I’ve been talking to some other authors about doing a ‘shared universe’.
A shared world is where characters, settings and fictional ‘history’ are open to be used by many authors, but the actual text of the stories is still the property of its author.
A famous example is the ‘Cthulhu Mythos’, where many authors wrote stories which included the Necronomicon, Cthulhu etc., but the authors could still sell the resulting stories and claim them as their own.
I already release my writing using a Creative Commons license. However none of the Creative Commons licenses seem to fit this situation. All the licenses seem to treat a work as a single ‘unit’: you can allow only non-commercial use, allow use to those who allow use in turn, allow use if they don’t alter it, and so on.
There doesn’t seem to be a provision for allowing use of setting information but retaining the right to the text as such.
It might be as simple as saying “the characters and setting are released under this CC license, but the text as such is copyright” But I’d like to have that confirmed. And then what if you want to restrict it – for example ‘you can write stories, but not movies’?
I wonder if there’s a need for a separate ‘Shared Universe License’, or at least for a page that explains how to do it using Creative Commons licenses.
Anyway I’ve emailed a Creative Commons mailing list asking what they say, and I’ll pass on what happens.