Copyright: Rights Even Heroes Can't Protect

July 18, 2023

Copyright law protects original works of authorship. But what happens when the work is based on another original work of authorship? A derivative work may be protected if it incorporates some or all of a preexisting work and adds new original copyrightable authorship. For example, an author's modification to standard superhero characters could be conceivably entitled to protection.

In this Los Angeles & San Francisco Daily Journal article, David Martinez and Tommy Du discuss a recent federal court decision that illustrates the contours of derivative work protection and underscores the difficulty in establishing derivative rights to comic book characters. 

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David Martinez


Member of the Executive Board;
Member of the Firm's Diversity Committee;
Pro Bono Chair, Los Angeles Office

Tommy H. Du


Pronouns: he/him

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