Patent Law, Publishing Rights and Other Legal Concerns

The conversation on the way home from picking Charlie up from school today:

Charlie: I’ll be doing the art for a new comic book idea that my friend Jack has. (Pause) Or, I’m giving him a sample of my work and then he’ll judge whether we can partner on the project. (Second pause) We haven’t partnered on a video game or a comic book before¬†because sometimes his stuff is too close to Wizard 101. (Third pause) I’m done with Wizard 101. There’s nothing really to achieve with that video game.

Cassie: You seemed to like that Wizard 101 game well enough last week.

Charlie: Times change.

Cassie: Well, that’s exciting that you and Jack are working on a project together.

Charlie: It’s not for school. Just for fun.

Cassie: I get it. It can be challenging to come up with original ideas for a comic…or a story.

Charlie: I have to make up and draw a completely new kind of mutant super hero. All the super heroes have to be absolutely original so we don’t get sued. Luckily, Jack’s Mom is a lawyer so she’ll help us to keep from getting sued.

Cassie: She’s a patent lawyer, I think. You’d probably need the kind of lawyer who deals in publishing rights.

Charlie: Whatever. She’s good protection for our future work together.

Cassie: I see. Well, as long as your ideas are your own, you should be okay. It’s only a real problem if you try to sell work that’s actually a copy or even close enough to a copy of someone else’s idea…or too close to a work that’s already been published.

Charlie: Yea. (Pause) So, Mom, anyway, when you write all those stories and copy some of the conversations I have with you onto your face book page, even though you sometimes change what I actually said a little, those are really MY ideas. Those thoughts and things that I said originated from ME. You’re kind of copying me. I could probably sue you.

Cassie: (Silence. I’m thinking. Hard.)

Charlie: Do we have any good lawyers in the family?

(Holy crap!)

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