Zbornik Hrvatskog društva za autorsko pravo, 2(2001); str. 129-167.

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Copyright Protection of Fictional Characters

It is nowadays current practice to use signs and symbols, marks, elements of artistic creation or characteristic traits of a real or fictitious person to promote the sale of products or the use of services.

Character merchandising can be defined as the adaption or secondary exploitation, by the creator of a fictional character or by a real person or by one or several authorized third parties, of the essential personality features of a character in relation to various goods or services with the view to creating in prospective customers a desire to acquire those goods or to use those services because of the customers’ affinity with that character. It is a multimillion euro business activity. It is the practice of using the name and/or image of a popular character to promote otherwise mundane everyday products.

In this article the author discusses an issue of conditions for the copyright protection of fictional character. Copyright law will only protect the caracterization of a fictional character if the character is portrayed in a copyrighted work.

Special attention is given to some most valuable foreign court cases, especially from American and German jurisdiction. Copyright protection is the dominant form of protection for fictional characters.

HDAPDragan Zlatović // Autorskopravna zaštita fiktivnih likova