1. JeffRome
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    JeffRome New Member

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    Others' fictional characters in a story

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JeffRome, Oct 4, 2008.

    I'm curious. If I were to write a story with other fictional characters populating it, but not as the central character(s), would this be copyright infringement? I have seen this with novels such as those by Jasper Fforde, where Jane Eyre is involved in the plot. But that is an 19th C novel. How about more current characters? Thanks!
     
  2. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    You'd have to get permission, depending on the circumstances. But sometimes, like for 19th century characters (I'd assume) the copyright is expired, then I think you have free reign to it.

    Something like that. Not sure how it works entirely, but that's about as much as I know.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Generally it's a very bad idea. Use your own characters.
     
  4. NateDoggy
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    NateDoggy Member

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    Yeah I don't think that would go over very well, especially with all the copyright issues in todays society.

    I'm sure oyu could use aspects of the characters personality, but you really should create your own unique characters. I know I use my characters in every book, the same characters reptitivly, they are based of characters from a book by John Ringo, but they are dissimilar in many ways so as not to worry about copyright laws.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's a good idea if you do it properly. To give you an example, in second Pirates of the Carribean, they cut the scene out, but there was a reference to a Captain Hawkins. He's the captain who was going to take Elizabeth back to England, but of course was killed. The writers figured that's what happened to Jim Hawkins' father (as in Treasure Island)

    But there is the issue of copywrite. So generally, unless it's the only way to accomplish what you've written, it's not a good idea.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    btw, it's 'copyright' not 'copywrite' [which means to write copy]...

    as for the capt hawkins bit, it couldn't have been cut due to copyright issues, since robert louis stevenson died over a century ago...

    there is probably no copyright problem using just the names of existing characters of current works, but some may be protected trade marks/names, which is another thing altogether...

    but for the bottom legal line, don't ask anyone here, or take as gospel what anyone on a writing site says [includes me], go to the official source: www.copyright.gov and/or consult a literary attorney...
     
  7. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    I think I no what you are talking about, as in shrek with all the fairy tale characters coming together to blend their stories in to one. Or if you are familiar with kingdom hearts games they blend many disney characters and characters from other games but they were all co partnered together. My best advice is dont sell yourself short but use your first ideas they're usually the best ;) and either right the book and propose it to whomever the owner of the characters rights if it is truly an excellent peice they will allow you to publish it. Or you may have to put it aside for a few years this way you can re write it with your new found experience you can also become a more reknowned author giving you more push in getting the copyright laws lifted.
     
  8. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (launched 1999)is a modern example of what I believe you're enquiring about. This fuses many characters from earlier works of fiction / semi-fiction into a comic / graphic novel. I think it would be wise to do as maia says and if writing seriously, rather than fan-fic, it may be best to consult a literary attorney. Proceed with caution, but as examples such as this one prove, it can be done, and at certain times done well.
     

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