0

I recently finished writing a children's book about the moon. I was ready to submit it to different publishers when I came across another book with the same idea on the internet. This book is also based on the moon but the setting is in the forest and the characters involved are the forest animals. The only similarity is the theme and the fact that it mixes fantasy and facts.

Would this be consider a copyright infringement?

4

No. If you were quoting parts of the other book, or if you were directly copying the pictures of the book, then it would be a problem. But if you're simply telling a story about a similar subject then there's no problem. Nobody can copyright the moon, and any story about the phases of the moon is to some degree going to have a similar structure. It sounds like you're fine.

2

Ditto @DoWhileNot. Let me add: Copyright law very specifically says that you cannot copyright IDEAS, you can only copyright the words used to express an idea. Unless you copy someone else's exact words, you will not be found guilty of copyright violation.

I hear this question a lot from both sides: people afraid that they can get in trouble because their book is somehow similar to another book, and people asking if they can sue for copyright violation because someone else wrote a book similar to theirs. Often the similarities are so general that if you think about it, if there was really a law against it 90% of the books ever printed would be illegal. Like, "I wrote a book about two people falling in love and now I see that somebody else wrote a book about two people falling in love." There are thousands, probably millions, of such books. No, it's not a problem.

You might justifiably be worried that the existence of a book that is in some ways similar to yours will hurt your sales, because people will buy that one instead of yours. But there's no copyright issue. Not having read either book, I can't say if this is a problem here. And in any case, unless the other book is very well-known, odds are most of your potential readers will never have heard of it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.