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Do Frictional Characters Protected By Law?

Isn't everyone wants to lead a life somewhat similar to that of a fictional character or "Are they even human"!.But it is good to remain as practical as possible rather than leading the life of someone else. YES, it's not worth considering to imitate someone's life as well as to imitate someone's creation. For preserving the indigenous expressions of the characters we made laws which we call as copyright of the work.

Introduction
  • There are tons of questions gushing in our mind whether the fan-art is legal?
  • Are movie character names copyrighted? and also
  • Can someone name their company by using a fictional character name?
The answer to all these questions lies in the fact nothing is illegal if it's done after written consent or permission of the original copyright owner. However "Selling content is illegal not making.

Do Cartoon Characters Are More Protected Than Pure Ones?

If we look around the world there are three categories in general. First and foremost is needless to say the pure one is not jumbled or created through any work. Then we find movie characters or novels produced by the author. Further, we find characters made through animations such as cartoons, anime, etc. AMONG these characters pure have little or no protection by the court of law while cartoon characters tend to receive way more protection than any literary characters.

The famed Netflix show Sherlock Holmes controversy

In the case Conan Doyle estate vs Netflix, series which cover 56 stories and 4 novels written by sir Arthur Conan Doyle, they were published between 1887 and 1927. In today's scenario, all the copyright of the Sherlock Holmes series was held by C.D estates.

AS the copyright of 46 stories and 4 novels expired. They are momentarily in the public domain as they were published before 1923. But the final 10 stories are still under copyright which is expected to expire in 2018 and 2022. Here Sherlock portrays a character of humble, compassionate men and someone who has love towards dogs and respect women. The Enola Holmes series which was written in 2010 is about a 14year old little sister of Sherlock Holmes.

In April 2020 Netflix announced to release the Enola Holmes series September 2020. before 3 months of release date, The cd estate filed a suit against Netflix and the author Nancy Springer, they alleged the defendants for copyright and trademark infringement. The plaintiff stated that the defendant had incorporated a certain element of Sherlock like empathy, respect for women which are still under copyright and which is seen in the final 10 series of Sherlock Holmes.

They claimed that the Enola Holmes mysteries copies the same segments from Conan Doyle's copyrighted stories that defendant springer copied in her book. Implying the main point as "empathetic "nature which was absent in the stories is now already in the public domain.

In copyright law, we need to look for the contrast between the idea and the expression. An idea is a thought or suggestion, especially about what to do in a particular situation. while an expression is an act of making known one's thoughts or feelings. Copyright law protects each original expression of ideas but not itself the idea. In the above case having emotion, respect towards women is an idea, but when it is expressed in several points of the plot line it becomes an expression.

Also one could argue that in a way Sherlock Holmes showed emotion and respect as a part of the expression and could be copyright. But certain ideas are universal concepts if they are copyrighted it would be similar to hamper the expression as well and no other creator can ever use it. Hence the plaintiff's arguments were unconvincing in the case and treated as a misapplication of copyright law.

Conclusion
Copyright protection aims to produce incentives to authors to make works of art they could not create if they feared misappropriation of these works for profit by others. The words that make the character also create a picture within the reader's mind, a picture that will be more relevant than life.

To be subject to copyright protection, a resourceful work of authorship must be placed into a fixed form. this implies that the creative work has been presented in an exceedingly tangible medium of expression which is stable and permanent. The work must be expressed during a form and medium during which the work may be presented, reproduced, and communicated during a format that's over a transitory expression of the material.

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