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Questions tagged [legal]

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

14
votes
13answers
7k 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
83 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
148 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
4k 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
56 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, ...
6
votes
2answers
98 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
71 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
116 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
94 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
41 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
73 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
68 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? ...
13
votes
6answers
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
910 views

When does inspiration across artforms become plagiarism

Spoilers 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 and ...
0
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
198 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Use of stock image on book cover

My book was published by a now defunct publisher. They returned my records to me (locked, and I could not open any of the documents) and I've since re-published my title under my own name. However, ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Mafia name usage in writing

Is it safe to include names of mafia organizations in your fiction or will they read your work and come after you?
6
votes
4answers
177 views

Are fictional inventions trademarked?

I am wondering if I can include fictional inventions like the power suits in Iron Man. I believe that "power-suits" are used legally by a lot of media; however, what if the power-suit you're ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Outsourcing people to make a cover [closed]

I need some very specific art for my book cover and will probably not be able to find a generic one on a website, so do I hire someone for it and what's the average hourly wage for hiring one? How do ...
22
votes
7answers
4k views

How to tell readers your story is a re-imagination of a popular story?

If for example, I were to rewrite a story heavily inspired by Romeo and Juliet, but placed it in a complete different setting. Do you have to say it? Also, do you mention it in the title that's it's a ...
4
votes
2answers
87 views

Do I need to get people to sign a waiver to include their content in my book?

I am working on a book that will be based on the results of ten interview questions that I am asking of multiple well-known-in-their-field people. Do I need to get these folks to sign a waiver or ...
3
votes
2answers
64 views

Can I reference something used in another medium, like names, play titles, or song titles?

I'm having a hard time finding information on this so let me explain the idea: I'm writing a story that takes place in a small town high school in 1986. And I want to give the characters all nicknames ...
3
votes
2answers
52 views

Song quote for an 'in memoriam'

I would like to quote a few lines of a lyric from St. Vincent's song "New York", for an 'in memoriam' I want to put in a newspaper on the anniversary day of my friend's death. Do I need to get ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

I am an author that wrote a biography on a singer. Do I need to get permission to turn the book into a screenplay?

I am an author who wrote a biography on a singer. I want to turn the book into a screenplay. Do I have to get permission from the singer to do this?
2
votes
3answers
226 views

Unfair Motivation for a Judge to Dislike an Accused [closed]

I have a scene where a character is applying to be released from prison pending trial. I want an arbitrary / unfair reason for the judge to dislike him. It has to be something that is not justified to ...
-3
votes
3answers
115 views

Pop star names and other famous people or characters

If I write a page about a current pop star that talks about what they're doing, that is a fact such as dedicating themselves to Satan or involved in witchcraft, can I be sued by them even though it's ...
6
votes
3answers
289 views

Enigma Book with a money prize

The idea is simple: we intend to publish a puzzle book that contains a difficult enigma. The first one to solve this enigma will win a prize (i.e., $10.000). Some obvious rules: The solution needs to ...
7
votes
2answers
493 views

Approach to pop culture quotes in fiction writing

I am contemplating writing a fictional character [nerd] who speaks in a pop culture references. I appreciate this question somewhat overlaps Referencing modern pop culture in science fiction The ...
6
votes
2answers
677 views

Is my book legal? Is my story too similiar to Harry Potter

I have been creating a story in my mind from early childhood. Now, I am very talented in writing, so I decided to give it a try one day. It was awesome! The book I imagine in my head was being written,...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Can I publish a book based on the Library of Babel?

So I want to write a fictional book based on Borges' Library of Babel idea. The only thing I would preserve is the setting. However, I am unsure of the legality of it. Is the setting copyrightable? ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Do I need Permission for Acknowledgements or Reprinting Articles?

I can not recall the book, but one of Isaac Asimov's novels ends with an article on muon-catalyzed fusion. I remember that because it was so impressive to find out that such a thing was real. I've ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Universe similar to Transformers

I have in mind a story that would be about a transforming robots like Transformers, but with slightly different origins of their creation and what they're really are. I'm a bit afraid of using ...
4
votes
4answers
176 views

Writing a book that involves an ex husband

I'm new to the writing world (other than writing a lot as a child). I want to write my story to help empower women in similar situations but it involves writing about my ex. How does one tell their ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Authorship implications of presenting one’s manuscript as an older one in the prologue

Umberto Eco, E. T. A. Hoffmann and others have pretended (in the introduction to the story) to have found and edited obscure old manuscripts. In my view this added to the charm of their writings. If ...
2
votes
3answers
221 views

At what point is permission needed to reference meta-characters and works in my own?

In this question it is mentioned that you can't use a character from another novel in your own novel. But if characters in my book talk about fictional characters in other books, that seems to be ok. ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

Is permission needed to use a fictitious character from another novel in my story as a point of reference?

I am writing a novel and I would like to introduce characters from other published works as time travelers. Is this a bad idea or even legal? Copyright infringement comes to mind... Is there a legal ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Could I use obsolete brand name in fiction book

I am currently working on a fiction book and my characters work for a company that in real life has been out of business for 30 years, but in my fiction book there is an alternate scenario and it ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

If one provides inspiration for a story that gets published, and is named, do you get royalties for that?

If you were the inspiration to a story and it gets written in a book and published and they use your name do you get any royalties from that
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Will I be in trouble if I publish (on Amazon) my story mentioning my exboyfriend?

My ex-partner lives in LA, California and I live in Madrid, Spain. Two years ago, we decided to write a book of our story. We announced it on Facebook and other social sites. Four months ago, he broke ...
6
votes
1answer
96 views

Mentioning famous person in autobiography

I've been writing an autobiography about sexual abuse that happened to me throughout my childhood. The abuser was the dad of a famous singer. Once I was old enough (18) to leave home and file charges (...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

In a book about political activism, can the author recommend illegal acts--or is that a crime, too? [closed]

We are writing a short book on how activists can fight against destructive governance...something like Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. But this book does recommend some specific illegal acts, ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Accusing private figures of crime in print

I am the editor of a small college magazine. In an article that was recently submitted to me, as part of the story, the author named two people who ragged him (harassed him). I have sufficient proof ...
8
votes
1answer
89 views

Repository of My Academic Writing - Which License to Use?

I'm adding a repository containing selected academic papers I wrote. I'd like to add a license to this repository that works similarly to the MIT license (but for writing and not code), where others ...
5
votes
1answer
55 views

Release for book of interviews

I would like to write an ebook in which I ask people to share their experiences in a specific topic. Where can I find a good release for these people to sign? Do I have to pay the interviewee? ...
4
votes
2answers
110 views

In a business novel can characters read real books?

I’m considering writing a piece of business fiction to discuss some agile and testing principles. Given the wide number of books in this area it seems most appropriate to have characters discover the ...
7
votes
3answers
853 views

Is mild sexualization of minors allowed in writing?

Her clothes screamed bohemia, with a prominent cleavage, leather bands running up her arms and nails painted black. In my book there is a romance between two 15-year-olds, and the book is from one of ...