Questions tagged [legal]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
15
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
218 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
223 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
68 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
110 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
459 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
270 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
88 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
65 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
115 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
240 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 ...
-4
votes
3answers
129 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
362 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
619 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
806 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
327 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
30 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
86 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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
327 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
114 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
133 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
171 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
151 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
105 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
110 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
112 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
91 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? ...
5
votes
2answers
124 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
2k 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
247 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
546 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
133 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
154 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
318 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
70 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
109 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
755 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
247 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
415 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
725 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
7k 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
151 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
3answers
473 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
785 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 ...