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DC Rejects Fables Creator's Public Domain Claim - Vows To Take 'Necessary' Action

DC Comics is hitting back at "Fables" creator Bill Willingham's declaration that he is releasing the comic book into the public domain after disagreements with the publisher over contract disputes, concerns with how the comic was being handled, and his alleged lack of input on projects involving the franchise. DC's statement on the complicated situation says that "Fables" and its story, characters, and series elements are owned by DC and are therefore subject to copyright law protection. The statement denies Willingham's claim that the book is now in the public domain and promises DC will take legal action as required if its intellectual property is misused.

DC's official statement reads:

"The Fables comic books and graphic novels published by DC, and the storylines, characters and elements therein, are owned by DC and protected under the copyright laws of the United States and throughout the world in accordance with applicable law, and are not in the public domain. DC reserves all rights and will take such action as DC deems necessary or appropriate to protect its intellectual property rights."

DC Comics and Bill Willingham disagree on who owns Fables

Earlier this week, Bill Willingham released a shocking letter revealing his intent to make "Fables" free for public use after claiming DC Comics is in violation of its contractual agreements regarding the series and has skirted paying him royalties. Instead of going after DC through what would likely be a lengthy legal battle for the 67-year-old writer, he opted for a nuclear option, saying that if he couldn't write the series due to his struggles with DC, then the "Fables" franchise is now in the public domain, with fans and other creators now free to use elements and characters from the comic without worrying about copyright laws.

With Willingham claiming the series is now in the public domain and DC Comics saying it is ready to take the necessary legal steps to ensure its intellectual property rights for the comic are protected, the situation will likely only get messier from here. While Willingham wanted to avoid legal drama with the publisher, if DC Comics ends up going after those who use "Fables" in their own material, he might not have any other choice but to challenge the comic's ownership through the court system.