1. 2BrianBKelly
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    2BrianBKelly New Member

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    Writing a story before it become public

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by 2BrianBKelly, Oct 11, 2015.

    Very newbiest of the newbie questions and I'm sorry.

    Say you have life rights to a high profile story because you are half the story.

    The story has not broke yet to the media and as you are waiting you would like to start writing your story.

    There is only one logical best title to the story and if you cant have it would be absolutely devastating and would cause very low moral in even pursuing. You would not care if others write about the story but you really want that title before anyone else.

    I understand the title is not as important as the content and I get that.

    Please don't say once you put pen to paper it is copyrighted, a word doc is not proof. Or say you cant copyright a title or own the story. Yes you have proof of the life rights but not the title. If the story breaks tomorrow some professional writer can write faster than you can, slap that title on it and it is done.

    If you were in this postion and have life rights to a story because you are half the story, as a writer how can you copyright something and keep continue writing at the same time? What would you do while waiting?

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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  3. 2BrianBKelly
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    2BrianBKelly New Member

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    C'mon shadowfax you did not critical think nor even answer the question you got half way and stopped.

    So what you are saying is just blast complete run on sentences from beginning to end on a word doc of every name detail and dates of the story not caring of grammer, punctuation, order, just complete disarray so you have the story locked put the title on it, copyright it the day of then re edit before publishing?
     
  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, what I'm saying is if I write a biography about Prince Charles and title it "Prince Charles: A very private prince", there's nothing to stop Stephen King doing exactly the same 6 months later. Or even using the same title for his next novel about the Prince of Darkness. The author will be different, the words will be different, so what's to copyright? And if Prince Charles decides to publish his autobiography with the same title, so what?

    Just writing something doesn't claim the title the way that you can bag a domain name to stop, e.g. 20th Century Fox becoming 21st Century Fox.

    And banging out 100k words of dross won't copyright anything. It's the edited, published version that will be copyrighted. OK, so they won't be able to copy your first draft word for word...but from what you've just said, I doubt that anybody would want to!
     
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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And I think "life rights" is something that needs to be researched a little further as regards your right to the story. A quick google search evinces that it's not in any way a clearly defined concept and that much of it is simply assumed and not actually in any way a legal right. If any of the information is in the public domain, 1st amendment trumps all in America and anyone else wishing to write the story has no obligation to come to you to buy your "life right". They may chose to, in order to secure your cooperation and collaboration, but it seems to be in no way a requisite.

    http://www.supnik.com/lifestor.htm

    As for the title, Shadowfax is correct. How many films aren't called Dracula? There are two completely different films called Crash (utterly different stories), one from 1996 and one from 2004, and to the great confusion of many fans there's a film called Avatar that has absolutely nothing to do with a little airbender monk from the Southern Air Temple.

    If that doesn't convince because those are films and not books, here's a link to 10 different pairs of books with the exact same titles.

    http://flavorwire.com/376237/the-doubles-10-pairs-of-great-books-with-the-same-titles
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Considering there's nearly a thousand books about Marilyn Monroe from people who knew her to people who just did amazing research I wouldn't worry about trying to copyright anything. There's always many sides to a story especially when you're talking a media event or a person. The best thing to do would be to start writing and polishing it. You may not be able to beat others to the punch but that could be a good thing.
    You can always coast on their publicity.
     
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  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I dunno, some titles are so famous that to use that in a book, even if the plot was totally different can be risky. Say I wrote a book called The Sorcerer's Stone. Even if it didn't involve some orphaned boy wizard, a magical school, and a dark spirit seeking to use that stone, JK Rowling would be very miffed, I'm sure. The same goes for characters as well. If I created a character and named him Gohan, even if he weren't the Gohan from Dragonball Z, even if he were Gohan, the Alchemist from Random Fantasy City #235, I would imagine Toriyama/Funimation would be a bit miffed about it.

    It's a very complicated, sticky, legal web of mess and it really, to my view, depends on both how you use that name and whether or not the other person (in this case, Rowling or Toriyama) feels this should be taken to court. There's often not a clear-cut answer to things like this.

    Conversely, I can see where people are coming from here. Perhaps so long as the person/title isn't directly lifting off from the source, it's fine? So I could create a character named Gohan and be fine so long as I don't make him a half-alien/half-human warrior who can fly and blast ki out of his hands. I could write a book titled Oblivion and not be sued by Bethesda so long as my story isn't basically their The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in book form with the names changed. Still, I like to play it safe.

    EDIT TO ADD: Come to think of it, 'Oblivion' is a generic word that isn't automatically traced to Bethesda. So maybe if the name is generic enough, you should be all right. For instance, I can make a character and name him Piccolo and I'd probably be OK. The word is generic enough that not everyone's going to automatically associate it with the Namekian from Dragonball Z. Although the character is the first thing that pops up when I search it on Google.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    But most of the examples you are giving here are also seem to be falling under the umbrella of trademarks. That's a different beast altogether. Also, to touch on J.K.'s possible miffedness, if we take the book title back to its original form, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Harry Potter bit may not be touchable for trademark, but the Philosopher's Stone bit is fair game. A quick Amazon search says whether J.K. got miffed or not, other books exist with that name.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=The+philosopher's+Stone&tag=writingfor07a-20
     
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  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    OK, so you're saying that there's a difference between what's trademark and what's copyrightable? Interesting.

    I assume character names also apply? Because I've seen examples of two different characters from two different stories and mediums sharing the same name ('Zuko' from Zelda: Wind Waker and 'Zuko' from Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra.) So I could make a character called 'Gohan' and not get fried by Toriyama as long as my Gohan isn't the same as his Gohan?
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Your publisher may have something to say about it, too. Certain books are so famous that even if you wanted to use the same title, your publisher wouldn't let you. For example, they wouldn't let you title your book Gone With the Wind or The Wizard of Oz. Even if you demonstrate that you have a legal right to use the title, the publisher would change it just to make sure they don't wind up in court.
     
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  11. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's not a matter of winding up in court. Who wants to try to sell a novel named The Wizard of Oz that isn't The Wizard of Oz. "You should read this book, it's called The Wizard of Oz. No, the other one. Yes there's another on. No, I know it's not a very good name. Yes it is confusing, but it's really good...oh your walking away? Okay."
     
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