Production and Business 103: Comic Book Law for Creators
Too many creators have learned the hard way that ignorance of the law is no defense.
This four-week class for creators discusses all the relevant legal issues facing today’s creators in the areas of copyright, trademark, licensing, contracts, business structures, and censorship. And while the course is not meant to provide legal advice or replace the need to hire an attorney in every circumstance, it will certainly provide the necessary tools to help minimize legal costs related to the creation of comics.
The legal landscape of the publishing world is a dangerous place. A wrong step can cost you your creation, your money, and, in some cases, your freedom. In order to avoid potential liability, creators must understand complex concepts like work for hire, public domain and fair use. This course provides a basic background in the areas of intellectual property, copyright, trademark, contracts, business entities, and censorship. All aimed at helping creators gain an understanding of the types of things that can and cannot be done.
Once again, this course does not provide legal advice. However, it should provide enough information for creators to understand how each area of law functions. A better understanding of the basics of law often helps to narrow focus with a lawyer, which in turn may reduce billable hours in legal services dramatically. Approach contracts with confidence and make great comics without nagging legal fears!
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- Class meets between 9:00 and 11:00 pm EST, for four weeks.
- The class will be taught by attorney Joe Sergi (Comic Book Law: Cautionary Tales for the Comic Book Creator, Sky Girl, Great Zombies in History), a practicing trial attorney, who regularly writes on legal topics related to comic book creation.
- You’ll get lessons and lectures and discussions on relevant issues that creators must face every day!
- You will be provided with a basic understanding of the concepts underlying business entities, contracts, trademarks, and copyrights through the use of real world fact patterns and examples.
- You also get exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum.
- You’ll have access to recordings of any class in the series for the duration of the class and a few weeks after its conclusion–so you never have to miss a class!
- Class size is limited to keep it awesome!
Joe Sergi is an attorney and an award winning author who has written articles, novels, short stories, and comic books in the horror, sci-fi, and young adult genres. Joe is a life-long comic fan who regularly writes on the history of comics and censorship for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and is the author of the upcoming book Comic Book Law, Cautionary Tales for the Comic Book Creator. A complete list of Joe’s titles is available at www.JoeSergi.net.
When not writing, Joe works as a Senior Litigation Counsel in an unnamed U.S. government agency. In addition to numerous outstanding attorney awards and special commendations, Joe received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award in August 2001. Joe is also a member of the adjunct faculty at George Mason University School of Law.
The single best (and only) creator-focused comic book law course on Earth! Or so we believe. The course was designed to make sure you could learn everything we can possibly cram into four weeks.
What if I don’t know anything about the law?
Have no fear, this course is geared for the novice. Joe will take you through all the foundational elements. Joe will also be available to answer any questions should they arise.
Is there homework?
Of course not. That would be silly. There will be a midterm that accounts for 50% of your grade. Just kidding.
What do I do after the class?
Once the course is over, you should have the necessary skills to understand the basics underlying intellectual property, business structure, and contracts. These skills will enable creators to understand if counsel should be hired and help narrow the issues (and therefore the billable hours) for the work performed.
What else will we be doing?
In addition to talking with Joe during the class sessions–and they are recorded if you have to miss one or more–you’ll also have exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum where your class can meet any time for the duration of the course.
The forum is where you’ll be able to discuss the items brought up in class and view supplemental material.
Do I need to know a whole lot about comics?
Absolutely not. All Introduction courses are designed for total beginners. These courses aren’t about the instructor, and that’s why we keep them small. We have an excellent track record with our students, and it’s our top aim to keep it that way.
Is Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit or Continuing Professional Educational (CPE) credit available for this course?
Sorry, no. Luckily, a comic book creator doesn’t need CLE or CPE credits.
Do I need to be a computer wiz for the class?
Nope. Not one bit. You need to have high-speed Internet access. We recommend that you have headphones with a microphone to plug into your computer, but that’s by no means necessary. Ultimately, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to, though we like hearing your voice!
When does the class meet and for how long?
The Comic Book Law for Creators course meets once a week for four weeks. It meets between 9:00 pm EST and 11:00 pm EST. The course is held live.
What if I miss a class?
All of our classes are recorded and available to view via streaming link for the duration of the course. And on top of that, you’ll have exclusive access to the Comics Experience forum set up just for the class. You’ll be able to interact with the rest of your class all week long at any time!
If I don’t live in the United States, can I still take the course?
You bet. We’ve had students jump in from Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa. Not Antarctica yet, but give us time! Some of these students have not been able to attend live, but they’ve viewed the recordings and interacted with their classmates online! That said, the governing law covered in the course is United States law, so though laws may be similar in other countries, the course will be most relevant to creators working, collaborating, publishing or selling in the United States.
How do I sign up?
Click on the PayPal button and you’ll get an email confirmation and instructions within two business days giving you everything you need to get started with the course.
Given that this is the first course of this type ever offered, there simply is no better Comic Book Law for Creators course offered–on the Internet or live. This is the best–period. If you want to make comics for fun or become a pro, your comics career starts here. Go ahead and reserve your spot today! Space is limited.
To participate in our live online sessions you will need:
“Joe is extremely well-versed in law for comic book creators, from its history to the myriad practical aspects that all creators should know if they’re hoping to work in the industry, and even if they already do. There are so many legal dimensions to comic book creation, from contracts with collaborators and publishers to registering copyright and trademark, and creators need to become familiar with all of it. I came out of the course with a number of new tools at my disposal and an awareness of the complexity and scope of the laws and protections pertinent to comic book creation. I’m already applying my new knowledge of contracts in my collaborations. Joe himself is an experienced and well-organized teacher who is able to make incredibly complicated material easy to understand. The contracts provided by Joe are alone well worth the price of admission. I would highly recommend that other creators take this course. It may be daunting, but it will pay off. And I’m incredibly grateful that I won’t have to learn about law for comic book creators the hard way!”
Larry Luna Jr.
“Joe’s Comic Book Legal class is awesome. I learned a ridiculous amount of information and immediately put it to use. I will continue to use this new knowledge and know how in the near and distant future as my comic becomes a reality. Joe also answered all the students random questions to a T often with a good touch of humor, a ton of kindness and a sincere awareness of pop culture past and present. It’s worth every penny.”