Re: Is "inspired by" a copyright problem
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Posted by M. Arthur Auslander on August 20, 2001 at 23:12:56:
In Reply to: Is "inspired by" a copyright problem posted by Franklin Macintosh on August 20, 2001 at 22:24:55:
: If one were to consider writing and developing a film inspired by an old film put out in 1944, what would be the line copyright line to watch for?
: Let's suppose that some of the main characters in the new version were inspired by the original and the confines of the dramatic setting are similar but subject to a radical updating from a WW II setting to a science fiction space theme.
: Franklin Macintosh
Dear Mr. Macintosh,
The one certain thing about the law is uncertainty. Without taking professional responsibility,though, it seems to me that unless you copy the words or parallel the words of a prior work, there is a good degree of safety.
The more you trade on what has been done before, the greater the risk. There may be questions of unfair competition as distinguished from copyright infringement.
Copyrights do not protect ideas. The recent Gone With the Wind litigation clearly show how to wind up in court. While I have not read the case, it seems to me that there is no clear victory for the Mitchell estate.
M. Arthur Auslander
Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law Since 1909
The Intellectual Property Law Server
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