion before I took any action. From what I've heard about the Fawcett copyrights, there's a lot of doubt about the Fawcett characters DC claims to own and what is or isn't in the public domain. I'm hoping the mess is so bad that the only Fawcett characters they'll really go to court for are the Marvel family. I'll let you know if I go through with the story.
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Fri May 28, 2010 11:32 am

No problem. I know it's a little nerve wracking to use these characters and it's nice to have some confirmation that they can be used. But ultimately, we have to be brave and support each other in asserting our rights to these characters. If we want to have a library of great characters that we can share, somebody is going to have to walk right into the big, scary corporate shadow, shine a light and show others that we can all come enjoy our common property. It will be a lot less scary when it's more proven ground, but it will take people with a little guts to explore it. As a creative guy, I'm sure you could come up with a good villain, but come on...Captain Nazi has a legacy in comics, so why not use him?

Anyway, just make sure you don't use the Captain Nazi name on the cover or advertising, as DC may have legitimate trademark rights (though, probably not, considering that I haven't seen Captain Nazi merchandise anytime in the recent past). I really do think that is one character you're safe with. But you're right, I think I'd be much more careful with the Marvel Family itself. That's a cash cow for them, and I'm sure they'd try to stop you somehow. At the very least, it would probably make your publisher nervous (after all, you're not the only one who has to be brave).
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Ultimosteve



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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:35 am

Any updates on your projected? I pretty interested in seeing how this works out. I pretty sure that DC is well aware that there claim on Fawcett characters is pretty weak so I don't think they would want to presue Captain Nazi. He isn't even Captain Marvels most iconic villain. I would be surprised if they even have trademark on the name. Its not like he is going to get his own action figure or they a going to give him his own title. With that said, I would Love to also use Captain Nazi
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Heckfire



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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:47 pm

Ultimosteve wrote:
Any updates on your projected? I pretty interested in seeing how this works out. I pretty sure that DC is well aware that there claim on Fawcett characters is pretty weak so I don't think they would want to presue Captain Nazi. He isn't even Captain Marvels most iconic villain. I would be surprised if they even have trademark on the name. Its not like he is going to get his own action figure or they a going to give him his own title. With that said, I would Love to also use Captain Nazi
On one hand, he's the reason Freddy Freeman became Captain Marvel Jr. in the first place and, considering the bizarre push Freddy's been getting (as opposed to the outright character slaughter the Batsons have received), he might be getting some limelight.

On the other hand, he isn't the most original super-villain to begin with...a Third Reich super-soldier project named "Captain Nazi?" I think it's safe to say Superman wasn't the only Golden Age superhero inspiring C.C. Beck back in the day...so you should be safe.
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GoldenBard

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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:32 am

Of course, you could always basically use the character with a new (just a silly) name. I'm thinking maybe "Captain Aryan" or "Captain Swastika." If you're not going to be using the Marvel Family (and it sound like you're not), this would really be an "alternate reality" version of the character, so maybe in this other reality Captain Nazi just has a slightly different name.
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TheCosmicMoth

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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:56 am

Hey everyone, sorry I haven't posted on this board in awhile. Things have been busy. I'm done scripting the initial chapters of my series, Moth Comics, but my artist dropped out of the project and I'm looking for a new collaborator. I'm still a ways away from using Captain Nazi.

As it regards good old C.N., I've read a lot of things that throw DC's ownership of Fawcett's characters into question. Many claim that most of Fawcett's copyrights ran out long before DC laid claim to the characters. DC does legitimately own some of the Fawcett characters like Black Adam, but I hear that their claim to the Marvel family is a little more in doubt (perhaps why they haven't used Billy Batson as much lately). Their ownership of Captain Nazi is also questionable. I think DC rely on their reputation and the threat of legal action to stop others from challenging their monopoly on the best Fawcett characters. Considering the fact they're currently in a legal struggle over Superman (their flagship character), I'm wondering if they'd bother to come after anyone over Captain Nazi. But I guess we'll see...

I haven't decided if I will use C.N. yet. As I said earlier, I'm at the outset of my own series and there's a chance the story line will take on a life of its own and I'll never get to the Captain Nazi story (or it'll change before I get there). I think it's only a matter of time before someone challenges DC over the Marvel family, though. I'm surprised no one has done it yet.
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Heckfire



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PostSubject: Re: Captain Nazi?   Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:35 pm

GoldenBard wrote:
Of course, you could always basically use the character with a new (just a silly) name. I'm thinking maybe "Captain Aryan" or "Captain Swastika." If you're not going to be using the Marvel Family (and it sound like you're not), this would really be an "alternate reality" version of the character, so maybe in this other reality Captain Nazi just has a slightly different name.
Ooo, I like Captain Aryan...has the negative stigma, but still sounds like the name's owner thinks of him/herself as a hero.
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