1. WriteRight
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    WriteRight New Member

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    ? Plagiarism ?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by WriteRight, Sep 1, 2010.

    ? Copywrite ? - Thank you for the answer!!!!

    I am planning to write a book. Included in it will be some poems by various authors - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, etc. Some of the people I do not think are still living:( - do you have to ask a foundation or their kin to see if it is okay to include their work?

    Do you have to pay them something? Is there a fee?:confused:

    Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.:)

    Sincerely,

    WriteRight
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Unless the work has passed into the public domain, you do have to ask permission. That permission may cost you money, either up front or as a royalty, or both. You will have to negotiate that with the copyright owner of each piece of writing.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup!... all of that...

    you should familiarize yourself with the copyright laws and what they mean to writers... go to the source for info first: www.copyright.gov
     
  4. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    yeah, what they said. :)
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, in case it's clear, your issue isn't about plagiarism, it's primarily about copyright violation. They're two separate issues, with two separate remedies.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup to that, too!
     
  7. Show
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    Can I add a question to this: What about references to specific pop culture things, such as musicians(artists or songs), character names from other stories, television shows, etc.? Do you have to get permission to mention those in a story?
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think references are fair game as long as you don't defame anyone. I don't know what legalities you have to jump through to write an unauthorised biography since in the name it hints you didn't ask... but for general fiction, pretty sure as long as you don't write, "I hung out with Queen Elizabeth II (not a fictional one definitely the queen of England like right now) and we smoked crack all night", then you should probably be allowed to get away with references to stuff. :p It's all just part of the fabric of the world we live in, after all. A story in the modern world with no references at all would feel really odd.
     
  9. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    Actually, you could write that, assuming it was clear that it was used fictitiously and not with malicious intent. Queen Elizabeth would be considered a public figure, and could play any role in your story, including as a crack-smoking cohort.
    It might not be popular, totally ethical, or a brilliant idea, but it wouldn't be defamation.
     
  10. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    And, for an example, read Sue Townsend's "The Queen and I". I doubt she asked permission. But then, the British monarchy is notoriously non-litigious on it's own behalf, despite all those "Crown v. ..." cases we read about.
     
  11. Anonymouse33
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    Anonymouse33 Member

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    I pretty sure that if the poem is by someone like Emily Dickenson or Edger Allan Poe (who are both long dead) then there is no longer a copyright. As far as I know if there isn't a copyright, then you can use them.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    are you planning on including the whole poem or just lines? If it is out of copyright you can just use them if it is just parts you may get away with adding a reference.

    Personally I used a latin footnote even with the out of copyright song I used, seemed like a courtesy.
     
  13. Show
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    I wasn't sure. I've done stories without references, but I could've included a few. By these I just meant something like "Batman bedsheets" or something with a "Pikachu" or a reference to a favorite show being "Lost" or something. I'm kind of paranoid so I might've avoided using mentions just in case. Good to know it shouldn't be an issue if I do.
     
  14. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It shouldn't be an issue, although that doesn't stop a trademark holder causing you a lot of trouble by suing anyway. Even if they don't have a case, they might reckon on you not being able to afford to defend the case. If you go through a mainstream publisher then they'll probably have a legal department to deal with it, but if you're self publishing then you're on your own. I suspect the worst that will happen is that they'd make you change it -- take out the reference. I'm not a lawyer, though, so my suspicion probably isn't worth anything.
     
  15. Show
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    ^^^^Well, I'll leave it as is for now then. Not sure how I'd ever get any of my novels published. So I'll be careful.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't take advice given on writing sites as gospel... study the copyright laws on your own [ www.copyright.gov ] and consult a literary attorney if still in doubt on any issue...
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    And if you're publishing on the web, you probably need to consult the copyright laws of every country connected to the web...
     
  18. Show
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    Well, clarifying which superhero is on the child murder victim's bedsheets is not all that necessary to the story. (An example of a case in which I might've used a reference) When I look into publishing, I'll see if I can get clarification on the laws. It's just not really something I am THAT concerned over as I don't feel it really is THAT major a part of the story to worry about if I didn't include it.
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    But be careful, because "Super Hero" and some variations on it are jointly claimed as a trademark by Marvel and DC Comics, so in theory you could get into trouble for mentioning superheroes.
     
  20. Show
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    Well, I am sure publishers would probably have legal teams checking that as was said. It's kind of hard to avoid mentioning ANYTHING that could be claimed as a trademark.
     
  21. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's great if you have a traditional publisher. With the growth of various forms of self-publishing such as web and POD, though, more and more authors have to do without that protection.
     
  22. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    I'll add a two word answer: Oliver Stone.

    Using real figures but overlaying fictional portions of a story is used often even if telling of real events. It's a matter of taking due care and not putting yourself in the line of fire for slander and such. Thought, I think, the law is ambiguous as to what slander specifically is, you want to keep your references as secondary.

    If you are stating; 'We sat down to watch Jerry Springer'...Then you're cool...except for the part of watching Jerry Springer ;)
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there is no law against mentioning trademarks... and you can't be sued for doing so unless you're dissing them or their owners unjustly...

    as for saying one needs to check every country on the planet's copyright laws if you post online, that's going to a silly extreme...
     
  24. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can be sued, but the suit should fail if you defend it. That's an important distinction, because there are a lot of lawsuits out there that have negligible legal merit but are banking on the little guy caving in.
    Any news on that French store suing an author for mentioning it in a story? I grant that most of us don't need to worry about North Korea's copyright laws, though.
     
  25. Bodiam
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    Looking back at your original enquiry, I wonder what this material is that want to put in your book? I am not good enough to publish but if you used my work without my permission, i'd be very upset. If you asked me first, I would be flattered and open to discussion.
    If you know some of the authors are alive, try googling/researching them if their work is essential to your book. Otherwise perhaps you might look for copyright free material that will do just nicely. Not possible though if the work needs to be contemporary.
    Previous advice on the law is sound as pretty much every country will have a principle of - ignorance is no defence in law. So don't take the risk to your reputation or your pocket. If your book is great and is likely to make a good return then maybe you should finish it and then pay an expert to tie up. Same goes for plagiarism though if you fully quote your sources, I cannot see how it is plagiarism as you would not be passing the work of others as your own. Then its an issue or permission for using someone else's work.
    I am no lawyer so am happy for better people than me in here to correct this or advise differently.
     

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