Re: Copyright laws

From: Admin of The Keep (
Date: 10/17/96

On Thu, 17 Oct 1996, Steve Reeves wrote:

> Well, technically, you can get away with using someone else's copyright work
> as a base, if you change at least 70% of it.  [Or that's what I was told
> several years back by someone.]  But then, I guess if you changed 70%, it'd
> be essentially your own work..

  That's not true.  There's no percentage in the US copyright laws that
  involve negating the copyright, to my knowledge.  Anything that is
  derived from the work is considered a derivitive work for as long as
  the license of the original product makes these derivitives works.

  I doubt they'd put these 70% figures in the laws because copyrights do
  not deal with derivitives, etc.  Their purpose is to make certain that
  nobody copies your work outside of your license.  The licensing and
  agreement is up to you.  Clearly, somethings should not fall under these
  kind of non-existant copyright laws.  For instance, books.  If you use
  all the character's names, the same world, but change the scenes and
  what happens in the book -- do you think that you'll get away with it?

  Honestly, could I go around touting that I wrote a book with Richard
  Rahl (Cypher) and Kahlan Amnell and Zeddiculus Zor'ander, complete
  with the Old World, Westland, D'Hara, etc. and say, "This is my book; it
  doesn't matter that I'm using all of the same things in Terry Goodkinds
  books, I'm describing things differently."  I certainly wouldn't be able
  to do this; even if the actual wording was changed 100% from the
  original (and wording constitutes more than 70% of a book, relaly :)).
  How about if I wrote, "The Pinwheel of Time," series with Rand al'Thor,
  his father Tam, etc.?  Not likely to go over well with Robert Jordan
  nor with the lawyers at Tor.  My point being: I don't think this law
  exists, nor do I think it should.

  "Forgive me father, for I am sin."

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