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can you copyright an idea?

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

can you copyright an idea?

Postby Helen_Davis » Mon March 22nd, 2010, 10:32 am

Sorry for all these(probably moronic) questions. But I have a huge book of 'what if' history questions and the idea for my novel "What if Cleopatra and Antony had won the Battle of Actium is in there, and I'm taking a different route that the author of the article suggested, although I am going with the idea that women would have had more rights than they really had in real history. I THINK that you can 't, because the idea of what if theSpanish had won the Armada battle is in there, and there's a novel about that too, and there are novels on what if the Nazis had won WW2, but I have asperger's and I don't trust my own judgment. So I'd like a little help.
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com


"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."
Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

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Catherine Delors
Avid Reader
Location: Paris, London, Los Angeles
Contact:

Postby Catherine Delors » Mon March 22nd, 2010, 1:18 pm

No, you can't copyright an idea. You can write a book of ideas, though, and copyright it. :)

User avatar
Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Mon March 22nd, 2010, 2:31 pm

"Catherine Delors" wrote:No, you can't copyright an idea. You can write a book of ideas, though, and copyright it. :)


so I'm fine?
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com





"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."

Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Mon March 22nd, 2010, 10:07 pm

You are fine.

That would be like me copywriting a book about a girl becoming a nurse in the Civil War. I can write it but others can also write a book like it.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Tue March 23rd, 2010, 12:47 am

Yup, you are fine. An analogy: you can't copyright the idea of disposable tissues on which you blow your nose. You can copyright the product that you develop based on that idea -- Kleenex. But others are equally free to invent their own brand, ergo all those generic brands of tissues. Trademarks/copyright must be applied for and is granted to a product or work, not an idea. I believe there's a lot of law that relates to the fact that it's the expression of an idea that matters, not the idea.

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Miss Moppet
Bibliophile
Location: North London
Contact:

Postby Miss Moppet » Tue March 23rd, 2010, 3:12 am

Yes, it couldn't be any other way, because people are always having the same idea, completely independently, at the same time. For example, there are two reworkings of Dracula coming out this year from Mina Harker's POV. That sort of thing seems to happen all the time.

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Wed March 24th, 2010, 7:58 pm

And I just read two books published within a month of each other -- each has as the main character in a love triangle an American woman who is a journalist. Of the two men, in both novels, one is a jaded and somewhat self-destructive older and married American journalist; the other a Vietnamese of divided loyalties who works with the foreign correspondents. The details of the plots are different, but wow!

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Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Wed March 24th, 2010, 9:43 pm

Well they do say there are only so many ideas. :)
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/


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