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Author Topic: Fiction Concept copyright  (Read 580 times)

Shiryuu

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Fiction Concept copyright
« on: 11-20-17 at 01:09 pm »

Hi all,

I am trying to understand more about copyright.

Is using concepts to develop a story considered copyright infringement?

For instance: Using the cosmere concept of shards (From Brandon Sanderson) - the concept I wanted to use was that each shard has its own intent and unique powers - to develop a story.
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Robert T Nicholson

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Re: Fiction Concept copyright
« Reply #1 on: 11-20-17 at 02:49 pm »

I am not familiar with "the cosmere concept of shards" so this answer may be a little vague.

Copyright law protects the creative works of an author.  This includes the characters, and in some cases the settings created by the author.  For example, you could not write a book about a Hobbit living in Tolkien's Middle Earth. 

Here is a good article on the use of fictional characters is other works, that I think will explain the concept:

http://www.rightsofwriters.com/2011/04/copyright-in-fictional-characters-can-i.html

So, if "the cosmere concept of shards" is an original and well-realized creative work (with history, terminology, attributes, and so on) then I would say that you can't use it.

Bear in mind that ideas are not protected by copyright.  You could write a story that takes place in a school for wizards.  But you could not write a story set at Hogworts.

Hope this helps.

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This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center

Shiryuu

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Re: Fiction Concept copyright
« Reply #2 on: 11-20-17 at 11:58 pm »

Well, the cosmere history in Brandon Sanderson books established that there are sixteen shards that was shattered when sixteen sentient beings destroyed the creator. They each hold a shard which grants them power but are tied to an intent embedded on the shard.

The concept I wanted to use are the shards, its power and the intent that they hold.

The difference in the nutshell are
- The history of how the shards are created,
- Nine shards shared different names and have unique intents
- How the shard influence the world
- A different term to name the shard (Calling it Crystal)
- Development of how the two shards with opposite intent plan to stop each intent from realizing

The similarities are
- Its power - (The shards give them god-like powers, power to create - similar to how the cosmere shards were described)
- Seven of the shard names currently share the same name and intent.
- The basic conflict between two opposite shards - one with the intent to preserve and one with the intent to destroy seek to stop each other intent from realizing.

I wanted to know if my similarities are infringing copyright.

Thanks for the reply.

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Robert T Nicholson

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Re: Fiction Concept copyright
« Reply #3 on: 11-21-17 at 01:35 pm »

I cannot give you specific legal advice.  If you are serious about pursuing this, you should consult an attorney.

This is a complicated issue, and there are gray areas.

You should bear in mind that if your book has the appearance of infringing, you can still be sued.  And defending yourself against a copyright infringement lawsuit can be VERY expensive.

Also bear in mind that publishers tend to be risk-averse, so if your book falls in a gray area, you will have trouble finding a publisher.

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This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

Robert Nicholson Consulting | Copyright Safeguard | ED Treatment Center
 



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