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View Full Version : Legalities of reusing characters



Laurie
02-12-2007, 05:35 PM
Our church performed a drama this past Christmas using a purchased script. For next Christmas I plan on writing another drama, a continuation of the story, using the same characters.

Are there any issues with using previously created characters in a new work?

When Scarlet was written, the sequel to Gone With the Wind, was there any difficulty in writing a new work using characters created by another author?

The script will be entirely new. Iím only revisiting the people from the previous drama a few days later in time. The story line for both dramas comes from the Bible, so no one owns the story.

Thanks in advance.

Cathy C
02-12-2007, 07:34 PM
Well, that sort of depends. If you're ONLY using characters from the Bible, you're probably fine, as it's a fair use public work. However, if there were characters that existed only in the purchased script, then you're treading into "derivative rights" of an established copyright owner's rights, which is a no-no. Read up on the regulations at the U.S. Copyright Office's FAQ (http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#howmuch) page.

K1P1
02-12-2007, 08:12 PM
When Scarlet was written, the sequel to Gone With the Wind, was there any difficulty in writing a new work using characters created by another author?

My understanding is that Margaret Mitchell's estate released the rights to the characters and the author of Scarlett was contracted to write the sequel. So there was no difficulty only because there was an agreement in place beforehand.

Are you planning to charge money for people to attend your play? If it's just being done by the church for the church, with no admission charges, then I wouldn't think anyone would care. If you're charging admission and using established characters (NOT from the Bible), you could get into trouble.

Laurie
02-13-2007, 05:42 PM
Thanks much I was afraid there would be complications. Might have to go with plan B.