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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2answers
62 views

Taking suggestions from your readers on how to progress your story without being liable to legal damage?

Taking suggestions from your readers on how to progress your story without being liable to legal damage? Is there a way to navigate this, or this should be a no no at all times, because the risk of a ...
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2answers
126 views

What are the fair use rules in the USA for short quotes from books or song lyrics in a novel?

What are the fair use rules in the USA for short quotes from books or song lyrics in a novel when they are explicitly quoted and attributed to their source? I'm looking at self-published work (...
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1answer
105 views

What are the copyright laws on writing books about living artists?

I was wondering if I wanted to write, illustrate, and publish children's books that is about an artist and their life (their journey as a child to an adult but in a simple whimsical childlike story), ...
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4answers
97 views

What are the legal protections for fictionalized autobiographies?

Suppose an author is writing a novel that is heavily based on autobiographical material and is based in the USA and Canada. What steps would need to be taken for the author to avoid being sued for ...
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1answer
81 views

using a word for another meaning

Sorry if it sounds stupid but here's the question: I have a character who thinks the Italian word "pronto" has a similar meaning as "stupid" no matter how much others tell him the ...
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2answers
102 views

Parallel Universes With Real people [duplicate]

I'm writing a story where the main character is going into different parallel universes. Can you get in trouble for referencing a real person or thing if they’re in one of those different universes?
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1answer
133 views

How do you ensure people don't plagiarize a work you've submitted to the writer's guild?

I found that there's a writer's guild registration system, but it made me wonder what allows you to prevent people from reading work submitted to the writer's guild association and plagiarize it? Is ...
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1answer
61 views

How do you timestamp a written document?

How do you timestamp a written document? So that it can be used in a court of law if you seek to get compensation for a stolen intellectual property?
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1answer
121 views

Can I use the brand name of a drug?

More specifically I want to mention the drug Dexedrine, however, if that can lead to legal problems, I could simply describe it as an Amphetamine prescription.
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2answers
144 views

Publishing Contract - Unsure about the legal wording

So I've just been sent through a publishing contract for my debut novel. I don't have a literary agent as I submitted straight to the publisher. They liked the manuscript and have sent me a contract ...
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1answer
58 views

What permissions do I need for publishing a story with a chapter requested by somebody else?

In my story I have a chapter that was requested by another person while I was accepting requests. Now as I am getting a second draft and Betas, I was wondering what kind of legal stuff I would need to ...
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100 views

Is magical factions story too similar to Harry Potter?

I have and idea for a story where everybody has magical potential and at a certain age they must choose a style of magic of where they will base their learning from. Is this too similar to Harry ...
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1answer
47 views

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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3answers
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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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0answers
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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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5answers
362 views

Am I able to freely borrow or reference real people, places or things without fear of legal persecution?

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
87 views

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
168 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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3answers
90 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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4answers
116 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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0answers
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
123 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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2answers
170 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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2answers
4k views

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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2answers
114 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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2answers
80 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
123 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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2answers
139 views

In a book about myself, can I name real places like the school I went to?

I am going to write a book about myself. I will be working on this for awhile and it most likely will not be published physically. But I want to say the name of my middle school/high school. I want to ...
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1answer
115 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
67 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
435 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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2answers
143 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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2answers
261 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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0answers
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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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4answers
163 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
79 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
478 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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2answers
417 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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2answers
592 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
189 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
187 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
9k 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
216 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
1k 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
323 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
7k 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
91 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
319 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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