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

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7
votes
3answers
207 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
626 views

How can I get a copyright for my e-book?

As I'm a new writer, I don't know how to get copyright for my first book. Could anyone help me please? My book is an e-book in E-Pub format.
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Using a pen-name: possible legal issues

My question is about publishing under a pen-name. Does it have to be registered as a trademark? If it's not registered as a trademark, can someone sue a writer for using it? Because every name you ...
3
votes
4answers
99 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
131 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
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
92 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 Let's say you have two new, previously unpublished and unrepresented authors ...
1
vote
2answers
93 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' ...
3
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
436 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
82 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
163 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
76 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 ...
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
467 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
141 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
195 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 ...
3
votes
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?
3
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
146 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
118 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
188 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
653 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
313 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
4answers
514 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
4k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
131 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
972 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
298 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
164 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
660 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
231 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
132 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
138 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
223 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: ...
7
votes
3answers
847 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
165 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
674 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
867 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
575 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
330 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
199 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Is Academic Ghostwriting legal?

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
237 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
293 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
148 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 ...