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  1. D.R. James
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    D.R. James New Member

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    New to the Crew

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by D.R. James, Nov 22, 2008.

    Hey everyone,
    I'm new to the forum but writing has been my passion my entire life. I have written a few books and working on more.
    The question I have is about copyright. I have copyrights for my books and understand them but my question is more infringement. Here it goes; my friend read a book and liked it enough he decided to write a sequel to it.
    I understand characters and stories cannot be used from another book; what about writing your own personal sequel? He says he wants to write the story then send it to the original author.
    My concern for my friend is the copyright. I know he cannot copyright it himself due to character infringement but how can he protect himself if he plans to send it to the author? Should he send it to the author and take his chances or should he get the copyright for it then send it to the author?
    He has come to a stand-still with the book due to learning of infringement. I told him to keep writing until we can figure something out. I also told him if anything we can keep the storyline and change the characters.
    Any advice would be great. My friend seems to be pretty passionate about his book and it would be sad if he got discouraged and stopped writing.
    Thank you,
    D.R. James
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Welcome aboard.

    In terms of what you're talking about, that would be fan fiction. It's not normally publishable, but a lot of people write it.


    And this should be in the introductions thread. I'll move it for you :)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, you need to know that copyright exists from the moment a work is completed and you don't have to 'get' it... all one does after a work is finished and the copyright thus exists, is 'register' that copyright with the library of congress... you can learn all about the process and the laws governing copyright here: www.copyright.gov

    next comes the issue of 'plagiarism' and 'copyright infringement'... while characters can NOT be copyrighted and though using the original author's characters and settings may not actually break any laws, that author may very well sue your friend in civil court for using them without his/her permission... and will most likely win...

    so, the best advice for your friend is to either get the author's permission before going any further, or to change the storyline and characters so that it's NOT a 'sequel' in any way, shape or form, but a stand-alone original novel he can submit without fear of being hauled into court and having to pay the aggrieved author a huge portion of his income for the rest of his life...

    finally, this thread does not belong in the 'suggestions and feedback' section, so you should ask a moderator to move it to the appropriate part of the 'writing issues' section... probably 'publishing'...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    well, i see bonz got the jump on me while i was typing away...

    yes, it could be considered 'fan fiction' but a novel is much more than the norm and none of it can be published, so writing any is an exercise in futility and an entire book would be a monumental waste of time, imo...
     
  5. D.R. James
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    D.R. James New Member

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    Thank you maia,
    I do know and understand the copyright process; I guess what I ment to ask is, "shuld he register it?"
    Anywho, Banzai mentioned fan fiction, do you have details on this?
    Also, my friend wanted to send the story to the author, thus avoiding the difficulties of law suites and such. Do you still suggest storyline change or should he continue and do as planned, send it to the author when it is finished?
    I appologize for placing in wrong thread; i'm new and just learning my way around. A question i have, if you could help, what is the quickest way to find the threads I post?
    Like I said, still learning my way around.
    Thanks,
    D.R. James
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...you're very welcome, dr...

    ...i wouldn't advise that, since it could actually work against him if the author he's plagiarizing takes him to court... and seasoned writers don't register their books, anyway [unless they're self-publishing], since the publisher does that as part of the publication process...

    ...just go down to the 'fan-fic' section on the site and you can see what it entails... but, as both the banz and i have noted, it can't be published, so why waste time writing what you'll never be able to see in print, or make a buck on, if a writing career is what you're after and not just writing for fun?...

    ...my only and best advice that i hope he'll take is to NOT finish it till he has permission... and to write to the author and ask for permission to write a sequel, not mentioning that he's already started, if he wants to avoid a hassle... that will result in him being told something like:

    1. "Sure! Sounds like a cool idea, go right ahead."
    2. "No way, man! Try it and you'll be hearing from my lawyers."
    3. "I don't mind if you do, but the rights to do so will cost you $xxx,000...in advance!"

    ...just click on your name to the left of your post and select 'find more posts by...'

    hugs, m
     
  7. D.R. James
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    D.R. James New Member

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    Awesome, I appreciate everything.
    I will deffinitely take the advice and talk to my friend to see what book it is, that way we can send a request to write a sequel.
    I personally write my own work and I was concerned for my friend; this is my original intent on finding and joining this forum; now here, I have seen several things I too can learn.
    I thank you lots and I will be talking to my friend about his book.
    Thanks,
    D.R. James
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hello D.R., Welcome to the Writing Forums.

    I see your initial question has already been answered. But you can also find more discussions of copyright issues in the Writing Issues -> General Writing forum. More important, consult the official copyright site for your country. For the United states, it is http://www.copyright.gov/.

    Posting your own work should not be the very first thing you do here. It is really worthwhile to see what other people have done to improve their writing, and see if some of it applies to your writing as well. That is part of why we require members to review other members' work before posting their own for review. On the other hand, there are no restrictions, other than content and copyright rules, on showcasing your work in your member blog.

    If you haven't explored the site yet, you should probably do so soon. Newcomers often gravitate to the Lounge, the Word Games, or the Review Room, but there is much more to be discovered if you poke in the corners. Remember to check out our FAQ as well, and be sure to read through the forum rules, too, to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Respect for one another is our principal mandate.

    As for the Review Room, new joiners often wonder why we do things a bit differently on this site than on other writing sites. We emphasize reviewing as a critical writing skill. Training your eye by reviewing other people's work helps you improve your own writing even before you present it for others to see. Therefore, we ask members to review other people's writing before posting work of their own. The Review Room forums on this site, therefore, are true workshops, not just a bulletin board for displaying your work (and on that note, please only post each item for review in one Review Room forum). See this post, Why Write Reviews Before Posting My Work? for more information.

    And while you're looking around, don't forget to check out our Weekly Short Story Contest and Weekly Poetry Contest. They actually run more than one week apiece, but any member may enter, and all members are urged to vote for their favorites.

    Enjoy your stay here, and have fun!
     
  9. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum DR.
     

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