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1. As Logan said, copyright is automatic — in all Berne convention
countries — assuming that it's copyrightable in the first place.
(Modulo whether it's a "derivative work", etc.)

2. Registration is basically only useful for some kinds of litigation.
Changes burden of proof & damages. That's about it. Practically, not
at all necessary.

3. You might have issues with *trademark* if there is any "likelihood
of confusion" as to the source of your book or if you're benefiting
from Nintendo's trademark, rather than merely referencing it. There
are "fair use" type standards that apply but they are not the same as
for copyright.

4. You might have issues with "substantial similarity" type copyright,
but that is very fact specific. Hypothetically, if you're elaborating
a language that Nintendo never really discussed, you're not using
their stories, etc., you're probably OK. But it's not a simple thing
to answer.

5. If you actually want to sell this, & actually want legal advice,
contact the LCS. We *might* be able to get help. No promises.

6. Blunt pragmatics: you are small fry. It is extremely unlikely that
anyone cares enough about whatever tiny amount you might make on this
to bother even paying a lawyer to send you a nastygram. Obscurity
gives a certain amount of practical protection from giants.

IAN(Y)AL, IANYL, TINLA.

- Sai

On Tue, May 10, 2016 at 5:59 AM, Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 9 May 2016 at 13:53, Nina-Kristine Johnson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Daya!
>>
>> I'm certain this has been covered at least ten thousand times, here.
>>
>> Lately, I've been seriously thinking about publishing my Ehenív textbook (t*he
>> language of the Gerudo Tribe* stuff will be omitted as will words that have
>> *Gerudo* in them or anything else copyrighted by Nintendo, Ltd).
>>
>> I wrote it in 2010, originally and have since revised it several times to
>> keep current and to coincide with my web-site (
>> http://va-eheniv.conlang.org/gerudolang1.html )
>>
>> It's a hit with fan-fiction authors and a small, *Legend of Zelda* fan
>> base. Particularity those who love the Gerudo tribe (truly a *niche market*
>> !)
>>
>> However, despite how simple that sounds(especially the bit about detaching
>> it from the Gerudo)...there are some issues I am having about it.
>>
>> As of now: I offer it for *free of charge* via email (an e-book which is
>> usually a PDF) on my website (as well as the old website). And I allow
>> fan-fiction authors to use the language (with or without the textbook) in
>> their work. I do ask for some credit, though.
>>
>> As often as I get requests: I fear if I do manage to copyright and publish
>> it (Again: *omitting any links to the copyrighted Gerudo tribe!* I may have
>> created the language, but, that doesn't mean I am a* Gerudo **Thief*) that
>> people will lose interest in it. Be like 'I have to pay!? Lame!' and that
>> is the end of that.
>
> OK, first thing: it's already copyrighted. If you have removed all
> references to Nintendo properties, then it is entirely unambiguously
> copyrighted in your name. Under US law at least, creative works are
> *automatically* copyrighted on creation and owned by the author unless
> you have entered into a contract to transfer copyright to someone else
> (e.g., as a work for hire), or you explicitly dedicate it to the
> public domain.
>
>> Obviously what *sold* (figurative term...I didn't actually make money from
>> this whole thing) the language was the fact that it was a complete, very
>> well-written hypothesis of *Ganondorf's native language*. People wanted
>> that for their fan-fictions that featured him and his tribe. Not everybody,
>> but those who liked using *constructed languages *to spice up their pieces.
>> I actually have a couple who have me on their figurative *speed-dial* when
>> they write fan-fics.
>>
>> I still want to let the *fan-fiction authors* use it and free of charge.
>> However, I want to copyright it in case it gets stolen (as if that is going
>> to happen! I'm still waiting for Nintendo's phone call or subpoena,
>> whichever comes first). And also, maybe the *non-Gerudo* version make a
>> little bit of dosh. But, that might be asking too much.
>
> Well, you don't have to worry about that. If somebody steals it, it's
> already copyrighted. Now, you can pay some money and fill out some
> paperwork to get a *registered* copyright, and someone else with more
> legal knowledge can probably explain what the actual benefits of that
> are (perhaps Sai?), but your automatic copyright is likely sufficient
> for most purposes.
>
>> So my question is this: How can I successfully omit *Gerudo* and still have
>> people interested in it? Keep the fans?
>
> This is a totally different question from copyrighting. And, I don't
> know. Presumably you can leave "Gerudo" out of the work itself, but
> still tell people that that's where the inspiration for the language
> came from, and let them know that other fan-fics have already made use
> of the language in that capacity.
>
> Standards disclaimers about how I am not a lawyer, not your lawyer,
> and this is not actually legal advice....
>
> -l.