|Cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo in a|
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Right, you had a question. We doubt that you would need to share copyright with someone who gives you a gag for a comic strip. We think your contributors are providing concepts that are probably unprotectible under copyright because (1) the concepts are ideas, or, (2) the concepts constitute unprotectible short phrases. As we've written before, it's tough to protect gags and jokes. What's protectible is the manner in which you express your comic strip. If, however you are collaborating with someone and going beyond the basic gag idea -- say for example, discussing what the comic panels would consist of -- then you may be expanding into co-authorship and copyright co-ownership. So avoid going beyond a discussion of the basic gag. If you want to feel more secure, and if you're going to solicit ideas online, provide terms and conditions in which the contributor agrees to give up rights when submitting an idea.
A tip o' the Hatlo hat ... As for providing attribution, that's up to you. It certainly worked for cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo who encouraged readers to send in ideas and then gave the contributor a "tip o' the Hatlo hat" attribution.