Honolulu, HI asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Hawaii

Q: Am I allowed to reference a worksheet in a screenplay?

The worksheet came from a book. The copyright page states: “Purchasers of this book have permission to copy worksheets and boxes, where indicated by footnotes, for personal use or use with individual clients. These worksheets and boxes may be copied from the book or accessed directly from the publisher’s website, but may not be stored on or distributed from intranet sites, internet sites, or file sharing sites, or made available for resale. No other part of this book may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.” I want to write about how I personally used the worksheet in a screenplay. Am I allowed to do that, since it will be from my point of view? Or do I need the publisher’s permission to make any mention of that worksheet? Am I even allowed to mention questions that came from that worksheet?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: The copyright page of the book that contains the worksheet in question states that purchasers of the book have permission to copy the worksheet for personal use or use with individual clients, but may not distribute it on intranet or internet sites, or make it available for resale. However, it is unclear whether this permission extends to the use of the worksheet in a screenplay or other creative work. Therefore, it may be advisable to seek written permission from the publisher before referencing the worksheet or using its questions in a screenplay to ensure that you are not infringing on their copyright. Additionally, it is important to note that fair use may apply to the use of copyrighted material in creative works, but this determination is often fact-specific and should be made on a case-by-case basis.

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