COPYRIGHT question

Hi everyone!
I’m planing to create a short animation based on a famous local folk tale
in our country. According to my resources, the author is unknown and that folk lore was created as early as the 19th century. this so called story was already portrayed on films and comic strips.
I plan to animate the story, putting my own interpratation and humor on it (like what Disney’s doing on the classic fairy tales).
The question is, do I still have to worry about copyright matters?
and can I use the exact same title and name of the main character?
Any thoughts on this?
Thank you very much.

I Am Not A Lawyer, but:
Depends on whether it’s really a folk tale. A lot of things that people think are folktales really aren’t, like Hans Christian Anderson’s stuff. Peter Pan, for instance, is still copyright. Also, a recent retelling of a folktale, like Angela Carter’s or Anne Sexton’s would be theirs, not public domain. Sometimes even the “Author unknown” stuff has been retold and the retelling copyrighted, as for example the text of any kids’s book version of Red Riding Hood that didn’t use the original Grimm text. They’re all “As retold by”.

On the other hand, a lot of stuff that was written in the 19th C., like Charles Dickens’s stuff or Hoffmann’s Struwwelpeter, is now public domain and you can do what you want with it. In general, though, since you’re changing the medium and aren’t likely to use vast sections of dialog or exposition direct from the text, you’re probably fine.

The storytellers rule of thumb is: if you borrow from one source, it’s plagarism, if you borrow from three sources, it’s research. Folk tales generally don’t have “authors,” just someone who eventually records the story in print. Something written in the 19th century is public domain, at this point, so you can make derivative works to your hearts content.

Yes, Make sure you have more than 1 person that you gain research from :smiley:
Also make a disclaimer saying that you are even ad libbing a bit, and I doubt that even the scummiest lawyer could have a case against you.

Have the title as :

Otip’s “Name of your tale here”… that way it is your version :smiley:

I think the only time there is an exception is when you are dealing with pornographic material or a satire of an actual event.

Thank you guys for putting your thoughts on this.
I found out that the unknown author first published this story around 1919. Some political satire films were also done .
earlier, i went to the bookstore and found the same title on the children’s book section. in the cover , it says “Retold by: author’s name” i noticed she added a side character on the story. and on the internet, i also found another writer also says “retold by”. i noticed they have different takes on the story.
I also plan to tell it differently, keeping only a scene where this story is famous of (like Aladdin stories where he’s getting a lamp from a cave).
i wonder if putting a disclaimer like “title - a short animation by me” OR “Otip’s title” OR “based on” OR “an adaptation” will be fine enough, as suggested by Mmp!.
what do you guys think?
Thanks for your time.

in here, the copyright goes by the date of death of author. so if it was first published 1919 you might be in trouble. if the person i question was still young and lived until 1950s, really, check your local laws, it’s hard to tell for us.

Right. 1919 is the 20th century. I though we were talking about 1880 or some such date. Still, the copyright is only for the expression of the ideas, not the ideas themselves. If you retell the story from your unique perspective, and don’t borrow from a single author (like that side character), you’ll probably be fine, expecially since everyone else is putting “retold by” on their work, which indicates that the actual story is not their work.

Using “retold by” is a time honored storytelling tradition, you may as well use it, since an animation counts as a retelling.

thank you guys. =)

If you’re in America, I believe the copyright laws allow for spoof so, if you could call it a spoof than maybe?
Sorry, not very useful, maybe this will help clear things up: