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View Full Version : Writing a book about Stargate, legal issues?



Wintér
August 5th, 2010, 03:37 PM
Hi Guys,

New to the forums, so apologies if you dont think this is relevant or in the right area :S

For quite some time now I've had a basic story in mind for a Stargate kind of prequel detailing the early years of the Goa'uld but closely following one in particular.

I was just wondering if anyone knew whether I'd get into trouble for writing something like this or if I would need to get permission from MGM etc prior to pursuing publishing it.

Probably a boring question/post compared to what you guys are used to reading :P

sbz
August 5th, 2010, 06:48 PM
You can't write a story based in a universe that's not of your creating. The Stargate, the concept of Goa'uld, the characters, etc, are all copyrighted. They're someone's property. If you're talking fanfiction, well, it's a legal grey-ish area so go for it. If you're talking an actual book that you would want to try and get published, gigantic legal problems. You'd need permission from all the copyright holders to do that.

Pharaoh Atem
August 5th, 2010, 07:56 PM
fanfic is your friend

Wayston
August 5th, 2010, 10:53 PM
You can't write a story based in a universe that's not of your creating. The Stargate, the concept of Goa'uld, the characters, etc, are all copyrighted. They're someone's property. If you're talking fanfiction, well, it's a legal grey-ish area so go for it. If you're talking an actual book that you would want to try and get published, gigantic legal problems. You'd need permission from all the copyright holders to do that.

Yes this is very correct. The most logical way to circumvent this is to keep the underlaying framework of the universe but give it some twists. There have been a few books that were clearly written with a particular sci-fi universe in mind but with all names and places and such replaced by something else (though I think just changing some names could still be too similar to hold up in court). There's a book about Asimov's Foundation universe like that.

escyos
August 6th, 2010, 12:31 AM
i think theres the whole, if you make money for it without their permission or go large scale and attempt to claim it as your own you get sued.

Isolde
August 6th, 2010, 01:35 AM
Ah yes, fanfic is a very gray area, but the majority turn a blind eye to our efforts. As long as you put in the usual disclaimers i.e. no earn any dosh, they (characters) belong to MGM and so on, then you won't get any issues. :D

On another note, the route to professional publishing is fraught with difficulties, not least is being able to get an agent. With regard to the Stargate franchise, who are published by Fandamonium (a UK publishing house - here... (http://www.stargatenovels.com/)), there is a very specific format. Submissions are only accepted if you are a published author, with a reasonable CV/resume under your belt.

If you take a look at the site, you'll see clearly how many hoops you have to jump through. :P

What I would suggest, if you are someone who has not written before, or has limited experience of writing, is that you hone your skills with fanfic first. It's a great learning tool! Then once you've done that, I recommend 'Writing the Breakout Novel' by Donald Maass.

Good luck. :D

Wintér
August 6th, 2010, 03:03 AM
Thanks for all your replies guys, clarified things perfectly for me :)

Im not a well established writer so obviously I have that hurdle to start with. To be completely honest, I actually would like MGM to consider my ideas and actually use them for a new Stargate movie as opposed to trying to publish it myself and getting into trouble legally etc etc

But Im assuming a massive company like MGM wouldnt really take interest unless its coming from someone well established?

I know everyone thinks their idea is the best thing ever, but I really feel mine would make a really good movie, more like a movie with a Stargate twist which is accessible to newcomers yet has little elements of Stargate spread throughout that makes the fans go "Oh My God, finally a theatrical movie that has some Stargate mythos in it"

Dont get me wrong, Im the biggest Stargate fan, love all the shows (constantly watch the re-runs on Sky), cant wait for the new season of SG:U and i loved all the straight to DVD SG1 movies but I just feel Stargate deserves a big theatrical comeback!

KEK
August 6th, 2010, 09:54 AM
Thanks for all your replies guys, clarified things perfectly for me :)

Im not a well established writer so obviously I have that hurdle to start with. To be completely honest, I actually would like MGM to consider my ideas and actually use them for a new Stargate movie as opposed to trying to publish it myself and getting into trouble legally etc etc

But Im assuming a massive company like MGM wouldnt really take interest unless its coming from someone well established?

I know everyone thinks their idea is the best thing ever, but I really feel mine would make a really good movie, more like a movie with a Stargate twist which is accessible to newcomers yet has little elements of Stargate spread throughout that makes the fans go "Oh My God, finally a theatrical movie that has some Stargate mythos in it"

Dont get me wrong, Im the biggest Stargate fan, love all the shows (constantly watch the re-runs on Sky), cant wait for the new season of SG:U and i loved all the straight to DVD SG1 movies but I just feel Stargate deserves a big theatrical comeback!

Due to a clause in the rights agreement, Devlin and Emmerich get first dibs on a potential theatrical Stargate movie, which leaves the chances of one happening slim to none unfortunately.