1. C.A.Cruise
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    C.A.Cruise New Member

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    Warhammer??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by C.A.Cruise, Sep 10, 2010.

    I started to write my ideas down, come to find out I have begun a story that's much like Warhammer.. question is "if I use character types like "beastmen" or dark elves in my novel do I need permission from the warhammer owners?"

    Just curious before I make a story using the same Ideas as warhammer. It really just happened to have so much resemblence I felt the need to ask.
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never read 'Warhammer' so these character have no meaning to me.
    (On saying that I bet Warhammer is a game)

    However after the publication of 'A Christmas Carol' the name Scrooge became synonymous with the word miser.
    So yes it is still alright to write about a miser, just don't have him being visited by three ghosts during the night. ( get what I am trying to say)

    Good luck with your writing
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well. It wont be a problem as long as is not like a 95% match. The mainstream fantasy genre is copying each other all the time.

    But if your work is going to be basically fanfiction. Write fanfiction.
     
  4. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Beastman" is a perfectly generic, descriptive name, like "mailbox". Had it been copyrighted, Games Workshop would have been sued as well, since it's an old name. Same goes for "dark elf". With some exceptions(!), everything in Warhammer is derived from mythological stereotypes and pseudohistory -- when in doubt, google the individual name and see what comes up.

    Tolkien (or his estate, can't remember) tried to sue Gary Gygax for using "orc" in his Dungeons & Dragons books, but failed, because "orc" is a mythological name. So if you can trace names back to mythological or historical documents, it'll be safe to assume it's public domain.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Fan Fiction is risky. Some franchises are closely held, and have trademarks for the use of key names in a literature context, so you could indeed get sued.

    You are much better off from nearly every perspective if you create your own story without building it on someone else's characters or settings.

    Consult a literary attorney before you commit musch ewffort into your project, but is souinds very risky from a legal standpoint.
     
  6. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, being a Warhammer fan and having at least chatted (albeit online) with some Black Library (the publishing company that does all GW fiction) authors, I would say if you want to write Warhammer fiction, go ahead. In fact, Black Library does take submissions for short stories from time to time for their anthologies.

    Also, I'm fairly certain the Black Library website had a forum specifically for fan-fiction. I know of other, Games-Workshop-oriented sites that also have fan-fiction sections. And from what I know, as long as you don't pass of your work as original (or try to sell it or something stupid) GW doesn't care.
     
  7. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write to write first. Not write to get published.

    If you still at the stage that what you do is mostly copy cating and fan boying, you probably should write a lot more before you need to think about publishing chances.
     
  8. C.A.Cruise
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    C.A.Cruise New Member

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    I see, basically I'm just going to have those types of characters in my story, (orc's, elves, beastmen, etc.) I will add my touch to this though, and I'm sure it will be something fun to write for me anyways. Thanks for the advice.
     
  9. PurpleCao
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    Orcs are perfectly fine to write about - It comes from the term 'Orcus', which was a black skinned demon. I intend to use that reference myself.
    Elves aren't property of anyone anymore either. Provided you don't mention a name copyrighted by Warhammer (Such as mentioning an Elven Phoenix Guard or Dragon Prince, for example) you should be okay on that front.
    Beastmen is also a good catch-all term, provided you don't use it in the way they do - which is a force of chaos, yadda yadda.
    GW's pretty protective over their stuff, but so long as you can prove you are using the term in a way that isn't the same and that your works aren't confusable with their own, you'll be alright.
     
  10. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    I'd advise spelling out the differences when you describe your characters.

    For example, both Warhammer and Michael Moorcock's Elric saga have Chaos gods, but they are different gods with different names, so the distinction is clear.
     
  11. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alot of games like Warhammer and such borrow from Mythology. Beastmen, as said before, is pretty generic term. In fact there is a character in Masters of the Universe called Beastman.

    As for Dark Elves/Drow they are found in Norse Mythology. They are the counterparts to the Elves and live underground and are more evil I gues.

    If I were you I would look up the individual creatures that feature in your works and look them up. Find the origin of their name and such.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    One thing to keep in mind -

    Even something that is part of mythology and in the public domain in terms of copyright can still be the subject of trademark protection. if you use dark elves, and call them Drow, you're likely to run into trouble with Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, because I'm pretty sure they consider that to be a trademark. Even if you can show you're not using it as a trademark and ultimately prevail, Hasbro/WotC has the ability to throw a couple hundred grand into trademark litigation where the rest of us don't. So I'd avoid "drow" in favor of the generic "dark elf."
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    My advice is to invent your own type of creature that's 100% not inspired by anything else. I realize that the similaries are probably accidental, but steer away from the traditionally used stuff as much as you can.

    One of the reasons why I'm not into high fantasy -- 90% of it, that is -- is the fact that most of the creatures, settings, themes, names etc are way too similar and it just gets old.

    Do something that's never been done! Set a trend all of your own!
     

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