The Copyright Act of 1976 protects fictional characters in movies, television shows, and other media. To preserve character rights in a film or web series, the owner must demonstrate the character’s originality and distinctiveness. Some characters, such as Wonder Woman and James Bond, are more popular than the film or television show. As a result, the owner of the film in which such characters appeared want to preserve not just the film but also the characters.
The court remarked on the criterion for character rights protection in the case Nichols v. Universal Pictures. The author or creator must demonstrate the character’s uniqueness. The more character-specific and developed a character is, the more likely it is to be protected by copyright. The alien, for example, is a fairly generic character in any programme or film and cannot be protected under copyright laws. However, if the Alien has distinctive characteristics such as a large nose with small ears, a wand on the top of the head, and so on, these characteristics add to the character’s originality and may be protected under copyright law.
WARNER BROTHERS VS GOTHAM GARAGE
The Warner Brothers were awarded a victory by the United States District Court. The main question was whether the WB could prevent Mark Towle from duplicating the Batmobile’s car design. The court ruled that the Warner Brothers own the rights to the Batman characters and that Mark Towle’s derivative works infringe on those rights. The Character Delineation Test was used by the court. This exam focuses on a character’s uniqueness and relevance in a programme or film. The tale cannot be conveyed without the presence of that character. Copyright protection is available for such characters.In the film Rocky Balboa, for example, the tale would be impossible to tell without the existence of the character Godzilla.
A court in India has granted copyright protection to characters in a film. Arbaaz Khan v. North Star Entertainment is one such instance. The character of ‘Chulbul Pandey’ from the film ‘Dabangg’ has been granted copyright protection by the Bombay High Court in this case. The court used the character delineation test to determine that the character is distinct and unique. From the film, the character is easily identifiable.
TRADEMARK OF CHARECTERS
Any company’s name, picture of the character as a logo, or brand name can be trademarked. For example, Batman might be a company’s trademark or the picture of Batman may be its logo. Trademarks protect the legitimate owner against rivals that use his trademark in a dishonest manner. The character’s name must be original and unique in order to be registered as a trademark. There should be no other registered trademarks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office that are comparable. Under the theory of fair use, the film or series’ character can be ridiculed or criticised. Such uses of the registered name are not protected by trademark.