Copyright protects original expression. Therefore fictional characters should be well-developed with distinct features and characteristics. In some instances, where branded fictional characters are used in conjunction with sale of goods or services, trademark protection would apply. For more, read Ryanne’s Blog on Copyright of Fictional Cartoon Characters.
We all learned in elementary school stealing is wrong. If it is not yours, then you cannot use it without asking permission. You cannot take someone’s crayons. You cannot go home with someone else’s baby doll. You cannot ride and take someone else’s bicycle. A simple concept even kindergartners can grasp.
However, for some reason, there is this idea that those basic, elementary rules do not apply when it comes to creative content. In case you had any doubt, please allow me to be painfully and obviously clear. As a very general rule, you cannot use someone else’s creative work without getting permission. They created it. They own it, and they alone have a right to say how it is used. This applies to movies, books, screenplays, characters in movies, characters in books, cookbooks, computer programs, magazines, sheet music and songs, just to name a few.
Recently, the idea of…
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