Category talk:Nedor Comics superheroes

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Public domain discussion 2006[edit]

I hate to say it, folks, but the Nedor characters are NOT Public Domain (at least not entirely). Source:

This reference lists the FIRST issue of periodicals renewed between 1950 and 1977, covering the period originally covered from 1923 to @ 1951, and selected ones thereafter -- the others can be accessed through the LOC copyright renewal registrations.

Of the Nedor titles listed in the 19th Comc Book Price Guide published between between 1933 and 1943, the following books were all renewed beginning with their first issue:

  • Best; Thrilling; Exciting; Startling; Real Life

The following titles were renewed beginning with their second issues, the first were not renewed according to teh above reference (and I'm NOT going to the library to check these...):

  • America's Best; Fighting Yank

Only the following books have no record at all on the above cited list:

  • Black Terror; Major Hoople; Real Funnies; Funny Funnies; Goofy; Happy

And the following book, published by them later in teh '40's, is also not listed in the reference:

  • Wonder Comics

Any characters that debuted in the ones that were copyrighted are NOT Public Domain, even if there are many articles claiming this. Americomics was WRONG. Rights on each of these characters would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on where they first appeared.

There are some claims that the original copyrights were never filed. This is quite possible, I don't have access to records that far back. But I guarantee, at least SOME of the renewals mentioned here DID happen. Western Michigan University happens to have at least a partial set of renewal registrations in their library, and I've spent years poring over them.

According to most interpretations of the law, if an original registration for copyright was never filed, the owners had the entire 28 years of teh initial copyright period to file. A renewal would then count as a registration, EVEN IF THERE WAS NO ORIGINAL FILING. One of Harlan Ellison's works falls in this category.

Apologies if my caps here violate some kind of format procedural that I haven't run across yet, but this is a VERY important issue! I don't want to see anyone get burned on this -- the corporate merger records show that the company that originally published these eventually became a part of Warner Books, so unless the rights were sold, or transferred to a different division of Time-Warner, that's where they are now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Icarus 23 (talkcontribs) 08:26, 22 October 2006

  • Interesting development. This means that Terra Obscura characters are in the clear, at least. This definitely warrents further investigation --Strannik 03:10, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
    • Oh, another thing. When discussing this matter, we should mindful of the fact that the pagge you sighted mentioned that (and I quote): "Artwork, photographs, dramas, music, and other types of works appearing in periodicals, as well as material that originally appeared elsewhere, may also have been registered separately, and are not represented here." The reason why I bring this up is because the copyright for characters may not be the same thing as copyright for periodicals in which they appeared, since the characters in question were not usually confined to the periodicals in which they originaly appeared. I mean, in case of DC, for example, Batman and Superman appeared in several different periodicles, often simultaniously (spelling?). As cursory research indicates, simular things happened in Nedor titles. Thus, I have to wonder if the character copyrights and periodical copyright are, indeed, a diffrent thing, which could alter the situation yet again--Strannik 03:20, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Character copyright is a relatively new interpretation of copyright law, and certainly is a factor to consider. I don't believe that anyone has tried to renew the copyright on just a character without the work it's imbedded in, however. That's why copyright lawyers get paid so much... Icarus 23 06:58, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

By my understanding of Copyright Law, the Nedor Comics characters are in the public domain. All of the Nedor characters have been used for decades as public domain characters by several companies (since the original copyright holder never claimed copyright infringement and allowed the names and likenesses of their characters to be used freely by everyone, the characters fell into the public domain), with Marvel, DC Comics, AC Comics among others creating their own versions. Also it should be noted that Copyright law before 1976 says that a works copyright lasts no longer than 56 years (an initial 28 years, then renewal for another 28 years). A comic first published in 1940 would require renewal by 1968, one published in 1941 would need copyright extension by 1969 ect. If some of the comics had their copyrights extended for 28 more years in 1967 & 1968, that would entend the copyright til 1995 or 1996 at which point the works would fall into the public domain. The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998—alternatively known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. Under the 1998 act, any works still copyrighted in 1998 would not enter the public domain until 2019, unless the owner of the copyright releases them into the public domain prior to that. So any comics published before 1942 would have had their 56 year copyrights expire before the new law adding 20 years took effect. Or would otherwise be in the public domain if nobody protected the copyrights. All this simply means that any comic book character that first appeared in a comic prior to 1942 should be in the public domain. That includes the original versions of Superman, Batman ect. But just because the original versions are now public domain, there are still trademarks and copyrights on newer versions that are protected by the new 1998 copyright extensions. Which basically means one still can't publish works based on Superman, Mickey Mouse, or other trademarked characters without permission from the current owners of the characters that are defending their copyrights and trademarks. But again the ownership of Nedor characters have never been disputed, with all comic book publishers for decades agreeing that they are free to be used by anyone, so long as they are based on the original creations and not copyrighted versions such as Marvel's Doctor Strange or DC Comics Wildstorm imprint Tom Strong & Tom Strange versions of Doc Strange that are copyright protected.Powergirl 00:41, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

You've overlooked the Copyright Act of 1976, which extended every copyright that was still valid in 1978. - JasonAQuest (talk) 05:30, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I am no expert, but an importante thing to keep in mind is that trademark and copyright are not the same thing. You can copyright a story that a character appears in, but not a character. You trademark a character. A registered trademark is something else again. Roygbiv666 19:15, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Just a thought - if the original trademark or copyright holder is no longer in existance, doesn't the property become public domain by default? Roygbiv666 13:09, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You guys seem to be really confused about copyright laws, trademarks are trickier though. First, if any of those comics were renewed after the 28 year (Parenthetically if a book was first published in 1930 and you want to check for a renewal don't just check 1958, check renewals for 1957,58,and 59, also check the name of the author, publisher, and title of the work) period they're copyright is protected for 95 years not 50 or so. I'm pretty sure that DOC STRANGE and a number of other characters are in the Public Domain but determining that is what's difficult. Another method is to hire a private firm who can find out wether or not a work is in the P.D. this usually cost around 90$, but is helpful if not solid proof. I'd love for wiki to be a great source of public domain works but until we get our act pulled together it aint going to happen.

FourtySixNtwo 05:53, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Icarus 23 There is no such thing as renewing or filing a copyright on just one character, there really are no forms for that. You can dispute the creation of a character that's similar to a character still in copyright, the rule is the more developed the character the more copyright protection it can have. Generally stock characters such as a Hard Boiled private eye, or a lone ranger type characters are not copyrightable so long as they're dirivative and not outright copies of the copyrighted characters. Trademarks are better suited to secure the rights to a certain character, such as Tarzan or Fu Manchu.

Powergirl, you don't seem to understand the bono act, the act extends to all works still in copyright after 1922, it is also soley responsible for stopping all works published before 1928, I believe, from entering the public domain.

Roygbiv666 when you copyright a published work you copyright the entire content of the work including a character. If the original trademark or copyright holder is no longer in existence there's someone out there representing them or some new corporate entity who now owns it. A work does not fall into the public domain just because the old copyright holder is no in existence. Trademarks are a different matter however. FourtySixNtwo 06:17, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

If a copyright holder (Company X) goes out of business and they didn't sell their intellectual properties, would the copyright expire after the 28 years (pre-Bono act)?
--Roygbiv666 (talk) 15:08, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Public domain discussion 2008[edit]

There is some confusion out there as to what characters are in public domain under copyright and which are not, especially in the realm of comic books published during the 1930's and 1940's. Caution should be urged when adding or deleting this article. For example, Captain Marvel (Fawcett) had his first appearance in Whiz Comics #2, which was never copyright renewed and has fallen into the public domain. Also, Sub-Mariner first appeared in either Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 or Marvel Comics #1, both which went similarlly overlooked and were never copyright renewed. Both characters are likely in public domain, but are not listed as it is widely beleived they are copyright protected. No comics published by Quality Comics were copyright renewed by either Quality itself nor National Periodicals and all characters would be public domain for copyright purposes including Plastic Man and Blackhawk, who both enjoy Trademark protection as marketing symbols of DC Comics.

The above report on Nedor characters may or may not be accurate depending on the actual circumstances of the company when it ceased publishing. It is clear that Ned Pines did renew copyright on most of his characters' first appearances, despite widely reported statements to the contrary. Also, Pines sold one of his companies, Popular Library, to Fawcett Publishing, who in turn, sold it to CBS, and today, the Nedor characters would be owned by either Bertelsman AG or Warner, if the comic books they appeared in were published by Popular Library. If Ned Pines used different compaies to publish these books, they may be in public domain.

Clearly, more research needs to be completed on this topic and misinformation is widespread. (talk) 10:45, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

And since none of the above has any citations on it, it should not be considered authoritative. -JasonAQuest (talk) 13:09, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
The citations regarding which books were renewed or not renewed may be found at the following page:

Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (first appearance of Sub-Mariner) NOT-RENEWED Whiz Comics #2 (first newsstand appearance of Captain Marvel) NOT RENEWED Flash Comics (first appearance of Captain Marvel as Captain Thunder) NOT RENEWED Thrill Comics (first appearance of Captain Marvel as Captain Thunder, published concurrently with Flash) NOT RENEWED Police Comics #1 (first appearance of Plastic Man) NOT RENEWED Military Comics #1 (first appearance of Blackhawk) NOT RENEWED

This report also clearly shows Ned Pines DID renew copyright on most comics published by Nedor, including Exciting, Thrilling, Startling Comics and America's Best Comics.

The notes regarding Pines' sale of Popular Library can be referenced here:

The Trademarks owned by DC Comics on Blackhawk and Plastic Man can be referenced using the USTO's TESS system index of trademarks. (talk) 09:35, 6 June 2008 (UTC)