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

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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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93 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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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
127 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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46 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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432 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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4answers
123 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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197 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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76 views

Using the name of fictional characters/series in a different context

I was wondering about if I could use the name of the fictional character Magneto in the scifi book I'm writing. There is no direct connection between the Marvel/DC universe and my book. Instead, I ...
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33 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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74 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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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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352 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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4answers
95 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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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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236 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 ...
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35 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
73 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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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 ...
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50 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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1answer
91 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
66 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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273 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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What does “//” or “///” mean in legal documents [migrated]

I see // or /// after text in legal documents. OPTION 1. Is it used on ANY PAGE to indicate "this line intentionally left blank"? Example: there are a few blank lines at the end of a page but there ...
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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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161 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. ...