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Subject: Puzzle copyright question - can anyone help? rss

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Carol Carpenter
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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Hi, I make crossword puzzles for publication, and I'm thinking of self-publishing a series of word puzzle books just about a single artist (for example, Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello).

I won't use any copyrighted images, and all the puzzles are my original creations. Clues/answers are all based on public information. Can I still sell these books?
Right now, there are books of Sherlock Holmes puzzles, books of movie/music trivia puzzles, and there are free puzzles online made by fans on everything imaginable (Twilight, Buffy, etc) but not an entire book.

I'm thinking it might need to have the word "unauthorized" in the title? For example, there is The Unauthorized Harry Potter Quiz Book, and other unauthorized quiz books for Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Files, etc. I guess they are allowed as long as it's clear they aren't coming from the estate of Rowling, Lucas, etc. (There is also a Harry Potter crossword book - unclear whether it's "official" or not).

Any leads on where to find this out appreciated! Thanks!

p.s. Also interesting, game-related: a former Scrabble tournament player wrote a book about his experiences called Letterati and he apparently had to use the word "unauthorized" in the title, probably due to his criticism of Hasbro.
 
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Mark Britten
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I am by no means an authority (on anything), but as far as I know you should be ok based on what you have posted. I do have to say that I can't be held responsible for you following this advice, since I have precisely zero legal training, and my limited knowledge of the law is mostly based on the UK.
 
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