Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

An example is "Miley Cyrus transformation - a marketing approach"

I wont use their stuff inside.

No copyrighted material, for example, pictures

So for my previous example, i would write how miley started as innocent, then to appeal to an other crowd, she appears extremely sexual.

So for my previous example, could i be sued be her/her PR/ her label?

EDIT: I live in Europe

share|improve this question
    
Is this a biography of Miley Cyrus's rise to popularity from a marketing perspective, or a marketing primer using Cyrus as an example? Those are two very different things and would fall under different sets of rules. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 19 at 21:33
    
Hmmm, very nice observation! But for the sake of this legal question, lets take the hard road and consider that it is "a biography of Miley Cyrus's rise to popularity from a marketing perspective". –  user1584421 Aug 19 at 21:44

3 Answers 3

In the U.S., anyone can sue anyone. That doesn't mean they win, and you can counter-sue for your damages incurred defending against a baseless lawsuit. Plus, of course, most celebs wouldn't want to be seen as bullies.

Stick to the facts and you will be fine. However, start injecting your opinions in there, and you could get into trouble. This is especially so, if your opinions are disparaging.

For example, you must NOT say anything like "Miley started out pure, but now she's a BLEEP." That would be lawsuit-bait. Give evidence-based statements only, for example: time plots of the surface area of her costumes, statements she has made to the media (then vs. now), average age of her fans, etc.

IANAL!!!

share|improve this answer
    
Also, "... to appeal to another crowd ..." attributes motive. That seems very dangerous to me (also not a lawyer). –  Dale Emery Aug 19 at 20:46
    
"Time plots of the surface area of her costumes." Now that would be an entertaining chart to design. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 19 at 23:08

(I am not a lawyer.)

If you are writing an unauthorized biography of a celebrity, I imagine that falls under journalism and libel rules. So as long as you could cite every source you used, and you did not write anything which is demonstrably false, you would probably be okay.

You are describing what's basically an extended case study or an academic thesis. If the point of the biography is to show not this person's life from birth to some arbitrary point but to demonstrate how the artist's popularity was manipulated, strategized, packaged, and distributed, then it's really more of an industry how-to.

Your line of concern is fact and evidence. Whatever events you present as fact must have evidence to back them up: a newspaper article, an interview, a TV program, a photograph. Whatever you don't have evidence for is either conjecture (which you must label as such, and that still might not get you out of trouble) or your opinion/analysis.

A lawsuit would have grounds if you wrote something false or defamatory and proclaimed it as fact.

  • Reporting on the facts of her twerking performance at the MTV Awards is not false (as long as you describe what actually happened and can back it up with a source). If you want to discuss and analyze why she performed that way, you are presenting that as your opinion (which I believe is not defamation or libel).
  • If you are theorizing "she performed this provocative move to increase brand awareness, and a poll taken the next week showed that 27% more American adults aged 35–50 could identify her from a photo than two weeks before the show," that's analysis based on fact. It may or may not be the reason she performed that way, but if you have the polls in question, you can make the argument.
  • But if you say "she performed provocatively because she's strung out on various recreational pharmaceuticals" or "she performed provocatively in order to piss off her conservative parents and corporate overlords," and you have no hard evidence to back that up, that's libel, and grounds for a lawsuit.

If you're going to argue that Cyrus deliberately changed and sexualized her image in order to appeal to a new audience beyond her Hannah Montana origins, then you will have to lay out that case with a lot of facts and figures.

You can show her Q scores at different points in her career, and try to demonstrate correlation with the change in her image. You can cite polls, album sales, concert receipts, and merchandizing information. You can publish excerpts from interviews and track increases in her followers on social media.

What you can't do is speculate on Cyrus's thoughts or choices and proclaim your analysis to be truth.

share|improve this answer

FYI, I am not lawyer and I don’t know the background behind the book which I am about to show you.

I just want to let you know, that something similar was already done. Take look at book Inside Steve's brain by Leander Kahney. it is mixture of Apple history and author's opinions about why Apple was so popular, with added business how-to (How to make another Apple like company).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.