Questions tagged [legal]

General legal questions. There are also separate tags for "copyright" and "creative commons". Make sure to specify the relevant jurisdiction.

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Non-Fiction References/Copyright

I’m writing a non-fiction book and I want to use authors and books as supporting references. Does anyone know if this sample below represents a copyright infringement? Copyright is a legal protection....
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When is it better to use a real life versus a generic fast food company name when talking about a regional chain?

So, I know that questions regarding the usage of real-life company names has been brought up before, but this is a really weird example that I've run into that doesn't seem covered by the previous ...
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Self published cost of books as a tax deduction

I sell physical review books for a certification in my professional field that are starting to pick up on Amazon, about $2000 per month. I am paying a publishing company to print my books and then I ...
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1answer
122 views

Am I able to freely borrow or reference real people, places or things in a story that takes place on a different world or a made up landmass?

I'm currently writing my first novel and I can't figure out whether I am able to reference an abundance of different people, places, and/or things. I've had this idea of wanting to sneak in a sizable ...
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2answers
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Is all caps in legal notices perceived as abrupt?

When adding a legal notice to a user interface, or in a data file for download, I want to include a legal warning. It needs to mention that the data is confidential and it should not be shared with ...
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1answer
158 views

Proving the number of sold copies to my publisher

I'm having a problem with my publisher not giving me my royalties for two years. They keep telling me the book isn't selling yet I have found used copies of my book on line. How can I find out the ...
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86 views

How to credit an artist for adding minor details to a vehicle?

How do you credit someone for coming up with a general design of a vehicle without designing every little aspect about it? Let's say you make a video and you want to credit the person who came up with ...
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How would you pop the reference to a minor case into the ‘Application' section of an essay?

I don't understand the example emboldened below. Can't you add just a superscript number in the text, then in the footnotes cite that "minor case"? Unquestionably one superscript cannot &...
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111 views

What are some potential problems you can have if you happen to share similar names with an author?

I am a freelance author consultant and have ran into a unique problem. My customer happens to share a similar name with a famous author and she is concerned that there might be potential problems if ...
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4answers
2k views

Using real names in fiction

I'm thinking of writing a fiction novel. The plot I've outlined so far centers largely around one possible path the future of our world could take over the next several decades. In doing so, the story ...
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62 views

If I use a real building in a real city could I be liable for some sort of lawsuit? [duplicate]

I want to use a real building (skyscraper) in a real city that will be the subject of a terrorist attack and partially brought down with disastrous effect on the surrounding neighborhood. Good idea ...
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2answers
118 views

My character is a child abductor; can he drive a brand-name car?

I'm about to self-pub my first novel, a domestic thriller with a time-travel twist, and in the story, one of my main characters abducts a child (he's not a pedophile). He owns a 1970 Barracuda--the ...
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159 views

Is it a copyright infringement if I include a magical newspaper with moving pictures in my novel? [duplicate]

I want to add a magical newspaper in my novel. In the newspaper, all the images are moving, like the newspapers in Harry Potter. Is it copyright infringement for me to include a newspaper with moving ...
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How can I know that I'm not plagiarizing?

New to the web. I just recently started to write again. I won a few highschool prizes writing short stories. Around the same time, I began to play Roleplaying games and to write different stories for ...
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1answer
73 views

Has the idea for my story already been taken?

I want to write a story about a place called Kingdom Come, where you can come in but you cannot go (i.e. you are not allowed to leave). Has this idea already been taken? It really sounds like the sort ...
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78 views

Publishing other peoples anecdotes

I have asked friend and relations a question and want to publish the answers with their name by the answer. If I ask them if they mind it being publishes is that enough?
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2answers
108 views

Is it illegal to use a real person as a character in your story? [duplicate]

I'm writing a story where my character meets some of the world's greatest philosophers in a dream. He meets Franz Kafka, Dostoevsky, and Friedrich Nietzsche in dreams. Kafka only speaks in quotes from ...
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1answer
113 views

Publishing a book with anonymity as a foreigner

I want to publish a book in the United States as a foreigner in anonymity because of political risks in my country. How can I do this? I don't have any credit card and no reach to global banking ...
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1answer
58 views

Create Character that Use's Real-Life Poet's Work

I am attempting to write novel. Character is loosely based on real-life Poet who lived and died in foreign country (b. 1919, d. 2005). I would like this Character to create same poem this real-life ...
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4answers
332 views

Can I reference a Lego Millennium Falcon in my book?

I read the post about referencing real and fictional characters but would like to know what you think about this. I am writing a book where the character is looking back at his childhood toys and I ...
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133 views

Use of real company name in fiction: generic, common names

I read the very helpful discussion of using brand/company names in fiction (Use of real organization in fiction) and have read other resources on the internet but have not been able to find one ...
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216 views

How to avoid libel when writing a fictional account of a real event

I was a researcher for many years and it is a habit that has its usefulness in writing but also some serious drawbacks. The usefulness is that it helps create believable plots and functional physics ...
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94 views

Searching for an author with unpublished fantasy writing for my mobile game [closed]

I would be extremely grateful for any advice on how to search for or reach an agreement with an author. I'm a solo indie game developer, unreleased. My game is a fantasy random gacha hero collector. ...
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160 views

Can I reference events of a different fictional work in my fictional work?

Let's say I'm working on a fantasy series called MyWork, that is set in the present in a small town in the US. I have a fantasy series that I take inspiration from, InspirationWork, that is set in the ...
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1answer
76 views

What are the steps to secure permission from real people?

I want to write a novel where the main character is a real person, someone famous. What are the steps to ask permission to do so? Who do I have to contact? (like the person's agent, lawyer, etc.)
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6answers
330 views

Is it illegal if I use religious material in my novel?

I have a serious problem. I am going to start writing a novel which includes a character called Ravana, from the Hindu literary text called the Ramayana. Now, if I were to publish this, would it be ...
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346 views

Owning comic book characters

I am currently writing an ongoing comic series, along with a co-author. Some of the characters in the book were created by me, some by the co-author, and some by third parties. All characters in ...
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505 views

Can I say this about real countries in my fiction?

I am writing a visual novel and use a fictional country in "real-world" setting. Some cases have been bothering me and I'm not sure if it's legal to write this because it might be insulting(?): To ...
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2answers
183 views

Including a real event in a story

I was thinking about writing a short story depicting a real event that took place over 2000 years ago. I'm not using any real person, but I am using the place and it's surroundings. I've seen plenty ...
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2answers
141 views

Can I use a TV sitcom name as part of my book title

I would like to use the title of a TV sitcom in the title of my book. How do I find out if this is without legal ramifications?
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9answers
2k views

How to deal with moral/legal subjects in writing?

More specifically, how can one write a novel that examines or even argues against cultural moral values and laws without... dealing with legal fallout as the author? I realize this may be asking to ...
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14answers
8k views

Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

I am trying to write a magical system, and I love the way that wands are like gunfire and how you flick and attack and it's instant. No weird hand movements or long unwieldy staffs or canes to use. ...
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1answer
133 views

How do I copyright my own series?

I'm looking to trademark my own work and I want to know how. Everything I found online is exclusively about trademarks for COMPANIES and PRODUCTS, but not intellectual property like a manga series or ...
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1answer
761 views

Can I self-publish a book on the Kindle store when I'm under 18?

I'm wondering if I can publish a comic on the Kindle store! It's because me and my friends made a comic and I've now re-drawn everything on my computer and I've looked into this and it says I need to ...
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3answers
270 views

Is it ok if some of my city names are the same as the ones in other books/series/video games/ pieces of work?

My book has a few place names that are also present in other pieces of media, for example, one of my cities is called "Manalin" and I just found out that there is a planet in Star Wars also called ...
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6answers
6k views

Can someone publish a story that happened to you?

Can someone take a story that happened to you, without your knowledge, and publish it? Using your name and specifics, and take the copyright for it? A person, whose mother lived in our small town, ...
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1answer
84 views

Characters based on Real People [duplicate]

I am interested in writing a story about real life events, but changing it in such a way to make it a fiction novel. Question is, do I need permission from someone to make a character based on them, ...
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2answers
212 views

Do I have to pay royalties if I include excerpts from other works?

In a lot of books, at the beginning, the authors include quotes from poetry or songs that are relevant to the theme of their story or to their characters' situations. Obviously I would have to ask ...
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2answers
92 views

I want to traditionally publish my work but I have multiple ISBNs what do I do?

I have four poetry books and two nonfiction books I have self-published but now I have removed them from the web so I can traditionally publish them. Is there anything I need to do? Can I keep using ...
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3answers
128 views

Is it acceptable to use props I saw in a movie in my story?

I was watching a movie and, in multiple scenes, the characters were using a set of coffee cups that I haven't seen before. I realized my Main Character is the type of person who would have and use ...
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4answers
2k views

How can I safely use “Thalidomide” in my novel while respecting the trademark?

Thalidomide is a tricky one, as I am referring to its disastrous past regarding birth defects; however, Thalidomide is still used as a immunomodulatory drug today - and even though its used under ...
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3answers
111 views

Writing a Novel based on a Self-help Guide Book

I just want to be clear on this before I do any sort of writing with regards to the subject. So I have an idea for a novel that shows a person trying to obtain his objectives using the lessons and ...
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1answer
44 views

Do we need to find another publisher when we want to publish our novel in a different language in another region?

I was wondering if we needed to find another publisher if we wanted to have a novel that's already published in English speaking countries translated, and published in a different region. What are the ...
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4answers
150 views

Is it a good idea to post a story in a fanfiction website, and then seek to have it published later on?

Is there any complication that can ensue when you seek to have a story you've published in a free domain website, and then have it published through a conventional publisher? What if I were to modify ...
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1answer
174 views

What can we do to make sure that our novels are in the public domain as soon as we die?

I heard that the amount of time required for a work to be in the public domain has been extended. If you want your novels to be in the public domain as soon as you die, how do you do that? And can the ...
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2answers
91 views

When can characters be reused? [duplicate]

Can one legally include a reference to, or an appearance of, a character from an existing work of fiction? How much of that character can be used? What makes this permitted or forbidden under US law? ...
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2k views

Borrowing Characters

Would it be a violation of copyright and/or plagiarism to “borrow” a character from another novel? For example, I have a short story and want to include as a side character Ender (of Ender’s Game). I ...
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1k views

When does inspiration across artforms become plagiarism

eSpoilers for Green Book in the E.g. section I listen to a lot of music, and when I come up with stories, I often use songs as a source of inspiration. However, what I was wondering is are songs ...
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1answer
215 views

Is it legal to write a novel about people playing “League of Legends”?

I was wondering if using trademarked items such as a bottle of "Pepsi", or a video game like "League of Legends" can make you vulnerable to lawsuits. I think so, but I am not sure, because I see a lot ...
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222 views

Is It Legal to Use Military Insignias of Defunct Nations?

I'm writing a novel, and the plotline has military terminology and insignias. The basic plot is that there are two continents in my world: one capitalist and allegorically like the US and NATO, and ...

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