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I have an idea for a story, but I realize that many of the idea's elements are similar to another story out there. (The attire of the main character, fighting style and structure of some social groups, and tech gadgets. That last one is not that similar, actually.)

The whole drive of my story is original, but it was inspired by some of these elements, and I decided to modify them. This makes me wonder if it's wrong or not.

That's why I asked this question. In terms of taking reference from some elements of another story, how much reference, or "copying" is enough? (Obviously, a complete copy is out of the question, and I'll never do that.)

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Copying discrete details, outside of parody, is plagiarism and is often protected under copyright laws.

Think of it this way. Copying large ideas is okay. Copying the actual details or implementation of those larger ideas is violating someone's rights.

Writing a story about a boy who goes to wizardry school is okay. Writing a story about a boy with round glasses who goes to Hogwarts school of wizardry will get you into trouble.

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In my humble opinion, as long as your works don't profit, and you give credit for inspiration, as the author, you are entitled to create whatever you want. The question you have to ask yourself is "Have I made it different enough to warrant this? Or does it just appear a meaningless close copy" You have to make sure to add something that is truly your own to it, and that changes the story as a whole.

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