1. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Basing book on a game and others' characters.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Pea, Jun 22, 2011.

    I'm not sure how to word this well, so bear with me.

    I'm writing a novel which is based on my time Roleplaying on a MMORPG. I've changed the world significantly - new world map, new lore, very divorced from the game but still similar, etc. But because it's based on my own experiences of my characters, there's other people's characters as well that I have to use. The names of them, the general character that they are, etc. Most of the plot is made up, just running the logical course of what would've/could've happened if those characters were in those situations.

    So... will I get sued? :redface: Apologies if this has been asked before, I wasn't sure what to search for.
     
  2. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    People do Fan-Fiction every day. They may have some intellectual property rights on their characters and story but they may only apply to selling a book that uses them. The best way to find out is to write a letter to the MMO's company to see if you are allowed to make fan-fics for fun.
     
  3. Suadade
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    Suadade Senior Member

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    What kind of game? A fantasy MMORPG? Because most fantasy MMORPGs that exist today are very similar to each other. I don't think it'll be a problem if, as you say, you've essentially created a new world. Names are very sensitive, of course - if you've got names left which are in the MMORPG lore/world originally, I'd change those.

    As far as other people's characters go, it seems the most decent choice to get in touch with those people (if you can, that is) and ask them if it's okay that you use their characters.
     
  4. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Thanks. I'm trying, but this stuff happened about 5-6 years ago so most of the people are out-of-contact. I got permission from the main characters of the story, though. All the lore and names of the original world have been changed, barring one town. I used a lot of creative license remaking the world to what I think it should have been, but it's probably still recognisable if you look hard.
     
  5. Suadade
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    Suadade Senior Member

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    Hmm, okay. Well, what are you planning to do with this story? If you publish it online at no profit to yourself, I don't think there'll be any problem. And as for the characters, if they're not main characters I don't think that's a problem, either. You could probably change them a bit if you're worried about it. Could I ask what MMORPG this was?
     
  6. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Ultima Online. And yeah, publishing as book.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    then you'd best stop asking for advice on writing sites and consult a literary attorney, since legal issues could well arise...
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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  9. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    Well, the best way to be sure and safe about it is to ask the website director or an admin. If they copyright the names of places, major characters, etc., then you'd have to get permission first from the original owner. I hardly think that they'd sue for using your own PC's name, but a few major characters they might have a problem with. Just ask the people most likely to sue you, and even if they say no, then you can use creative license to alter the story and setting just enough to make it your own.
     
  10. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    Me! Sorry - I just figured I'd snap them up before someone else got to them. I don't mind if you use those archetypes - just you know, cite me and send me my royalty check.


    To the thread starter:
    Fantasy (which is what your WIP sounds like, forgive me if I'm wrong I'm not that familiar with the various MMOs) has a tradition of building upon prior stories and books - in fact, most storytelling builds upon previous works, be it movies or literature. As long as the names are changed, I am sure there's no need for contacting the game's owners or consulting a lawyer, let's face it, half their quests are modifications of Lord of the Rings anyway :p Besides, little things like the world aren't important. It's the story you weave! So write away!
     
  11. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you change the names and details of the characters, only keeping the premises, they're essentially new characters, so go ahead and try to get the book published. Perhaps no one will even guess what game inspired your story.

    But if you do that, don't ask the game publisher for permission, since it would be an admission that they're the same characters.
     
  12. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    You know...we are always basing our work off someone elses. I mean lets say you come up with something completely original. It is still going to been influenced by you and your experience with what goes on around you. So since nothing can be created from nothing there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. Perhaps it is based off of something else but you change the way events play out and you change character's names. Now you have an original story.
     
  13. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which in turn was heavily based on existing mythology...
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Good writers borrow. Great writers steal" (Oscar Wilde)
     
  15. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    "And don't get caught!" shoudl be added to that. :)
     
  16. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Thanks for all the advice. There's only one or two ideas that I think they'd notice so I'm going to ask around to see if they're really copyrighted names or such. For the characters I'll see if everyone's alright with it and if not I'll change the names. :)

    Back to writing!
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    names can't be copyrighted, though they can be registered trademarks/tradenames...
     

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