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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26472
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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If I write a non-fiction book (e.g autobiography or snippets

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Hi, if I write a non-fiction book (e.g autobiography or snippets of my life), do I need to get permission/share royalties of the people I have referred to in the article?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.
I have been in the legal profession, in high street practice, for 30 years so I have wide range of experience in a great many different aspects of law.
Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Do you have a publisher?

do you expect to sell many?

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I plan to self publish online
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I’m not sure what the sales will be like (it would be my first publication)
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hello?

I am sorry, but this is not a chat service. It’s an email reply board and therefore there may be a delay getting back to you because we have clients and travelling and other users to deal with.

Sometimes we will get back to you in minutes, other times it will be longer.

You don’t need permission but it would become courtesy to tell them what you are doing and ask for approval.

Be careful however for fallout if they don’t like something that you write about them. So you need to be extremely careful lest what you say about them is glowing.

Many authors change the names of people in the book.

It’s always a good idea to get the manuscript read by a lawyer or at least those sections but it’s not cheap to do that.

You do need permission to use photographs of them.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Stuart

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you very much for the information. I was planning on changing the names - in this case would it be necessary to inform and get approval from them? (Once published, if they read it they may infer a particular event is about them, but I will look to remove any form of explicit identification of them)To give some context, the publication I’m planning would be about some of my own life experiences. However, by nature there would be some events that involve people I know (albeit with changed names). I’m not looking to intentionally say anything negative about anyone - it’s mainly meant to be about light hearted events. However, there’s always a possibility that some may not appreciate it!

Absolutely. Even if it’s light-hearted some people may not like it. I did a really light-hearted eulogy last year and I sent it to the family for approval and they really didn’t like it. They wanted it serious.

Good luck with the book.

It's my pleasure to help. I’m glad that I was able to help so far.

Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem.

Can I help you any further with this?

I'm happy to clarify anything which is outstanding. Please don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

Stuart

Can I help you any further with this?

It's my pleasure to help. I’m glad that I was able to help so far.

Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem.

I'm happy to clarify anything which is outstanding.

Please don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

Stuart

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I have a couple of follow up/related questions:
1. So if I change the names should I still need to get approval from them?2. If I write a fiction book inspired/based on a (real-life) story someone told me (verbally - not published, although they may have diaries), are there any legal implications?

A lot depends on whether they could be identified. Out of courtesy I would tell them what you are doing rather than ask them. You might want to also let them have the paragraph.

I would start by using their name and if they object tell them that you will change the name if they prefer.

Copyright exists because somebody creates something. It can exist in written form or verbal form. A song which is sung has copyright in the arrangements, copyright in the music, copyright in the words, and copyright in the production.

So if somebody tells you a story which they made up, and you publish that story then you breach their copyright. Copyright in the spoken word.

Can I help you any further with this? It's my pleasure to help. I’m glad that I was able to help so far. Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem. I'm happy to clarify anything which is outstanding. Please don't hesitate to ask. Kind regards Stuart

Hello again. If you don’t have any further questions, I will mark this question thread as complete but don’t worry, the thread stays open if anything else crops up over the course of the next days weeks or months. I’m glad that I was able to help. Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem. Kind regards Stuart

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you very much for the advice!

Thank you. I am glad to help.

By the way, if you would like to ask me a new question in the future, (not just clarification on this thread, then please just type @ (the at sign) followed by my name and you’ll be able to select my username to tag me in the question.

If you like, you can also put “For Stuart J only” in the question thread and then the other experts will know that it’s for me.

You can also tag me as one of your favourite experts.

Thank you

Kind regards.

Stuart

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