Writers Wanted! MovieBytes is looking for articles. Call for Submissions
I'm a new writer and new to the BB. I really enjoy reading these posts and appreciate the information I read. This is my first post here so I thank any and all in advance for helping me with my questions (of which I am sure I'll have many).
I read about a person from the early 20th century whose story I found very interesting and one that has not been told in film. I researched more and found a book was written about this man a few years back.
I realize if I were adapting a novel I would have to obtain the rights to do so; but what about a historical event in history? Can I read books written about this person for research and use the information I learn without obtaining the rights?
Thanks again for any help you can provide.
Welcome to the board. I've personally researched this issue because I want to write about an event that happened in 1920. Unfortunately, there's no easy answer, as it's all a matter of degree. In other words, if the authors of the books you're reading think you've taken too much of their ideas (as opposed to simple historical facts), then they may have a case. The John Adams series that was recently on HBO was based upon a book by David McCullough. The produers secured the rights to McCullough's book because they were making a series not simply based upon historical facts, but upon McCullough's interpretation of who John Adams was (i.e., his character). Check out this link and read through the questions--some of them deal with the issue:
Thank you Patrick, I appreciate your response.
I was actually thinking of contacting the author who wrote a great online article about the individual and maintains a website about the events. After reading the article it's obvious he clearly knows the subject inside and out. He did copyright his article but never published a book.
I was thinking of perhaps approaching him as a co-writer. Do you think that is a wise route to take?
Really don't know, David (sorry). I'm still in a quandary regarding whether to write my 1920 script. Not only for the copyright issues, but because of the period piece reasons in another thread.
Register here to receive MovieBytes' FREE email newsletter featuring contest deadline reminders, news, articles, and much more. Choose a password to access the MovieBytes bulletin board and other great features.