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Writing a Book Legal Issues

Sandra, the problem is. Who took your mother`s picture? Just because your mom had a copy of the photo doesn`t mean she (and you) have permission to publish it, especially on a book cover. You should locate the photographer and, if possible, get permission. If you can`t find the photographer, you have a problem with orphan works. You should search for this term to learn more. As for your siblings, you may need their permission. It depends on the state your mother was living in when she died. In some states, the right to publicity survives the death of a person. It`s a very gray area, but I recently wrote about it here: www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/07/tricks-and-traps-of-using-real-people-in-your-writing-part-1-the-right-of-publicity/ Email me if you need more information.

Fortunately, I am a lawyer, not a publisher. (If all publishers were lawyers, many interesting books would never see the light of day.) I pointed out to Publisher C that as long as he exercised due diligence and there was reason to believe that the author had done so, he was unlikely to be held liable, even if one of the guidelines turned out to be wrong. Also, I checked the disclaimer and disclaimer they wanted to include at the beginning of the book. Convinced that his language made the book`s advice too safe, I proposed revisions to clarify the risks involved and the importance of readers` caution in following the instructions. Overall, I`ve worked on several novels that are memoirs, mostly about past relationships. I absolutely do not want to romanticize my works and even emphasize that they are true stories. I want them to be snapshots of reality. Again, the truth is the most important aspect for me.

The only compromise I`m willing to make is to change my name, but the main characters in my works could easily identify. I will divulge private information (not something like birthdays or Social Security numbers), mostly about things that happened in passionate moments. I`m pretty sure that while there weren`t any famous people in my letter, the people involved wouldn`t sign any posts. Since the lawyer is deceased, he cannot be defamed. And it seems like you`re relying on public records or information of public interest, so I suspect there`s a low risk to privacy when it comes to lawyer information. But writers often find themselves in legal trouble because they deal with small characters. They conceal the truth or reveal private information. Information, which may not be private about the main character, your lawyer, may be private to someone else. Be aware of what you say and reveal it about it. When in doubt, have the disturbing parts of your manuscript checked by a publisher`s lawyer. If you are writing a memoir, get written permission from those you present in your book and be careful when making certain statements.

Christine, if your manuscript has not yet been revised, it may be too early to have it read by a lawyer. Your manuscript can undergo many changes over time. Yes, at this point it can be helpful to better understand the legal issues so you can work around them, but you should wait with a lawyer who reads until you`ve completed the development modification. If your manuscript is picked up by a traditional publisher, they will pay their lawyers for review. There`s a reason writing about controversial topics is called «bold writing» because it`s not necessarily well received by audiences. It can be writing about a sensitive topic such as religion or taking a stand on a political conflict. Books are a great way to raise awareness. It is not discouraged to write about controversial topics as long as everything is supported by facts.

Still, you need to be prepared for backlash. Indeed, one of the most sensitive issues in India is religion. Modern or even improvised interpretations of our mythology do not go well. For example, Aubrey Menen`s «The Ramayana» was banned in India. It is lyrical prose that tells the original story in a way that is more accessible to the modern generation. Vladimir Nabokov`s «Lolita» has been banned in some countries because it involves pedophilia and incest. When you sit down to write a book, focus on telling a story or exploring a topic — without worrying about the possibility of legal problems. Hello, I wrote a fictional novel where one of the characters is heavily based on a famous singer. I had some interest in publishing it and I wonder if there would be any legal consequences if I did. The character in question has the same general appearance, the same job and the same ethnicity, but a different name.

I intend to publish a brief myself. More than ten years ago, my daughter was killed by a drunk driver. The case went to court and the man responsible did not plead the challenge. My book is about my journey to survive my daughter`s death. He explores the time we spent together, his childhood, my writing and his. In this book, I tell many stories from his childhood and use the names of his friends, mine and family. None of this borders on defamation, but these are positive memories. Do I need to get approval from everyone mentioned? To say it would be cumbersome is an understatement! I am also referring to the person who drove drunk (by his first and last name) and the 2 other people he killed (all known to the public).

It would be impossible to obtain those consents. I appreciate any contribution you can offer. Rob, what you`re describing sounds like the fictionalization of historical or public events. Adding dialogues and enhancing the drama of real events are common practices. Watch Oliver Stone`s films. I also write about The Perfect Storm trial on TheBookDesigner.com www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/07/tricks-and-traps-of-using-real-people-in-your-writing-part-1-the-right-of-publicity/ To win a case in any of these cases, the plaintiff would have to convince the judge and jury that readers consider your book to be factual allegations and that these statements damage the plaintiff`s reputation (among other things).