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Do I have a Children's Book Copyright Infringement?

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by Sue_Ellen, Feb 20, 2007.

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  1. Sue_Ellen

    Sue_Ellen Law Topic Starter New Member

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    :mad: I have written a children's book and had it copyrighted in Jan 2001. I have sent it to numerous publisher's, editor's, and agents including some magazines without success. I have even rewrote it in scriptform for tv and sent that out. This past Christmas I discovered a mother & daughter team published a book that used my storyline which I copyrighted! There are many similarities that I feel are a little too close to my property, even up to the way I wanted to package it and how the tradition evolved. Their book is copyrighted 2005. Plus ,one of the author's worked as an editor which causes me to think she might have come across my manuscript at one time. I need to know if I have a case and the procedure to follow if I do. Thanks! :rolleyes:
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm very sorry to hear about your problem. The general rule is that copyright does not protect "ideas" although storylines can be subject to copyright protection, the general rule being the more complex the better chance for protection. An acquaintance discussed with me a long, hard battle dealing with the production of a famous movie "The Interpreter" starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. What can you tell us about the book and the storyline? In many instances, in order to show infringement you may need to show "access" to the content, e.g. they worked in Hollywood at MGM in the office where the script circulated, etc. This is important because if someone else came up with the exact same story as you did but as an original work of authorship than it would not be considered infringement.

    In short, this is what you need to show:

    (1) You have a copyright in the work (registration is best.)

    (2) The infringer had reasonable access and opportunity to review the copyrighted work (a song played on the radio frequently might be the easiest example.)

    (3) You must prove that a "substantial similarity" exists between the copyrighted work and the alleged infringing work (e.g. a complex story line and most of the words are almost identical.)
     
  3. seniorjudge

    seniorjudge Super Moderator

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    Also, you may want to consult with an attorney who handles this kind of stuff.

    These cases are very difficult to win.
     

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