cmmatt0408

Writing first book, have one question on mention of live person

5 posts in this topic

Good afternoon , all - I have a very simple question, but I do not want to proceed to copyrighting and publishing my book until I get another opinon - short story biography about a live person (a positive , encouraging story, nothing negative), and mentions other related persons, some family, ex wife, neighbors, etc, as pertain to the story, but NO LAST NAMES and NOTHING REMOTELY DEROGATORY, but since some of them  are still alive and for people who know who the subject is, and can put 2 and 2 together, they'd be able to figure out who the mentioned parties are...do I have ANY liability in this if all first names and nothing slanderous, derogatory, negative?   I just want to be sure I can publish this and I don't have to acquire permission from anyone mentioned, and i really cannot afford to hire an attorney for just this one question.  Thank you, anyone who can answer with certainty!

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12 minutes ago, cmmatt0408 said:

I just want to be sure I can publish this and I don't have to acquire permission from anyone mentioned,

 

You need the consent of everyone mentioned. That's the certainty. That's how the pros do it.

 

12 minutes ago, cmmatt0408 said:

i really cannot afford to hire an attorney

 

Then you can't afford to write the story. Period.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cmmatt0408 said:

I have a very simple question, but I do not want to proceed to copyrighting and publishing my book until I get another opinon

 

Let's start here.  "Copyright" is not properly used as a verb.  In other words, you don't "copyright" your book.  "Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression," immediately upon fixation.  When folks use "copyright" as a verb, they typically are referring to registering the work with the U.S. Copyright Office.  While registration confers multiple benefits, it is not a prerequisite to copyright protection.

 

 

1 hour ago, cmmatt0408 said:

.do I have ANY liability in this if all first names and nothing slanderous, derogatory, negative?

 

You don't "have . . . liability" until and unless a court says you do.  If you're asking whether the potential for liability exists, the answer is yes, even if you use made up names and, in your opinion, make no defamatory, "derogatory [or] negative" statements (note that slander is the spoken form of defamation, while libel is the written form).  How much potential exists cannot be determined without reading the book.  Obviously, not including defamatory, "derogatory [or] negative" statements will reduce the potential for liability.  Similarly, using only true facts will minimize the potential.  However, just because you don't think something is "defamatory, "derogatory [or] negative" doesn't mean the subject will agree with you.  I could go on, but the bottom line is that, unless you obtain waivers, you can never completely eliminate the potential for liability; all you can do is minimize it.

 

 

1 hour ago, cmmatt0408 said:

I just want to be sure I can publish this and I don't have to acquire permission from anyone mentioned

 

Contrary to what the prior response says, you absolutely do not "need the consent of everyone mentioned" in order to publish a biographical work. The existence of innumerable "unauthorized" biographies should make that clear.

 

By the way, unless you're going to self-publish, you don't need to concern yourself with these things; any decent publisher will subject your book to scrutiny by its attorneys.

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9 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

 

You need the consent of everyone mentioned. That's the certainty. That's how the pros do it.

 

 

No, you do not need the consent of anyone mentioned in the book. What you need is to have done your research to back up everything you say in the book so that you can defend against any libel lawsuits that may come your way. If what you say is not defamatory and you can prove it then they won’t succeed in winning any lawsuit.

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