1. Dresden260
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    Dresden260 Corrupt Diplomat

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    Do i need copyright permission?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dresden260, Oct 30, 2011.

    I am currently writing a novel but i have a question. If one of my characters brings up the story of Gandalf and the Hobbits and their adventures is that copyright infringement? Its in a conversation and two main characters are proving points with stories. Do I need Permission to use them in my Novel?
     
  2. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    If they are just discussing it? I don't think so, though there are exceptions depending how specific the discussion may get. It probably wouldn't hurt you to read up on it: http://www.copyright.gov and Fair Use. If it's just two characters expressing their views of the LotR movies or books, I don't think you have a problem unless you start quoting passages from the books/movies.
     
  3. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    There are exceptions under fair use for critique or review and for satire or comedic effect. With just a few lines, you should be able to get away with it. A precedent was set by a court in America that ruled an item was pop-culture and so couldn't really have a conflict of copyright on such a small scale. But, if you get published, your publisher will probably confirm that with a copyright lawyer.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the fair use exception to the copyright law has nothing to do with fiction that's written to be sold... check it out at the source for valid info on where it can be applied: www.copyright.gov

    anyone wanting to be a writer should be up on what can and cannot be done in re copyright protection and it's all there on the official site, in easy-to-find FAQ and 'basics' lists for full study or quick reference...
     
  5. daydreams
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    daydreams Member

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    Of course you have the right to reference another story - and if you don't have that right, then copyright is more messed up than even I knew.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as noted above, there's no problem with mentioning other stories and what happens in them... what you can't do without the copyright owner's permission is quote the material verbatim, other than a short phrase that's become a commonly used expression, such as dirty harry's 'make my day!'...
     
  7. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    From what I have heard,
    Tolken's people are hard core in protecting his work. (as it should be)
    although on the flip side, if you ask them, they do grant permssion frequently as long as it does not cause harm to his works.

    ie fair but firm
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not likely to be a problem, Dresden. It is easier to judge if we knew exactly what this part of the novel looked like, but in general you are OK here.
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's also worth noting that they are unlikely to be to claim protection on many of the character names because Tolkein got lots of the names from traditional Nordic mythology (more in the Hobbit than in LOTR). Some of the incidents are from fokelore and mythology too.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    character names and titles can't be copyrighted, but they can be trademark protected and often are, such as with 'batman' and 'wonderwoman' and others that have merchandising spinoffs...

    for the letter of the law on that: www.uspto.gov
     
  11. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    I'd say you'd get in trouble if you set your story in the same universe or have them quoting and pointing out specific sections of the book, but not if you're just having them discuss the overall plot or certain elements like the Ring or Mount Doom.
     

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