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YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS WHEN WRITING ABOUT OTHERS

What are your legal rights when writing about other people?

In continuation of our legal series, we’re discussing what your rights are when writing about other people

Respecting Other People: Writing about famous people, famous brands, and people you know

When it comes to using a brand name in a negative light, tread with care. Brand “tarnishment” is akin to defamation, and disparaging use of a brand name is often easier to find as publishing moves to the ebook and audiobook formats. Sure, you can use famous people as the basis for characters in your stories, or write about their crazy antics on your blog, but they also have unlimited funds to sue you if they take a disliking to what you say about them. Unless there is a compelling artistic reason to disparage a brand, creating a fictional brand would be prudent. If, however, you feel your story would be compromised without using the actual brand name, seek counsel to evaluate the risks and determine how best to minimize them.

Protect yourself with legal counsel. For more info visit: http://bit.ly/1S7weVt.

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Your rights

Your legal rights if your work has been taken

In continuation of our legal series, we’re discussing what your rights are if your work has been taken:

What if it’s your work that’s taken?

Without a big publisher behind you, policing your copyright adds to your post-publication duties. If you’ve taken the steps to register your work, enforcing your copyright through the court system is a little easier. Being able to identify that your work has been copied is what becomes more challenging and what do you do at that point?

 

The first step would be to contact the author (and/or publisher) and tell them they’re violating your copyright. Depending on how much of your work has been taken; you may want to speak to a lawyer to find out the best way to approach the author and/or publisher of the allegedly infringing work. If your work has not been registered yet, and the alleged infringement is significant, registering your work should be done immediately.

 

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legal issues

Legal Issues to be aware of as an Author or Self-Publisher

There are a few issues that pop up for Authors or Self-Publishers as they may not consider some of the legal issues that come up when writing their books, such as putting a contract in place with their publisher, designer or copy editor. The traditional book authorship has now become more complicated as the traditional publishing industry has changed with the internet and now more people are self-publishing. Which means that the authors who are not using publishing companies won’t have legions of experts to comb through their manuscript and may not have access to a legal department that can check their book before goes to print.

Not that authors are sued all the time, but when you take the route of self-publishing you also take on the liability that comes with the various legal issues. Navigating the legal hurdles of publishing is now something authors must be concerned.

Even if you do go the route of traditional publishing, you will most likely need to have a digital presence, which comes with a host of legal issues that you’ll want to know.

In the next few months we will share legal issues frequently encountered by Authors & Self-Publishers:

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