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Making a cartoon of a public domain cartoon of a public domain cartoon

posted by TheBigGuns on - last edited - Viewed by 1.8K users
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_of_the_Missing_Hare
This cartoon is under public domain. So in theory as long as I don't use the name bugs bunny and Merrie melody logos. I am free to remake it right?I am free to use this design of bugs bunny right?Now known as supah bunny.
Anything else trademarked in it. The magician name is not trademarked.
14 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • TheBigGuns;765539 said:
    I am free to use this design of bugs bunny right?
    I suspect the general look of Bugs Bunny has been copyrighted as well. Bear in mind that making judgments on public domain status of things is very complex, and huge conglomerates and their very-highly-paid lawyers have completely misunderstood situations in the past. On the other hand, sometimes they've been in the right and have stomped on people.
  • You're free to re air it without compensation. Using the character himself would be your trouble.
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    Jennifer Moderator
    Bugs Bunny is a registered trademark, including his likeness. So, it will be really hard to remake this cartoon. Also, Bugs Bunny as a character is not in the public domain, since his first appearance (A Wild Hare) is still copyrighted.

    Plus, Time Warner is a huge company that can spend lots of time and money on trials, so it's likely not worth your time. The latter reason is why I decided not to do an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon, even though the first few cartoons are in the public domain (and the trademark isn't valid anymore in Oswald's case). I don't have the money to stand up to a large corporation in court, even if I would be within my legal rights.
  • Besides bugs bunny the only thing trademarked I think is the name bert change that to berth. Are the backgrounds,story,magician trademarked. What is free to use and what is not. Supah Bunny design will have to be changed.
  • By the time you change everything that could possibly violate a trademark, you might as well just make your own cartoon from scratch.

    If you're insistent and want a real answer, talk to an attorney who specializes in intellectual property laws.
  • Oswald WAS in the public domain. I don't know if he IS after his recent rise to popularity again.
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    Jennifer Moderator
    TheBigGuns;765833 said:
    Like I said above, he is (since his first couple shorts are in the public domain). The trademark on Oswald expired too.

    I wouldn't bother making new Oswald cartoons (or even distributing the old ones), because Disney's lawyers have been known to go after people who are within their legal rights on public domain characters (they went after someone who was selling public domain comic reprints of Mickey Mouse comics even though they were just called The Uncensored Mouse with a black cover that didn't even mention Mickey Mouse. Disney won that case, because Mickey Mouse's first cartoon is still copyrighted (which is actually in question in academic circles, but Disney is vicious in protecting their copyrights, so it has never been contested in court).

    I'd personally love to make a new Oswald cartoon, but it'd be a real David vs. Goliath fight going against a corporation as big as Disney.
  • http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp
    on the top you will see a search bar
    there are 2 options
    search for patents and search for trademarks
    search oswald
    click search for trademarks
    2 trademarks for Oswald the lucky rabbit are alive
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    Jennifer Moderator
    TheBigGuns;766029 said:
    http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp
    on the top you will see a search bar
    there are 2 options
    search for patents and search for trademarks
    search oswald
    click search for trademarks
    2 trademarks for Oswald the lucky rabbit are alive
    You're right, they've updated it since last year when I checked. It expired because they failed to file on time, but now it's listed as "a change in registration has occurred."

    In this case, I definitely wouldn't bother with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, since even though he's public domain, fighting the trademark will be tough.
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