Fort Knox, KY asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Kentucky

Q: Question on character / species design copyright

We asked an artist who was a friend to help w/ art for a char of a fake species we're designing. My bestie offered to do an art trade for the art. Since the artist was a friend of ours she offered to just do the art for free instead. Her, my BF and bestie all collab'd on the art. He had a description of the char & species already written out that the artist used for creativity to draw it out in art form. My friend also helped explain more about the details of the char & even drew up art of certain details for the char which were provided to the artist. We at one point even offered $ for the art to help fund her - but she insisted on doing it for free. We had a fall out as friends with said artist recently due to personal issues before the art was fully finished. The artist decided to try "taking back the free art she did" due to the issues we had & is now trying to post it online and make her own fake species & lore using the artwork originally intended for his character & species.

1 Lawyer Answer
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC

A: You haven't asked a question, but I assume you'd like to know whether your friend can post this work online and would like to know who owns the work.

17 USC 101 defines a "joint work" as a "work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole." The authors of joint work are considered joint copyright owners. Joint copyright owners have an equal right to register and enforce the copyright. Unless the joint owners make a written agreement to the contrary, each copyright owner has the right to exploit the copyright, provided that the other copyright owners get an equal share of the proceeds.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.