Creating software based on a book is copyright infringement?


1

I'm creating a software that's based on the teachings of a book. I want to name it after the book. Will there be a copyright infringement problem although they are in two different categories?

If yes, how can I avoid it?

Thanks for any pointers!

Marketing Software Books Copyright

asked Feb 20 '11 at 23:38
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Brown And Friendly
43 points
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4 Answers


3

I am not a lawyer, and you should only take legal advice on important issues from a lawyer who you're paying for.

You don't say what country you're in, so this relates to the law in England & Wales -- but other common law countries such as Canada, Australia and the US are broadly similar (although with many differences of detail).

Titles can't be copyrighted (unless perhaps if they're very long), so you're probably OK there. They can be trademarked, but most authors don't trademark the titles of their books. You can do a trademark search to check, or just look in the book. Your biggest problem is likely to be "passing off" (US term: "palming off"). If you represent your software as being associated with the book, even passively by using the same title, then this could give rise to an action.

http://www.ipit-update.com/passingoff.htm

answered Feb 21 '11 at 05:29
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Mike Scott
691 points
  • I'm in Europe and the book is published in the US. I suppose putting up a disclaimer stating that the software is not affiliated with the author or the book or the publishing house will avoid obvious problems.? – Brown And Friendly 8 years ago
  • It would probably help, but as I say, free legal advice from someone who isn't a lawyer is probably worth rather less than you paid for it. – Mike Scott 8 years ago
  • Thank you Mike! – Brown And Friendly 8 years ago

1

Why don't you contact the author and share your idea. You may then be able to develop a beneficial partnership and have the author endorse what you are doing rather than sue you.

After all, if you are using the author's IP, I would think she is entitled to some cut of any profits you make from your idea. In addition, if you align her interests and yours, it works for the benefit of both of you.

answered Feb 22 '11 at 13:42
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Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • That's not a bad idea. Maybe I didn't have the confidence to approach him. But now that I think, I realize that creating a software to benefit the readers of the book is like a coaching program created after some books. This way the readers, the coach and the author can benefit. It makes sense! – Brown And Friendly 8 years ago

0

To answer a question like this, we're going to need far more details.

However, even if you do not "copy" any of the book, you could still infringe it if your software is deemed a derivative work (i.e., a work based on a previous work).

Is your software anything like a sequel to the book? Does it involve the same characters or the same world? If so, you may have created a derivative work and you would be infringing. An example would be making a spider-man video game based off of the comic-book.

And as everyone else has pointed out, titles are not copyrightable, so you're okay there.

answered Feb 25 '11 at 06:34
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Speedplane
101 points

0

If you're taking the title, it's not infringement. You can't copyright the title of a book, you can trademark it, but chances of a title being trademarked are pretty slim because it's not easy or cheap to trademark things these days.

Although regardless of whether or not it's not a legal issue, there is nothing stopping the publisher or author (or even both) taking you to court and wrapping you up in such legal expense that you couldn't possibly afford to pay the court costs even if you were to win because it would be a very drawn out process.

I'd say you're safe though. Even if you were infringing chances are you're not making any money off of the name and you would get a warning if anything before being taken to court anyway.

answered Feb 25 '11 at 14:27
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Digital Sea
1,613 points

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