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

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3
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2answers
2k 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
837 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
127 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
686 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
249 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
449 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
183 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
114 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
1k 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
126 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
213 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
530 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
144 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
513 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
733 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
470 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
269 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
185 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Legality of Academic Ghostwriting

I recently learned of the concept of academic ghostwriting (see, e.g. this article) - by which I mean the situation where a student goes to another person, or perhaps a service, and pays them to ...
1
vote
2answers
223 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
253 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
137 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
220 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 ...
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
3answers
295 views

Writing your last will and testament

Coming from a background where I've only ever seen readings of a last will and testament in movies, what kind of style would be expected of such a document? Some personal stuff and then legalese ...
14
votes
8answers
537 views

What's a good way to backup your writing?

One of the most important things for writers to do is to back up their work so that in the event of a computer failure, their work isn't lost. But where's a good place to do that? A lot of storage ...
8
votes
3answers
934 views

What are the advantages of incorporation for a writer?

I have heard of some (rather successful) writers incorporating - that is, creating a corporation of which they are the sole member. What are the potential advantages (or disadvantages) of doing this? ...
9
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
140 views

Journal subscription secrecy

Robert Darnton, an accomplished scholar and important name in the open access movement, has a piece in the current New York Review of Books, The Library: Three Jeremiads, where he mentions that ...
15
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
21
votes
9answers
507 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 ...