Mar 2, 2018

Copyright and Trademark

How to copyright and trademark your series.

We've got a special guest for this week's blog. My attorney, Deborah Basile, will take you through the steps of copyright and trademark:

I am an Intellectual Property attorney in Springfield, Massachusetts and I have worked with Jeff Jubinville on the “Spirit Warriors” project for several years. Jeff has written many episodes of the Spirit Warriors program and he has obtained intellectual property protection for his work. This blog will describe the processes undertaken by Jeff relative to protecting his intellectual property.

Copyright. A copyright is a legally recognized property right in a creative work. The United States Copyright Office defines copyright as “a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works.” Copyright is a form of intellectual property and can be transferred, sold, shared or kept private much like tangible property but it is also subject to certain limitations.

The Federal Copyright law defines and governs copyrights in the United States. It gives the copyright holder the right to engage in and perhaps more importantly to prevent others from engaging in the following activities: 1. Reproducing a protected work. 2. Creating derivative works based on a protected work through distributing copies of the protected work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease or lending. 3. Performing a protected work publicly 4. Displaying a protected work publicly. 5. Performing a protected work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission, in the case of sound recordings.

Spirit Warriors included content (text) which is protectable by United States copyright law. Spirit Warriors included artwork, images, characters which are protectable under the United States copyright law. The U.S. copyright law requires that the work be published with notice meaning ©, the year of publication and the name of the claimant. Copyright registration is a legal formality which makes a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. Copyrights are registered by submitting a registration form and a fee and depositing a copy of the work with Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress. Deposit requirements vary depending on the type of work being registered. The law requires that a copyright subsists in the author at the time that the work is fixed in a tangible medium.

Trademarks. Spirit Warriors is the brand for Jeff’s work and we registered Spirit Warriors with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect the use of that trademark by Jeff in connection with his work. Trademark rights in the United States arise from use, not from registration. However, registration affords the owner the right to enforce his trademark against infringers. The process of registration involves searching its availability with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the particular class applicable to the use, preparing and filing a trademark registration application and prosecuting the trademark application through the process which takes about a year. The application is assigned to a trademark Examining Attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington D.C. and the trademark Examining Attorney searches available trademarks to avoid a likelihood of confusion between the newly filed mark and existing marks in the same class.

A trademark remains effective as long as it is being used in commerce in connection with the goods or services for which it was registered.


Thanks very much to Deborah Basile for writing this blog. Next week I'll cover the pitch meetings at Cartoon Network and go over some tips for pitching.