1. Jed
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    Jed New Member

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    Legal Issues and More

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jed, Nov 17, 2011.

    I am currently working on a novel (I'n my spare time, undergrad here) but I am really unsure about a couple ethical matters and possible copyright infringement. In the style of Arturo Perez Reverte's "The Club Dumas," I am incorporating a historical piece of literature (written in 1899) as the inspiration for the murders of my main antagonist. I would really like to leave messages from the book within the various murder scenes, and have my detective reference the book throughout the novel in an attempt to solve the murders. Is there anyone who can tell me if I am stepping on an legal water? Second, while the city I set my novel in is fictional, it will be based off high 19th century England and France during the time of their colonial empires. I really want to explore the themes of imperialism and colonialism without drawing the usual condemnation of these two nations in particular. Is fictionalizing the locals and nationality of the characters (both the imperial center and the colonial country) a good way of avoiding that? I think it may give me more freedom - does any body know of any works that have fictionalized this period well (not pure fantasy, but a fictional place and people based on a certain period)? I have read many Guy Gavriel Kay novels which essentially do this, but I was wondering if there were any in the European Imperial era of history. Sorry for the long request. Thanks for reading.
     
  2. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    A good rule of thumb with copyright is 70 years after the creator died, it's up for grabs. For 1899, I think you're pretty safe there.

    As for the fictionalising of locals and nationality, go for it. If you can do it well, you can do it well, if you can't you can't. It's down to how well YOU do it, not whether someone else has done it well.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all of that is done all the time... and yes, copyright lasts only for 70 years after the death of the author with only a rare few exceptions ['peter pan' is one], so you can use excerpts from that book at will...
     
  4. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    I'd think you should still cite your source, though, and give a special thanks in the Acknowledgements section when your book gets to that stage.

    For future reference, though, say in another story you have to reference...dunno...It or Jurassic Park, could you not snail mail a form asking for permission from the copyright holder and include the exerpt in question? Or does that look unprofessional or bothersome at that stage?
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i suspect it would be both... might be best to send your request to the author's agent or publisher, since few famous authors give out their home addresses...
     

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