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Author Topic: Using a Fantomah villain  (Read 1550 times)

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Offline Kevin_Holsinger

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Using a Fantomah villain
« on: May 12, 2017, 04:33:15 AM »
Good morning, all.

I was wondering what, if anything, I'd be allowed to do with a character named "Mark Lord" from the Fantomah comic series that's available on this site.  If everything on DCM is public domain, and Mr. Lord was from one of the collections available here [Fantomah Archive Part 1 featuring art by Fletcher Hanks (Fiction House)], and he was a one-off villain (from what I can tell), does that make him public domain and useable?

I'm toying with the idea of one day using him in a story, but don't feel comfortable enough in my limited knowledge of copyright to feel like I have a go-ahead.  I know Fantomah herself is referred to as a "public domain character" all over the Internet, but she's not one of those pre-1923 characters that I know are safe to mess with.

My thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide.  Enjoy your day.

Kevin Holsinger

Digital Comic Museum

Using a Fantomah villain
« on: May 12, 2017, 04:33:15 AM »

Offline Yoc

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Re: Using a Fantomah villain
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 09:23:16 AM »
Hi Kevin,
As we say for all business use questions -
We claim no ownership of the images shared on the site beyond the DCM logo and banner.
Scans are donated by members.  We also cannot speak to the legality of using them in business ventures.

Please refer to our FAQ on this topic here -

If you a doing something for personal use you have no worries.


Offline JonTheScanner

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Re: Using a Fantomah villain
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 05:38:08 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, and if I were, I'm not your lawyer. And I don't even recall the character in question, but you can't copyright ideas.  So think exactly about what you believe you're copying. Yes if you want that exact character, you'd be infringing a copyright assuming the character still is under copyright.

But maybe 1000 people would recognize the name, and maybe 100 of those would remember something about the character if you used the name (and I think I'm being generous) so I doubt you're buying into any name recognition attraction for your potential story.  If you don't give the character the same name and make him somewhat different based on the same idea it will be down to about 10 who might connect things up.

Of course, by asking exactly this question here first, you've only provided evidence of what you're planning so I'm really writing to others who might contemplate something similar.

Offline TheCosmicMoth

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Re: Using a Fantomah villain
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 03:37:36 AM »
I'd say go for it. Ain't nobody going to claim ownership of Mark Lord. I'm relatively sure all of the Fanotomah material is public domain.

That being said... you should probably drop a personal thank you to the creators in your work (especially if the creator was Fletcher Hanks). Creators deserve recognition.

And whatever you do, link it here. I'm curious to see why you want to use this guy.