Wednesday, March 22, 2006
There’s probably not an author around who hasn’t been asked the question “Where do you get your ideas?” I know I’ve asked it of many authors I’ve met in person or chatted with online. The idea is what sparks a book, short story or article. From one tiny kernel, a writer begins to develop something larger.
Under current law ideas (and titles) are not copyrightable. I could write a book and call it Gone with the Wind and could not be prosecuted. I highly doubt anyone would buy it. Or maybe they would just to see what idiot tried to write a book using the title of one of the 20th century’s most popular novels.
I recently sold a short story based on an idea I saw in a news article on the Internet. I’m currently working on a short story based on an idea I saw on an email loop. My stalled novel came from an news article about women shopping for sperm online.
What would happen if ideas suddenly became subject to copyright laws? That may happen next month when a London judge rules on a lawsuit brought about by two authors who claim that Dan Brown stole the idea for The DaVinci Code from their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Brown readily acknowledges that he read Holy Blood but says he's shocked by the accusations, given that a number of other authors have used the same bloodline of Jesus idea in their books. Brown even used the authors' names in an anagram to name one of the characters in TDC as one way of acknowledging their work.
Where did the authors of Holy Blood get their ideas? And why aren’t they being sued for stealing those ideas? For that matter, shouldn't they all be sued by some "Keeper of the Bible" for appropriating ideas from the teachings of Christ?
The movie version of The DaVinci Code is set for release in less than two months. The verdict is expected a month before the release date. Should be interesting.
Back to my original idea. Well it’s not original because I read about this on an online message board. Will that person sue me? Can you see this is a never-ending spiral?
If this judge rules against Dan Brown and his publisher, what does that do to the world of fiction writing? Will our pool of ideas dry up?
Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask your opinion about this case.
But I will ask you this: where do you get your ideas?
I need all the help I can get. ;)
P.S. According to our stat counter, we're very close to our 5000th hit on this blog. I predict we'll hit it today or tomorrow. Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Posted by Playground Monitor at 3/22/2006 12:22:00 AM