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Q: writing and publishing children's books ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: writing and publishing children's books
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: auslande-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 08 Nov 2004 10:55 PST
Expires: 08 Dec 2004 10:55 PST
Question ID: 426185
I am a children's writer. I want to re-write a published, adult diary
into a book for children ages 7-12, possibly illustrated. My intention
is to use the adult diary as text, but simplify the languge, adding
factual and historical information assumed in the adult version, but
not commonly known to children. Is this plagerism to the author,
editor or publisher?
Subject: Re: writing and publishing children's books
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 08 Nov 2004 11:40 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello auslande~

Yes, this would be a copyright violation (plagiarism). The author has
sole rights to turn the published diary into other, derivative forms,
including a children?s book. (In some, more rare cases, the author
sells their entire rights to the publisher. In cases where the author
is deceased, the author?s family usually has the rights.)

It may be possible to request permission to write a children?s
version, however. To do this, write to the author, care of the
publisher. The letter should be brief, and should ask if rights are
available, give a brief account of the your professional credentials,
explain your intended project, and explain why the original work
?speaks? to you and why you think it would work well in a children?s
format.  If the author is agreeable, you?ll likely have to pay a fee
for the privilege of using his or her work as the basis for your book.

There are two exceptions to all of this:

1. The original work (the diary) is now in the public domain. If this
is the case, you may freely create derivative works from it, without
obtaining permission, and without violating copyright law. For a
general guide of what works may be in the public domain, check out
this chart, at UNC:

2. If your book is ?different enough,? it is no longer considered
derivative. However, it must be significantly different to qualify.
The problem is that the law hasn?t truly defined just what ?different
enough? is. It?s a matter of opinion at this point, and therefore the
wise author seeks permission, anyway.

For additional information, you may wish to read:

?Derivative Work Rights,? Arts Law:

?Derivative Works,? Funny

?Copyright,? Google Answers:

?Can I Use Someone Else?s Work?? U.S. Copyright Office:

Kind regards,

Researcher?s personal knowledge
Google searches: derivative works, public domain
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