mustlovecomics asked: Hey, Giannis. I really respect your Old City Blues; have both Archaia gn versions. I'm a comics creator myself, currently wrapping up art for my personal work, but I have a quick question for you. I know most publications ask for creator-owned work to be copyrighted/trademarked prior to publishing, so how did you file for copyrights and trademark rights [for Old City Blues and your websites]? What was the process? It would help me greatly if you can help a comic dude out.
Thanks for getting OCB! And no worries, I know that stuff can be crazy — I’m really mostly in the dark with this myself, and this info is just from my personal experience.
As far as I know, comics publishers (unlike other publishing houses) won’t really bother with copyrights or trademarks before they sign you, and it’s very likely they’ll trademark the name of your book after you’ve agreed to publish through them.
Your work is copyrighted the moment you create it — whatever in the world that might mean — but from what I understand actually filing for copyright is just an additional safety measure in case you want to sue somebody. Here’s what the US Copyright office says:
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
If there’s anybody here who is knowledgeable in this matter, feel free to weigh in and I’ll update the post. The US Copyright office has some helpful FAQ’s on the subject, which include the ever-pressing matters “How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?” and “Can I get a star named after me and claim copyright to it?”