1. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Copyright issue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The-Joker, Nov 17, 2008.

    Heres a question. If I mention the title of a movie in one of my stories, will I have some trouble down the road if I intend to get it published. I went so far as to describe a scene from that same movie. Am I allowed to that? What are the copyright laws on this?
     
  2. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    I'm not positive, but you should be ok. Better wait until someone who is 100% sure confirms, though.
     
  3. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I asked a similar question recently about song lyrics:

    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=15598

    I believe that you could use the film's title without copyright infringment, but you wouldn't wish to enter a libel suit by defaming it. If you described the scene you'd probably be OK too, but if you were quoting the film, I think you'd have to get the phrasing exactly right so as to be on the right side of copyright, perhaps from the screenplay. Unless your character was getting the quote wrong intentionally.

    Mammamaia is good at answering these questions, so if she doesn't pick up this thread, perhaps ask her directly at maia3maia@hotmail.com. She usually directs all such questions for absolute clarity here www.copyright.gov so it would probably be worth a look too. Kind regards.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Titles are not subject to copyright. That is the general rule, although I wouldn't be surprised if you could still run into trouble if you named a piece of writing "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds."

    However, there is no copyright risk in quoting the title of any work within another work.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    right... there's no legal problem with using the title in your work... or using an existing title for your own work, as titles can't be copyrighted... even the very 'original' one cog cites can be used by anyone who'd be silly enough to try it... a title is a title, is a title, as gertrude stein might've said... and many works may share the same title, as you can learn with a simple loc search...

    and it's also ok to describe a scene from a movie...

    where you run into trouble is if you include more than just a few 'famous' words of dialog, such as 'make my day!'...

    whenever you have questions on copyright, the first place to look for answers is here:
    www.copyright.gov

    love and hugs, maia
     

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