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I want to make a game based on a book series, that also have a film made. Which persons should I ask for rights ?

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Hi. I want to make a non-commercial videogame, based on a series of books. Now, the first two of them have a movie made by Universal. Which people should I ask ? The author himself, UK book publisher, US book publisher or Universal movie studios ? Also, I don't know what deal the author made with Universal...if he sold his rights to them or not...

The game will feature some scenes from the book. The player will read the book himself (physically) , and when he reaches at a certain page, he will know that inside the game there is a scene specially designed for that page. It is more a way to augment the book trough gaming. He could even put some VR googles, to get more immersed for that particular scene.

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Which people should I ask ? The author himself, UK book publisher, US book publisher or Universal movie studios ? Also, I don't know what deal the author made with Universal...if he sold his rights to them or not...

 

 

You should probably start by contacting the author's agent. The specifics will depend on what you want to license and what licenses have already been granted by the author to other parties, and what rights those licenses give all parties involved. You'll probably want a lawyer involved as well.

 

Practically speaking there's a very slim chance this will work out favorably for you.

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Now, the first two of them have a movie made by Universal. Which people should I ask ? The author himself, UK book publisher, US book publisher or Universal movie studios ?

 

You should do the research to find out who owns the rights and approach them.

 


Also, I don't know what deal the author made with Universal...if he sold his rights to them or not...

 

You need to find this out too.

 

It also depends on the how the books have been licensed.  It could be that somebody already has exclusive rights to make a game based on the books, or it could be that the rights are non exclusive so that multiple studios could licence them.
Also just having the licence doesn't mean you can go and make the game you want.  Licences usually come up with restrictions about how you can use them.  Also since the book has been made into a film if you got a licence to make a game based on the book then you would need to be careful that your game doesn't resemble the film otherwise you would be in trouble with Universal.

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Practically speaking there's a very slim chance this will work out favorably for you.

 

I'd tend to agree with you but, lets not jump to conclusions.  The OP hasn't detailed which book he is talking about.  I worked on a game at a 5 man studio that had got hold of the Tarzen licence and it was very easy and very cheap.

If he wanted to licence "The Hunger Games" then obviously its not going to happen but, there are other IPs out there that can be licenced fairly easily by an individual who approaches the right person.

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I want to make a non-commercial videogame, based on a series of books. Now, the first two of them have a movie made by Universal. Which people should I ask ?


Like Josh said, the author's agent is the place to begin. If the movies were made from the book, the owner of the game rights is probably the original creator of the IP. And the reason I crossed off "non-commercial" is that it's unimportant information as regards to your question. It might influence the amount during the negotiation process, but is irrelevant to this question.

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Well...

Practically speaking there's a very slim chance this will work out favorably for you.


I'd tend to agree with you but, lets not jump to conclusions. The OP hasn't detailed which book he is talking about. I worked on a game at a 5 man studio that had got hold of the Tarzen licence and it was very easy and very cheap.
If he wanted to licence "The Hunger Games" then obviously its not going to happen but, there are other IPs out there that can be licenced fairly easily by an individual who approaches the right person.
I'm talking about Wardstone Chronicles series by Joseph Delaney, and the movie is The Seventh Son. Since Joseph didn't worked with the screenwriters and each one of them wanted to change something, the script for the movie was almost completely different than the books. Also, the movie didn't go very well, so there might not be a great interest from the movie company in sequels.

Regarding graphics, I am thinking about a cell-shaded approach. Sort of

http://pre05.deviantart.net/7547/th/pre/i/2012/208/2/1/tom_and_alice_color_by_yayet93-d58v5e1.jpg
in 3D.

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Regarding graphics, I am thinking about a cell-shaded approach. Sort of
http://pre05.deviantart.net/7547/th/pre/i/2012/208/2/1/tom_and_alice_color_by_yayet93-d58v5e1.jpg
in 3D.


This forum is about law - such as the legal question you asked initially. If you want to discuss graphics too, please use the Visual Arts forum for that.

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That picture was an example of a visual style that could be used so it would be less chances for the game to resemble the film.

Now...what if I start building the game, and show the people I contact a short video of it. Could it increase the chances to get aprooved ?

Also, is posting videos with the game on Youtube safe until I get aprooval ?

Another aproach would be to not follow the books as they are, but create a new story, and request permission just for a few characters. I have seen lots of fan fiction for books and a lot of fan art. How a videogame could be different in this case ? Also, it is not based on another videogame, to be considered a competing product.

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what if I start building the game, and show the people I contact a short video of it. Could it increase the chances to get aprooved ?

Possibly. Possibly not. It might have no impact whatsoever or it might even work against you.

Also, is posting videos with the game on Youtube safe until I get aprooval ?

Ask your lawyer.

Another aproach would be to not follow the books as they are, but create a new story, and request permission just for a few characters. I have seen lots of fan fiction for books and a lot of fan art. How a videogame could be different in this case ?

It's still "fan fiction," basically. Your lawyer could give you the best advice. You need to consult a lawyer so he or she could advise you about your risks.

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I'm talking about Wardstone Chronicles series by Joseph Delaney, and the movie is The Seventh Son. Since Joseph didn't worked with the screenwriters and each one of them wanted to change something, the script for the movie was almost completely different than the books. Also, the movie didn't go very well, so there might not be a great interest from the movie company in sequels.

 

Funnily enough I watched this film last weekend. I am also originally from the area in England that "The County" is based on.

 

Your information is incorrect.  Seventh Son did receive bad reviews from critics but also some favorible.  It is also considered a box office success taking the number 4 spot at the box office at its US release and also having made a profit. Also a small amount of Googling shows that the production company Legendary Pictures granted various Chinese games studios with rights to make games based on the movie (these probably were / will be mobile games).
The fact that the script differs from the book is also irrelevant and only worth mentioning for the annoying book whiners on Facebook who moan at the slightest change or plot point that differs in movie adaptations of their particular story.

None of this has any baring of how likely you would be to get the licence.  At the end of the day since there is a recent film based on the books that has also just hit streaming services so is still making money and at least one studio has made or is making games based on the film then the author or authors agent is more than likely going to be demanding a premium.  

 

If you want to make a game you will need a fat stack of cash to pay for the licence.  If you plan on making a fan game or putting anything on Youtube without a licence then prepare to Lawyer up and get sued and loose.

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So,it is not a good idea to ask permission for a game featuring parts of the books. Instead, it is better to ask permission to use Tom, Jenny and Alice, in a new setting, and a new story.

 

Now, I'm not really sure what to ask.

Asking more gives you less chances to get permission. Most of the enemies in Wardstone/Starblade chronicles are based on folklore or mythology, so there is not really needed to ask permission for those. A request featuring :

 

Characters:

Tom

Alice

Jenny

Names:

Malkin Witch Clan

Deane Witch Clan

Mouldheel Witch Clan

Spook

 

  Is a good request ? This is a non-commercial fan work, so I want to be sure everything is right before I send the message. Could I get the license for free, as long as in the game is is stated that it is not official and includes a copyright notice about the owners ?

Edited by mahri726

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The fact that the script differs from the book is also irrelevant

 

 

It's not entirely irrelevant -- depending on how a licensing deal goes, one could obtain the license to use material from the book, from the film, or both. If one is only allowed to use material from the movie or the book, one cannot use material from the other sources. This was often the case for the recent Lord of the Rings-licensed games, many of which were licensed to use characters from (and only from) the films, and were prohibited from drawing from the original books.

 

The fact that they differ might also mean that the IP holders value one set of material more than the other, which may impact negotiation depending on what the OP actually wants to negotiate for.

 

 

So,it is not a good idea to ask permission for a game featuring parts of the books. Instead, it is better to ask permission to use Tom, Jenny and Alice, in a new setting, and a new story.

 

 

 
Whether or not that's "better" is hard to say, it's entirely up to the person who holds the rights. I, personally, would be less willing to grant a license that lets somebody use my characters without using the rest of the world I've built around those characters. It seriously hampers the creative control I have over my creations.
 
Could I get the license for free, as long as in the game is is stated that it is not official and includes a copyright notice about the owners ?

 

 
You could get the license for free. You could also get struck by lightning. You're attempting to enter into a negotiation; it's not a science, and much of the result depends on what both individual sides of the negotiation want and what they are willing to give.

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So you're suggesting that I should do more of a general request, such as:

 

,, Could I make a non-commercial videogame based on Starblade Chronicles, featuring a new story set in the same universe ? "

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So you're suggesting that I should do more of a general request, such as:

 

,, Could I make a non-commercial videogame based on Starblade Chronicles, featuring a new story set in the same universe ? "

 

 

 
 
I am suggesting you simply ask for what you actually want, rather than try to wordsmith your request to try and ask for what you think will be best received, because what will be "best received" is almost entirely up to the person being asked the question.

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So you're suggesting that I should do more of a general request, such as:
 
,, Could I make a non-commercial videogame based on Starblade Chronicles, featuring a new story set in the same universe ? "

 
 
I am suggesting you simply ask for what you actually want, rather than try to wordsmith your request to try and ask for what you think will be best received, because what will be "best received" is almost entirely up to the person being asked the question.


MY suggestion is that you don't use the IP at all, and you make something original instead. And I also suggest you use a lawyer if you want to pursue the IP.

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