I heard about a Copyright drama on Twitter regarding the new Tolkien t.v. series, I didn’t actually see anything about it. But I thought I would write a little about Copyright and what I know and what I understand about. I studied to become a Librarian a few years ago, Copyright is a BIG issue and a complicated one.
It’s a complicated issue, mainly because it’s varies from country to country and format to format.
The main thing you need to know, is that as soon as you create something that is tangible (perceptible), it is automatically protected by copyright. Basically, as soon as you start to create, like writing a poem in a book, sketches in a art book, start to compose a song. As as you and other can “see it” it is automatically protect by copyright. You don’t need to apply for anything, although you absolutely can.
The other main thing to know that, which Country your work is created in. Your work will apply to that Countries Copyright Laws. It can beied together by a series of international agreements, ie the Berne Convention. The vast majority of countries recognise reciprocal rights in fellow treaty countries.
Too make it a little more easier sense, I am going to use the current Tolkien t.v. series as an example.
Currently, Amazon (US) only has some rights to the t.v. series of LotR series. They can not make changes to the movies or the Tolkien’s work.
You can give all rights and/or some rights to other people/companies.
Exclusive worldwide rights to motion picture, merchandising, stage and other rights in certain literary works of J. R. R. Tolkien including The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were sold by Tolkien himself to United Artists in 1969 and are currently owned by Middle-earth Enterprises (formerly Tolkien Enterprises), inc. Located in Berkeley, California.
In 1976 United Artists sold most of their rights to Tolkien’s work to Saul Zaentz Company, who have licensed all subsequent authorized adaptations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings through Middle-earth Enterprises. However United Artists retains the world distribution rights to film adaptations. These are currently exercised by their parent company MGM, which under contract co-financed The Hobbit film trilogy.
Copying is something that is a HUGE issue in the world of Nerds and Geeks. Making sure games aren’t the same, making sure that people aren’t selling unauthorised copies, or just making straight out copies of another artist’s work. It can be a huge problem as a lot of it can be just an interpretation.
There was an incident last year involving a Cosplayer that I follow. They are usually such fighters for not copying other people’s work, until they wanted to sell some tops of their own. This group of Cosplayers are usually the first to jump all over anyone who copies another artists work. Yet, for some reason when they designed a top that was seen to be very close to the WuTang Clan symbol. They decided that it was alright to continue with selling it and the person who reported them was just letting other people down, as their top ended up being banned.
The thing that I found odd about the whole thing was that, people were attacking the person who reported the tops. Now the person (I have no idea if they were female or male) was a jerk and they were taking a little bit too much pleasure on getting the top banned…But they were right. The symbol was very similar to the WuTang symbol. If it wasn’t, it would have never been banned. So why the hate when you’re doing exactly what you preach against?
I saw this video and found it extremely interesting to watch and loving Superheroes and hearing some facts that, were in fact, shocking. One of them I just cannot believe that I haven’t heard people talk about before (mainly relating to Spiderman). If you love Superheroes and you think that you know all there is too know…Guess again!