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The Pocket Lawyer for Comic Book Creators

Book Description

Focal Press' Pocket Lawyer series serves as a legal toolkit for independent producers and artists in the creative industries.

The Pocket Lawyer for Comic Book Creators is designed to help emerging artists and veteran professionals in the comic book industry build a solid foundation of business and communication practices that they need to thrive in today's ever-changing, uncertain world of indie comics. Readers will learn to protect their copyrights, negotiate publishing deals, hire artists so everyone wins, and learn the ins and outs of key contracts with this helpful resource. 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Dedication
  7. Part 1–Quick Start
    1. FAQs
    2. Getting Started
    3. The Structure of the Book
    4. How to Use this Book
    5. The Audience for This Book
  8. Part 2– Intellectual Property: The Heart Of The Work
    1. Chapter 1—Intellectual Property
      1. The Comic Book Property
      2. Slice and Dice Your IP
      3. Rules of Thumb for Intellectual Property
    2. Chapter 2—Copyright Law
      1. Copyright Ownership
      2. Your Copyright Rights
      3. What Copyright Doesn’t Protect
      4. Copyright Licensing
      5. Perilous Copyright Traps for the Unwary
      6. Copyright Duration
      7. Copyright Infringement
      8. Plagiarism is not the Same Thing as Copyright Infringement
      9. Fair Use of a Copyright
      10. Copyright Pre-Flight Checklist
  9. Part 3–Contracts: The Engine Which Drives the Deal
    1. Chapter 3—Contracts Getting into Gear
      1. What is a Contract?
      2. Things that LOOK Like Contracts, but may NOT be contracts
      3. The Contract “Themes”
      4. Rules of Thumb for Contracts
  10. Part 4–Putting It Together
    1. Section Overview
    2. Creative Roles
    3. Categories of Comic Property
    4. Chapter 4—The Solo Creator
      1. Solo Creator’s Key Tasks
      2. Protecting the Chain of Title
      3. What Kind of Solo Are You?
      4. Solo Creation: Step-By-Step
    5. Chapter 5—Setting Up Shop
      1. Getting Down to Business
      2. Types of Business Entities
      3. Loan-Out Companies
      4. Getting Professional Help: Accountants & Attorneys
      5. Lawyering up
    6. Chapter 6—Collaboration
      1. Working with Other Artists
      2. Collaboration Checklist
      3. Writer/Illustrator Collaboration Agreement
      4. Collaboration at a Glance
    7. Chapter 7—Hiring Other Artists
      1. Engaging the Services of Other Artists
      2. Federal and State Labor and Employment Laws: An Overview
      3. The Artist Services Agreement
      4. Key Deal Points
      5. Contract: Illustrator Work for Hire Agreement
    8. Chapter 8—Clearances and Licensing the Rights of Others
      1. Clearance and Licensing
      2. Clearances—Step by Step
      3. Licensing
      4. Getting Permission to Use Somebody’s Likeness
  11. Part 5–Getting It Out There
    1. Section Overview
    2. Chapter 9—Blog it! Tweet it! Post it! Promote it!
      1. Get Your Message Out
      2. Website
      3. Tweeting
      4. Blogging
      5. Facebook
    3. Chapter 10—Landing a Publisher
      1. Landing a Publisher is a “Con” Job
      2. Checklist for Working the Con
      3. Submission Policies For The Big Publishing Companies
      4. Key IP issues
      5. Key Contractual Issues
      6. Landing a Publisher Checklist
    4. Chapter 11—Working for a Publishing Company
      1. Working For A Publisher: Key IP Issues
      2. Key Contractual Issues
    5. Chapter 12—The Comic Book Publishing Agreement
      1. Deal Points
      2. The Comic Book Publishing Agreement
    6. Chapter 13—Self-Publishing
      1. Making Money in Self-Publishing
      2. Printers—Overview
      3. Comic Book Distributors—Overview
      4. How Your Comic Is Distributed by Diamond
      5. Self-Distribution to Comic Book Stores
      6. Digital Distribution
      7. Case Study—comiXology—Steps to Submit
      8. Digital Rights Management (DRM)
    7. Chapter 14—What Happens When Something Goes Wrong?
      1. Typical Legal Actions
      2. Breach of Contract
      3. The First Amendment
      4. If Someone Sues You
      5. Cease and Desist Letters
      6. Lawyering Up
      7. Pro-Bono Legal Services Organizations
  12. Part 6–The Law Library
  13. Appendix A—A Comic Creator’s Guide to Copyright Law
    1. What is a Copyright
    2. Copyrighting Characters
    3. Copyright in Selection and Arrangement
    4. Copyright Rights
    5. Copyright Terminology
    6. What is not Protectable Under U.S. Law
    7. The Doctrine of Independent Creation
    8. Copyright Ownership
    9. Work Made for Hire
    10. Licensing and Assigning the Copyright
    11. Copyright Duration
    12. Copyright Infringement
    13. Fair Use
    14. De Minimis Taking
    15. Protecting and Registering your Copyright
  14. Appendix B—A Comic Creator’s Guide to Protecting Ideas
    1. The Law of Ideas
    2. Protecting Ideas through Contract
    3. The “Novelty” Requirement
    4. Express Contracts Controlling Idea Disclosure
    5. Safeguard your Ideas with an NDA
  15. Appendix C—Comic Creator’s Guide to Trademark Law
    1. Trademark Law
    2. What Makes A Trademark?
    3. What Can Be Trademarked?
    4. Strength of a Trademark
    5. Injuries to a Trademark
    6. Defenses to Trademark Injury
    7. Trademark Registration
  16. Appendix D—A Comic Creator’s Guide to the Right of Publicity & Other Privacy Rights
    1. What is the Right of Publicity?
    2. Duration of the Right of Publicity
    3. First Amendment and the Right of Publicity
    4. Tests to Determine Infringement of the Right of Publicity
    5. Other Privacy Rights
    6. Public Disclosure of Private Facts
    7. False Light
  17. Appendix E—A Comic Creator’s Guide to Libel and Defamation
    1. Defamation Defined
    2. Defamation of Public Figures
    3. Defenses to Defamation
    4. Matters of Public Concern: Gross Irresponsibility Test
    5. Special Rules Regarding Defamation
  18. Appendix F—A Comic Creator’s Guide To Moral Rights & The Visual Artists Rights Act
    1. Moral Rights
    2. Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA)
  19. Appendix G—Contract Anatomy for Comic Book Creators
    1. Contract Anatomy
    2. The Head: The Opening of the Contract
    3. The Body of the Contract
    4. The Boilerplate Belly
    5. Contract Closing
  20. Appendix H—Famous Comic Book Cases
    1. Superman Battles Wonderman
    2. “The Man of Steel” Battles the “Big Red Cheese”
    3. Too Late to Win
    4. Copyright law was a stake through his heart
    5. Dynamic Tensions
    6. Captain America: Copyright Avenger
    7. The Winters of our Discontent
    8. Archie and Work For Hire
    9. Spawning a Lawsuit
    10. The Marvel Menagerie
    11. The Superman Saga
  21. Appendix I—Online Resources
  22. Notes
  23. Bibliography & Suggested Reading
  24. Acknowledgements
  25. About the Author
  26. Index