Discussing another author's character on your website


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Thread: Discussing another author's character on your website

  1. #1

    Discussing another author's character on your website

    Many people have compared my books to the "Harry Potter" series. I've agreed with their statements. I've also come across a YouTube video called "Harry Potter vs. Elsa" (from "Frozen"). That inspired me to want to write a post on my book series website (separate from my author site) where I compare and contrast my MC to Harry Potter, the character.
    Although I don't make money of any of my sites, I am hesitant to start that post. I discuss other peoples' works (movies, TV shows, etc.) on my blog, which is not on any of the sites I created. But if I want to compare and contrast my book's protagonist to Harry Potter, can I just do it, or do I need written permission from the author?
    Children's Fantasy Author
    Hidden Content

    Purchase my book at Hidden Content

  2. #2
    I don't think anyone is going to care if you contrast your character to Harry Potter in a blog.
    You should be G2G.

  3. #3
    Thanks for letting me know. I was actually going to do it on my book series' website, but I can still go ahead?
    Children's Fantasy Author
    Hidden Content

    Purchase my book at Hidden Content

  4. #4
    You're in America, right? First Amendment covers this.

  5. #5
    Oh ok. So, I have the green light to proceed with my post?

  6. #6
    Here's some info. on copyright and fair use that might help answer your questions:

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...ial-30100.html

  7. #7
    Thanks for sharing that link. So, would my idea be in the comment and criticism section? Maybe kind of educational?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sunaynaprasad View Post
    Thanks for sharing that link. So, would my idea be in the comment and criticism section? Maybe kind of educational?
    Here's the thing...

    If you're simply writing it from an opinion point of view -- an 'I am inspired by Harry Potter' angle or "here is how my protagonist compares to other popular protagonists' that's fine, covered absolutely by fair use. You can even go into some depth about it, analyzing the similarities and differences in critique, etc. Though I'm not sure how much weight your comparisons will carry being as you're obviously biased, but it sounds like you're just doing this for a bit of fun, something to entertain readers, almost like a self-interview.

    You actually see these 'compare and contrasts' even done commercially sometimes: Stuff like "In blind taste tests, 9/10 people preferred Coca Cola to Pepsi!" So long as that is presented solely as an opinion or an aggregate of other people's opinions (like in a 'study') it's not a problem.

    A lot of people I know who aren't super familiar with the law are always a little surprised when this happens. Eyebrows raise when they discover McDonalds is allowed to mention Burger King in an ad...but they are (with probably a lot of legal review) because Freedom Of Expression. As long as there is no copyright infringement (and simply talking about something is not copyright infringement) or libel/slander (they aren't allowed to say Burger King makes burgers out of dogs) they can absolutely identify the differences between the products.

    What you cannot do is assert that your book is related to Harry Potter beyond mere subjective, personal opinion(s). You can't say stuff like "this book is the new Harry Potter" in marketing context (i.e somewhere a buyer might see it) because suddenly you are inserting your product into another product. Suddenly it's not a spiritual or intellectual link you are simply analyzing or estimating that solely pertains to your work but something a little more...capitalist. You would need permission for that. You would need permission for anything that crosses the line from personal opinion -- what you think as a writer -- into official marketing -- what your book actually is.

    TL;DR: You're probably fine, but don't start marketing your work as Harry Potter to the general public or otherwise harp on this too much. Have a bit of casual fun if you want, but don't go nuts. It's extremely unlikely you would have any problems but it's not impossible. The easiest way not to get sued? Don't be an asshole. Ask yourself if you would be okay with somebody else doing this with your work. If you would be okay with it, it's probably fine. Or at least not illegal.

  9. #9
    My plan was to only compare and contrast like this:
    Both Harry and my mc are orphans.
    And to contrast:
    My mc was older than Harry was when she lost her parents.
    Sound okay? Of course, there would be more, and I'd say my MC's name. But I would only do up to 10 - 12 similarities and differences.

  10. #10
    I guess I'll go ahead with the comparison using the format above on my books' site.

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