Referencing something from an author

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  • Referencing something from an author

    So I'm writing a screenplay that has a lot to do with robots. And I wanted to reference Asimov's First Law:
    A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    It's just one reference, and it's not what the movie is about at all, but it plays into the opening scene in a very minor way.

    Right now I was alluding to it:

    FRANK (CONT'D)
    However, thanks to a certain 20th century Sci Fi writer, you were given a primary directive, weren't you?

    ANDROID
    I don't see how...

    Can I explicitly state the first law if I credit it to Asimov? Can I use Asimov's name? Or do these require permission?

  • #2
    Re: Referencing something from an author

    You can quote Asimov and use his name if you wish, it's okay.
    "Friends make the worst enemies." Frank Underwood

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    • #3
      Re: Referencing something from an author

      Originally posted by wsaunders View Post
      So I'm writing a screenplay that has a lot to do with robots. And I wanted to reference Asimov's First Law:
      A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

      It's just one reference, and it's not what the movie is about at all, but it plays into the opening scene in a very minor way.

      Right now I was alluding to it:

      FRANK (CONT'D)
      However, thanks to a certain 20th century Sci Fi writer, you were given a primary directive, weren't you?

      ANDROID
      I don't see how...

      Can I explicitly state the first law if I credit it to Asimov? Can I use Asimov's name? Or do these require permission?
      The laws of robotics -- certainly the "first law" regarding harming humans, seems to have pretty much worked its way generally into science fiction lore.

      It was referenced even in Forbidden Planet. Robby the Robot was incapable of harming intelligent life forms.

      And I've certainly heard it referenced elsewhere without any attribution to Asimov -- at least paraphrased as "I cannot harm a human being or through omission of action allow a human being to come to harm."

      The latter part, of course, can be problematic. What happens if a robot sees you smoking, or overeating?

      But that's another question.

      NMS

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      • #4
        Re: Referencing something from an author

        Thanks guys!

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