Games and Public Domain


#1

I was just wondering, how does someone find out if a particular piece of fiction is within the public domain (where anyone can write something for characters and ideas from it because it has been sufficent time since the writer passed away and there are no royalties connected to a particular person or family connected to the original writer)?

Only I am devising ‘Ozoic’ at the moment but I have an idea form something to try adapting a gamebook for afterwards, only it involves a particular book and world which was written some time ago and I am uncertain whether it is now in the public domain and if so whether gamebooks can be written for something like this and put online? Any ideas?


#2

Very generally speaking, it depends on the copyright laws in the country where the work was first published. Typically, a work enters the ‘Public Domain’ about 50 years or so after first being published, but there can also be special exceptions made for particular works (e.g. ‘Peter Pan’ is still copyright under UK law, many years–indeed, decades–after it would normally have entered the Public Domain).