Question
20 January

  • Japanese
  • Simplified Chinese (China)
  • English (US)
  • French (France)
Question about English (US)

"I thought that the creation belonged to its creator." Yes, Mr. Tagawa, you are right. However, the creator of this comic strip, Richard Outcault, unlike you, was an artist for hire, not a freelancer. In such a case, there was inevitably a difference in legal opinion about his creation.

"Well, wasn't there a provision in American law that dealt with such cases?" No, sir. Please take a look at this. This is "Katzenjammer's Kids." The artist of this went through the same conflict as the creator of "Buster Brown" would experience, when he decided to move to another newspaper for his personal reason in 1913. As it turned out, the lawsuit wasn't a complete victory for him.

"Was it because the court ruled that he shall be prohibited from continuing this comic strip for another newspaper?" No, sir, that's not what the court ruled. In fact, the artist continued to work on the comic strip for the newspaper he switched to. The court ruled that he shall not use the title "Katzenjammer's Kids" in his continued work. After the trial, he, Rudolph Dirks, continued the series under the title "The Captain and the Kids." On the other hand, after Dirks left the paper, another artist for hire worked on "Katzenjammer's Kids" at the paper.

"Were the main characters in these two comics the same?" That's right, Mr. Tagawa. They also had the same names. It was just like in the Buster Brown case.

"That doesn't add up to me." Does it, sir? The dispute between the plaintiff and the defendant ultimately involved ownership of the title of the work. It was just the same as in the Buster Brown lawsuit that rose years earlier. In short, this was a dispute over the ownership of the trademark, not about the main characters!
Does this sound natural?

This is a page from a long essay I am working on about the differences between Japanese and American comic strips. Tagawa in the text is a real person who lived decades ago, and he was a successful manga artist at the time. It's fiction that if I were to visit him in a DeLorean time machine and talk to him (and his wife, who was fluent in English) about the legal status of American comics, this is what he and I might say.
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  • Japanese
Deleted user

  • Japanese
Deleted user

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Deleted user

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