Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2400

618.8 (A) (8) Character(s)

 

618.8 (A) (8) Character(s)

 

Although the copyright law does not protect the name or the general idea for a character, a work that describes, depicts, or embodies a particular character may be registered if it contains a sufficient amount of copyrightable authorship. As a general rule, the applicant should use one or more of the terms set forth in Section 618.4 (C) to describe a work that describes, depicts, or embodies a particular character.

 

The applicant should not use the term “character(s)” in the Author Created field or the Nature of Authorship space, because it suggests that the applicant is asserting a claim in the idea for a character, rather than the text, artwork, or other copyrightable expression that appears in the work.

 

Example:

 

• An application is submitted for a graphic novel depicting a character named Ultra Man. Kent Clark is named as the author of “text, 2-D artwork.” The registration specialist will register the claim.

 

If the applicant asserts a claim in a “character,” and if it is clear that the author contributed copyrightable authorship, the registration specialist may register the claim with an annotation.

 

Examples:

 

• An application is submitted for a comic book depicting a character named the Arachnid. Parker Peters is named as the author of “2-D artwork, new character: super hero with spider powers.” The registration specialist may register the claim with an annotation, such as: “Regarding authorship information: Registration based on deposited authorship describing, depicting, or embodying character(s). Compendium 313.4 (H).”

 

• An application is submitted for a screenplay depicting a private detective. The applicant names Waylon Bruce as the author of “script / screenplay” and Grace Dickinson as the author of “character.” The registration specialist may register the claim with an annotation, such as: “Regarding authorship information: Registration based on deposited authorship describing, depicting, or embodying character(s). Compendium 313.4 (H).”