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I'm making a story-intensive game (RPG) for the iPhone and want to distribute it over the AppStore. But AppStore Apps have the potential to be distributed internationally, so I need kind of legal advice - maybe someone of the independent developers here was already in a similiar situation.

I'm planning to use an book (i.e. classic literature, world literature or fairytales) as foundation for the storyline of my game: So what are the basic conditions, if I dont want to run into big problems? I heard about 70 years after first publishing (or after death of the author?) a book would be "out of copyright" - but is that true for every country? Could I get problems in the App Store?

My Background: It doesn't seem economical to pay a scenario writer for my game (no budget) - and myself isn't "talented" so much in this field. But there are already tons of great stories out there, which never get a game release so far. Because of that, I was thinking: "Why not use this, instead of making a crap story by myself"...

I know that I can't get here a reply from a lawyer - but I hope for tips from other independent developers with experience in such cases...)

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Why not just make an adaptation or even a comedic work based on the book? –  Robert Massaioli Mar 31 '11 at 3:33
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2 Answers

It can get very complicated. Have a read of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft#Copyright for example.

You should seek specific legal advice from a professional on your situation.

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Along the same lines of what Adam said, you will want to get very specific with this. Pick a specific story and then see if it is available in the public domain. Otherwise this is too broad of a question to answer and it can get tricky with authors assigning their books over to estates to get extended renewal rights and such.

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