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Thread: Legalities

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW stormowl7's Avatar
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    Post Legalities

    Hello,

    I recently wrote a short story I might like to enter in a contest that would have the story published if won, and even if it doesn't win, I'd eventually publish it myself.

    Thing is, it has to do with a hot topic that's been going around in the writing world for a while (an author who wrote a book without putting a good warning, and it dealt with incest/rape/etc.), and I've written a story about a person who read the book, and how they reacted to it, how they reacted to the comments about the book, etc. Now, I didn't name the book or author in the story, and while I do mention its themes, would I be allowed to publish this in any way?

    Everything written in the story has already been posted on social media by others, so that's why I'm trying to find out if it's a problem since most of it is already 'out there' for everyone to see.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by stormowl7; 08-12-2017 at 02:42 AM.

  2. #2
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    People can sue other people in the US for whatever reason they want. The final outcome is up to the courts. It's a sticky wicket.
    I still poop rainbows.

    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.


  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stormowl7 View Post
    Hello,

    I recently wrote a short story I might like to enter in a contest that would have the story published if won, and even if it doesn't win, I'd eventually publish it myself.

    Thing is, it has to do with a hot topic that's been going around in the writing world for a while (an author who wrote a book without putting a good warning, and it dealt with incest/rape/etc.), and I've written a story about a person who read the book, and how they reacted to it, how they reacted to the comments about the book, etc. Now, I didn't name the book or author in the story, and while I do mention its themes, would I be allowed to publish this in any way?

    Everything written in the story has already been posted on social media by others, so that's why I'm trying to find out if it's a problem since most of it is already 'out there' for everyone to see.

    Thank you!
    While the above is true, people can sue for anything, there are things that would be much less likely for someone to try to take action.

    You just want to write a story about a generic book that had rape or incest or whatever and someone got their panties in a bunch because it didn't have a warning? Sure.

    If you're using specifics that can tie to a specific person who was upset, sued, whatever happened (as I haven't heard of this story), that's a different deal. Also I'd be wary of using specifics too close to the actual book -- if it's rape make it kiddie porn or whatever.

    You can write about real events, reference stuff that happens in the world, etc. It's when you drag real people into fiction and have them do things you'll run into trouble.

    Your characters can go see a Tom Cruise movie. Your characters can say the Tom Cruise movie sucked, and that they think Tom Cruise is a terrible actor and a nut. Your characters cannot meet Tom Cruise on the street, say that to him, and have him curse them out, punch them in the face, etc.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW stormowl7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
    While the above is true, people can sue for anything, there are things that would be much less likely for someone to try to take action.

    You just want to write a story about a generic book that had rape or incest or whatever and someone got their panties in a bunch because it didn't have a warning? Sure.

    If you're using specifics that can tie to a specific person who was upset, sued, whatever happened (as I haven't heard of this story), that's a different deal. Also I'd be wary of using specifics too close to the actual book -- if it's rape make it kiddie porn or whatever.

    You can write about real events, reference stuff that happens in the world, etc. It's when you drag real people into fiction and have them do things you'll run into trouble.

    Your characters can go see a Tom Cruise movie. Your characters can say the Tom Cruise movie sucked, and that they think Tom Cruise is a terrible actor and a nut. Your characters cannot meet Tom Cruise on the street, say that to him, and have him curse them out, punch them in the face, etc.

    The author of the book doesn't 'appear' at all in the story - it's basically just a short story about a reader who stumbles on this book, and it goes through her day after reading it, and how she's trying to cope because it brings up bad memories.

    Also, I'm in Canada - does that make a difference?

    Thank you!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    People can sue other people in the US for whatever reason they want. The final outcome is up to the courts. It's a sticky wicket.
    I'm Canadian, and live in Canada - would this make any kind of difference?

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Not likely -- just don't make it whatever the book that this apparently happened with. Like I said, if someone got all upset about a book with X, make it a book with Y.

  6. #6
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    We can't give you legal advice. For that you need a lawyer.

    Locking this, since it's clearly legal advice you're looking for.

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