1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Screenplay Adaptation Legality (Ambiguity and Centuries)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JJ_Maxx, Jan 8, 2013.

    My wife wanted a screenplay that we could work on together as a team, so we decided to create an original version of 'The Little Mermaid' by Hans Christian Andersen.

    Am I correct in my understanding that:

    A. Because the original story was written prior to 1923, it is in the public domain and can be used legally by anyone for free but:

    B. Our screenplay can only use the original story ideas or our own variations and cannot have any of the unique ideas that are currently used in the Disney version. (Names, additional characters, etc.)

    This shouldn't be hard, because the Disney version was heavily altered to be more kid-friendly and our adaptation will be non-animated and will be darker and gritty.

    We should be good, right?

    ~ JJ
     
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Yes, it's perfectly legal. But be very careful. Disney is evil. I don't just say that for a laugh. They are notorious for suing people, even if it's not legit. They sue just to stop you because you can't do anything while involved in costly and lengthy legal proceedings.

    That said, Snow White has been done plenty without a problem.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    My wife wanted a screenplay that we could work on together as a team, so we decided to create an original version of 'The Little Mermaid' by Hans Christian Andersen.

    Am I correct in my understanding that:

    A. Because the original story was written prior to 1923, it is in the public domain and can be used legally by anyone for free

    ...yes...

    but:

    B. Our screenplay can only use the original story ideas or our own variations and cannot have any of the unique ideas that are currently used in the Disney version. (Names, additional characters, etc.)

    ...yes... as noted above, disney legal eagles are raptorous in re any infringement of their copyrights...

    This shouldn't be hard, because the Disney version was heavily altered to be more kid-friendly and our adaptation will be non-animated and will be darker and gritty.

    We should be good, right?


    ...yup!... write away...
     

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