Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

You can’t copyright ideas but …

by Rob - August 17th, 2009.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

So a nice fellow wrote me, very politely, to say he had been working on a book and only recently was it pointed out to him that one of the core concepts was very similiar to something I’d written about, and would I sign off on him being able to continue with his project? My response:

You’re asking for blanket permission to do something similar to something that I created; you don’t require my permission to do your own thing, but I’m really not in a position to say no matter how close you come to what I did I’m not going to object. Now that you’re conscious of the antecedent for your idea, it’s incumbent on you to make it as freshly and distinctly your own as possible — just as I’ve done with things in my own work that are inspired by other people’s writings. :)

And I wished him luck.

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