Colloquium: October 30th

Title: Appropriating Fictional Characters

Speaker: Dr. James Young (UVic)

Friday, Oct 30th at 2:30pm in CLE A203


The appropriation of fictional characters is currently restricted in most jurisdictions. This paper argues that current restrictions on the appropriation and re-use of fictional characters are unjustifiable. They place restrictions on artistic creativity and allow individuals and, more usually, corporations to steal from the public domain. I argue that fictional characters are not the sort of thing protected by copyright laws. The use of trademarks to restrict the appropriation of fictional characters leads to theft from the public domain. I go on to argue that the appropriation of fictional characters ought to be restricted for a short term, just as patents provide short term protection for inventions. Artists ought to have the opportunity to develop a character in accordance their their own vision. The character ought then to enter the public domain and be available for use by other artists. In this way, artistic creativity is maximized and fictional characters are not an instrument for promoting inequitable distributions of wealth.