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47

No one can copyright an event The events that happened to your father don't belong to anyone. They just are. Different people will have different knowledge (or beliefs) about various portions of the events, but they are just different versions of something that happened. Yes, the author who published the story can copyright the book. But she is ...


40

Is there a practical, effective way to prevent this IP theft? Yes. As someone who has pirated countless books, I might give you some insight into my frame of mind. There's a very simple way you can counteract this "theft": Put a donation link on your website. You'd be surprised if I told you how many times I wanted to donate to an author after reading ...


40

Waving a wand and wiggling the fingers while magic happens is theatrics. In Faust, Goethe has the Devil make fun of a witch for being too precious and ceremonious with her magic, so you are in good company cutting out the silly hand gestures. Addressing copyright fears, wands are "stock items" in stories with magicians and wizards. No one can claim to own ...


34

The concept of the 'Magic Wand' predates Harry Potter by at least a handful of millennia. Consider the 'Rod of Circe' in Homer's Odyssey which is used to magically transform Odysseus's men into pigs. A wand appears again in C. S. Lewis' 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe', where it is the eponymous Witch's most powerful weapon. Wands are a common idea ...


28

Romeo and Juliet is in the public domain. And it's not even the source material - Shakespeare borrowed the story from somewhere else, (Pyramus and Thysbe is one very similar story, and Ovid didn't invent it either) and retold it in the form of the famous play. That means you're free to rework the source material. The same is true of common fairy tales, and ...


28

Here is the entry for thalidomide in Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1983): thalidomide n {phthalic acid + -id- (fr. imide) + -o- + imide} (1962) : a sedative and hypnotic drug C13H10N2O4 that has been the cause of malformation of infants born to mothers using it during pregnancy What this entry means is that thalidomide is a generic ...


27

I am not a lawyer, but you really should not do this. Orson Scott Card (OSC) and any partners he has (publisher, movie studios) own "Ender", and you cannot profit from it in any way whatsoever. OSC and his partners are rich enough to sue you even if you don't make any money, and may even be legally obligated to sue you in order to protect their property, if ...


18

There is probably no stopping of file sharing in the modern world. But there is a chance we can make it cool to be backer and investor, sponsor and patron. Patreon, flattr, kickstarter, indiegogo and many other sites and services exist at this point and then I haven't even searched particularly notoriously after them the last year or so. There is a ...


18

Although you have the right to tell the truth, that is not defined by what you just know must be true. The truth must be verifiable. What proof do you have to publish, or to back up what you publish (like video)? The word of a victim that, conceivably, might be lying to you? Professional news outlets, reporters and editors, are trained and consult lawyers ...


17

Technically, you own all of the content you post on Facebook; therefore, you can copyright it. HOWEVER, by posting something on Facebook you: ...grant [Facebook] a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on... Facebook. and while this license ends when you delete the content from ...


17

"Can someone take a story that happened to you, without your knowledge, and publish it?" Of course. Newspapers does this all the time. No one asks the president's permission before writing a news story about the latest bill he presented to Congress. Or on a more personal level, if Joe Blow is arrested, the newspapers don't ask his permission before writing a ...


16

Pretending to "have found and edited an obscure manuscript" is quite a common literary device. A few other examples include Neil Gaiman's The Dream Hunters (Illustrated by Yoshitako Amano, part of the Sandman series) and William Goldman's The Princess Bride. You will note that in all examples, while the pretence is maintained within the body of the text, ...


15

This probably should have been raised over on law.se, but I hang out there, and can answer. (See this question and answer from law for more on fair use.) The literary homage in which one alludes to another work has a long tradition behind it. In some cases it could be treated as infringement, but hasn't been. However, some authors choose to exercise ...


14

IANAL, and you should ask a lawyer (and in the future, please, never ever again sign a contract you do not understand), but for me it reads like this: You will retain all rights to the content of the Work. We do not own rights to your Work ... You haven't sold any rights. You still hold every right of your work. Which includes publishing it elsewhere. ...


14

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. You do have (limited) legal rights to your own name and story. In this case, if the author used your father's actual full legal name, and other identifiable details, and if your father is NOT a public figure, you might be able to make a case against her. With that said, it may be in no way worth it, unless ...


13

If your inspiration story is in the public domain (which all of Shakespeare is), you have no legal obligation to disclose your source material. Though with Shakespeare, people will of course figure it out. The musical West Side Story is a well-known retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It was in fact pitched to producers as such and of course all the reviews ...


13

I've had very good luck with fiverr.com (yes, two r's). It is called "fiverr" because the artists are supposed to be able to do some (relatively small) thing for $5 US. I have zero financial interest in it, and I only recommend it because for me it has worked great. I've gotten over twenty pieces of art there, from about four different artists. You can ...


12

In response to your specific question, I would say that ghostwriting is NOT illegal. However, I would say that it IS unethical, unfair, cheating, and a violation of academic policies. We had a discussion on this topic on the meta site a short while back after someone had asked about how to lower his writing standards to make it seem more like he was a ...


12

WHERE? It differs from country to country. In the US, you can register it with the Copyright Office. In other countries usually there's some counterpart to that. Note - you already own copyright for your book. It happened the moment you saved the final form, automatically. Still, if you want your rights protected, you need some means of proving that you ...


11

The reference is to buying out of a publisher's exclusivity clause, in order to regain the rights required to republish your own work elsewhere. Writers often refer to "getting your rights back" for the time frame for this clause to expire (it's commonly a year from date of publication). There is sometimes (often?) a "penalty clause" that effectively ...


11

I would suggest you read this link (with actual lawyers responding). Basically if you are not infringing on a copyright, you don't have to say anything. Your example of Romeo and Juliet is in the public domain; but for other works you MIGHT be infringing on a copyright. Here is the part of the 2nd answer at the link which provides detail: By Pamela ...


11

There are sites where artists who do book covers list themselves as looking for work. And there are individual websites or social media for various artists. Look around and find someone you like, or at least get a sense of the style you're looking for. No artist can duplicate every style, though some are better at it than others. Your ideal is an artist ...


11

Making political, moral or legal arguments in novels can always get you backlash, especially when it is obvious who or what you are criticizing. If it is a topic with particular passions/people behind it (e.g. gun laws in the USA, dictatorship in dictatorships, Tiananmen Square in China) that you do not want the attention of, I would recommend leaving it ...


10

While I am not a lawyer, if you purchase a physical CD (bit of a rarity these days, I know) and look at the booklet which has the liner notes, you should see copyright notices for each song. If lyrics have been provided, the notice will be at the end of each set of lyrics. (KISS used to copyright theirs under an entity called "Opporknockity Tunes," which ...


10

Up front, I must say "I am not a lawyer." Heed the advice given above and consult a lawyer specializing in copyright law. That said, it seems clear to me right now that publishing in the UK should be fine, but you could open yourself to a legal challenge from the Conan Doyle estate if you publish your work in the United States and do not contact the estate ...


10

The specific issues you are dancing around are "Trade mark dilution" and "Libel and slander". Trade mark worries can be mitigated by: not using the exact mark, and not using it in the same industry. Pepsi and Microsoft do not write novels. Using anagrams of the mark is not the same mark. For example, Pepsi-cola and Coca-cola are different trademarks. ...


10

If you really think someone is going to use your book as a how-to, then write a preface which is a single large, comprehensive disclaimer. Put all the "don't do this at home" copy there, and if it's an e-book, throw in the occasional link back to it. (Also, don't publish genuine secrets, and you may want to have the number of a good lawyer on hand as a ...


10

If you want people to be honest, make it easy for them to do so. Eighteen years ago, there was a hugely popular computer program called "Napster". It let people share their music collections with each other in violation of all sorts of copyright laws. The music publishers were up in arms over this, and filed hundreds of thousands of lawsuits against ...


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