39

Plagiarism would be taking exact text from the various game manuals and representing it as your own. So don't do that. But you probably weren't going to anyway, because you want to tell a story, not publish a game log. Think of your story as being inspired by your game, but retell it as a story. When you tell a story you use the language of description, ...


27

I am not a lawyer, but you really should not do this. Orson Scott Card (OSC) and any partners he has (publisher, movie studios) own "Ender", and you cannot profit from it in any way whatsoever. OSC and his partners are rich enough to sue you even if you don't make any money, and may even be legally obligated to sue you in order to protect their property, if ...


17

I haven't heard this five-word rule. But I can easily think of many sequences of five words that no one would seriously consider plagiarism. I think that I will was the first time that Britain, France, Germany, and Italy all men, women, and children March 1 of this year turn left at the traffic light (that's six!) five words in a row Etc etc. If some ...


17

Don't steal the plot, Don't steal their made-up words or made-up references, don't steal their (imaginative) tech, don't steal their characters or their unique combination of characteristics that make those characters particularly compelling. Yes, you can presume there is some sort of interstellar engine, either near instantaneous (days or weeks of travel ...


15

You're being overly sensitive. Any combination of two words, no matter how original, could be already used elsewhere. That's not plagiarism, that's statistics. The only slightly worrying case is your exhibit A, since it's the most unusual sentence of the ones you cited. But then again, I wouldn't fret about it. They are just three words in a line, even if ...


15

This probably should have been raised over on law.se, but I hang out there, and can answer. (See this question and answer from law for more on fair use.) The literary homage in which one alludes to another work has a long tradition behind it. In some cases it could be treated as infringement, but hasn't been. However, some authors choose to exercise ...


13

El ver mucho y el leer mucho avivan los ingenios de los hombres. (Seeing much and reading much sharpens one's ingenuity.) ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Your fear of plagiarism is a common anxiety for beginning writers. After you gain experience and confidence in yourself, you will have no problems producing original content, and you'll stop worrying about ...


12

You cannot stop people from drawing comparisons between your work and earlier, similar works. Readers are going to do it no matter how original you strive to be. You cannot cover up an influence that actually exists in your writing, because people familiar with the original ideas have a bias for recognition of those same ideas. It sounds like what you're ...


11

Do Songs and Paintings have the same rules and protections as Books and Film for copying (into written form). Songs and paintings are protected under copyright laws, but it might be helpful to understand what copyright is meant to do. Copyright is not intended to rob you of your creativity under the threat of lawyers. Copyright is intended to protect an ...


11

You are allowed to reuse ideas, but you are not allowed to reuse exact characters, names, or blocks of text. Let's take The Lord of the Rings as an example. You're not allowed to use the character Gandalf, but you can certainly use a wizardly mentor figure. You can't use Frodo or Sauron, but if you want to have a peace-loving hobbit go on a quest to ...


10

Yes, it's certainly possible that posting on the internet could lead to someone stealing your ideas. But will this actually happen? There are risks, however small, to showing your work to anyone. Most writers that publish know the benefits of peer feedback, and take the risk anyway. Many people have reaped benefits from posting excerpts on the web for ...


10

There is nothing new under the sun, my friend. If you read TV Tropes you might be forgiven for thinking that all plots are like all other plots. However it is not the plots (there are considered to be only seven or so actual plots anyway) but the characterisations, details, names etc that make your world unique to you. If you are worried that you have by ...


10

If they're on the Internet, someone has a copy of them. They are free now, and you will never have full control of them again. I won't swear to it, but I think when EL James got her book contract for the Fifty Shades trilogy, she deleted all the posted versions of those stories (which were after all Twilight fanfic). I seem to recall that older versions ...


10

I don't know about the legality of it but this has already been done. A bunch of french players and their dungeon master turned their stories into comic books. In french it's called "Chroniques de la lune noire", aka "Black moon chronicles". It is very famous among french D&D players. You may want to read on that. As a fun side note their world and ...


9

If your work is visible to the public, you cannot prevent plagiarism. You could reduce the likelihood of plagiarism by posting your work on a site that is protected by a password (and perhaps a user agreement). But this also reduces availability. You can perhaps increase your chances of detecting plagiarism by setting up a Google alert for one or more ...


9

Don't plagiarize, paraphrase. Take the paragraph, figure out the main idea, and express it in your own words. If it's important that it be exactly as it was in the original, quote it and cite it. In fact --as mentioned by Jason Bassford in the comments below! --even when paraphrasing, you typically need to cite your source unless you're changing the ...


8

First off, you're mixing two things: copyright violation and plagiarism. They are completely different. The point of copyright law is to protect the financial interests of the writer. If you copy someone else's work and sell it as your own, then you are costing the original author sales. Court cases on copyright center on whether the copied work would cost ...


8

They should rewrite it. If the character is supposed to be smart enough to be lecturing on the subject, the words should sound like the character anyway and not like Wikipedia or wherever. Also, if they are citing in big enough chunks, it will likely get boring for the reader. Much better to have the character's audience interrupt with a question or ...


8

I haven't read "Blood on the Stars", but I don't think the details of that story matter here, so I'll plunge ahead. Maybe I should distinguish the legal issue of copyright from the artistic issue of "your story is a rip-off of this other story". Copyright protects exact words (or pictures or music or whatever). As long as you don't copy somebody else's ...


7

Consider that the theme in author A's book that is inspiring you was almost certainly found by author A in author B's work and inspired them, and so on. What's important is that you find a unique and original way to weave a story around that theme. For instance: Humble, unremarkable individual finds, quite by accident, some supremely important object ...


7

You need to remember that plagiarism is not just about words; it can also be about ideas. So a key point here is that even if you change virtually all of the words, you still need to make sure you cite the source that you are paraphrasing. If you do not cite the source, then it is plagiarism no matter how many words you change. I have seen students claim ...


7

Elves and dwarves are all over fantasy fiction. Here's one compilation found by Googling "fantasy novels with elves". They are generic mythological creatures. If anything these tropes are overused; Tolkien used them well so his works are the benchmarks against which others are often measured, but he didn't invent them. The question in your title is a ...


7

I am not a lawyer. But it's my understanding that recipes, in their barest form, cannot be copyrighted, as they are a description of a method of accomplishing something. What IS copyrightable is the specific text that expresses those instructions, as well as any accompanying images, etc. There may be other aspects of the way the recipe is organized that is ...


7

If a word is changed or added, it's placed in brackets. ([]). However, this is typically only done to clarify, usually when context has been removed. For example, if Alice was talking about Bob and we had Alice giving a direct quote of "He said that he had sent the message", we could write it as "[Bob] said that he had sent the message." We couldn't say "[...


7

Generally the manner of publication makes no difference. If you have published it, you are its author and have the right to get credit for it. This is actually one of the rights that are covered by an international treaty and can't be transferred or lost. That said... People will not credit you for work they do not know about. If your philosophical theory ...


7

Names of characters are typically protected by copyright. (I say typically because some very generic names used in many works, like "John Doe", are not attributable to any single original work). So yes, it would be plagiarism. I cannot create a character named "Harry Potter" and write some other kind of story about him. The fact that you make your "family ...


7

It sounds like what you're writing is effectively a work of historical fiction derived from a work that, given its age, is almost certainly in the public domain. As such, copyright isn't much of a concern. You would still want to mention the source in your preface, but as long as you're only using it as an outline for your narrative, it's no more ...


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