Can I legally sell comic books featuring and author’s work?

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Can I legally sell comic books featuring and author’s work?

I’m an artist and what to be able to sell a comic books series that would involve characters, dialog, and events straight from an already published book. The art would be completely original and I might even do issues that have my own spin on how I think some events happened because they weren’t discussed in the book thus, some issues will have characters and dialog that is strictly from myself. Would I legally be able to sell the comic books without special permission from the author?

Asked on December 14, 2016 under Business Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, this is not legal. Copyright gives the copyright owner the sole or only right to create derivative works or adaptions, which includes works in other media. Trademark gives the trademark owner the sole right to use any trademarked characters, in any media. What you propose would be a violation of both copyright and trademark (the latter assuming that the characters are trademarked, but its certainky possible they are not; but all published booms are copyrighted) and is illegal; you could potentially face significant liability for doing this. There is a reason, for example, you never saw lots of Harry Potter comic books, despite how lucrative they could be--no own could create them without Rowlings permission.


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