Hi All, This may not be the right forum to ask this question, but here we go. I am currently working on a stop motion animation web series. After 5 years of hard work, we are finally in production of season 1 which consists of 8 episodes that are 20 minutes each. We plan to release episode 1 this summer. We have obtained copyrights on all 8 scripts for season 1. Now here is my question. Do I need to copyright or trademark my images and puppets also? And if so, how would I go about doing that? For example, The Simpsons is set in Springfield which consists of a large cast of characters, all of which are a part of the Simpsons brand. I have a similar scenario in which I have a town, Center Square, and 79 puppets that will be on screen throughout the 8 episodes of season 1. So, since the scripts have a copyright, are the characters that appear in the scripts covered by said copyright? Or will I need to copyright each puppet? I have never dealt with the legalities of images before, only written word, so I want to make sure that we develop our brand in a way that can't be legally ripped off. I am sorry that I rambled on, I just want to cover my ass. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give!

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The best advice will come from a lawyer, obviously. Specifically one that specializes in copyright and trademark law. As an indie filmmaker, I usually register my scripts with the Writer's Guild and then the final film with the US Copyright office. The copyright for the final film covers everything in it, i.e. character design, set design, etc. When you copyright a film, you also have to opportunity to acknowledge if you are using licensed property like music, etc. It costs $30, and you upload the movie to their server. You would do this for each episode. It is simple and you have peace of mind.

That said, you should still consult a lawyer. ;)

Hi Dawn, can a foreigner also copyright a film in the US, because I'm from Holland and the rules slightly differ over here? Would be simple if I could registre it online!

Thank you for the advice, Dawn!

Hi Jowanneke,

Yes, you can, provided certain conditions are met. Here's the link to the US copyright rules.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf



jowanneke said:

Hi Dawn, can a foreigner also copyright a film in the US, because I'm from Holland and the rules slightly differ over here? Would be simple if I could registre it online!

Best of luck with your web series, I look forward to checking it out! :)


Colleen McWatters said:

Thank you for the advice, Dawn!

Thanks Dawn, That helps me a lot!

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