Question by rico_jace: Is my screenplay idea a violation of Copyright law?
I am writing in my spare time a screenplay about the production of Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Many Thomas the Tank Engine fans like me know that the director’s cut of this movie remains unreleased. My hope in my screenplay is to get more people to know about the story of the director’s cut. I am working on a screenplay about the actual production of the movie behind-the-scenes, yet it is not like a Documentary. It’s like the Temple Grandin movie on HBO.
Anyway, I’m not sure if it is a violation of copyright because Thomas is a copyrighted franchise, and Thomas and the Magic Railroad’s copyright is still valid and in effect. But, it is not a copy of the movie, either. More details about the movie and what I’m using as my source can be found here: http://www.sodor-island.net/themagicrailroadminisite/mrtimeline.html
As well as: http://www.sodor-island.net/themagicrailroadminisite/mrdcc.html
Can you help me decide if my screenplay is legal/fair use or an infringement? Thanks!
Answer by RunningBear
If you’re adapting a true story you need the permission of the real people involved. I suspect that yes, you’d need permission to use the Thomas the Tank Engine name as well, as it is trademarked, but if you can get the permission of the production team involved then that’d be most of the battle.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
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