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  • 1.4 The Cartoon, a Joint or Collective Work
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The cartoon receives copyright protection when it is the result of independent and original intellectual creative work. Many people may participate in the creation of a cartoon, e.g. the artist and scriptwriter may be separate people. A work is created from the creative, independent and original input of these people, or authors, which in itself is a copyrighted work and the object of copyright protection.   The authors of a copyright protected work may receive both common rights for the created work, as well as separable rights for their individual contributions. 

Joint works are defined in Section 6 of the Copyright Act. In a joint work, the authors' contributions do not form independent, detachable works.  The copyright for a work created thus will be granted to the authors jointly. The authors of a joint work may only decide on the transfer and exploitation of the work's copyrights jointly.  However, the authors have a right to present individual claims for copyright infringement.

Separate from joint works are collective works, which are a works created by combining the works of more than one author, with each author's contribution forming an independent work. In a collective work, the author's contribution is detachable. In the Supreme Court decision KKO 1956 II 76 (Mustalaisparoni), the court considered the operetta¿s music and text to form separable and independent works of art.      The writer of the text was not shown to have contributed with a creative input to the creation of the musical composition in a way that would have made him an author of the musical composition together with the composer. The right holder's claim for damages for the performance of the operetta was accepted on part of the text, but rejected on part of the music, whose copyright protection had expired. The authors of the collective work decided independently on the transfer and use of the copyright for their contributions.  It is the most practical to gather all the rights into the hands of one party, such as the producer, theatre etc.

A cartoon, the creation of which has required the participation of more than one author can be regarded, in principle, as a collective work rather than a joint work. Cartoon syndicates i.e. comic agencies sell and distribute cartoons to newspapers. Syndicate agreements concern, for example, whether the series is distributed under exclusive rights, what the payment terms and potential book and merchandising rights are. 

The Copyright Act includes a chapter on publishing agreements. Its special provisions on publishing agreements are applied, unless otherwise agreed in publishing agreements. 


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