I've seen several "unauthorized" guides for popular media. For instance, there is Finding Battlestar Galactica: An Unauthorized Guide. The impression I get is that by being "unauthorized", it is made without the permission of the owners of the material.
Assuming that definition is correct, can anybody and their grandmother write an unauthorized guide without any legal ramifications? I'm especially wondering:
- If they don't have permission, how do authors get around copyright issues due to using someone else's intellectual property?
- Do such guides have to be self-published or will publishers be willing to print them?
- Does the owner of the material have any legal recourse against the author if they do not want the book published?
- Do the rules change depending on what it is a guide about (e.g. a TV show, a software product, a person's life)?
I know that pretty much every response will fall under the "I am not a lawyer" defense clause; I'm just wondering in general whether or not anybody could write such an unauthorized biography.