Questions tagged [copyright]

Questions involving matters of copyright, encapsulating parody and level of similarity questions, reprinting and publishing of copyrighted works, public domain, attribution, fanfiction, legality, and fair use questions. Any question involving copyright law in the U.S. or abroad should be given this tag.

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Can you avoid getting sued or copyrighted for using products you don't have permission by changing their names?

So I was browsing on Tv Tropes (don't judge me) and found out this trope called A.K.A.-47 which authors or creators use to avoid getting lawsuit from companies. They change the names or tweak some ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Are book designs copyrighted?

I finished writing a book, and was planning to publish, but decided to go a self-publishing route so I can maintain better ownership of it. It's a children's textbook, so it needs to look professional,...
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Republishing (with illustrations) a copyrighted book with permission

I am a high school teacher and would like to approach the publisher of a copyrighted translation of a classic book about republishing it, this time with (public domain classic paintings as) ...
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Protecting a POV in visual adaptation of a novel

I’m considering allowing a film adaptation of my novel but want the “frame story” message maintained. What would this device technically be called in the agreement? Example: The original Planet of the ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Is it possible to keep a pen name's identity anonymous today?

Given that a copyright application protects an author and has the "Pseudonymous" option, the legal claimant is always required in the form if you intend to have any legal protections, ...
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18 votes
3 answers
5k views

Do I need copyright permission to rewrite an old classic?

I'm planning to rewrite some old classics such as "Oliver Twist", "David Copperfield", "Jane Eyre", etc. in simple English. They will be abridged adaptations (with due ...
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Copyright if I continue someone else's work

I am writing a book - continuing someone's book series. They were finished but I'd really like to see the other characters' lives. I need to quote (I wouldn't say really quote but let's call that ...
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2 votes
1 answer
230 views

How do you posthumously credit the authors of public domain content in your adaptation?

My question concerns the author Ben H. Winters who has recently published several books with himself listed as Jane Austen’s co-author. Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters is one such novel ...
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3 answers
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How are news articles copyrighted? Or how are the claims of copyright infringement made?

A news article (assuming no photo is used) is the description of an event. News agencies quickly send their journalists/reporters to the scene to write about the event. If a news outlet re-writes the ...
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Copyright permission for use of song lyrics

Do I need to have copyright permission for song lyrics if I am doing a written review of a concert that contains those lyrics and I quote the lyrics in my review?
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2 votes
2 answers
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How to release one's work into the public domain?

How can I show that my self-published work is in the public domain? Simply by stating something like "Released into the public domain"? Or using the public domain symbol 🅮?
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What is the point of creating original content when it's just stolen immediately? [closed]

I stopped writing articles long ago now because as soon as it was published, it was copied by bots and published on ad-filled webpages which instantly started showed up above my original page in ...
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1 answer
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Should you include all documents when you send a script to the writer's guild for copyright protection?

If you're writing a movie script and you want to protect that script as a copyright, should you send other documents along with it, or is the movie script more than enough? I am thinking whether other ...
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2 answers
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How can I contact JK Rowling for permission to publish my sequel for the Harry Potter series?

I recently watched the entire Harry Potter series in December 2021. I really loved the Harry Potter world and all the characters. Even after days, I couldn't stop myself from thinking about it and I'm ...
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1 answer
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What are the exact steps for requesting permission to quote and attribute a book excerpt for a novel?

What are the exact steps for requesting permission to quote and attribute a quote of one sentence to one paragraph in length for a novel? I am self-publishing and on a limited budget.
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1 answer
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What are the exact steps for requesting permission to quote and attribute a song lyric for a novel?

What are the exact steps for requesting permission to quote and attribute a song lyric for a novel?? I am self-publishing and on a limited budget.
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3 votes
2 answers
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What are the fair use rules in the USA for short quotes from books or song lyrics in a novel?

What are the fair use rules in the USA for short quotes from books or song lyrics in a novel when they are explicitly quoted and attributed to their source? I'm looking at self-published work (...
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3 answers
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Can authors work with a different publisher for a derivative work?

Suppose an author created a book "Learning Mandarin", which contained a bunch of readings and assignments in English and Chinese for learning the language. The problem is, they have to work ...
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Giving credit when quoting

I know that, when a work, person or thing is directly quoted, word for word, the author has to be cited, for example: "It always seems impossible until it's done" - Nelson Mandela or &...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What are the copyright laws on writing books about living artists?

I was wondering if I wanted to write, illustrate, and publish children's books that is about an artist and their life (their journey as a child to an adult but in a simple whimsical childlike story), ...
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1 answer
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Permission for a quote?

Someone (not a particularly famous person,) said something during a podcast that I found would make a good quote, used in my upcoming book. Do I need to get permission from the speaker or the podcast ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
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Can I mention a character and/or name of a famous author in the subtitle of my book? [duplicate]

Can I mention the words "Conan" and/or "Robert E. Howard" in the subtitle of my book? They are certainly well-known. Please note that they won't appear inside the book, only in the ...
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Paraphrasing an ancient proverb, but has been recently translated copyright in a novel question

Ok, so this is originally attributed to Chuang Tzu who was around in the BC era. However, all the sources I can really find on it are from a translation in 1965. So what are the rules on this one? Is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Copyright of newer weapon designs used for a novel?

What is the status on using a newer designed weapon, like the cyclone M48 knife, in a novel? Would I run into copyright/trademark issues? The spiral design is what I am interested in more than using ...
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0 votes
3 answers
106 views

How can I get permission to use an illustration from an old book where the author is dead and the publisher closed?

I am translating a book published in 1961. The author has been dead for more than 50 years. I would like to use the same illustrations, but do not know who to ask. The painter is dead, and he did not ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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A location for a big event

My novel I am writing has a Queensland, Australia castle in it, Paronella Park. I did research and I’m using facts, except my characters paid extra to stay inside the castle (which I understand that’...
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1 answer
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Are your submissions to the writer's guild protected from unwanted readers?

Can people read your submission when you use the registration system for registering scripts? I am wondering if people can read your submissions within the writer's guild, or if the documents are ...
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Can someone use Robert Rogers name? [duplicate]

Well, I have a character whose name is Robert Rogers and he is the General of The Army. and lately, I found someone named Robert Rogers, an army officer. I'm not sure if that makes any copyright (or ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Is it possible to copyright my great grandfather's unpublished book of handwritten poetry written in the late nineteenth century?

In the latter half of the 19th century, my great grandfather wrote a series of handwritten poems that he compiled in handbound poetry book, along with two of his penciled drawings. The book was never ...
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1 vote
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Should you mention your sources of inspiration somewhere?

Should you mention your sources of inspiration somewhere? Let's say you borrow a lot from Greek mythology, Shakespeare, and take some world-building ideas from some famous author. Should you mention ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Will using "Jeep" as a character name cause copyright issues?

As the title says I have a character named "Jeep" and I would like to know if it will cause any copyright problems for me or not. (P.S: By the way, it's for a script for a game.)
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I gave my main character the same first and last name as in another book - is this fine?

I am writing a book and had nearly finished half of it and gave it to my friend to read, but she told me there is already a character in a book with the same first and last name. Would it be okay if I ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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Does having some same characteristics invoke copyright?

I want to make a manga. The complex story uses characters from toys that I played with as a child. These characters were Legos and not rendered in 2D. And, I mixed some parts of their body so they ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Character name trademarks and copyrights [duplicate]

I've had some characters for a while for a comic I'm wanting to write, and until now I never thought about name copyright and trademarks. After looking it up, quite a few of my characters have the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Do I need permission to copy school questions to my book?

My main character is going to a highly advanced school but I have no idea how to make up hard questions. I'm terrible at math, so I was wondering do I need permission to copy my older sister's college ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is magical factions story too similar to Harry Potter?

I have and idea for a story where everybody has magical potential and at a certain age they must choose a style of magic of where they will base their learning from. Is this too similar to Harry ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Non-Fiction References/Copyright

I’m writing a non-fiction book and I want to use authors and books as supporting references. Does anyone know if this sample below represents a copyright infringement? Copyright is a legal protection....
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2 votes
3 answers
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When is it better to use a real life versus a generic fast food company name when talking about a regional chain?

So, I know that questions regarding the usage of real-life company names has been brought up before, but this is a really weird example that I've run into that doesn't seem covered by the previous ...
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4 votes
5 answers
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Am I able to freely borrow or reference real people, places or things without fear of legal persecution?

I'm currently writing my first novel and I can't figure out whether I am able to reference an abundance of different people, places, and/or things. I've had this idea of wanting to sneak in a sizable ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Permission for using a non-company's name and story [duplicate]

The company existed from 1985 to 2000. Then it was taken over by another company and later that was also taken over by another. I'm writing the story of that company. Do I need to take any permissions?...
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Is it legal to write about a video game universe with just changed names? [duplicate]

Let's say I want to publish a novel that deals with a fictional character within a video game universe (for example TloZ Ocarine of Time). The background, the events and the races within the story are ...
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6 votes
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Can I write a story revolving around a video game (Without it taking place in game and making many changes)?

Okay, so this is odd, but hear me out. We've all heard the story, Person A finds a cursed video game cartridge, plays it, every character dies, Person B gets involved and dies, Person A gets rid of ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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To what extent do territorial print rights preclude online-publication rights?

A US literary journal would like to publish online my new English translation of dead author É's poem, written originally in French. The poem has been translated before, and is in fact in print in a ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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My Middle Name Is Amara And I Want To Add It To My Book [duplicate]

I'm writing a series that has to do with vampires. My middle name is Amara, and I personally find that name really, really pretty. I wanted to add it to my book as the name of the main character but I ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What resources can I use to be 100% assured that my story is not too similar/plagarising already existing works?

I've been worrying about this for quite a long time. So, for the past year or so, I've been working hard on a story I'm very passionate about. My biggest concern of them all is copyright issues. I'm ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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What are the Best Practices for Developing Content for a Product-Promotion Website? [closed]

For products that are already listed in marketplace, what would be the best practice in sourcing content for a blog-style website that reviews, compares, and promotes such listed products with a view ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Similar plot and similar character names-too similar? [duplicate]

I'm asking this question on the behalf of my friend. So, recently, my friend's story seemed remarkably similar to a published story(FYI, my friend's story is still in the drafting stage, I'm just ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Does the fact that an old work was republished later affect the public domain status?

I want to use large excerpts from an old book in the textbook I am writing (e.g. 500-1000 word chunks at a time taken). These will serve as primary sources for the students to analyze. The first ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Copyright infringement on spelling of invented names?

Years ago I invented a name for a kingdom/country in my YA fantasy novel, which I am on the verge of self-publishing. At random, I discovered a self-published author had the same invented name for her ...
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The author allows me to use their (excellent) idea, but I need to paraphrase it. I can't find a good paraphrase. What should I do?

I meet an excellent idea and really want to use it. The author allows me to do that, but I can't just copy the whole text. The problem is, I do want to use my own language, but in each sentence they ...
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