1. Uzair Abdullah

    Uzair Abdullah New Member

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    Name taking from dead author

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Uzair Abdullah, Dec 7, 2016.

    Dear fellow members,

    I wanted to ask if i can take names from a book since the author is dead ?
    It would really help if someone told me,the books name is The Mystery Of The Spiteful Letters this is a series and has ended due to the fact that the author(Enid Blyton) is dead and i wanted the characted Mr Goon.Can someone please guide me.

    Thanks
    Uzair
     
  2. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    Depends on how long he's been dead.

    Searching for "copyright character use" quickly produced this web page on use of copyright characters.
    Add to that, copyrights persists for 50 to 70 years after the death of the author.

    So unless the author died 50 or more years, the answer is probably no.
     
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Hi Uzair,

    Since Blyton died 28th November 1968, the 50 years since her death that copyright usually exists for won't pass for another two years.

    That could be a problem if you're using the character of Mr. Goon and are creating a pastiche of the Spiteful Letters series.

    If, on the other hand, you're just using the name, and your character bears no notable similarity to the character that Blyton created, I don't see any problem at all. After all, Enid Blyton's Mr. Goon didn't appear until 1943, whereas the Goons appeared in the Popeye comic strip in 1933, and BBC radio subsequently created the Goon Show from 1951 to 1960...Damn, but I enjoyed researching this!...long story short, you can't copyright a name...Coca-Coal (sic) notwithstanding.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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  5. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I have a hard time believing that a name as generic as that could be subject to copyright. It's not exactly Willy Wonka. Sounds to me like it could be any generic Irish-descended character. Especially if the name doesn't appear in the title, I don't think it's a problem. Collectively, I'm sure the members of this forum have written thousands of main and side characters, there is an extremely low probability that there aren't some duplicates.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Names aren't subject to copyright at all. Nor are titles, generally. They're too short. Trademark law may apply, but not copyright. So there is no copyright issue here in using the name itself.

    If you're going to use the actual "character," and not just the name, there may be copyright issues. "May" because not all characters are protected by copyright.
     
  7. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Just out of curiosity, where's the line between characters that are protected versus ones that are not?
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    From a practical standpoint, it's wherever a court says it is. It's a matter of how well-defined a character is. A flat, underdeveloped character is not going to get copyright protection. A well-delineated, developed, round character whose characteristics are such that the character has a set of identifiable, predictable traits, etc., is much more likely to get copyright protection. The case law is inconsistent on the issue at times, but if you were going to write a book about Harry Potter or James Bond (to use famous examples) you'd run into copyright issues in addition to trademark issues.

    There was a recent Sherlock Holmes case where I believe it was determined that the character is mostly in the public domain, though there may be minor creative aspects of the character published after 1923 that are still protected.
     
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  9. Uzair Abdullah

    Uzair Abdullah New Member

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    See guys look i had a new idea,basically some kids go back home one day and a new police officer is in their village and his name is Goon.He is basically to say i hope you kids arent as nosy as the children in the town i was in before that fatty! its kind of like that so can someone tell me about this and if there is copyright,there has to be a way of asking for permission.maybe an heir or someone ?please illuminated on this,it is my first time on this site and i am happy for all the support
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    As noted above, names aren't protected by copyright. This isn't really a trademark issue. There are Fair Use considerations, and it's not as though you're reproducing a fully-formed character - more like just making a reference to the other work. Personally, I wouldn't worry about this use. Of course, Blyton's estate could always object if they find out, and make your life miserable, but that seems quite unlikely under the circumstances.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    That would solve the issue. But I get the sense he's trying to make a deliberate allusion to the other work.
     
  12. Uzair Abdullah

    Uzair Abdullah New Member

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    Enid Blyton is my favorite author i would give credit for the name and stuff i cannot find any heirs either,her son has died so i do not know who would be the heir to it
     
  13. Uzair Abdullah

    Uzair Abdullah New Member

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    Enid Blyton is my favorite author i would give credit for the name and stuff i cannot find any heirs either,her son has died so i do not know who would be the heir to it.i am going to try and ask the enidblytonsociety which was made in 1900 maybe someone might answer there
     
  14. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Which Enid Blyton are you talking about? The one who wrote Noddy, etc., was only borne in 1897 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enid_Blyton ), so for her society to be "made in 1900" suggests a REALLY precocious talent!

    Plus, she didn't have a son, she had two daughters, the older of whom ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_Baverstock ) died in 2007 with 4 children.
     
  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Write the story, because you want too. The influences on your work will shine through to those that can see where your
    inspirations come from. Think of it like planting little Easter eggs within your entire story. Some will catch the little
    clues, and some won't.

    I have loads littered throughout my own, subtly paying homage to other great works of Sci-Fi and other Fictional pieces.
    Granted no one but I know about them. :p (Spoiler impending: I borrowed the 10mm assault rifle caliber from Aliens, because
    it was a good movie that had some neat ideas.)

    So plant those little gems that give subtly within your own creation. Even if it is just for yourself. :)
     
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  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Both Alien and Aliens borrow names from a dead author--Joseph Conrad. The borrowed names are Nostromo and Sulaco.
     
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