General legal questions. There are also separate tags for "copyright" and "creative commons".

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21 views

best licensing option for freest possible sharing of lyrics while retaining the right to get paid if someone else makes money from them

I would like to share many song/poetry/lyric works. I would like to share them as freely as possible, allowing modifications, use of small pieces or lines or concepts, etc.. I want to encourage ...
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2answers
31 views

Including a book extract in my blog

Can I include an extract of another persons book in my blog? If so, are there any restrictions that I must follow? PS: If I am asking this question in the wrong place, I will delete it and ask for ...
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3answers
61 views

Referencing real and fictional people/characters in novels - legal implications

I've been going out of my way to avoid referencing famous people in my novel as well as fictional characters, but I keep seeing pop culture references in other books I read as well as in TV shows, ...
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1answer
25 views

Do I need copyright, trademark or other registrations, to publish stories by Shakespeare?

I have written summary and storyline of Shakespeare's plays. I need to know the process of publication, and the legal notes, on publishing synopses, where the original author is someone else.
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3answers
206 views

I'm scared that my story is plagiarizing another story

I am working on my debut story. In my freetime, I write another story that will be the start of a series. The series consists of Steampunk fairytale retellings. Lately, I have been worrying that it ...
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1answer
356 views

Illustrations for a children's book to be republished

I illustrated a book 20 years ago. No royalties: one-time use. Did not sign a contract for copyright. It is considered an orphan. Now the author wants a new publisher to print same illustrations. Do I ...
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4answers
124 views

Can I use already used fictional language?

When creating a world where there are either aliens or fantasy races, you know that they should speak their own language. But the truth is, that for story purposes, such races will speak their ...
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1answer
49 views

Questions on a plausibility of a Naruto Homage

I've been itching to write a web fiction serial that's also a homage to Naruto since I found out the manga ended and went on a re-reading binge... Anyway it'll loosely have similar ideas i.e. clans. ...
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2answers
72 views

Can I write about an old and real person that is strongly related to a company?

I'm thinking about Henri Nestlé, born in 1814 and deceased in 1890. He was the founder of the company with the same name, located in Vevey (Switzerland). He is going to be a not-so-important ...
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1answer
88 views

(Negative) references to real people and places in a novel

I was wondering about how much freedom a writer has to refer to real people and places in a fictional work and in what situations it's best to get permission or avoid it altogether. I do know that ...
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1answer
40 views

Best practices for designating prose as intellectual property?

--Subtitle - What is the cheapest & most simplistic proof an idea belongs to me that will hold up in court. Is my (explained below) example still good? Is there a better way? When I come up with ...
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3answers
108 views

Write a book with “protected” characters/ideas without copyright?

I want to write a book about an idea/story I've had for many years that I find many will truly enjoy when furnished out; however, I don't want this to be "open-source"; I don't want anyone to be able ...
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4answers
103 views

Is it legal to self-publish books independently (in any form) with no LTD, L.L.C., D.B.A., etc.?

I want to know if I'm safe publishing a book(s) with no copyright/trademarks/etc. and avoiding any kind of business moniker (like a D.B.A. or registration) in order to just get right to the publishing ...
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1answer
43 views

Are “print world rights in English” the same as “First World Print Rights”?

I am considering selling work to "Shoreline of Infinity" however they say We buy first digital and print world rights in English, but your rights are returned to you after 6 months of original ...
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2answers
74 views

Copyright of a TV series when used as reference?

Is it considered fair use to have screenshot, or character likeness, in a book as a descriptor or reference. For example, when describing time-travellers, can I use a few screenshots from Doctor Who? ...
3
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1answer
71 views

Renting my book?

I recently discovered that a bookstore is offering my book for rental. Is it legal for the store to rent out my book? Is the store infringing on my copyright? What the store is charging people who ...
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2answers
345 views

Novel set in Forgotten Realms universe

My question regards using the forgotten realms setting for writing a novel. I'll explain. My original intention was to request permission to write a novel using WotC's Forgotten Realms setting, but ...
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2answers
39 views

Ethics of incorporating a supplier's technical documentation into one's own documentation?

A company, M, buys components from company, S, to build into their product. Company S has technical documentation regarding safety and maintenance available in many languages and publicly available in ...
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4answers
122 views

Can I legally use experimental items in my book? [closed]

I am looking to write a book and include real experimental weapons and aircrafts. Is this possible or could I be sued. Say for example if the american government had a prototype aircraft that was ...
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2answers
72 views

What exactly is “fair comment?”

From what I understand, truth is a defense against a charge of libel. More to the point, I've been told that a statement need not be true if it represents a "fair comment" based on the underlying ...
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4answers
94 views

Use of old ads in a book

There will be approximately one dozen images scheduled to appear in my upcoming book. These are, in the majority, old ads from various clients, industries and campaigns I have worked on. I make no ...
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5answers
310 views

Attributing a real quote to a fictional character

I've looked at a few fictional character quote questions on here but none seem to hit onto my question: Can I attribute a real quote to a fictional character? That is, can I take a quote that was ...
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3answers
72 views

How does one determine how much of a song you can use without paying?

In the movie, "The Perez Family," there was a scene that featured the band playing something like two lines of the song "I Will Survive" before there was a voice-over. In my screenplay, I have the ...
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2answers
154 views

Does “reversing” characters provide enough of a “disconnect ”to defend against a libel suit?

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were fictional, of course, but Lauren Ipsum has convinced me that if they were real people, a story about a "drug-using detective and his MD sidekick" might expose a ...
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2answers
141 views

Note taking from a textbook and publishing the notes online

I'm reading a physics textbook now and taking personal notes as I read. I'd like to put my own personal notes online for free so that other members of my lab group can refer to them easily. How can ...
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2answers
208 views

Can a Town/City Sue an Author for a Bad Portrayal in Fiction?

Lets say we choose a random town off of google maps on which to base a story where the local authorities (we won't say police, or whatnot, but local authorities) perform an investigation that is ...
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3answers
368 views

Is sending your characters back to a different century a good way to disguise them?

In one of my novels, I took two "contemporary" real life people, and sent them back to the 18th century to fight the American Revolution. (Yours truly is one of them.) My current understanding of the ...
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1answer
65 views

What was the legal doctrine or standard that made the following acceptable?

In writing a review about the movie "Moneyball" some years ago, I noted that the name of Billy Beane's assistant had been changed to "Peter Brand." The issue was that the movie was "based on a true ...
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1answer
187 views

Getting My Rights Back

Back in the late 90's I wrote a picture book which eventually was published in 2002 by a big name publishing house. The book was critically acclaimed, won an award, and went through a couple of ...
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136 views

Poor man's copyright techniques

I'm about to get an editor and submit my full book to a publisher. I had my book notarized. Then I put it in a large orange envelope and mailed it to myself so the UPS could put a date stamp on it. ...
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2answers
391 views

What are my legal rights if somebody writes a book about me without my consent?

So, I just discovered a person I knew in college has written a book. This book is titled as fiction. But after buying and reading this book, I am in this book. No name change. The place where I work, ...
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2answers
127 views

Where's the line between coincidental similarity between a character and a person, vs. being uniquely identifiable?

I'm trying to understand the verdict in Red Hat Club case. Vicki Stewart sued author Haywood Smith, claiming that a character in Smith's books was defamatory - that the character was clearly based on ...
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90 views

What kinds of legal clearances do you need to produce “fiction” that's “based on a true story?”

The "Sound of Music" comes to mind. The Captain and Maria von Trapp were real people, although names and ages of the seven children were fictionalized in the movie. One factor is that the von Trapps ...
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1answer
77 views

Using dictionary examples in the book - is it fair use?

I am writing a book on English language. Which is bilingual book. So I would need some examples from dictionary. So can I use these examples in my book. I don't mind mentioning which dictionary ...
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0answers
25 views

Use of Building names in Fiction [duplicate]

I know that using branded companies names is a no no if shown in a negative light, but what is the "legal" Stance on Buildings that get damaged/blown up/fist fight etc..? as they are owned by a ...
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1answer
44 views

Does Japan have a Press Code?

Many countries have a press code (examples: Germany, South Africa) It is a kind of ethics guide for journalists. While usually not a law, it is often taken quite seriously by the whole profession. ...
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1answer
174 views

Copyright of examples used in books?

I'm getting into non-fiction technical writing (a blog, but potentially ebook or otherwise). Often the best technical advice come from dissecting and synthesising good and bad examples from the ...
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2answers
696 views

Do I really need disclaimers?

I write non fiction books about computer science and security (Zzz) but with the security bits in particular, do I really need to put a disclaimer saying "hey don't go hack the government" on my ...
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3answers
329 views

Consequences of autobiographical stories whose events are potentially illegal?

I have been writing erotic stories that are based on true incidents in my life. Since some of those incidents (which occurred many years ago now) have been of questionable legality, I am unsure if ...
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1answer
166 views

Stories based on news: are they allowed?

I just read a story on the news that made me go: Oh my, this would make a great short story. I've never written a story based on a news article before. So I'm wondering, will someone sue me? Am I ...
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4answers
159 views

Is it legal to share an index you made from someone else's book?

There are some books published without a back-of-book index, which I feel is a dreadful shame. As part of my research I decided to create an index of one such book. Doing so is legal for my own use, ...
3
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2answers
140 views

How to get permission for using software screenshots in book?

I am writing a book which includes a review of old software and I would like to add a couple of screenshots for some of them. How do I go about this legally or, alternatively, does this qualify as ...
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3answers
59 views

DIT:Is it legal if a write a book about an artist?

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 ...
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1answer
102 views

Nonfiction: Need signed releases and/or pay subjects I am interviewing?

I am interested in writing a nonfiction book on social media. The book will be primarily practical advice based on my experience. However, I'm planning to personally interview some industry ...
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0answers
36 views

Using true/real names and events in a fiction novel [duplicate]

I would like to know where to reference what true or real names and events can be used in fiction novel. Example: Can you use words such as NFL or names of awards? I understand you cannot use ...
5
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1answer
72 views

“ing” words in technical translations from Japanese to English

I proofread technical documents that have been translated from Japanese into English. The translations must be "literal." I cannot, generally, make them more concise. One thing that pops up over ...
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1answer
126 views

How far does libel extend in writing?

Suppose I wrote a book. Suppose it had a normal modern fictional story about it. Suppose that the characters aren't based on real people and have no relation to anyone. Suppose in the background of ...
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1answer
272 views

Inserting truthful (derogatory) statements in text

If I am writing and know that somebody kind of famous did something illegal and horrible (it's a well known fact with this individual, but they were never charged), can it be put in writing or does ...
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2answers
426 views

Do published authors have rights to use their own book cover images?

With the caveat that I'm sure it varies based on publisher, genre, etc., but -- generally, if you were an author who was published and the book cover was designed by the publisher, but you wanted to ...
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206 views

Copyrighted Names

I'm very confused in regards of copyrighted names, some say you can copy right names, and then I read that you can only trademark names and copyright them ONLY if the book/movie is named after them, ...