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

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4
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1answer
186 views

How can I prepare for a career in instruction writing and editing?

To technical background authors (e.g. Isaac Rabinovitch) who would possibly work in teams with non-technically trained writers: How can I prepare myself to be able to do what you do? How can I ...
2
votes
2answers
427 views

Create and publish collection of public domain poems from 19th century

Can I create a collection of original 19th century public domain poems without violating copyright laws?
6
votes
3answers
146 views

Is it legal to name a character in a story after a disguised trademark?

I'm writing a sci-fi book series. As a true nerd, I want to use some characters to "do homage" to famous scientists, acronyms for experimental methods, and (here's the question) trademarked ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Legal issue of naming a character after a song character

Legally can you name characters after songs (poems, etc.) so long as those characters don't purport to affiliated w/ the song or the song writer/author? A similar question here asks the opposite ...
4
votes
3answers
309 views

Can a mock-magazine with fictitious content count legally as fan fiction?

I contribute to a motoring website, well, one that's got Photoshop of cars, motoring history etc. - it's a small obscure site with only a few users. Recently I've been learning InDesign and Quark ...
1
vote
3answers
126 views

Can you use a company's name as title for a short story?

I'm writing a short story about a girl whose boyfriend is doing in internship in another city. She goes to visit him every week. But the guy always call at the last minute, saying he can't come and ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

How would an agent approach a debut piece written by two new authors (co-authors)

This is still all in the realm of the hypothetical, but given that it becomes closer to the reality, I'm very curious... Let's say you have two new, previously unpublished and unrepresented authors ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?

Are names of characters copyrighted by authors? For example, the character "Eragon" from the Inheritance Cycle series, or a name that you've generated using an online name generator that you'd like to ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

permission to use emails from famous deceased person

I finished a creative non-fiction memoir about my secret life as a miracle worker. I am using three emails to me from a now deceased wildly popular tech icon. Our phone conversation as well as the ...
1
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2answers
92 views

Collaborating with Stephen King, but not the original

My name is Richard Devine and I am currently working on a collaboration with Stephen King, (obviously NOT the original author himself). We currently act under the pseudo name 'KD Novels' ...
4
votes
1answer
405 views

Is Sherlock Holmes public domain for use in a story?

I am writing a short story and would like to name check Sherlock Holmes as a character; according to the ever reliable (?) Wikipedia the stories of Holmes are UK Public Domain. Does this mean I can ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

How to use creative commons materials?

Creative commons materials are popular on the web, and people are using these materials for creating new websites, as there is no severe copyright restriction. How does creative commons copyright ...
21
votes
9answers
549 views

Do I need to register my work to retain copyright?

What are the legal issues when submitting work to publishers? is there a risk of having my work stolen? How can you protect yourself from this? Is there an international "law" for this or is it ...
3
votes
2answers
80 views

Legalities about fictionalizing current events

What are the legalities of taking something currently in the news and writing a story/novel/movie (but not a documentary/biography) about it? Take Snowden, for example. Someone went and made a movie ...
2
votes
3answers
155 views

What steps can be taken to avoid libel / copyright issues in social commentary?

I'm interested in the social, cultural, and political landscape around me, and I think I've "got a book in me" on the topic. A major source of material would be the writings of everyday people in ...
6
votes
1answer
75 views

Shared world contract

A friend of mine was gracious enough to let me write a story using a setting he has been using for his own novel. I finished my novella while he is still working. I am looking at indie publishing the ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Dealing with potential copyright issues: manga

I have been spinning yarn around Kuchiyose Edo Tensei, a reincarnation technique I came across in the popular anime/manga series Naruto. Further developing on that, the concept of bloodlines (or ...
0
votes
1answer
98 views

Is it possible my book could be taken off-line for sale if there is a cease and desist letter?

I have written a true story on my experience with some individuals and major corporations. The book has factual proof throughout story. I am afraid that they may get angry and send cease and desist ...
2
votes
2answers
431 views

When self publishing, are there benefits to making a company to represent your books? Is that then a publishing house?

Is it possible to create a company that acts like a publishing house? I imagine registering a company and contracting the novels I write under its name, and then putting them on Amazon and ...
2
votes
2answers
133 views

Does DRM affect copyright or the restrictions on distribution by the author?

I hear how it is easier for the user to select DRM (digital rights management) free options so that they can use more software packages to read the book, but does that affect in anyway the authors ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Releases needed for picture books?

Do you need location releases for national parks and model releases for Pets to use in picture books?
3
votes
2answers
164 views

UK laws broken by piracy of novels

I'm preparing some briefing notes on various open licences and I'm looking for some clarification on legal aspects of standard practice in the UK. (If there is a better SE site for this question feel ...
6
votes
2answers
603 views

My Ex husband's wife self published a non fiction book naming my kids in the story

My ex husband's wife self published a non fiction book and put my kids in the story as well. She did not change their names. Neither she nor my ex husband told me about this or asked me (or the ...
-2
votes
1answer
143 views

Is there a way to ask online booksellers to pull pirated editions of my books?

Eight of my books are available on Google Books as 100% online, downloadable, but no Creative Commons licensing. Now I am starting to see them show up in bookstores, in versions I didn't have printed. ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

Do different formats of the same book need to be registered separately?

We're self-publishing a book in both paperback and e-book format. The content between the versions will be identical except for some formatting corrections (mainly white-space) made for the digital ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Is anybody aware of a good way I can determine whether or not something is public domain, or royalty free?

I'm writing a textbook and I'd like to include an old paper from Alan Turing as an appendix. Searches on Google turn up copies of the paper, but I cannot seem to find anything explicitly indicating if ...
5
votes
3answers
130 views

Converting the MIT License into a limerick

In 2005, Alexander Genaud created a Poetic License based on the MIT license. It consisted of 2 Limericks which attempted to distill the already meager license jargon into a fun, simple, and tiny text. ...
1
vote
4answers
452 views

Intellectual Property Rights & Reuse of the Written Material

I started freelance writing in the January of 2012 and I am providing services for SEO, Blog Articles, User Manuals, Travel Sites and Technical Documentation. Since then I have this question in mind. ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

How to publish public domain books?

It is known that the copyright permission is not needed for old books (usually 70 years after the author's death), because the copyright has been expired. However, I am not sure how easy a public ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Are music lyrics copyrighted?

I tried to find copyright information about music lyrics, but it is too confusing, because it is related to the usage. There are lots of websites providing lyrics, but it seems they are somehow ...
4
votes
2answers
287 views

Is it safe to write about a fictional murder in a real-life location?

I am writing a novel, and part of the plot has one character killing another in a specific real-life location. I mean the setting is extremely specific - for example, a particular hotel, or one ...
6
votes
2answers
899 views

What permissions do I need to write a non-fiction book based on personal interviews?

I am writing a non-fiction book based on recorded interviews with several people. I have recorded verbal consent to be interviewed for the book from each person. One of the interviewees has since ...
5
votes
1answer
159 views

What permissions do I need for nonfiction travelogue?

I am writing (and self publishing) a non-fiction travelogue about a cross country roadtrip. I have already obtained permission from the person I traveled with, and there are no other main characters ...
6
votes
2answers
538 views

How do co-authors' rights to a manuscript work?

When an individual writes a novel, he owns all rights over the manuscript until he starts selling those rights to others. What is the situation when the novel is a collaborative work? How are such ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life?

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life? Mainly, I have experienced events that I would like to share with the world. These events are somewhat disturbing ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

What are “industry leading royalties”?

In the breakdown description I received from a publisher, they mention that they also pay industry leading royalties of ##%. What does that mean?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the legal implications and best practices for publishing screenshots of web sites in a book?

I want to publish screenshots of web sites in a book and provide a critique of each screenshot. Many of the screenshots would be cropped to just show a section of a page. Adobe has published these ...
8
votes
2answers
132 views

What is the proper way to add Creative Commons licensing information to a book?

I have prepared a book which utilizes some information which was licensed under a Creative Commons license of which a large number of people contributed. I believe that the use of this material ...
3
votes
2answers
630 views

Do I need an LLC to self-publish a political book in Florida?

Do I need to form an LLC to self-publish a political book out of Florida? Although, I have tried very hard not to break any laws, I am worried about frivolous or spiteful lawsuits. I am trying to do a ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

Will 9/11 fiction get a writer into trouble with the US Government?

I want to write about the very interesting topic of 'what really happened' on 9/11. How close can I possibly get to real characters and facts without getting sued? Facts I might include in my work: ...
5
votes
1answer
708 views

How can one write about illegal deeds without getting into trouble?

What is some good advice for writing about things done, in an autobiographical sense, that may have been or still are illegal? For example, smoking or buying marijuana is illegal in many countries, ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Can I write reference books about a fictional universe from an existing franchise?

I want to write some reference books containing details about the fictional universe of some popular franchises, such as Tintin, or Star Trek. This would contain short plot summaries (1-paragraph in ...
5
votes
1answer
818 views

When do I need to obtain permission to photograph and write about a business, work of art, or person?

I am preparing a book which will include lots of short passages, on a variety of subjects, many of which are related to a single area in a city. Each passage will also have a photograph, which I ...
10
votes
3answers
304 views

Is it legal to write about trademarked material and use the terms?

I am contemplating writing a technical book (and probably self-publishing it) on a proprietary programming interface for a well-known software package produced by a very large company. The company ...
1
vote
3answers
197 views

copy right issue with using exact Text from a text book

Here is a question related to a website providing mathematics solutions for students. Here are details: Students will enter the page number and problem number on the website, and the site will show ...
1
vote
2answers
233 views

Avoiding legal issues with plot similarities between my book and a movie in production

I am writing a novel whose plot that I just learned is going to be made into a movie---how can I protect myself if similar plot points are used so that I don't get sued and vice versa?
9
votes
3answers
284 views

What to include in agreement with a Ghost Writer. . .

I am exploring engaging a Ghost writer to partner with me on the development of a non-fiction (well, mostly) business book. What are the critical elements of the agreement that need to be included? ...
3
votes
3answers
143 views

Disclaimer when writing about governmental entities

I've read many novels involving characters working at the NASA, Vatican, Secret Police, high government officers (Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson for example) and doing stuff that I wouldn't like being made ...
7
votes
3answers
231 views

Can I ePublish my out-of-print history book?

Can I assume that the rights to my history book Frontier Theatre (Sono Nis 1983) reverted wholly back to me when the book went out of print around 1992? The contract was a standard pre-digital ...
9
votes
1answer
201 views

Creative Commons and writing on the web

I usually write on the web; I would like to license my writings using one of the Creative Commons license, but I can't understand how that license can protect our works. We really like to share our ...