1. kyle777
    Offline

    kyle777 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia

    King Arthur copyright laws

    Discussion in 'Research' started by kyle777, Jan 8, 2013.

    So my book has a scene that recounts Arthur's pulling of the sword from the stone. Arthur is called Wart (a moniker T.H. White uses in his book The Once and Future King), and the scene isn't exactly as White's version, but it does closely resemble it (i.e., Kay forgets his sword at the inn, inn's closed, Wart finds the stone in front of a church). I did not read White's version of Arthur's rise to kingship until after I wrote the scene to avoid tainting my vision of what I wanted to present. I based the scene on what I'd already known prior.
    I've been researching the copyrights surrounding this with little to no results. Does anyone have any knowledge as to whether this infringes upon copyright?
     
  2. NigeTheHat
    Online

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    580
    Location:
    London
    Copyright expires 75 years after the death of the copyright holder, and T H White died in 1964 so it's still covered.

    As described, that sounds pretty close to T H White's version - close enough that it could be considered a breach of copyright. There's no set line about whether something is a copyright breach - if his estate decided to take it up, it'd be fought out between your lawyers and theirs. Given you've copied the name and a lot of the scene details, I find it hard to believe anyone would consider your story to not be derivative.
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    in both the us and uk, copyright expires 70 years from the date of the author's death... unless it's been changed to 75 in the uk and i hadn't heard it was, so an update would be appreciated if that's the case...

    regardless, as noted above, white's work is still under copyright, so you'd best not use anything from his book that does not appear in the original legend... i have to agree with nige that you're skating on paper-thin ice...
     
  4. kyle777
    Offline

    kyle777 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Virginia
    Thanks for your replies. I wish I'd thought about this earlier, as I'm submitting this book into Amazon's 2013 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest...which opens midnight on January 14.
    Well, I guess I have no choice then but to alter the scene (which is just a dream, really) to avoid any sticky legal issues. Or disqualification from the contest.
     

Share This Page