Friday, September 15, 2023

The, "Fables," Comic and Copyright Law--A Complicated Tale

Bill Willingham is a comic creator known for his work on the, "Fables," series. It took a bunch of old fairy-tale characters and put them in a shared universe. Folks really dug it. I have to be honest and say I never read, "Fables," or any books that tied in with it. There is no real reason why I skipped it, but I have so much stuff I already struggle to read and by the time I knew of, "Fables," there was so much content I just kind of shrugged and figured I could miss out and someday give it a read. Willingham has had, "Fables," at DC's Vertigo and then the Black Label. He has apparently been having a lot of trouble with DC so he got pissed off and said, "Fables," is now in the public domain. He told folks to do whatever with it as he surrendered the copyright to fans.

Willingham could be considered a complicated author. Depending on whom you ask he leans a little right politically but is an okay guy regardless of his politics. That, or he is incredibly far-right and a huge bigot, some folks might tell you. He has fans of all kinds of political persuasions thanks to, "Fables," so it has been weird to see some folks who don't ever get along uniting a bit to praise Willingham for this action.

The thing is, DC has already said, "Not so fast!" and is making it sound like this is more of a case where Willingham is doing a meaningless symbolic gesture than a real case of releasing his copyright to the wilds. DC has made it clear they co-own the copyright with Willingham and if anyone tries to make a single cent on the, "Fables," property without permission with a movie/television show/comic DC will take action--e.g. sue your ass. It is going to be a long and messy process that I'm sure has some copyright lawyers salivating at how much money could get tied up in all this. It's gonna be a process.

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