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  1. #1
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    Default Copyright Infringement On Marvel Character???

    Hello comic book fans! I am new to this forum but I'm a huge fan of comic books. In this post I would like to ask the community about copyright infringement on a Marvel character that I cannot find anywhere online. If this question has been asked already on this forum could you please direct me to it. Because I cannot find it.

    I have a created a new science fiction character that I have not published yet in novel format. My character looks similar to the Silver Surfer with the exception of the features of the face. His name, powers and story are in no way related to Silver Surfer. However, my character's skin is silver like the Silver Surfer. My character's skin is a nanosuit of armor in silver. Not cosmic. Does anyone think Marvel Comics will allow me to use this character in the book that I'm writing without getting into trouble? I'm not using the name Silver Surfer. He just has the appearance of my character. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Patrick

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ltpg97 View Post
    Hello comic book fans! I am new to this forum but I'm a huge fan of comic books. In this post I would like to ask the community about copyright infringement on a Marvel character that I cannot find anywhere online. If this question has been asked already on this forum could you please direct me to it. Because I cannot find it.

    I have a created a new science fiction character that I have not published yet in novel format. My character looks similar to the Silver Surfer with the exception of the features of the face. His name, powers and story are in no way related to Silver Surfer. However, my character's skin is silver like the Silver Surfer. My character's skin is a nanosuit of armor in silver. Not cosmic. Does anyone think Marvel Comics will allow me to use this character in the book that I'm writing without getting into trouble? I'm not using the name Silver Surfer. He just has the appearance of my character. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Patrick
    As long as this character isn't a herald of some galactic terror, a surfer, and/or something else along those lines, you should be fine. Other characters inspired by the Surfer have been done before and, technically, so long as you aren't copying him and not providing some sort of commentary or comedy, you will be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebunse View Post
    As long as this character isn't a herald of some galactic terror, a surfer, and/or something else along those lines, you should be fine. Other characters inspired by the Surfer have been done before and, technically, so long as you aren't copying him and not providing some sort of commentary or comedy, you will be fine.
    Nope. Not doing any of that. Just the appearance of the character. Nothing more. Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it!

  4. #4
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    I know it's expensive, but if you're going to take this thing commercial, I'd say get a copyright lawyer's opinion. You'd really hate to have yours getting some traction, and then get hit with papers from Disney's Legal Sith Department (whether their case has any merit or not). Not saying it makes you immune (as my attorney says, "anybody can sue anybody else for any reason, no matter how unsupportable"), but at least you'd have a response ready.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Raye's Avatar
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    It's likely not an issue because 'silver skin' is really not that unique to Silver Surfer. Like, it could also apply to The Engineer in The Authority, or something like the T-1000, or something. As said above, as long as he's not flying through space on a surfboard, you're likely good.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    I know it's expensive, but if you're going to take this thing commercial, I'd say get a copyright lawyer's opinion. You'd really hate to have yours getting some traction, and then get hit with papers from Disney's Legal Sith Department (whether their case has any merit or not). Not saying it makes you immune (as my attorney says, "anybody can sue anybody else for any reason, no matter how unsupportable"), but at least you'd have a response ready.
    I appreciate your advice. I just spoke to my Aunt's cousin, David Michelinie, who worked for Marvel, who helped co-create Venom and Carnage. He said if I contact Marvel comics they would tell me not to create and publish the character. I will have to come up with something different then just to be safe.

  7. #7
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    I would said, relax and go ahead. In the superhero comic books, these kind of similarities are pretty common. The characters are either visually similar (like Silver Surfer and Enginieer) or conceptually similar (like MLJ's Shield and Captain America). Also, severalcharacters are created as homages or parodies of previous characters and nobody had problem with that. Check Big Bang comics or Alan Moore's 1963 & Supreme. It is the development of the characters what is relevant.
    Internet Rule 14: Do not argue with trolls it means they win.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Raye's Avatar
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    Honestly, what he describes is far more similar to the Engineer than it is to Silver Surfer. Angie's silver skin is also nanites. But even then, I wouldn't be too concerned, any more than Warren Ellis was when he created Apollo and Midnighter.
    Last edited by Raye; 08-17-2019 at 08:54 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raye View Post
    Honestly, what he describes is far more similar to the Engineer than it is to Silver Surfer. Angie's silver skin is also nanites. But even then, I wouldn't be too concerned.
    Actually, the Engineer is very similar to my character who flies using nanotechnology, creates mechanical devices, communicates with machinery and covers the body in liquid metal body armor. This is the first I've heard of the engineer since I just looked it up. So much for my unique idea on my character.

  10. #10
    Mighty Member Lonewolf36's Avatar
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    As long as the name and the concept is not similar to Silver Surfer i doubt Marvel would bother. Silver skin/metal skin alone isn't something Marvel could bring an infringement case against you. That are numerous character with both silver and metal skin in various co in companies. Captain Atom comes to mind at DC and to my knowledge Marvel never tried to bring it up and he's probably closer to Silver Surfer than your character would be.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Raye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ltpg97 View Post
    Actually, the Engineer is very similar to my character who flies using nanotechnology, creates mechanical devices, communicates with machinery and covers the body in liquid metal body armor. This is the first I've heard of the engineer since I just looked it up. So much for my unique idea on my character.
    Think of it as you being on the same wavelength as Warren Ellis at the height of his powers. also, the Authority consisted of many characters that were homages to other characters, even if they had twists added in. Apollo = Superman, Midnighter = Batman, The Doctor = Doctor Strange, and even Angie herself was kind of like Iron Man, and many of the ideas Ellis used with her were later refined in his Extremis story. But they still stand on their own as their own characters, because they had unique aspects added in, and different personalities, and there is no reason yours can't as well. And other characters have ripped off elements from it, like they blatantly ripped off The Bleed with his Avengers stuff with the Superflow, they even slipped up and called it the Bleed in one panel. (I originally said Hickman ripped it off, but looks like it was Ellis himself that introduced it to the MU, lol. guess this was his way of tying the universes together in a way. in any case, it was very blatant, and DC never sued)
    Last edited by Raye; 08-17-2019 at 01:05 PM.

  12. #12
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    I think the main thing is that copyright normally just covers the exact of something, not basic concepts. Even Disney won't go after you for the concept of a man in a metal skin. That would cost more than it's worth

  13. #13
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    Thank everyone for your feedback, opinions and advice. I really appreciate it!

  14. #14

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    Have in mind that people in an internet forum are not lawyers (unless someone actually is, but it would be a special case). The opinion of a lawyer would be more important than that of any of us. For starters, mention the National Comics Publications, Inc. v. Fawcett Publications, Inc. case (which ruled that the original Captain Marvel was a copyright infringement of Superman, despite being a generic superstrong flying superhero) and ask him if it would be a relevant precedent.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimate Captain America View Post
    Have in mind that people in an internet forum are not lawyers (unless someone actually is, but it would be a special case). The opinion of a lawyer would be more important than that of any of us. For starters, mention the National Comics Publications, Inc. v. Fawcett Publications, Inc. case (which ruled that the original Captain Marvel was a copyright infringement of Superman, despite being a generic superstrong flying superhero) and ask him if it would be a relevant precedent.
    Things have changed considerably since that case. Again anyone can sue for anything just look at the McDonalds hot coffee lawsuit. That being said companies or more likely to sue companies than individuals. At best you would get a cease and desist letter as opposed to and infringement lawsuit. Today Fawcett would likely win the lawsuit and probably would have back then but didn't have the money to fight it and was already in the process of closing down at the time.
    Last edited by Lonewolf36; 08-18-2019 at 11:50 AM.

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