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  1. #1
    Spectacular Member randomideaguy's Avatar
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    Default New mainstays for the Centennial?

    So in less than two decades a lot or classic heroes like Bruce Wayne Batman, Clark Kent Superman, etc will all be 100 years old. I believe that’s when things go public domain ( I might be wrong here - this stuff is confusing ! ). What are the chances we see a more permanent “promotion” for several characters that would fall under this? Dick Grayson is barely any newer than the two I listed, so would this be a time where say Tim Drake becomes Batman and it actually sticks?

    This way they could theoretically still keep stuff under copyright since for example Tim Drake didn’t show up until the 1980s so wouldn’t be public domain until the 2080s. Same goes for others from that time period - so maybe one of the Superboys getting a permanent promo, a new Wonder Woman, etc.

  2. #2
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomideaguy View Post
    So in less than two decades a lot or classic heroes like Bruce Wayne Batman, Clark Kent Superman, etc will all be 100 years old. I believe that’s when things go public domain ( I might be wrong here - this stuff is confusing ! ). What are the chances we see a more permanent “promotion” for several characters that would fall under this? Dick Grayson is barely any newer than the two I listed, so would this be a time where say Tim Drake becomes Batman and it actually sticks?

    This way they could theoretically still keep stuff under copyright since for example Tim Drake didn’t show up until the 1980s so wouldn’t be public domain until the 2080s. Same goes for others from that time period - so maybe one of the Superboys getting a permanent promo, a new Wonder Woman, etc.
    I don't think it quite works like that, and even if it did there's still enough protection on the trademarks vs copyrights to make them being public domain not as big a deal as you may first think. So no, WB isn't going to replace these characters because they've gone public domain.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Superman, Lois and other elements will be public domain but that Superman won't be able to fly, interact with Kryptonite or deal with Lex Luthor for several more years until those elements also enter public domain.

    You'll be getting public domain versions at their pulpiest and DC will be able to sue people who use those iterations if they start borrowing concepts (or concepts similar enough) that DC still has ownership over.

    As an example, public domain Batman won't be throwing batarangs OR ELSE. He'll stick to his gun and purple, finless gloves. For the complete experience, people will still have to come to DC. As such, I think AT&T are content to let Disney continue to burn money litigating copyright laws to protect Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willy while they get to reap the rewards of those legal battles. Disney's newfound money problems may hamper that a bit, but unless they're willing to move away from Mickey Mouse they probably will find the money somewhere to grease the palms of congress.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member LordMikel's Avatar
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    There is a whole conversation about Superman over here.

    https://community.cbr.com/showthread...uperman-Others
    I think restorative nostalgia is the number one issue with comic book fans.
    A fine distinction between two types of Nostalgia:

    Reflective Nostalgia allows us to savor our memories but accepts that they are in the past
    Restorative Nostalgia pushes back against the here and now, keeping us stuck trying to relive our glory days.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordMikel View Post
    There is a whole conversation about Superman over here.

    https://community.cbr.com/showthread...uperman-Others
    Yup, that's my thread. I also made a sister thread in the Marvel forum, if anyone is interested. Those conversations are more about whether a person would want to read a title using the PD versions of a character (Superman as the example since he'll hit first, but the question applies to every character from the Golden Age).

    But for this legacy question? No, I don't think DC/WB would see much value in permanent legacies, for a couple reasons.

    First, corporations like WB and Disney have successfully lobbied congress for extensions on copyright a few times already, so the historical precedent tells us they will again. Now, maybe this time things will go a little differently, and there's a few reasons it might. But until it actually happens my assumption is that the Mouse and other interested parties will throw money at politicians until the problem goes away for another twenty-odd years.

    Secondly, *if* these characters did enter the public domain, they wouldn't really be recognizable to modern audiences. Go take a quick look at Action Comics #1; it's clearly Superman but virtually everything we consider "core" elements of Superman are missing. Same goes for Batman; there's no Alfred, no Arkham, none of the rogues, no Robin or Batgirl.....we're essentially talking about totally different characters. DC gains nothing by switching to permanent replacements just to avoid similarities with the PD versions. And remember, in any copyright infringement case, odds are DC is going to have the advantage so there's no reason for them to back off on using these characters.

    Thirdly, I assume permanent legacies would involve characters like Damien and Jon taking over for Batman and Superman right? They'd be using those names rather than something original. Well, that's more about trademark, which is different from copyright and can be kept active in perpetuity. That means that, generally, DC will retain control of the names and logos, no matter what. Since a permanent replacement would still be using the original's name, as far as trademark is concerned there's not much difference, and therefore not much incentive to change things. For an example of this sorta thing, consider the mess that is the "Captain Marvel" IP; Fawcett sold off their IP's and after bouncing around various publishers, the name "Captain Marvel" was eventually bought by Marvel, while the characters themselves ended up at DC, with DC unable to use the "Captain Marvel" name in any marketing, title, or cover.

    I'm not an expert on copyright/trademark law, that's a side of business I spent very little time studying so my examples might not be the best and my details are likely off, but bottom line, as far as I know DC doesn't have much reason to use permanent replacements. At least not as far as public domain is concerned. Now, if we were talking a challenge to the ownership of an IP, like we saw a few years back when the heirs of Superman's creators were trying to get the rights to the IP back? In that case, then yes DC would perhaps look into a replacement where ownership wasn't in question. But the early Golden Age comics entering public domain doesn't really affect what DC can or can't publish or do with the characters, it just means that other people could use those very early versions.

    So you could go write a novel about the Golden Age Superman, and as long as you stuck to elements from the original issues that had entered public domain and/or introduced fully new and unique elements, you'd be fine. But that doesn't stop DC from doing whatever they want with the character either....and you'd better do your due diligence to ensure your novel doesn't accidentally land on something that hasn't entered the PD, or you'll get sued into the stone age.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

    ~ Black Panther.

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