Archive for the ‘[meta]’ Category

About this Site

Sunday, October 12th, 2003

This site is an outgrowth of my ongoing interest in comics, the law, and how they relate to each other. Over the years I’ve acted as kind of a roving “amateur expert” about legal issues relating to comics, and I figured it was time to hang out my shingle and start putting this info in one place.

As the disclaimer says, I’m not actually a lawyer. But (as the joke goes), I play one on the internet, and I really do know this stuff pretty well. I scored better on the Law School Aptitude Test than 90% of the people who take it, and I grew up with a lawyer, so it comes naturally to me. Sometimes I’m wrong about it, and someone corrects me… and then I know better. This is part of how I got to know as much as I do about it.

I’m not an expert on every aspect of the law, and I’ll try to stick to topics I actually know something about, and I’ll admit when I’m just guessing. The following icons will identify what legal theories or bodies of law apply to whatever topic I’m discussing:

Unions, Monopolies, etc.Associations, Monopolies, etc.
Freedom of association and free enterprise are not absolute, with laws governing the formation of unions, industry trade groups, and of course monopolies. Determining what’s legal and what isn’t is something of a challenge.

Contract LawContracts
Before you sign on the dotted line, you better read and understand what you’re signing, especially if it’s the alien dialect of Legalese. Many comics creators haven’t, and have lived to regret it.

Copyright LawCopyright
Put simply it’s “the right to copy”, but it’s one of the least-understood rights on the lawbooks. The length of the terms, “fair use”, and just who owns them are some of the variables.

I don’t plan to make it a major focus of this site (no point it trying to duplicate Bob Ingersoll’s “The Law Is A Ass”) but from time to time I’ll look at the law in comics, and how it matches - or more often, differs - from reality.

Freedom of the PressFree Press
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees no limits on “the freedom of speech, or of the press”. But issues such as obscenity, libel, and that pesky matter of the rest of the world mean it’s not that simple.

Trademark LawTrademarks
The term refers to “marks” (logos, names, and slogans) used in “trade” (packaging, marketing, and selling). Trademark protection overlaps with copyright in some cases, but works very differently.