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 Nedor- Not Public Domain?

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TheCosmicMoth

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PostSubject: Nedor- Not Public Domain?   Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:23 am

It's usually assumed that the Better/Standard/Nedor characters like the Black Terror and Doc Strange are in the public domain. I know Dynamite uses the Black Terror in their Project Superpowers and that Alan Moore used Terror and Doc Strange in his America's Best Comics imprint. However, I've read that CBS actually renewed many of Nedor's copyrights in 1967 around the same time they bought out Fawcett comics. The first appearances of both The Black Terror and Doc Strange were renewed by CBS during this time. Then CBS sold their rights to Fawcett and Nedor to Warner Communications (DC comics). So it's possible that DC actually owns the rights to the DC characters, though no one is actually sure whether DC bought CBS' copyrights when they made the purchase. It's also interesting that DC has never taking legal action over the use of the Nedor characters in Dynamite or America's Best (even though they now own America's Best through Wildstorm). DC usually has no problem taking legal action when they feel their trademarks or copyrights are being violated (whether they're in the legal right or not), so it would strike me as odd that they wouldn't take legal action if they did own the rights to the Nedor characters. I read about all of this here: http://www.herogoggles.com/copyright1.html and there is a wikipedia discussion about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_talk:Nedor_Comics_superheroes

Can anyone shed some light on this for me? I have some great ideas for using the Nedor characters but am now afraid to do it.
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Nedor- Not Public Domain?   Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:46 pm

Yeah, the fact that nobody challenged Dynamite about it, means it's pretty likely that neither DC or anyone else can actually prove ownership of those rights. It seems likely that the rights were never explicitly transferred.

It brings up a whole category of public domain works that PDSH wiki hasn't even touched on yet...orphaned works. That is, works that technically were renewed or created after 1964 with valid copyright...but may not actually be owned by anyone because the orginal entity that created them disappeared before rights were formally transfered to anyone. For example, I think the Mego and morethe obscure Ideal toy lines may fall under this category, but it's not clear.
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TheCosmicMoth

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PostSubject: Re: Nedor- Not Public Domain?   Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:50 am

Thanks, argosail! I was pretty confident that I could use the Nedor chracters but it was troubling to see that CBS had renewed the copyrights and those two very convincing articles stating that they weren't. I should learn more about orphaned works. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
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Florian R. Guillon

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PostSubject: Re: Nedor- Not Public Domain?   Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:27 am

I've read that on the PDSH Wiki, and I guess Argo is clearly right.
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