Copyright question/derivative works

Not sure if this is the right board for this, but it can’t be the worst choice.

I’m considering possibly translating a novel - the novelisation of Infernal Affairs 1 and 2, actually - but while I was thinking about related stuff, something occured to me that I can’t work out myself.

I know that normally, according to copyright law, a translator has to get permission from the original author to translate a novel. But when the novel itself is a derivative work, like it is in this case, how would that work? Would I have to get permission from the movie company as well, since they own copyright to the source of the novel’s material? Or would that be covered by permission from the novellist, since they got rights to use it from the movie makers? Anyone?

I know nothing, but that’s not gonna stop me :slight_smile: Logic would dictate that you would have to go direct to the movie company or whomever owns the orginal source material. The movie company would almost certainly own the rights to the novel produced from its source, although the author might get a share if his work is to be translated. I doubt he could “refuse” to have his work translated though - I think the movie company would be in charge of that. That’s assuming, of course, the book is a novelisation of the movie and not the other way around.

Just thought I’d have a stab at it…

In which country/jurisdiction do you seek copyright protection?

It’s not that I’m after copyright protection personally (yet), more that I want to work out where the copyright for the book would lie. Translations are, as far as I’m aware, classed as derivative works, meaning that the translator needs permission from the holder of the copyright to translate the work. In a normal situation that would be obvious, and sit with the novellist. But in this case the novel is a derivative work in itself, and the author would’ve had to get the blessing of the holders of copyright for the two movies the book’s derived from.

But, I guess, eventually if I did get this all done, I’d primarily be looking at East Asia ('cause of the original films), and America (to cash in on the remake :wink: ).

If you want to write another story based on existing characters. Wouldn’t that be a trademark issue instead ? :idunno:

Nono, the book I want to translate is a novelization of the movies. That is to say, it’s taking the plot and characters and just moving them to a different medium. And for my part, all I want to do is translate - no creation of new stuff here, just another shift for the same content. And I’m positive, at least as far as the translation part goes, that it’s a copyright issue, or at least it would be considered so in NZ.

Yes, its a copyright issue. But it would be helpful if you would identify the specific country or countries you seek such protection. I know you alrady said “Southeast Asian” nations… but could you be a bit more specific?

Well, the whole idea is entirely embryonic at present so I haven’t really reached specifics yet. But alright, I’d say the most likely candidates would be Hong Kong(/PRC I suppose), Taiwan, Singapore, America.

But I’m not quite sure why this matters - what I’m wanting to find out is who I’d have to get permission from in the first place so that what I do isn’t a breach of copyright: the novelist, or the makers of the original movies the novel is a novelization of.