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

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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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2answers
141 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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96 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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5answers
265 views

Legal ramifications for writing about fictional relationships with celebs

I’m thinking about developing a blog where the main character is fictional and has fictional relationships with well known celebrities and sports figures. Are there any legal ramifications for ...
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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
169 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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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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2answers
706 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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1answer
203 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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4answers
176 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, ...
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2answers
149 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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2answers
816 views

Who is responsible for copyrighted materials (publisher or writer)?

Imagine that Writer A's book includes copyrighted material created by Creator B, and Creator B sues for copyright infringement. Will Writer A be held liable, or will the book publisher? I think the ...
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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
121 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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3answers
4k views

Do I need permission from people I am writing about if I am writing about a true story that was reported in the media?

I am writing a factual book, that will [hopefully] primarily detail real events that have happened in the past, that are related to the subject of the book. The real events have all been reported in ...
2
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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
74 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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2answers
583 views

Is it legal to use a parental advisory on a book?

I am a motivational speaker and am self publishing a nonfiction book about child abuse. i ahve some inappropriate language in the book and want to know if my designer by law can use a parental ...
2
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1answer
127 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
293 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 ...
3
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1answer
180 views

Legal and Social effect of story involving real life people

I have written a novel based on my past life experiences, however the story involves a few people who might not like the idea of getting their stories published. What is the legal and social effects ...
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2answers
239 views

My publisher copyrighted my book cover and interior

My illustrator design the cover of my book, but my publisher did not want to use his cover, They wanted their illustration department to do it. What I didn't know was they copyrighted the cover and ...
3
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2answers
443 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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4answers
154 views

Are there copyright issues with a novella title if it's a famous line?

If you use a line or phrase from a really famous poem that most can recite as a title for a novella, is it stealing? What can be done to give proper credit?
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1answer
286 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, ...
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2answers
88 views

Can a textbook contain heavy reference to other materials?

I find that nearly all college textbooks are self-contained. All of the readings, exercises, and multimedia (e.g. videos on a provided CD) are provided in a single package. I think textbooks suffer ...
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5answers
279 views

Writing an article avoiding Libel

I will be creating a blog article that talks about Illuminati in our local country. I will be talking about the "organization's" role in making specific artists popular (for a duration) and in return ...
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1answer
349 views

Legal effect of standard fiction disclaimer

Does the standard fiction disclaimer (... any resemblance to persons living or dead...) have any legal effect? I am most interested in citations of reasonably authoritative legal opinions. Especially ...
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1answer
3k views

How can I get permission to translate and republish a book?

I am interested in translating an English book into my native language. How can I get permission to translate the book? Would that also include permission to republish the book in the native ...
6
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3answers
494 views

Published on blog but taken down: Still remains previously-published?

A whole lot of publishing houses look at works posted on blogs as "previously published". Now, let us say I put something on my blog and it is around for some months (or an year or two). One (not-so) ...
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3answers
245 views

Copyright - Can I go to any other publisher?

I have a question. I have self-published a book through Partridge publishing. This is what my contract says - "1.4. You will retain all rights to the content of the Work. We do not own rights to your ...
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4answers
105 views

Using emails in an autobiography

I am writing about my life experiences and I want to use email correspondence between myself and another to tell part of the story. I have not used real names in my work and have altered the emails ...
3
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1answer
192 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 ...
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2answers
659 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?
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3answers
188 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 ...
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1answer
130 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 ...
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3answers
328 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 ...
2
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3answers
154 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
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1answer
95 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 ...
3
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1answer
153 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 ...
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2answers
95 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' ...
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9answers
581 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
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2answers
93 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
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3answers
174 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
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1answer
80 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 ...
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2answers
272 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
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1answer
99 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
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2answers
521 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
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2answers
152 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
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1answer
65 views

Releases needed for picture books?

Do you need location releases for national parks and model releases for Pets to use in picture books?