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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Writing a story based on parts of greek mythology

I'd like to write a story that uses bits and pieces from the myth about Ambrogio. Can I do that legally? I have my own version of this so-called myth and don't want to get myself in trouble if I use ...
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Truth in Fiction, Liabilities

Are there guidelines for characters who are based on real people in a fiction novel? For example, I have a character who is patterned after an eccentric local elected official. Of course, different ...
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Can we get sued for copying the same drawing style?

Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball & Square Enix's Dragon Quest share the same art style, but it's because they were designed by the same artist, Akira Toriyama. I am wondering if we can get sued for ...
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How do you posthumously credit the authors of public domain content in your adaptation?

My question concerns the author Ben H. Winters who has recently published several books with himself listed as Jane Austen’s co-author. Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters is one such novel ...
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Do I have to attribute Apache font license when using it for e-book and print book?

I'm currently in the process of writing a book, and I'm using mostly OFL fonts in it, but I also find some Apache licensed fonts very attractive and would like to use them. The condition for using ...
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Should you include all documents when you send a script to the writer's guild for copyright protection?

If you're writing a movie script and you want to protect that script as a copyright, should you send other documents along with it, or is the movie script more than enough? I am thinking whether other ...
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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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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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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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4 answers
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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6 votes
1 answer
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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4 votes
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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4 answers
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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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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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2 answers
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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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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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6 votes
4 answers
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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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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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6 answers
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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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6 votes
2 answers
446 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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7 votes
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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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2 votes
9 answers
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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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16 votes
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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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