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Gigi Will Know: Can I write novels about an older, defunct television or movie series?

What are the prospects for an individual to acquire the rights for these series?

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Dear Gigi,

What are the prospects for an individual to acquire the rights to either pen or independently publish a series of novels based on an older, defunct television or movie series?

—Putting Out Franchise Feelers

 

Dear POFF,

I asked a friend who works in television to double-check this answer for me. He returned, “Content is king.” What he means is, “defunct” as in “off-air” never means totally defunct. Someone out there owns the rights to a thing, and there’s a massive list of reboots coming out, including Beavis and Butt-Head, Frasier, and Law & Order, although I can’t actually be convinced that last one ever actually went away.

The creator may own the rights; a streamer may own the rerun rights; the studio and the network probably also have a piece of the pie.

The answer is, it’s complicated. You’d need to do your due diligence. But I have faith that you will. 

Quest on,

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Gigi

 

 

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