I am just getting started with a comic series. Really, really at the beginning stages. A friend of mine suggested I get non-disclosure agreements printed up to send out before I send artists my work. Is that a good idea? Maybe its a good idea but could it be considered wrong?

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  • Hello Dan, I'm no lawyer, but most of the legal protection for your product is going to fall under copyright law. I would highly recommend picking up "The Pocket Lawyer for Comic Book Creators" by Thomas A. Crowell. This book covers how intellectually property is handled and protected legally and was a huge help on my comic project. If you want to create a comic series and retain total ownership of it (story, artwork, characters, designs, etc.), the book explains that you would want to have anyone else working on the project sign a "Work For Hire" agreement. This ultimately states that any contribution anyone does for your series is not owned by the creator, and is solely owned by you (I'm fairly certain all DC, Marvel, Etc. artists sign these, as they have no claim to the copyright of characters like Spiderman, or Superman). Otherwise you open up the option of having any of your collaborators lay claim to (at least a portion) of the copyright to the project, which in some cases is not a bad thing at all. Definitely do your homework and read up on what option is best for you. And if you want to go the extra mile, you could consult with a lawyer (which again, I am NOT). Hope this helps, good luck!
  • Hey Dan, Starting your own series is so exciting, congrats! As I understand your question, you're a writer sending out your story to artists and you want an NDA to protect your story concept; right?
    Non disclosure agreements (NDA) of any sort are really hard to defend in court without a huge expense on the creators part; NDA's of an idea or story-concept are un-defendable. But, when you draw up an agreement with an artist you can politely make reasonable requests and trust that a professional artist will honor them. Keep in mind you want their cooperation and even their input on your story-concept as they work on it. Especially since you're still developing as a writer, you have far more to gain than lose by encouraging a free exchange of ideas as you work with others.
    God bless your efforts!
    • That's exactly what I was wondering. A friend of mine with a background in legal suggested I get one printed up. Next is the collaborative part and looking for my artist.
  • I have not seen NDAs in wide use for creator owned books. I think it could come off as the wrong approach. Besides, the work to create a comic is highly collaborative work and you should trust the person who is your co-creator. If you are hesitant about someone stealing your ideas they might not be the best collaboration you could have.
    • Thank you for responding. I definitely don't want to come across wrong here. I just am needing to learn protocol.
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