I reside in Georgia of the US, and am looking to create and publish my independent ongoing comic book. I am still finishing up the first issue. Can I still get a copyright for it? I keep hearing that I already have a copyright on it by default, but I want to make sure my IP has as much legal protection as I can possibly give it.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Every creation has some copyright protection. But if you want to enforce those rights (and seek damages from violators), there are filings you can and should do,and if this has value to you,see an IP lawyer to be sure you properly address these.
In technical terms, Section 102(a) of the Copyright Law states that "Copyright protection subsists, . . ., in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." Translated to English, this means that the moment you put pen to paper, record a note, snap a photo, etc., you have created a copyrighted work. Filing doesn't create a copyright, creation does. However, it is best to both put the appropriate copyright notice on the work as well as to register the work withing 5 years of first publication. There are technical reasons for this, however these reasons are best discussed with an attorney because space prohibits me from delving deeper. I also suggest that you seek the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney in connection with your particular registration (I add that, for literary works, there are several other filings that should be considered). From the small amount of information that you have given, I assume that you are going to be publishing a serial (more than 1 volume of the story), and the process for filing a serial is a bit more complicated than most. So if you are looking for the best protection of your works, I strongly suggest that you hire an attorney who is highly experienced in the field, especially when it comes to the protection of a serial work. In addition, given the fact that sales can occur on a global basis (Amazon is everywhere), the attorney should be well versed in the international laws that pertain to copyrights, such as the Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, and numerous other accords and protocols. The need for an attorney is even greater if you intend to delve into the world of self-publication, for this is an area where you can easily be ripped-off without a good attorney on your side. This may d self-serving, because I would love to help you and would be glad to speak with you in greater depth. However, even if you don't use my services, my advice stands - get help from a good attorney.