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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have self published a novel which is largely based on my

Resolved Question:

I have self published a novel which is largely based on my relationship with someone and their life but all names have been changed. I have had some anonymous texts from someone saying they are making a claim for defamation
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Is what you are saying true please?

Customer:

Yes.

Customer:

All of the characters have different names

Alex Watts :

Ok.

Alex Watts :

in that case you have nothing to worry about

Alex Watts :

The names have changed

Alex Watts :

Even if they had not, if what you are saying is true then they can not do anything

Alex Watts :

They would have to show they have suffered serious harm and that the material is false.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Are you absolutely sure? It is marketed as a novel, work of fiction. Everyones name is ***** ***** novel uses lots of information acquired from email exchanges, snippets of chat. He was aware I was writing it. His occupation and name and that of his son are different. Please could you quote the law that I need to refer to to back up your advice.

Alex Watts :

I am sure. Yes

Alex Watts :

Defamation Act 2013

Alex Watts :

Section 1:

Alex Watts :

(1)A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.


(2)For the purposes of this section, harm to the reputation of a body that trades for profit is not “serious harm” unless it has caused or is likely to cause the body serious financial loss.

Alex Watts :

Section 2

Alex Watts :

(1)It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the imputation conveyed by the statement complained of is substantially true.

Customer:

Which section?

Customer:

ok!

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

I still feel very scared. The book describes his erectile dysfunction, his son's bi polar, his attempts at suicide. It's all very gritty stuff but I have passed it off as a novel and as it is only self published I have no idea how he knows about it.

Alex Watts :

Ok, but again if its true then you need not worry.

Alex Watts :

I can't help you with a moral answer, only a legal one!

Customer:

Some things I have had to elaborate on to make it into an interesting story

Alex Watts :

Of course.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you about this today please?

Customer:

Is my main case then that names are ***** ***** I am passing off as fiction?

Alex Watts :

No. Its the facts are true

Alex Watts :

But names are ***** ***** secondary

Customer:

Virtually true - is that the same thing though Thank you!

Alex Watts :

Yes. It needs to be substantially true.

Alex Watts :

Do you need me to clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

Thank you for your help and happy Christmas

Alex Watts :

Happy Christmas to you too!

Customer:

over and out

Alex Watts :

If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go - the button is at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

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