Recently, Bill Willingham, the creator of Fables, announced that he had put the popular comic book property into the public domain. However, DC, the publisher of Fables, has responded with an official statement asserting that the series is not in the public domain and they will take necessary actions to protect their intellectual property rights.
What was DC’s complete statement?
In response to the article on Willingham’s announcement, DC sent the following statement to clarify their position:
“The Fables comic books and graphic novels published by DC, along with all the related storylines, characters, and elements, are owned by DC and protected under the copyright laws. They are not in the public domain. DC reserves all rights and will take appropriate action to safeguard its intellectual property rights.”
While the characters in Fables are based on public domain characters, the specific versions of these characters in the series are distinct and subject to copyright protection. For example, although “The Big Bad Wolf” may not be copyrighted in general, the character Bigby Wolf, depicted in Fables, is eligible for protection.
What do the copyrights for Fables say on the matter?
Willingham mentioned in his press release that he is the sole owner of the intellectual property according to their contract. However, examining the specific details of the agreement between Willingham and DC is essential to understand the situation and determine the proper ownership fully.
To protect intellectual property rights, it is necessary to defend them actively. DC’s public statement aligns with this approach. However, without further information on the contract details, any legal analysis of the situation would remain speculative. It is clear, though, that anyone attempting to claim ownership based on Willingham’s released copyright will face a legal challenge from DC.
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