This note has been prepared by Narrativia and Sir Terry Pratchett’s Estate, to address some of the most commonly raised questions about rights in Sir Terry’s Discworld properties.
The rights relating to the Discworld universe are owned and administered by Sir Terry’s Estate. Narrativia Limited has certain exclusive licences under such rights. All requests to use Discworld and other Terry Pratchett intellectual property should be addressed in the first instance to Narrativia.
The Estate owns a number of registrations of trade marks such as “DISCWORLD”, “TERRY PRATCHETT”, “UNSEEN UNIVERSITY” and others. Many names of characters, places, events (etc.) from Sir Terry’s works, which have featured in official licensed merchandise, will also be protected as unregistered trade marks under the laws of passing-off or unfair competition.
All of the above are referred to below as “trade marks”.
The text of Sir Terry’s books is protected by copyright, which is also owned by the Estate. Associated artwork is also protected by copyright, which is normally owned by the artist who created it (for instance, Paul Kidby or the Estate of Josh Kirby).
Although it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all non-permitted uses, the Estate and Narrativia will normally object to (among other things) the following, except where produced by official licensees:
- Use of trade marks or copyright material on products or their packaging (e.g. t-shirts,
greeting cards, jewellery, etc.).
- Any sale of toys or figurines of characters from Sir Terry’s books.
- Use of trade marks in the name or title of a product (as well as expressions such as “Inspired
by” or “Tribute to” in conjunction with a trade mark).
- Use of trade marks as search tags on a website.
- Use of trade marks as part of a domain name or trading name.
- Other use of trade marks, copyright works or other material suggesting that a product is in
any way official, authorised, licensed or somehow connected with the Estate or its official
licensees (a disclaimer saying that the product is not “official” will not, by itself, be enough
to cure this).
On the other hand, the Estate and Narrativia will in some cases (and at their discretion) not object to the production in small quantities of genuine, fan-made craft items which faithfully evoke characters or places in Sir Terry’s books, provided they do not infringe any copyright or misuse trade marks as indicated above and this is not done in the course of commercial business.
The resale of genuine Terry Pratchett books, which are unaltered from their original form and in their original bindings, is also permitted.
The Estate is supportive of organisations and gatherings which are genuinely “by fans, for fans”, provided they are not presented in a way which suggests that they are official, licensed or endorsed by Sir Terry, the Estate or Narrativia, and they are not run as a commercial business (i.e. there is no entrance fee and no unlicensed merchandise at such events).
If you are still unsure about whether your use of intellectual property rights is permitted, you can get in touch at [email protected] We will do our best to respond to fan enquiries, but we do receive large volumes of them, so please bear with us if we do not respond. Please note that we will not be able to provide you with legal advice and we may not be able to go into the specifics of your particular enquiry. For that, we would recommend that you speak to your own legal adviser.
The Estate of Sir Terry Pratchett