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  1. Scot

    Scot Senior Member

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    Ethically, morally and legally ...

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Scot, Aug 14, 2016.

    ... are there any issues in writing a novel based on a dead authors framework?

    Take Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, was commissioned to write the sixth book in the Hitchhiker's 'trilogy' (and a damn good job he made of it too). But if an aspiring writer were to write such a novel, and submit it for publication, what would be the ramifications?
     
  2. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I think you need to get permission from the copyright estate, if the book is still copyrighted. Douglas Adams has an estate for his works, as a famous dead author. http://www.tdv.com/html/heavy_legal_stuff.html. Talk to these guys so they can approve or disapprove. They own the copyright.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm pretty sure it would depend on copyright. @Steerpike can hopefully confirm.

    There have been unauthorized sequels to lots of classics that are no longer under copyright, for sure, but I think the expression of characters is copyrightable.

    There might also be trademark issues if the book is famous enough, has been turned into a movie, or whatever.
     
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  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    As @BayView and @Oscar Leigh said, you've got potential trademark and copyright issues here. If you're writing a directly-related work, with many of the same characters, storylines, etc. - a true sequel instead of some work set in a similar universe - you're very likely to bring trouble to yourself. Of you're using the name Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on the cover or to sell the book, then you've got potential trademark and unfair competition issues. Not worth doing without permission, IMO.

    The above is with respect to the U.S.
     
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  5. Scot

    Scot Senior Member

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    Thanks @BayView and @Oscar Leigh. It's pretty much as I suspected; you'd need to submit a draft to the copywrite holder for permission.
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If I were you I'd contact them well before the "draft" stage - you could spend a lot of time writing something for which I doubt you'll ever get permission.
     
    Link the Writer and Oscar Leigh like this.

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