Bill Willingham, the creator of Fables, is giving his tales into the public domain, saying that he wants them to be in good hands.
Image credit: Bill Willngham, Substrack
Bill Willingham, the creator of Fables, which became the basis for The Wolf Among Us, has sent all the franchise work into the public domain. This means that the right to the comic book series no longer belongs to Willingham or any other company. So, any enthusiast can use Fables' universe to create and distribute their games, books, TV series, films, and other sorts of works without any limitations.
Willingham made the announcement on a Substrack platform, where he described all the reasons why, saying "It's done, and as most experts will tell you, once done it cannot be undone."
One of the main reasons for performing such an act is fighting DC. According to Willingham, over the past years "the Fables properties have fallen into bad hands" and the contract, which was signed years ago, has been working only for one side, not for Willingham's. Now, he's confident that sending Fables into the public domain is a good alternative to fighting DC since he "can't afford" to sue them in court (and doesn't want to because it will take "years out of my life").
"If I couldn't prevent Fables from falling into bad hands, at least this is a way I can arrange that it also falls into many good hands," says Willingham.
Speaking of the DC response, the company has strongly opposed Willingham's action, asserting that the rights to Fables' storylines and characters are solely owned by them, and thus, are protected by copyright. The publishing company has made it clear that they will vigorously defend their intellectual property rights in court against any instances of unauthorized usage.
Later on, Willingham clarified that these restrictions only apply to his previous works, which were published by DC. Any newly created content by enthusiasts would not fall under DC's ownership. The rights to new games, books, comics, characters, and other elements of Fables will belong to their respective creators. Willingham himself will continue to develop the tales independently, without the involvement of DC.