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Can Indian mythology stories have copyright issues?

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I am in the process of creating a picture book of one of the stories from Indian mythology.  I have re-written the story as I remember it(verifying the facts), and am creating new illustrations.
Can this create any copyright issues? If yes, should I add any disclaimer?
Should I get a copyright for my illustrations?

#1 - September 16, 2020, 09:52 AM

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Copy right law varies by country, so if you are in India, you'll need to research the law there. In the US: the story is most likely in the public domain so there shouldn't be copyright issues unless you've somehow ended up using the exact same wording as someone else who did a version of the story in more modern times. Illustrations are legally copyrighted to you once you create them. Watermark them if you post them online so they can't be copied easily. If you publish the book, you'd want to get a copyright for the entire work. I'll let an illustrator stop by and tell me if I'm missing anything as I'm not one.
#2 - September 16, 2020, 06:45 PM
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Thanks Debbie for your reply.
Any ideas on what kind of research will need to be done?  Is this usually handled by lawyers?
#3 - September 17, 2020, 09:42 AM

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Poonam, you have to do the research yourself--google Indian fairy tales and see which ones are in the public domain. Any original work you create belongs to you. You don't have to get it registered or anything. When it's published, the publisher takes care of the formalities.

Here's a fantastic website for all things fairytale:

Here are some links to discussion on fairytales on the boards--

Happy reading and writing!
#4 - September 17, 2020, 10:29 AM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags

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You can start with some internet searches. This came up when I looked:
#5 - September 17, 2020, 10:31 AM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now

Thank you so much everyone for your responses. Getting onto my research now!
#6 - September 18, 2020, 09:20 AM

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Hi Vijaya,
Thanks for the link to the fairytale website. I had no idea such a thing existed!
#7 - September 18, 2020, 10:06 AM
How to Wear a Sari (HMH Books/Versify, Spring 2021) - Children's Book Author

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So, good advice, but I just want to point out that if Poonam is basing this manuscript on a story that was told to them in their childhood ("the story as I remember it") by a member of their family (for example), there may be no need to check into existing published/copyrighted works, because by definition it's not based on a published/copyrighted work...

I suppose what they heard could have been their relative re-telling a story that THEY had read, so to be on the safe side I would want to check to make sure it's clearly different from anything that's been published.

But if I understand the original post correctly this is a different situation from the usual--creating a retelling after reading existing versions...
#8 - September 18, 2020, 01:26 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site:

Thank for your reply HaroldU.
This is a story from Indian Mythology, and it does exist in various written forms.
I am retelling it in a form that is easy to understand for kids.
#9 - September 18, 2020, 01:47 PM

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In addition to the watermark, make sure to only upload low-resolution versions of any illustrations online. 
#10 - September 19, 2020, 02:09 PM


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