Hot answers tagged

39 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

Waving a wand and wiggling the fingers while magic happens is theatrics. In Faust, Goethe has the Devil make fun of a witch for being too precious and ceremonious with her magic, so you are in good ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
34 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

The concept of the 'Magic Wand' predates Harry Potter by at least a handful of millennia. Consider the 'Rod of Circe' in Homer's Odyssey which is used to magically transform Odysseus's men into pigs. ...
Arkenstein XII's user avatar
10 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

There are two obvious concerns: One is being a plagiarist; the second is being derivative. Plagiarism has heavier consequences, but it's much easier to avoid. If your magic school is called Hugworts ...
Standback's user avatar
  • 28.3k
9 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

To make magic effective, you first need to decide on a magic system which is internally consistent and so doesn't break suspension of disbelief. Then you can decide whether wands fit that system. ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 2,294
8 votes
Accepted

Do writers copy other writers?

Well, first of all, Picasso never said it. Please see, for example, this investigation which could find no evidence to suggest Picasso ever said this. In fact, the earliest quote that could be found ...
Craig Sefton's user avatar
  • 11.6k
7 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

You can watch almost any "kung fu" movie from the 1970s through 2000 and see "tao masters" waving their arms while various objects – water, swords, dinnerware, tree limbs – go flying and curving ...
wetcircuit's user avatar
  • 27.2k
7 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

The short answer is probably "not any more". At least, not at the moment. [Stock "Not a lawyer" disclaimer] The burden of proof for an accusation of plagiarism would rest with the plaintiff (but ...
ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Universe similar to Transformers

Transforming Mecha (warning: TV tropes link) is a generic trope. It's been done a lot. While Transformers is perhaps the best-known version of this trope, it has certainly existed in books, anime, ...
phyrfox's user avatar
  • 364
7 votes

Can I use more specific monsters and creatures legally?

As I see it, "metallic dragon" is just a description like "stone dragon" or "green dragon". I don't see how that description can be copyrighted. But "mind[f]layer&...
Ben's user avatar
  • 4,779
6 votes
Accepted

Is it a copyright infringement if I include a magical newspaper with moving pictures in my novel?

No. A newspaper with moving pictures is an idea, and ideas cannot be copyrighted. The only way you would be infringing on Harry Potter's copyright would be if you included actual characters or ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
  • 10.8k
5 votes

"Stealing" jokes

If a joke is a century old and you've heard it told a hundred times, you can reuse it. You can modify it, you can build on it - by this point it's not "owned" by anyone. Trouble is, by this point your ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

What are the advantages and disadvantages of copying writing styles?

Style isn't something you can copy in this way. Plot, character descriptions, turns of phrase, are all things you can copy enough to get in trouble for it (either legal trouble or trouble from your ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
5 votes

"Stealing" jokes

Stealing jokes, while not exactly uncommon, is really despised and looked down upon from within the comedian community. It's hard to tell from your description whether you're really just "...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 56.5k
4 votes

If a software project has a permissive open source license is it plagarism to copy text to a paper without attribution?

It is plagiarism to claim someone else's writing as your own in any context. Note that while plagiarism can be a legal term - that is, some forms of plagiarism are illegal - actions that are legal ...
Dan J.'s user avatar
  • 557
4 votes
Accepted

Can I copy an existing magic system?

The New York Times best selling author Jim Butcher has a very popular series called the Codex Alera. http://www.jim-butcher.com/books/alera That magic system is a mix of a couple of things but ...
Seserous's user avatar
  • 466
4 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

I do not, to my knowledge ever. I am not a lawyer but I believe copyright applies: If the sentence or fragment you want to use is original (meaning it cannot be found in multiple sources or from a ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 101k
4 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

Stealing is bad. Quite aside from it being illegal, what satisfaction would you draw from presenting someone else's work? It's not yours, the praise it gets is not to you. Being inspired by another ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
4 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

Wands have been a feature of magic for decades and perhaps much much longer. Tinkerbell in Disney's version of Peter Pan (1953) has a short wand that works with a flick of the wrist. I could come up ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
4 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

I don't think anyone who read few fantasy stories that predated Harry Potter would ever have this kind of consideration. This is because wands were a widespread idea. Moreover it did not only exist in ...
Ister's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes

Using words from another book

When writing a book of your own, you absolutely can use other books on the topic as references. And you can quote those other books. In both cases, you want to credit the other book. For quotes ...
Cyn's user avatar
  • 32.4k
3 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

I keep a notebook of all the most beautiful metaphors I read. Once in a blue moon, I'll pull it out and look through the pages, but never while I'm writing. I want to be inspired by their words, not ...
Neghie Thervil's user avatar
3 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

Structure, high level plot "mile markers," or archetypal elements are all fair game. I put this in the same space as "casting" your novel by picking people/actors to play roles in your works. At the ...
Kirk's user avatar
  • 7,600
3 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

I'm a writer who will probably self-publish. I'm not a fiction author yet. I do not steal phrases from favorite authors, but I do steal phrases from all over, if they are generic but powerful. For ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
3 votes

Can I copy an existing magic system?

Sure! I'm actually doing a project on that, too. One thing you can do so that it doesn't get labeled as a rip-off, however, is to make the magic system your own. Explain how bending came to be, the ...
Dan Constant's user avatar
3 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

I quite like the Merlin UK TV Series system of magic and its explanation of levels of spell and skill. For that series wands were not essential for spells but they were a helpful tool. This is my ...
TafT's user avatar
  • 141
3 votes

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

The Oxford English Dictionary (subscription needed) says that "wand" has meant "A magic rod; the staff used in enchantments by a fairy or a magician" for more than 600 years: a1400–50 [The] ...
David Richerby's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

What can be the guideline for modifying quote?

If you want to make it a quote, your only choice is to give the exact words. The only leeway lies in quotes from a foreign language, where you can pick and choose translations, or proverbs, where you ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 8,782
3 votes

Does the fact that an old work was republished later affect the public domain status?

If this is a theoretical legal question it should be asked in the law forum of SE. But if this is real then you need to consult a real IP lawyer. That said it could depend on what country it was ...
post as a guest's user avatar
3 votes

What resources can I use to be 100% assured that my story is not too similar/plagarising already existing works?

This is a tough question to answer because, in many situations, there just isn't a way to be sure of something like this; it's subjective. Does In the comments you mentioned that there are specific ...
dweeblet's user avatar
  • 939
3 votes

What is the point of creating original content when it's just stolen immediately?

Low-tech solution There are services that will defend your copyright for either a fee or on contingency on the monetary claim from anyone that is found in breach. I am familiar with companies ...
NofP's user avatar
  • 10.6k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible