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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.

2
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3answers
195 views

Unfair Motivation for a Judge to Dislike an Accused [on hold]

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 ...
-2
votes
3answers
91 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
277 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
466 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
478 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
137 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
18 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
68 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
166 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
147 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
94 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
73 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
167 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
142 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
92 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
102 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
78 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
53 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
100 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
804 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

What is the best way to copyright my manuscript?

I wanted to ask what is fastest and safest way to register a manuscript? There are a lot of Websites that offer registering books. I'm really confused and don't know which one to trust, besides ...
5
votes
2answers
178 views

Can I use the name of an already-existent band for my fictional one?

I made up a fictional band for a story and called it Enceladus, only to discover that there is already a real band with the same name (not a very well-known band). Could I still use the name without ...
6
votes
2answers
128 views

Writing a novel for a charitable cause for free?

I am an aspiring author who wants to write a novel and have it published. Problem is that I am disabled and receive benefits, so I can't receive royalties because the income stream is unpredictable ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Pitching an RPG to a publisher: what to bring and how to safeguard the work

I'm not sure how different it would be to pitch an RPG (Role Playing Game) manual to a publisher compared to pitching a novel, but I don't have any experience so it's all the same for me. Let's say I ...
4
votes
1answer
149 views

Are tweets copyrighted?

I am writing a book which tells the story of a year in a particular niche. I want to include some tweets in the book as images like you see embedded in web pages all the time. Do I need to ask for ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

If a software project has a permissive open source license is it plagarism to copy text to a paper without attribution?

Many open source software projects have licenses that allow freely copying source code and using it however you want. Some of these licenses do not even require attribution. Source code is just text ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Do I need a star's permission to write a fiction TV series inspired but not exactly as his life?

I want to write a fiction TV series inspired by a true love story between a star and his fans except that I'm going to represent the fans as an actual female character and make it a romantic series. ...
7
votes
1answer
335 views

What is “Buying Back My Book”?

I have read on a few different author blogs, as well as some answers here I think, references to the author needing to "buy back" rights to their books. Having not yet explored all these options, ...
4
votes
3answers
181 views

Can I retell a popular manga series as a novel and query it to an agent?

I’m working on my first draft of a retelling of a popular manga series from the 90s. It has been adapted and redone at least 6-10 times as an Asian drama TV series in many different countries. I’m ...
6
votes
1answer
225 views

Can I self-publish a paperback through Amazon KDP, but make the e-book available elsewhere?

I have self-published a paperback and Kindle version of a book on Amazon KDP. For the paperback, I got a free ISBN from KDP. My question is, can I also publish a free e-book version somewhere else, ...
7
votes
2answers
86 views

How to quote a book in my novel?

I write as a hobby and so my works are pretty amateur, but I still try to keep my writing as legitimate and proper as I can. My novel is about how a teenage boy (who is notorious for being a bad ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Should I copyright my material before sending to my publisher?

Should I copyright my material before sending to my publisher? Can they steal my content?
7
votes
2answers
98 views

When a publisher buys the copyright for my books, does that include the pen name I used?

Years ago, I wrote many westerns under half a dozen names for a publisher. They bought the copyright and published them. Now I'm hoping to write for a different publisher. Can I still use one of the ...
2
votes
2answers
134 views

Ramifications of using real public people as characters in fiction?

So the story I want to write can really only be written in one of two ways. Basically it's the modern world, a handful of people develop god-like powers, and some of them want to use those powers to ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Is it considered trademark infringement to use the name of a real business in a novel?

I am writing a pivotal scene for my novel that is set in Red Square of Moscow. A very wealthy bureaucrat is leaving a famous, high end store that exists in real life. Is it considered trademark ...
6
votes
1answer
235 views

Can I quote an infamous line from a satire written in the 18th century in my novel?

I marked it with a footnote containing the writer's name, the work's title and copied the "Publisher" section from Wikipedia so far. What about the English translation of the original French quote? ...
6
votes
1answer
68 views

Can I quote dictionary definitions without permission/attribution in a fiction novel?

In the fiction novel I’m writing, the MC often searches a dictionary for the definition of a certain word, then recites the result in narration or in dialogue. For example, I took out my phone. He ...
3
votes
3answers
176 views

Realistic way to ensure letter is posted in 10+ years time [closed]

I'm a bit stuck on what should be a straightforward plot issue but not sure what is actually realistic. The character is going away into tera incognita (effectively exile until a deadly enemy has ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Can I use characters from other books if it's obvious that they aren't my characters? [closed]

I actually do not have any plans to use any characters from another book in any of my books (either as fan fiction, a joke, or a reference). Out of interest, though, would it be legal to pull in a ...
2
votes
3answers
95 views

Autobiography and lawsuits [closed]

If I write an autobiography and include living family members who have done some very strange things, am I at the risk of being sued?
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Is it legal for my book title to be similar to another book's title?

My book's title is similar to Around the World in 80 Days. The premise is making a journey in 80 days and while I am sure that using a similar premise is fine (especially since my book is a bit of a ...
3
votes
2answers
87 views

What will be the copyright situation if I self-publish an anthology of my unpublished short stories?

If I'm planning on self-publishing an anthology of unpublished short stories that I wrote, do I also need to copyright each story, or will the entire anthology's copyright suffice for each story?
1
vote
2answers
107 views

Can I use a scientific theory for my story?

Let's say that I read an article on a scientific magazine about, I don't know, a new cosmological model or something theorized by a very smart guy. Can I use it as the core idea of my sci-fi story or ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Can you claim postage as an expense in the US if it's for a non-paying market?

As a writer, there are many things that can be claimed as expenses if they help you to generate income (or try to generate income). Postage is one, but my question is specifically this: Can you claim ...
-3
votes
1answer
97 views

IRL companies roasted in fiction, what would happen? [duplicate]

So, It's now just out of plain curiosity, if I were to write: During those times, selfish assholes ruled over a significant part of Earth, the three most notorious of them was Google, the ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

How does public domain/copyright work across different countries?

What if I want to modify/sell a book that is copyrighted in my country, but is under public domain in X country? If I download a file containing the X country version, am I allowed to do this? If not, ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Can I reference real companies in a novel? [duplicate]

I'm starting to work through some ideas with a book I want to write. The protagonist is computer science genius that finds flaws and breaks through the security of several major companies. I'm not ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

How do I reconcile the difficulties of writing a roman à clef?

I've just finished reading Saul Bellow's Humboldt's Gift and, in reading the reviews afterwards, discovered that it's a roman à clef (which has been defined as "a novel about real life, overlaid with ...