Characters Copyright

Author:Mr Marcelo Antunes Nemer
Profession:Stuber - Advogados Associados

The Brazilian Justice determines the bringing of action to punish crime against copyright.

Time Warner Entertainment Company L.P., DC Comics and Hanna Barbera Productions, Inc. had a favorable decision in court injunction filed against the Judge of the DIPO - Department of Police Investigations and Judiciary Police of So Paulo to plead the continuation of lawsuit brought by these same companies against Little Moon Comrcio de Brinquedos Ltda. for the unauthorized use of cartoon characters, such as Batman, Tom and Jerry, Tweety and Bugs Bunny.

The Public Prosecution Service, in charge of presenting petition for the commencement of suits, has constantly determined the shelving of this kind of suit since, in its judgement, the unauthorized use of characters, at an industrial scale, constitutes infringement of trademark rather than copyright. Thus, the company would have to have these characters registered as trademarks to be able to stop third parties from using them.

In Brazil, the trademark right is regulated by Law n 9279/96 (Industrial Property Law) while copyright is regulated by Law n 9610/98 (Copyright Law). In fact, in order to be opposable against third parties, the trademark right needs to be registered in Brazil. However, registration of copyright is optional meaning that in case of violations, the authorship needs only to be proven under the Berne Convention, to which Brazil is a signatory.

Cartoons containing those characters which Time Warner...

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