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 Hi all...I've got questions

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SuperHeroFan



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PostSubject: Hi all...I've got questions   Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:42 am

Hello,

As you can see, I'm new and have a cpl of questions, I can't seem to find the answer to.

1. What's the difference between PD and OS characters?
2. If you change up pieces of a PD character, use the origin as it existed in the original PD, use story elements and change them, and other characters associated with it, is it 'your' character then?
3. What is are pros of making a character an Open Source character? What if you want to copyright the idea and image at some point?

Sorry if these have been answered, I just can't find these particular questions anywhere.

Are characters created with HeroMachine 3 not allowed here? If not, how can I post something, as I can't draw to save my life lol.
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THE BEHOLDER

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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:08 am

Hey Superherofan,
if I'm not mistaken, public domain characters are those who were originally created as copyrighted material, but then for one or the other reason fell into public domain, e.g. because the company went out of business.

Open source are the ones who are created specifically for being shared by all.

Did I get this right, guys?


By the way, I believe everybody can draw, just depends on the "style" you are expecting… and of course how much you are practicing ;-)
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SuperHeroFan



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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:04 am

Beholder,

I could draw when I was younger, but I've been writing more, so my drawing skills have atrophied. Sad

I've been reading a story from a PD character that later became copyrighted, but it says over at the PDSH wiki that his early appearances are ok to use, so I was unsure.
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THE BEHOLDER

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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:29 am

Time to get back to it then :-)

Yeah, these questions with public domain and such are tricky… There should be some people around here that know more about it than me. Stick around…
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SuperHeroFan



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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:38 am

Beholder, pretty sweet looking blog, great characters I see.
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THE BEHOLDER

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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:10 am

Thank you kindly, Sir!
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GoldenBard

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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:06 am

Hey, SHF.

Here are your answers, as far as I know:

1. Argosail is our resident expert, but my understanding is that Beholder explained it right. In terms of use, PD & OS are the same; it's just how they started that makes a difference. OS were created to be used by anyone (like Jenny Anywhere or the Cthulu mythos) and PD are copyrighted characters whose copyrights have run out.
2. For all intents and purposes, yes. Other people can still use the ORIGINAL PD character, but any changes you made become yours. For instance, Dynamite Entertainment's version of Black Terror has a flying mystical pirate ship and carries a sword. So, I could write new stories about pharmacist Bob Benton creating a drug that makes him a black-suited superhero called "The Black Terror" with no problem. But if I gave him a sword and a flying mystical pirate ship, I would expect Dynamite's lawyers to show up at my door with a cease-and-desist order...
3. I made the characters of the "Timeline" Universe Open Source because I didn't really expect to do much in terms of using them; I just wanted to create them. And sometimes its fun to see how others will run with an idea you came up with. Not sure if there are other "pros" to making a character Open Source. But as I understand it, once you make a character OS, it stays OS.

And, sure, you can post HeroMachine artwork; I post stuff from a similar program.
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SuperHeroFan



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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:40 pm

GB,

Thanks for the info as well. The explanation you gave on #2 was simple, I appreciate it!
I've got a few ideas for characters that are PD, then they became copyrighted, so I was going to run with the PD stuff, and see what I could do. I've got an idea for a team as well, but its thoughts on paper at this stage. I would like to come up with a character or two and post here and see how people would comment and possibly give their output, sort of a Jenny Anywhere type thing.

As long as I call the character 'X' within the comic, but not on the cover, he's ok? And redesigning the character's backstory slightly along with the outfit is okay too as long as I don't use any material from the copyrighted material, correct? (Just tryin' to get things straight.)

I've started using HM and my characters are still pretty basic, what program are you using? I think I may have asked before, but I forgot. (oldtimer's disease I guess lol)
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GoldenBard

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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:09 am

Sure, redesigns on the character's origin or costume or whatever are fine.

Now, about the names... I have to be honest here: This is where where things get a little murky for me. As I understand it, there's a difference between a copyright (which is the character's name) and a trademark (which is the book's title). So, you can (of course) use the character's name of "X" in your story. But you can't use it as the title of the book IF another publisher has trademarked that name for a title. For instance, when DC got the rights to the original Captain Marvel, Marvel Comics had already trademarked the name "Captain Marvel" as a comic book title for their character of that name. That's why DC had to call their comic "Shazam!" instead.

The program I use is at http://fabricadeherois.blogspot.com/ I have to say, I've played a little with the new HeroMachine and like it; just haven't had a chance to do anything substantial with it yet.
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:00 am

Yes, you can post Hero Machine creations on these boards, but we prefer that you do not post copyrighted images on PDSH wiki. As I understand it, HeroMachine creations are not entirely free of copyright, because when you add a leg or a head to the character, the art for the leg and the art for the head are in fact under copyright to the original artist (unless HeroMachine TOS specifies them as open source, but I don't think it does). In other words, you own the copyright on the costume design, but not the image itself. On PDSH we avoid copyrighted images, so that individuals who want to draw the character, aren't working off of protected images.

If you want to make a character Open Source, please understand that you can't take that back, and it would be pretty upsetting if you tried. It's like giving someone a Christmas present and then saying, "it looks like you are having fun with that, so give it back!!!" When you make a character open source, you are still allowed to use it, but it means you won't be able to profit on anyone else who uses the same character, nor will you be allowed to tell them what they can and can not use the character for. So, if they want to turn your sweet, innocent character into a serial killer...too bad. My suggestion is that you don't give up your best characters as Open Source, if you are passionate about them and want to carefully nurture them. However, don't flood us with stupid characters either, because nobody will want to use a total half-assed character.

If you just want to share your characters on these boards, but not make them open source, that is fine. We are happy to comment on your characters and tell you how we like them. But please make it clear that they are not Open Source if that is the case.
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YarnSpinner



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PostSubject: Re: Hi all...I've got questions   Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:29 am

That's... horribly wrong actually. Public domain and Open Source are not the same.

Public domain, due to the current 'author +70 years', the interim 'no mark', etc.. Everything Public Domain is old. Everyone claiming to have created a public domain character is wrong and doesn't understand the public domain. If the public domain does not technically exist, can you release something into it? (Legally, that's the conundrum). (Copyright is automatic and not optional. Even if the author has released something into the public domain it is possible to pull it out and sue someone for using it. For this reason I encourage anyone to either have a SIGNED CC0 license or to not use anyone else's public domain characters, ever).

CC0 and the Public Domain are very similar, though, ideally, the copyright should be assigned to the Creative Commons Organization. CC-BY is functionally similar, but requires credit as reciprocity. This is actually the license I prefer unless the author does a lot of risqué material. In fact, CC0 is modeled after the public domain and intended to be as close as is humanly possible.

The best, and most interesting thing to do, would actually be to have all the authors here provide signed licenses to creative commons to use CC0 characters in exchange for signed grants of the same, thus guaranteeing, in perpetuity, the legal rights to use the characters and providing for reciprocity and two parties in the agreement, one of which would be creative commons.

Finally, not all characters/licenses are compatible. For example, is Jenny Everywhere compatible with CC-BY-SA? No. The CC-BY-SA compatibility list (which I can't find but was on the creative commons website) lists NO compatible licenses so if you have any content licensed anything but BY-SA, you can't use them together. Public Domain, however, is not a license but the absence of a need for one because the character is so old.

This is important because.... well... imagine having to track down the Heir to a thousand year old piece of work so you could ask for the rights... and imagine how uncertain things would be. I prefer public domain works.

Actually, I created a borderline amazing plot featuring Jenny Everywhere but might never actually use it. The fact is, you would think that Jenny Everywhere would see more significant/major use. The distinguishing feature of the character isn't what she is, it's what she's not... she's not limiting, functionally. However, it's hard to get an author to relinquish what's his, or to use that which belongs to someone else, if they have skill. I, myself, am tempted to release my own characters but must battle parts of myself to do so. To date, I have released 3 though they were to individuals who never used them and I have no idea where I put them.

One turned a pen into a sword, another was a mage who cast by drawing runes on things. I've got more than that but I have no idea where the licenses I gave out went to. (I like writing my licenses so they conflict with BY-SA or make the other writer do something good. One was under a 'lift a character license' which requires that you allow anyone reading your comic to lift a single character from it. It's like open sourcing the characters in your comic... but 'Pick One' and only one.). And it was reciprocal. I think I called it the 'Give a Penny, Take a Penny' license. Most amusing if you include at least one character named Penny, which actually enables the 'My 2 Cents' clause letting you take both the penny and one other character. (My 2 cents makes all characters named 'penny' not count towards the limit of 1. Meaning that eventually someone could make an entire comic full ouf thousands of characters all named penny, and one person not named penny).
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SuperHeroFan



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PostSubject: Hi all...   Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:50 pm

I've been trying to write a couple of years now, but as a very visual person, I need to be able to picture what I'm writing. I've been trying to make up some great concepts and designs, but while I consider myself to be a decent writer, I'm just not a good enough artist to get any of these designs right. This is nothing official and I can't pay anyone, but if there is anyone out there who can draw really well and thinks they can help me bring my ideas to life, I would be eternally grateful. If you're interested, please let me know, and I'll let you know my ideas and concepts.

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