1. mikegreen
    Offline

    mikegreen New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1

    Graphic Novel Permission / Copyright

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mikegreen, Nov 14, 2010.

    Hello,

    I have a two part question which seems no one can give me any real answer.

    I'm writing a graphic novel, which is a drama/biography, that is, it is based on true events and actual persons. The material for my story, it is based on two biography books.

    A) Do I need to take permission from the publishers of the two biography books for using the info from their books?

    (say, the protagonist is getting married in 1960, and immediately he gets a divorce and I take this info and making a scene with dialogue and images of my own. Do I still need to take permission?)

    B) I'm using the actual names of the persons in my story. It would be, say, 90% real events, but I would give that 10% of dramatization. Some characters have passed away, but some are still alive. Do I need to contact them to get permission to include them in the story?

    This is my first post, so greeting ya all!
     
  2. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    As far as the permission to use the books, no you don't need to get the authors' permission, although you may want to include a "works cited" page at the end of your novel.

    If the people you're basing it on are famous, you have a lot more leeway, but you still may want to look up detailed info on libel laws.

    Generally speaking (these guidelines are from the Associated Press stylebook from 2009, they appply to journalists/reporters, not sure if rules are different for fiction):

    For something to count as libel, the conditions have to be met. This is what the plaintiff has to prove:

    1. A defamatory statement was made
    2. The statement was a matter of fact, not of opinion
    3. The statement is false
    4. The statement was published with the degree of "fault." In other words, if it's something that's clearly satirical and not meant to be taken seriously, you're good. If you're on Mad TV or SNL and you're making fun of Palin/Pelosi/etc, you can say whatever you want because no one's looking to it as a valid news source. But, you can't publish a news article in the paper or on a credible online news source that has false info.

    Really depends on what you're writing and who you're writing about.

    Hope I helped.
     
  3. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,086
    Likes Received:
    5,279
    Location:
    California, US
    Also, you need to look into Right of Publicity. This generally applies to living individuals and can provide a person a cause of action against you for use of their name, likeness, etc.

    Unfortunately, Right of Publicity varies state by state, so you'd need to look into it in each state in which someone could bring an action, and then tailor your work to comply with the laws of the most restrictive state.

    That's the safest course, at any rate.
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    don't ask here, as we can only offer guesses based on the same research you could do on your own, if you took the time... before you go any further, you should consult a good literary attorney... that is always the very safest course of all to take...

    that said, if all you're using from the bio books is basic info on events in the person's life, that can also be gotten from other sources, then there's nothing to worry about on that score, as long as you don't use the same wording as in those books...

    study up on the federal laws here:

    www.copyright.gov
    www.uspto.gov
     
  5. mikegreen
    Offline

    mikegreen New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you all for your responses. I appreciate your honesty for how to approach the matter. This is truly a wonderful forum!
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page