Zorro Productions Duels a Public Domain Lawsuit

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Zorro Productions Duels a Public Domain Lawsuit

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A recently filed lawsuit could herald the end for all Zorro trademarks and licenses.

For the past century, Zorro has been one of the most iconic vigilantes in fiction. Created in 1919, the character has featured in multiple books, television series, comics, and films, including Antonio Banderas's popular Mask of Zorro. Zorro even laid the groundwork for the fledgling superhero comic book market, directly inspiring the development of Batman himself. Now Zorro is ready to combat one of his oldest foes once more: Copyright legislation. According to Hollywood Reporter, Zorro copyright holder Zorro Productions is being accused of filing fraudulently misleading trademarks for Zorro's likeness. If the lawsuit succeeds, it could sweep Zorro straight into the public domain, rendering all trademarks and license agreements for the character meaningless.

The lawsuit was filed by one Robert Cabell who, believing the original Zorro stories to be public domain, created Z: The Musical of Zorro as a full-length stage production. After licensing the musical to be performed in Germany, Cabell was allegedly threatened with litigation from Zorro Productions owner John Gertz for not paying the appropriate license fees. Cabell responded with an actual lawsuit, intending to prove not only that Zorro belongs in the public domain, but that Gertz fraudulently obtained multiple Zorro trademarks. Zorro Productions has faced similar lawsuits in the past, but was able to settle out of court.

"Defendants have fraudulently obtained federal trademark registrations for various 'Zorro' marks," the lawsuit reads, "and falsely assert those registrations to impermissibly extend intellectual property protection over material for which all copyrights have expired. Defendants also fraudulently assert that copyrights for later-published material provide defendants with exclusive rights in the elements of the 1919 story and the 1920 film."

Even ignoring the fact that 20th Century Fox has a Zorro reboot planned for next year, the case has huge implications. Zorro stories have engaged audiences for almost 100 years, but Zorro Productions is quick to file against anyone using his likeness, including chocolate companies using Zorro costumes in a commercial. A public domain Zorro would finally allow anyone to produce and distribute Zorro works without fear of legal reprisal. Considering that the last significant alterations to Zorro's mythos happened in 1998, the possibilities for adapting the character are endless.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time to write a screenplay in which Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, and John Carter recover H.G. Wells' Time Machine from the Martians.

Source: Hollywood Reporter, via IGN

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Just so long as he doesn't end-up glove slapping the Scarlet Pimpernel Fanghawk.

OT: not quiet sure how this works, but hey as long as I get a Zorro reboot, I'm good.

Ah, copyright. The old "someone made something a hundred years ago and we want to profit from their work until the end of time since we can't actually have any creativity to make something new so we can't let it become public property".
I swear when I finish writing my books they'll go into public domain in a decade.
(would have said five years, but I doubt I'll make a profit in that short a time)

So, if Zorro becomes public domain, this could be very beneficial.

If we're talking time machines, can we travel to the future so that we can send a cyborg assassin back in time to murder every last congressman who keeps voting for the extension of copyright? This shouldn't even be a debate. Fucking of course this shit should be in the public domain. So should Mickey Mouse, The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek. Whatever else anyone has to say on the issue, no intellectual property's ownership should outlast the intellect that created it.

Scars Unseen:
If we're talking time machines, can we travel to the future so that we can send a cyborg assassin back in time to murder every last congressman who keeps voting for the extension of copyright? This shouldn't even be a debate. Fucking of course this shit should be in the public domain. So should Mickey Mouse, The Lord of the Rings and Star Trek. Whatever else anyone has to say on the issue, no intellectual property's ownership should outlast the intellect that created it.

What if I create something a video game die the next day. My inheritors can't make money off it? Although I do think there should be a time limit. I would say about 20-50 years is enough to hold exclusive rights to a product.

The Trademark of Zorro.

Goddamn it, a reboot already? I know the Legend of Zorro wasn't that hotly recieved, but I still wish we could just get one more Antonio Banderas/Catherine Zeta Jones Zorro movie to tie up a trilogy for Martin Campbell. The Legacy of Zorro, perhaps?

Also, if I had my way, every property ever made would enter the Public Domain exactly one year after the death of the owner and not a second longer. That ought to be long enough for the world to pay their respects before all the half-assed and arthouse versions of everything come out.

Squilookle:
The Trademark of Zorro.

Goddamn it, a reboot already? I know the Legend of Zorro wasn't that hotly recieved, but I still wish we could just get one more Antonio Banderas/Catherine Zeta Jones Zorro movie to tie up a trilogy for Martin Campbell. The Legacy of Zorro, perhaps?

Also, if I had my way, every property ever made would enter the Public Domain exactly one year after the death of the owner and not a second longer. That ought to be long enough for the world to pay their respects before all the half-assed and arthouse versions of everything come out.

What about works made posthumously from an author's work-in-progress? When it comes to an original movie who would be the "owner"? The producer, the director... after every single person directly related to it dies? There is going to extremes and then there is what you just suggested.

Sooo would anyone here go to see a Zorro musical if it was playing in their area?

Actually- real life is the extreme example. My solution is a clear cut unbendable rule that anyone can work by. In the case of posthumous work, there's no problem. Just make sure you finish your version (which you had at least more than one year head start on) before someone else comes and does a better job.

In the case of original movies, nothing has changed. Whoever owns the IP.

...Hmm perhaps I should change it to one year after the creator dies. Then it doesn't matter who owns what, it all becomes freely available after the person/s responsible for bringing something into the world to begin with have passed away.

Naturally this doesn't mean you can't still make money off making stuff based on these works. Just look at Robin Hood, for example.

Squilookle:

...Hmm perhaps I should change it to one year after the creator dies. Then it doesn't matter who owns what, it all becomes freely available after the person/s responsible for bringing something into the world to begin with have passed away.

Many works don't have a tangible "creator". Is the scriptwriter a more important creaor than a producer? A director?

Even when we call someone that, like Gorge Lucas or Gene Roddenberry, it's more of an intentionally upheld creator worship around the most recognizeable staff member, than an accurate description of the work's origin.

If I had my way, every work regardless of the creator's identity would get IP rights for 10 years, with another optional 15 year extension for works that can prove that they are sufficently low profile. (whether to be measured by profits, household penetration rate, or something else).

The point is, that there might be some obscure writer with no advertisements at all, just hoping that a few people will pick up his book from a store, he might actually NEED those 25 years to make a living.

But if you made a blocbuster/AAA/best-seller trendsetter a decade ago, and you think you still haven't made enough money through controlling it, then the harm of giving you exclusive controls over a defining piece of pop-culture, are starting to outweight the benefits.

Star Trek should be public domain. But so should Star Wars. There is absolutely zero reason why either Disney, or Lucasfilm should still have a moral claim on it, telling where the EU is allowed to go.

Harry Potter should be public domain. There is no possible explanation how giving that woman who is already richer than the Queen, the legal authority to declare other people's books that take place at Hogwarts "illegal", is going to "promote the progress of useful arts".

Did someone say ZORO:
image
woops wrong zoro never mind >_>

this thread needs more zorro.

remmeber, the the 2008 copyright law time extension was passed SOLELY for the purpose of extending time for mickey mouse from falling into public domain, so that people who took over the company now can continue making profit from something that by any measurable definition has already become part of culture public domain decades ago. this lawsuit can very well just end up with extending the law again.

Entitled:

If I had my way, every work regardless of the creator's identity would get IP rights for 10 years, with another optional 15 year extension for works that can prove that they are sufficently low profile. (whether to be measured by profits, household penetration rate, or something else).

The point is, that there might be some obscure writer with no advertisements at all, just hoping that a few people will pick up his book from a store, he might actually NEED those 25 years to make a living.

But if you made a blocbuster/AAA/best-seller trendsetter a decade ago, and you think you still haven't made enough money through controlling it, then the harm of giving you exclusive controls over a defining piece of pop-culture, are starting to outweight the benefits.

Star Trek should be public domain. But so should Star Wars. There is absolutely zero reason why either Disney, or Lucasfilm should still have a moral claim on it, telling where the EU is allowed to go.

Harry Potter should be public domain. There is no possible explanation how giving that woman who is already richer than the Queen, the legal authority to declare other people's books that take place at Hogwarts "illegal", is going to "promote the progress of useful arts".

WOW, its first time on these forums that i see someone proposing almost exactly what i am proposing. well done sir.

Akisa:
What if I create something a video game die the next day. My inheritors can't make money off it? Although I do think there should be a time limit. I would say about 20-50 years is enough to hold exclusive rights to a product.

no they cant. they are not the ones who created. 20 years is ok, i can accept that. we HAD 50 years and it was way too long to begin with. in fact, the first copyright laws had it down to 36 years and they jsut keep adding time isntead of removing. well for USA anyway, other countries did it differently, but mostly followed USA example. there still are countries where 50 years is the rule.

unacomn:

I swear when I finish writing my books they'll go into public domain in a decade.
(would have said five years, but I doubt I'll make a profit in that short a time)

I don't think you get it. Being a writer isn't like being a carpenter (or something along those lines) where your hard work results in a tangible object of value, like a chair, which you then sell.

What you have spent thousands of hours working on as a writer actually has no intrinsic value, because as soon as you show it to someone they can make as many copies as they want (something you can't do with a chair). What you sell to a publisher is not the story itself, but the right to use your story to make money for themselves.

Once you've sold this right, and made your money, you can't just demand it back. Sure, you could stipulate in your contract that the copyright you're selling will expire in 10 years, but why would a publisher sign that when they've got literally hundreds of thousands of other writers who are so desperate for a book deal they'd sign away their left arm?

It's all about supply and demand, really.

Copyright laws are the cancer which is keeping the West back, and we all have to thank the USA for them.

Anyone else read that as "Zero Punctuation Duels a Public Domain Lawsuit"? No? Just me?

image

knight steel:
Did someone say ZORO:
image
woops wrong zoro never mind >_>

That's how I ended up here!

Was hoping for some crazy Zoro vs Zorro thing or something.

Zoro would win > >

anthony87:
Anyone else read that as "Zero Punctuation Duels a Public Domain Lawsuit"? No? Just me?

image

Saw it too... picturing Yatzee in a damn black mask slashing Ys into people's chests.

Fanghawk:

Even ignoring the fact that 20th Century Fox has a Zorro reboot planned for next year, the case has huge implications. Zorro stories have engaged audiences for almost 100 years, but Zorro Productions is quick to file against anyone using his likeness, including chocolate companies using Zorro costumes in a commercial.

Surely that counts as patent trolling. The zorro costume is part of the public consciousness, it would be like Coca-Cola suing for someone using the red Santa suit.

SkarKrow:

knight steel:
Did someone say ZORO:


woops wrong zoro never mind >_>

That's how I ended up here!

Was hoping for some crazy Zoro vs Zorro thing or something.

Zoro would win > >

Of course he would just look at the awesome stuff he can do:



kailus13:

Fanghawk:

Even ignoring the fact that 20th Century Fox has a Zorro reboot planned for next year, the case has huge implications. Zorro stories have engaged audiences for almost 100 years, but Zorro Productions is quick to file against anyone using his likeness, including chocolate companies using Zorro costumes in a commercial.

Surely that counts as patent trolling. The zorro costume is part of the public consciousness, it would be like Coca-Cola suing for someone using the red Santa suit.

Sure, but public consciousness isn't the same as public domain. Superman's costume is part of public consciousness, but DC/Warner Bros. has cracked down on its unauthorized use for promotions and advertisements, even if the "S" logo is altered somehow.

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

knight steel:
Did someone say ZORO:


woops wrong zoro never mind >_>

That's how I ended up here!

Was hoping for some crazy Zoro vs Zorro thing or something.

Zoro would win > >

Of course he would just look at the awesome stuff he can do:



Not to mention the armament and observation haki, the ability to cut steel, the fact he bench presses buildings and just does not accept death.

I would like to see such a fight though.

I'd also like to see Zoro have an actual fight in the New World at some point > >

SkarKrow:

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

That's how I ended up here!

Was hoping for some crazy Zoro vs Zorro thing or something.

Zoro would win > >

Of course he would just look at the awesome stuff he can do:
snip

Not to mention the armament and observation haki, the ability to cut steel, the fact he bench presses buildings and just does not accept death.

I would like to see such a fight though.

I'd also like to see Zoro have an actual fight in the New World at some point > >

Well considering who they are now up against it won't be too long intill we get the action pack fight we need ^_^

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

knight steel:

Of course he would just look at the awesome stuff he can do:
snip

Not to mention the armament and observation haki, the ability to cut steel, the fact he bench presses buildings and just does not accept death.

I would like to see such a fight though.

I'd also like to see Zoro have an actual fight in the New World at some point > >

Well considering who they are now up against it won't be too long intill we get the action pack fight we need ^_^

I want to see Zoro fight a futhermucking Yonkou xP to be fair all he's done in the new world is be a completely unstoppable badass though. Shame no chapter this week ):

SkarKrow:

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

Not to mention the armament and observation haki, the ability to cut steel, the fact he bench presses buildings and just does not accept death.

I would like to see such a fight though.

I'd also like to see Zoro have an actual fight in the New World at some point > >

Well considering who they are now up against it won't be too long intill we get the action pack fight we need ^_^

I want to see Zoro fight a futhermucking Yonkou xP to be fair all he's done in the new world is be a completely unstoppable badass though. Shame no chapter this week ):

Yeah Dammit why did Oda and Kishi both go on a break at the same time >_<
At least we still got bleach this week ^_^

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

knight steel:

Well considering who they are now up against it won't be too long intill we get the action pack fight we need ^_^

I want to see Zoro fight a futhermucking Yonkou xP to be fair all he's done in the new world is be a completely unstoppable badass though. Shame no chapter this week ):

Yeah Dammit why did Oda and Kishi both go on a break at the same time >_<
At least we still got bleach this week ^_^

From what I read about Odea's sick or something hence the unnanounced break, no idea about Kishi though. I don't really like Bleach too much and I'm kinda bored with Fairy Tail, it's glaring gigantic flaws have been steadily irritating me more and more and a filler arc I hit just made me go nah fuck this.

SkarKrow:

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

I want to see Zoro fight a futhermucking Yonkou xP to be fair all he's done in the new world is be a completely unstoppable badass though. Shame no chapter this week ):

Yeah Dammit why did Oda and Kishi both go on a break at the same time >_<
At least we still got bleach this week ^_^

From what I read about Odea's sick or something hence the unnanounced break, no idea about Kishi though. I don't really like Bleach too much and I'm kinda bored with Fairy Tail, it's glaring gigantic flaws have been steadily irritating me more and more and a filler arc I hit just made me go nah fuck this.

Hmm I hope he gets better soon as for Kishi he advertised he was going to have a break in the last chapter so he'll probably be back tues/weds.
Bleach is great but I understand why some might not like it, you know different strokes for different blokes and all that stuff.
As for fairy tail ooooooooooh My god last chapter was so horrible seriously you should watch the sheer amount of rants about it on youtube >_<

Fanghawk:
Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time to write a screenplay in which Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, and John Carter recover H.G. Wells' Time Machine from the Martians.

STOP STEALING MY IDEAS!

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

knight steel:

Yeah Dammit why did Oda and Kishi both go on a break at the same time >_<
At least we still got bleach this week ^_^

From what I read about Odea's sick or something hence the unnanounced break, no idea about Kishi though. I don't really like Bleach too much and I'm kinda bored with Fairy Tail, it's glaring gigantic flaws have been steadily irritating me more and more and a filler arc I hit just made me go nah fuck this.

Hmm I hope he gets better soon as for Kishi he advertised he was going to have a break in the last chapter so he'll probably be back tues/weds.
Bleach is great but I understand why some might not like it, you know different strokes for different blokes and all that stuff.
As for fairy tail ooooooooooh My god last chapter was so horrible seriously you should watch the sheer amount of rants about it on youtube >_<

I prefered bleach when it was called dragonball z.

Fairy Tail I've just been watching but my god, it's fun to watch and it's fast paced, but the characters are all one dimensional, the protagonists mostly have little to no development, they never learn or grow, Fairy Tail never really loses, supposedly godly powerful characters like Makarov or Gildarts (also known as that overpowered guy that comes from NOWHERE) getting smacked around like bitches.

Not to mention the magic black maguffin dragon that pops in for two episodes to nuke them out of the continuity for seven years for a fucking pointless timeskip.

I could go into more detail but I fear I'll go too off topic and be postings walls o' text, I do like Fairy Tail but it's story and characters are just poor, doesn't come close to the genius or creativity that is One Piece.

the antithesis:

Fanghawk:
Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time to write a screenplay in which Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, and John Carter recover H.G. Wells' Time Machine from the Martians.

STOP STEALING MY IDEAS!

*draws rapier of litigation*

En garde!

Fanghawk:

the antithesis:

Fanghawk:
Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time to write a screenplay in which Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, and John Carter recover H.G. Wells' Time Machine from the Martians.

STOP STEALING MY IDEAS!

*draws rapier of litigation*

En garde!

Wait. Is your script also a porn?

I often make that mistake as i assume everything is a porn until proven otherwise.

My Little Pony is disappointing.

the antithesis:

Fanghawk:

the antithesis:

STOP STEALING MY IDEAS!

*draws rapier of litigation*

En garde!

Wait. Is your script also a porn?

I often make that mistake as i assume everything is a porn until proven otherwise.

My Little Pony is disappointing.

*lowers rapier confused, starts to say something, stops*

*turns around and leaves the room*

SkarKrow:

knight steel:
[quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16678284"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16678234"][quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16678218"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16678200"][quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16678184"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16678129"][quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16677926"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16677416"]Did someone say ZORO:


woops wrong zoro never mind >_>

That's how I ended up here!

Was hoping for some crazy Zoro vs Zorro thing or something.

Zoro would win > >

If you think all that stuff in fairy tail about the characters being all one dimensional, the protagonists mostly having little to no development, and the fact that they never learn or grow, and that Fairy Tail never really loses is bad all that stuff get turned up to eleven in the upcoming arcs.
But considering that news has just been released stating that the anime is being cancelled maybe it will stop before it get to that point.

knight steel:

SkarKrow:

knight steel:
[quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16678284"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16678234"][quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16678218"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16678200"][quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16678184"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16678129"][quote="SkarKrow" post="7.403497.16677926"][quote="knight steel" post="7.403497.16677416"]Did someone say ZORO:


woops wrong zoro never mind >_>

That's how I ended up here!

Was hoping for some crazy Zoro vs Zorro thing or something.

Zoro would win > >

If you think all that stuff in fairy tail about the characters being all one dimensional, the protagonists mostly having little to no development, and the fact that they never learn or grow, and that Fairy Tail never really loses is bad all that stuff get turned up to eleven in the upcoming arcs.
But considering that news has just been released stating that the anime is being cancelled maybe it will stop before it get to that point.

Cancelled? I thought it was gonna be on hiatus for a bit?

Screwed up post please ignore.

SkarKrow:

If you think all that stuff in fairy tail about the characters being all one dimensional, the protagonists mostly having little to no development, and the fact that they never learn or grow, and that Fairy Tail never really loses is bad all that stuff get turned up to eleven in the upcoming arcs.
But considering that news has just been released stating that the anime is being cancelled maybe it will stop before it get to that point.

Cancelled? I thought it was gonna be on hiatus for a bit?[/quote]
Not sure you would have to check it out for yourself, as i can't remember 100 percent of the top of my head.

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