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Copyright Violation -- Legal Advice and Support Needed, Please
Cheeko at 7:32AM, April 1, 2008
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Hi, Drunk Duckers.
I know I don't speak up a lot on the forums much, but on this issue I really need to say something.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with a particular member here on Drunk Duck who goes by the name of Evil Emperor Nick. Nick writes and oversees several comic strips which several other artists of the DD community illustrate. He's also a married to the ever-popular Amelius and has overseen several community projects.
Now, while this may seem like an already impressive list, we must add one more achievement of his that cannot be overlooked:
Nick is a copyright violator.

No, I'm not kidding. If any of you have read Night School you know exactly what I'm talking about. Nick's character “Nigel” is a cheap imitation of my own character Dart. Don't believe me? Here, compare them:



STILL don't believe me? There are way too many similarities to write off as mere coincidence between these two characters. And if you think I'm just being paranoid, here's something else to consider:

Several years ago Nick approached me with a story idea for a comic with the hopes that I could be the illustrator. The story was called “Hello Super Lucky Happy Cat Dart”, and the summary went something like this:

Dart - A white cat boy full of mischief. He wears a variety of cute oufits with large oversized gloves and his happy cat mask.

Series concept: HSLHCD focus on the main character dart and his friends. Dart is employed durring the day to his mean boss the masked Mancer. Mancer is a villian who wants to take over the kingdom, but humorously has only so far recruted the good natured Dart whom only wants to make people happy and occasionally scap with someone.

When not employed in his part time job to Mancer dart lives in a small hut near the school he attends. Dart has a host of imaginary friends which offer confusing but well meaning advice which Dart usually ignores.

Dart has many friends who live in the forest and serve to get him into trouble. This friends are to be expanded on later but right now I am thinking maybe a magic dragon, an elf, a scary vampire girl (Mancer's daughter?) and maybe a few others.

At schoole Dart is easily distractable and often gets into minor trouble due to his high energy nature. A reoccuring gag is Dart frequently wishs for outrageous things (in an off handed way) which later come true but he fails to notice.


Here are some early production notes of the project, featuring the same character:



And some of the final designs:



The project ultimately fell through and never made it past the development stage, the agreement between Nick and myself was voided and I thought that was the end of the matter. But here, several years later, I find Nick using elements I designed for one of his characters in one of his current comics! Not only did he fail to ask my permission to do so, he has refused to give me any credit for the designs.

Nick and I have been shooting messages back and forth about this issue for weeks, and we haven't gotten anywhere with it. I've tried very hard to keep this from escalating into something involving legal action, but Nick's rudeness and refusal to cooperate with me has gone too far and can no longer be ignored. Maybe by filing a grievance against him or pursuing some other course of legal action will be enough to bring him to his senses. I've already contacted a lawyer to get his say on the matter, but I'll also need your support if I want to get through this matter completely sane. If you have any legal advice for me, it would also be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.




-Romans 8:28-
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
crocty at 8:24AM, April 1, 2008
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April fools?
THIS NEW SITE SUCKS I'M LEAVING FOREVER I PROMISE, GUYS.
NOT BLUFFING, I'M GONE IF YOU DON'T FIX IT.
Oh god I'm so alone someone pay attention to me
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:51AM
Evil Emperor Nick at 8:31AM, April 1, 2008
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Cheeko as I have TRIED to explain to your before, while we had an agreement on character design we had no such clear agreement about masks. This simply fact undermines your whole case. Mask are not characters and characters are not masks. You can't trademark a article of clothing.

But lets just say you do have some sort of “designer's right” here, lets compair again shall we?



See the blue thingy? You'll note Dart's mask had a different design on it. Nigel's mask is clearly a new and different design that just happens to resemble dart. I can't be held accoutable if kitty masks happen to look similar. You can't design one mask an expect everyone to stop making kitty masks. That blue thingy makes this an original design. If you had designed the blue thingy I would be happy to give you credit, but alas no blue thingy do I see. The Blue Thingy shall set me free!

Further I'll note that certain aspects of HSLHCD seems to have found there way into One Question. I not longer have my copy of Hello Super Lucky Happy Cat Dart to computer troubles, but I clearly remember the 665 page script and series outline I sent you. If anything I should be mad for your use of the name Dart on your very unhappy cat.

Further we all know this is just payback for what I did to your character durring my (now removed) Civil War story.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
hpkomic at 8:36AM, April 1, 2008
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Don't worry Cheeko. This isn't the first time EEN has stolen from someone. :(

Maybe this time he'll get caught.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
Modesty at 8:39AM, April 1, 2008
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Your first point was pretty weak as I did not see the similarities between your Dart and Nick's Dart. Visually they look completely different.

Your stronger point is the fact that you designed a character for him. He did not follow through with the project, so you kept the copyright to the design for yourself.

Things like this are fairly lucid on the interwebs. But you are right to try to take control. The copyright belongs to you because you created it. That means you have the rights (via the Constitution of the United States) to say how that work is distributed. That copyright is yours until 70 years after your death.

It would also be important to preserve the messages exchanged between you at that time (if they still exist) and right now.

What Nick may try to do is say “it was inspired by your design but not the same.”
(Like changing the colors or removing the over-sized gloves.)
(Edit: Look, I was right! XD Actually Nick, she CAN hold copyright over any aspect of a character design.)

But if I could just clarify, all you are asking for is credit for your design.
Are you also looking for some sort of compensation? Payment for the rights? because you can sell him the rights.

Best of Luck. And keep us posted on this!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
Cheeko at 8:44AM, April 1, 2008
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Evil Emperor Nick
Cheeko as I have TRIED to explain to your before, while we had an agreement on character design we had no such clear agreement about masks. This simply fact undermines your whole case. Mask are not characters and characters are not masks. You can't trademark a article of clothing.

But lets just say you do have some sort of “designer's right” here, lets compair again shall we?



See the blue thingy? You'll note Dart's mask had a different design on it. Nigel's mask is clearly a new and different design that just happens to resemble dart. I can't be held accoutable if kitty masks happen to look similar. You can't design one mask an expect everyone to stop making kitty masks. That blue thingy makes this an original design. If you had designed the blue thingy I would be happy to give you credit, but alas no blue thingy do I see. The Blue Thingy shall set me free!

Excuse me, Nick, but the blue thingy is the ONLY THING that's different about the mask design. In case you haven't noticed, THE EYES, WHISKERS AND MOUTH are exactly the same! You cannot just slap one small extra design feature on the mask and then claim the character is entirely unique.
And how could I possibly be offended by that poorly written and executed comic you submitted as a Civil War sidestory? The thing wasn't even worth my time.




-Romans 8:28-
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Modesty at 8:58AM, April 1, 2008
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Cheeko does hold copyright over all and any aspect of the character design she so chooses. It is her design and her copyright.

The only way this would be acceptable is if the comic was a parody. Which it is not.
Changing one aspect of the design is like removing one of the buttons on Mickey Mouse's shorts and saying you designed it. XD

When I got a commission, I paid extra cash to own the rights to the image. Meaning the artist, although she made the image, had to ask ME if she could still post it in her DA account. (Of course I allowed it and use part of the image as a banner selling Dark Souls anthology. ;))
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
ozoneocean at 8:59AM, April 1, 2008
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That's one of the reasons I avoid working with Nick. He's been acquiring a little bit of a reputation for this at DD over the years ;)

I'm sorry Cheeko, but I think you should've checked him out a bit before starting on the designs. Unless you guys drew up some sort of agreement or something, you might not much have much of a leg to stand on. Nick's been doing this for a long time. he KNOWS what he's doing!

I hope this doesn't turn ugly, but since we already had one case of something similar in the art forums with certain furry art, it can't hurt for people to get a chance to talk this out.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Evil Emperor Nick at 9:11AM, April 1, 2008
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Bwah?!?!?

Hey I spent hours working on those sprites for civil war! I'll have you know your sprite started out life as a monster from FF6 (3 american). It takes a lot of work to put together something like that. And the animation! Don't get me started on how hard it was to animate that thing. You…you just don't understand art!!!!!

Lets be real here, did you ever own a ghost buster toy in the 80's? Do you know what made that toy different from any other squirt gun or nerf blaster? The sticker that said “Ghost Busters”. Slapping one extra design makes all the difference.


(Ghost Buster's Dart vs 1 Question Dart)

To prove my point what are the difference between these two shoes?





Or these character designs?





Or these two parties





Besides if I wanted to be a jerk I could just let an important question from 1 Question slip…..



*Gasp*

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
crocty at 9:15AM, April 1, 2008
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So, is Nick gonna get banned?
Because, I wouldn't stand for all this copyright infringement.
THIS NEW SITE SUCKS I'M LEAVING FOREVER I PROMISE, GUYS.
NOT BLUFFING, I'M GONE IF YOU DON'T FIX IT.
Oh god I'm so alone someone pay attention to me
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:51AM
ozoneocean at 9:29AM, April 1, 2008
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crocty
So, is Nick gonna get banned?
Because, I wouldn't stand for all this copyright infringement.
It's possible… But like I said, he's been doing this a loooong time. What I mean by that is, he knows how to do it right; without getting caught.

Unfortunately, Cheeko is just as likely to end up with egg on her face… :(
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Evil Emperor Nick at 9:30AM, April 1, 2008
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Modesty
Cheeko does hold copyright over all and any aspect of the character design she so chooses. It is her design and her copyright.

The only way this would be acceptable is if the comic was a parody. Which it is not.
Changing one aspect of the design is like removing one of the buttons on Mickey Mouse's shorts and saying you designed it. XD

See this is totally different, this more like the difference between Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, Howard the Duck, Darkwing the Duck and Drunk the Duck. All cartoon ducks whom don't wear pants but all totally different. I mean by that logical I could copyright not wearing pants and kill a whole genre of jokes! The only one who would be safe is the kilt wearing fiend Flintheart Glumgold.

Can you imagine a world were everyone had to wear pants? Does anyone really want that? Really?

Edit: Thank you Ozone for your support. I'm glad at least one person here at least has faith in me.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
SpANG at 10:04AM, April 1, 2008
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The ducks are different. They are all DIFFERENT COLORS. That's why a sprite re-color is so different from the next. A green sonic is just considered a “creative spin” on the original blue one, not a copy by any means.

Not like this. Your cat is obviously a rip-off. They are both white, and have cat-like features.

Unfortunately, Nick has the law on his side, and he knows it. Legally, there is nothing we can do. Let this be a lesson to all of you that want to collaborate with EEN. He'd steal your ideas as sure as look at you.

“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
TheMidge28 at 10:06AM, April 1, 2008
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Evil Emperor Nick



oh my! I don't believe Cheeko is the only one to have their copyrights of a character design infringed upon.
I present exhibit A:

If you notice my character clearly has a spiral…a yellow arrow has been added to point out the spiral which I have to advise is trademarked/pantent pending for my character . And the stealing of this trademarked spiral isn't just bad enough you have it on the forehead as well EEN! The nerve! Plus my character is furry as well! Might as well paint Dart red and call him Yokai! Believe this will not go unnoticed! Cheeko if you would be so kind to send me the name and number for your laywer in a pq I will like to follow suit in these proceedings. This is a truely serious matter!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:24PM
Evil Emperor Nick at 10:16AM, April 1, 2008
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Drat you Midge! You were never supposed to know! It all is comming unraveled! Double Drat you!

Edit: Er what I mean to say was, sure it is swirly, but is it blue? As Spang points out it is only copyright violation if it is the same color.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
NikiPaprika at 10:21AM, April 1, 2008
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@Ozone: If an admin is also agreeing to the fact that this dude is a total jackass (to put it politely), SURELY he would be better off NOT being on this site? o_O
Even if he's JUST skimming the rules by his teeth, he is obviously making people very upset. That just ain't right!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:17PM
ozoneocean at 10:33AM, April 1, 2008
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Well his name is sort of a warning…

He's just been a part of this site too long. Besides, if Nick goes, we lose Charby too. :(
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Tybalt Makoto at 11:05AM, April 1, 2008
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I personally think that both have a bit in the wrong. Cheeko, I think that you bringing it here is a rather idiotic move because you are bringing unneeded parties into your little arguement. Nick, personally, I do think that you kinda crossed a line and that a little Revision of the character would be nice. I'm not saying that a total overhaul is in order but some revision would end this whole dispute peacefully.

Note: These are my veiws, kay? Deal with em.
I am Tybalt Brewer. I am a priest, a warrior, and a sage. But dammit I need money.*holds up sign,'will work for food.'*
I'M WITH ZAC…mostly.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM
crocty at 11:06AM, April 1, 2008
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So, Nick can do whatever he wants?

DAMN HIM!
THIS NEW SITE SUCKS I'M LEAVING FOREVER I PROMISE, GUYS.
NOT BLUFFING, I'M GONE IF YOU DON'T FIX IT.
Oh god I'm so alone someone pay attention to me
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:51AM
TheMidge28 at 11:17AM, April 1, 2008
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Evil Emperor Nick
Drat you Midge! You were never supposed to know! It all is comming unraveled! Double Drat you!

Edit: Er what I mean to say was, sure it is swirly, but is it blue? As Spang points out it is only copyright violation if it is the same color.

Now its about color?
way to pull the race card, EEN!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:24PM
ozoneocean at 11:18AM, April 1, 2008
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crocty
So, Nick can do whatever he wants?

DAMN HIM!
No one's untouchable. If it warrants it, he's gone. But that's very serious step and I'd hope it wouldn't go that far.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Raccoo at 11:35AM, April 1, 2008
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ozoneocean
Well his name is sort of a warning…

He's just been a part of this site too long. Besides, if Nick goes, we lose Charby too. :(

Not to mention half the comics on drunk duck are written by him.

This thief had me fooled too. I'm ashamed to have ever drawn guest comics for him. Arg, what if the characters I drew were actually someone else's?! Could I get in trouble for violating their copyright unknowingly? Maybe we should check to see if there are other characters he stole?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
crocty at 11:39AM, April 1, 2008
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ozoneocean
No one's untouchable. If it warrants it, he's gone. But that's very serious step and I'd hope it wouldn't go that far.
Well, I guess all we can do, is hope he'll stop stealing art…
THIS NEW SITE SUCKS I'M LEAVING FOREVER I PROMISE, GUYS.
NOT BLUFFING, I'M GONE IF YOU DON'T FIX IT.
Oh god I'm so alone someone pay attention to me
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:51AM
Evil Emperor Nick at 11:44AM, April 1, 2008
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crocty
I don't approve of your methods.

Yeah, well… You're not from Chicago.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
Custard Trout at 11:49AM, April 1, 2008
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I think it's dreadful that anyone would attack poor Nick, especially with such flimsy evidence!

Don't you people see that Cheeko is the villain here? She's stealing characters and then protecting herself from discovery by accusing her victims of theft! Using her status as a tool to gain favour!

How do I know this? I WAS THE ORIGINAL CHEEKO! She stole my name and left me disgraced, I've had to hide behind this mask for so long. But no longer, I know what you're up to Cheeko, and I won't rest until you, and your little goons Ozone and Midge, are nothing but dust!

DUUUUUUST!
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:00PM
SarahN at 12:00PM, April 1, 2008
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AH WHA–….



*reads a message posted by Nick somewhere else*
Oh.


Jesus Christ Nick don't scare me like that! XD
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:23PM
lefarce at 12:07PM, April 1, 2008
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What a glorious April 1st this has been.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:32PM
skoolmunkee at 12:10PM, April 1, 2008
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What a couple of babies


You should settle your issues like adults, with baseball bats
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
Evil Emperor Nick at 12:12PM, April 1, 2008
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A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiams… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball!

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
Cheeko at 12:38PM, April 1, 2008
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Custard Trout
I think it's dreadful that anyone would attack poor Nick, especially with such flimsy evidence!

Don't you people see that Cheeko is the villain here? She's stealing characters and then protecting herself from discovery by accusing her victims of theft! Using her status as a tool to gain favour!

How do I know this? I WAS THE ORIGINAL CHEEKO! She stole my name and left me disgraced, I've had to hide behind this mask for so long. But no longer, I know what you're up to Cheeko, and I won't rest until you, and your little goons Ozone and Midge, are nothing but dust!

DUUUUUUST!

EXCUSE me?! I don't own any copyrights on the name Cheeko. You think my ego is SOOO big that I couldn't stand for two in the world? Unless your persona design is/was EXACTLY like mine, then you shouldn't be complaining. I don't even know who you are, so what reason would I have to possible rob and disgrace you, as you claim?!

The obvious difference between ALL of those pictures, Nick, is that one is a unique, original piece of artwork, and the other is another original piece of artwork with A GHOSTBUSTERS LOGO SLAPPED ONTO IT.
You know what? I think you just dragged Nike and DC comics into this whole affair with those horrible examples you just made. Maybe I can get them onto this case, too. How do you like that?

I don't know what Drunk Duck is coming to, allowing a continuous violator of such obvious laws to continue being a member of the site. I mean, I heard you were coercing the admins to changing the name to Sober Duck and that you had the DD Overlord contest fixed from the beginning, but you'd think that'd be enough to have you banned. COME ON.




-Romans 8:28-
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM

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