Most of the time, adaptations are seen as a positive thing and many works are made with adaptations or merchandise in mind. The works listed here are the exception. They cannot legally have adaptations due to various reasons. They're considered impossible to adapt, difficult to get rights to, or the creators/publishers simply don't want adaptations.
Compare with Fanwork Ban, contrast with Self-Adaptation (where the creator only permits adaptations that they are personally responsible for) and see also Disowned Adaptationnote (when adaptations have been made but the creator presumably wishes they hadn't happened) and Hard-to-Adapt Work (which is often why this happens).
- Kiyohiko Azuma has not allowed Yotsuba&! to be adapted into an anime, citing a belief that it's not well-suited to an animated format (some of this may stem from the liberties taken with the anime adaptation of Azumanga Daioh, which suffered a similar problem of trying to adapt a number of jokes built strictly around the 4-panel format). However, there have been audio adaptations and an anime spin-off.
- Despite running for more than three decades and being quite popular, From Eroica with Love has never been adapted to anime, as a result of Yasuko Aoike not being a fan of animation.
- Art Spiegelman has turned down all offers to adapt Maus into a film, viewing it as commercialization of a very personal story he never expected would explode into such popularity. According to him, his wife even joked that his greatest accomplishment has been not adapting it.
- Brian K. Vaughan said that in an age when comics are sometimes criticised for being nothing but high-quality storyboards angling for a live-action adaptation, he and Fiona Staples deliberately made Saga "unadaptable" with a combination of completely off-the-wall visuals and things basically never allowed to be shown on TV. The very first panel is a baby crowning.
- Alan Moore doesn't like his comics being adapted into movies, because he believes what's written as a comic usually doesn't work in other media. But due to DC Comics retaining the copyrights to anything he wrote for them, movie adaptations have been made without Moore's consent.
- Unusually for such a popular comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes has never had an Animated Adaptation. Official merchandise is also exceedingly rare (though bootleg material is common, such as the infamous "Peeing Calvin" decals). Bill Watterson won't allow adaptations for various reasons, including fear of loss of control over his work and a dislike for other comic strips getting adapted and marketed to the point of growing stale, such as Garfield and Peanuts. While he was open to doing an animated adaptation at one point, Watterson ultimately decided against it in part because he couldn't imagine Calvin having a voice, and because he feared that it would force him to provide a definitive answer regarding whether Hobbes was real or imaginary (which he deliberately refused to do in the strip). He even turned down talks with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg because he was that committed to his characters staying as they were.
- The creators of Bob Roberts refused to release an official soundtrack, despite the film having several original songs, because the song were all deliberately intended to be catchy far-right-wing anthems, and they feared that the soundtrack might attract a huge Misaimed Fandom.
- Due to Amazon leaking spoiler-filled images from the Comic-Book Adaptation of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay decided there would be no comics based on Age of Extinction.
- Mario Puzo had a stipulation in his contract that said that only he was allowed to write novelizations to Superman and Superman II, which he never wrote.
- After J. D. Salinger's short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut was adapted into the critically panned film My Foolish Heart, he refused to allow any more film adaptations of his works, even after his death in 2010. This included his most famous story, the novel The Catcher in the Rye; he also rejected a proposal in the 1950s for a play based on that book.
- Roald Dahl hated Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and refused to allow adaptations for his children's books before dying of myelodysplastic syndrome in 1990. Eventually this was overruled, leading to various adaptations of the film (including the theatrical musical and Truer to the Text Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film) and adaptations of other books by him such as Matilda. However, Dahl put in his will a stipulation that prohibited its sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, from being adapted into a film. This is one of the reasons why the Sequel Hook to the original film never went anywhere, and why the second film never had a sequel.note It may fade, however, with his estate selling the movie rights to Great Glass Elevator, among others, to Netflix in the wake of the failure of Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
- Mark Z. Danielewski has refused all offers to adapt House of Leaves, as by necessity it would have to discard the multiple layers of the Nested Story that's told through the footnotes, appendices, and bizarre formatting that make it such a compelling Scrapbook Story. In addition, most offers apparently only envision adapting the most straightforward of the book's elements, Navidson's story, and ignore the fact that it would make far less of an impact without Johnny, Zampanò, and all the other layers.
- Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss' wife, was absolutely dissatisfied with the film adaptation of The Cat in the Hat to the point where she vowed never to produce any future live-action adaptations of her husband's works for the rest of her life. Dr. Seuss, on the other hand, had collaborated with Chuck Jones and then Friz Freleng to make Animated Adaptations of his books (plus a few original stories) while he was still alive.
- Clive Cussler so disliked the film adaptation of his novel Raise the Titanic! that it would be over twenty years until he allowed another adaptation of his Dirk Pitt Adventures series during his lifetime. Said adaptation was Sahara (2005), another Box Office Bomb that Cussler liked even less.
- Ian Fleming wasn't happy with his novel The Spy Who Loved Me and only sold the rights to use the book's title for an In Name Only movie.
- The estate of J. R. R. Tolkien had previously forbidden any film adaptations of The Silmarillion, due to dissatisfaction with the Lord of the Rings movies. Following the retirement of his son Christopher Tolkien as the estate's manager, they relaxed this stance somewhat (only forbidding adaptations of material from the "Third Age" time period of the Legendarium), leading to a planned Amazon-produced series which is set in the Second Age.
- During her life, Astrid Lindgren refused to allow any animated adaptations of her works. Most notably, she rejected Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata's proposal to adapt her most famous work, Pippi Longstocking. However, she made exceptions for the 1997 animated adaptation of Pippi Longstocking and the 2002 animated adaptation of Karlsson on the Roof.
- The poor handling of Destination Moon led to Robert A. Heinlein flatly refusing for any of his books to be adapted into films ever again. This ban extended well past his death, though we eventually got the likes of The Puppet Master and Starship Troopers.
- Dune: Owing to how the deal for the movie rights came about, for a long time nobody else was allowed to make a Dune movie following the David Lynch film. The SciFi Channel (now Syfy) found a loophole and made two miniseries, though the lackluster performance of both (based on the first three books) torpedoed any plans to keep going. It was not until 2017 that Legendary Pictures hired Denis Villeneuve to be the director for a new adaptation of the book.
- Douglas Adams refused to let any of the Doctor Who episodes he wrote from getting novelizations because the success of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meant he was too expensive for the publishers to be able to commission him, but he didn't want anyone else to do them either. Shada, The Pirate Planet, Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen and City Of Death were novelized after his death.
- There are several hard-to-license tables that are impossible to port to home computers. Not only are the rights for the table itself needed, but music in the game, any movie license and actor likenesses can be involved too. But at least any patents are either expired or included.
- Samuel Beckett was notorious not just for refusing to allow his works to be adapted to different media, but for demanding that all theatrical productions adhere with complete rigidity to the original detailed stage directions.
- After the Animated Adaptation of The King and I became a Box Office Bomb, Rodgers and Hammerstein stated that their musicals would no longer be adapted into animated feature films.
- Agatha Christie decreed that The Mousetrap can have no adaptations while the play is still running. Not that it stopped the USSR from doing a straightforward film in 1990.
- LEGO shot down all pitches for a theatrical film involving the BIONICLE universe. This is due to these pitches involving human kids, which is contrary to the world building of the series, which states humans don't exist or will ever be a part of the universe. However, BIONICLE still got four Direct to Video movies.
- Nintendo was initially lenient with allowing their properties to get adaptations, such as the Donkey Kong segments of Saturday Supercade, elements of their works in Captain N: The Game Master, and the Super Mario Bros. and Zelda cartoon and the obscure Mario OVAs (most famously The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!). This all came crashing down when the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie came about, played fast and loose with the source material, and critically and commercially flopped as a result. Because of its failure, Nintendo instated a mandate that their properties could no longer be adapted into feature films (refusing to consider Imagi Studios' pitch for a animated film adaptation of The Legend of Zelda), and they have gotten much, much stricter with how licenses can use their characters (for example, when Bowser made a cameo appearance in Wreck-It Ralph, Nintendo gave very specific instructions for how Bowser would do things, even something as mundane as picking up and holding a cup) so far fewer animated adaptations have come about in the last few decades, save ones based on Pokémon, F-Zero, Kirby, and Animal Crossing. The only exceptions they've made for their feature ban is with the Pokémon anime movies, as they are just extensions of the existing anime. It was rumored that they were willing to allow a live-action Metroid movie to be made, but that never got off the ground. However, Nintendo seems to be lightening up on their mandate due to their announcement of an animated Mario movie made by Illumination Entertainment, with the difference from the 90s live-action movie being a lot more oversight from Nintendo.
- Nintendo's discomfort with adaptations also applies to Western comics, aside a few in the 80s and early 90s. Archie Comics once pitched a group of Nintendo comics, similar to their Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) comics, but were declined permission. That being said, they did allow ARMS to have a Western adaptation by Dark Horse Comics.
- Nintendo's main exception to the rule is manga. Super Mario Bros. has been running Super Mario Bros. Manga Mania since the 1990s, Pokémon has numerous manga (admittedly, that's a Game Freak property), Metroid has a manga, Splatoon has several manga (including one that has been localized), The Legend of Zelda has many manga, Kirby has ran multiple manga, etc. Few make it outside of Japan, however, but Nintendo is still prolific with letting their games have manga.
- ZUN has turned away multiple investors seeking to make an official anime adaptation of Touhou or translate it into other languages (prior to 2015, when Playism released Double Dealing Character digitally in Western territories), largely because he would lack control over such a project, and doesn't like retreading old ground in general. He is, however, very supportive of fanime and fan translations as long as their unofficial nature is obvious. Due to Touhou's nature as a niche format within a niche medium, it gets a lot of its fame from Pop-Cultural Osmosis; something as mainstream as an anime would run a real risk of displacing the original in the public consciousness.
- Despite having two Hollywood producers on their board, Bethesda has steadfastly turned down all offers to adapt The Elder Scrolls series into a movie. Given the track record of movies based on video games, it is not surprising that Bethesda is so hesitant.
- In Knives Out, Harlan Thrombey refuses to allow adaptations of any of his highly successful mystery novels. Son Walt is shown trying to talk him into a meeting with representatives from Netflix, and his feeling of redundancy as head of a publishing company that can't make any deals is depicted as a potential motive making him a murder suspect.