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One Person's Copyright - Another's Opportunity
I relate this as a warning to the curious. In 2008, after three years work, my writing colleague and myself had almost completed a proposal and partial MS on a historical novel featuring a faithful re-imagining of two famous fictional characters. We wanted to flesh these characters out, take them in a new direction - while strongly in line with the original author's descriptions - only running further with them. I then received a call from my colleague saying we'd have to ditch the whole MS. He'd just spoken to a publisher who assured him he'd face a whole number of copyright issues to overcome with the original author's estate if we proceeded to completion. Since the project had been my colleague's idea in the first place, I had little choice but to agree. (Albeit very grudgingly). My colleague's health subsequently suffered greatly, and we haven't spoken for over two years. In 2009, a reimagined series featuring these characters then began on BBC1 to huge plaudits. While the first of (so far) two Hollywood films were then released - again from a very different perspective. The characters concerned were Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. I didn't know who to kill first. If there's a moral to this tale, it is never to accept a publisher's viewpoint at face value. He or she may have their own ulterior motive.