I know you’re not a lawyer but I have a question.
What liability would an author face basing a fictional character on a living politician who committed crimes, admitted to them, was punished by a judge in a court of law (thereby making it a matter of public record), and then served jail time for those crimes?
DISCLAIMER: Angela is not an attorney. The information below is not legal advice. It is based on stories authors and attorneys have shared with Angela over the past 18 years.
If you wrote an article or even a non-fiction book detailing his crimes and convictions, assuming everything you wrote was true (based on the evidence, recorded testimony, and the conviction), he probably wouldn’t sue you.
If you fictionalize his story, he definitely can, especially if details of the crimes or anything else were changed. And, yes, even if you don’t use his name, if he or anyone else can make the connection, he can sue.
Here’s an example. Everybody knows about OJ Simpson and the white Bronco. If you wrote a book about a disgraced sports star who (allegedly) killed his ex-wife and her boyfriend, and who had a bloody glove incident, and who was convicted, but you added a piece to the novel about him crashing his Bronco into a crowd, and hurting or killing some people, he could sue you for that part of the crash part of the book because people reading the book would know it’s OJ Simpson…and some might believe the part about the Bronco crash. That, of course, would harm his reputation further than he’s already harmed it himself.
- PUBLIC FIGURES AND LIBEL: “I want to write a tell-all book about a celebrity I once knew. Can a public figure sue me?”
- 13 Signs You Shouldn’t Include That Risky Content In Your Book by Angela Hoy
- How to Avoid Giving Yourself (and Your Publisher) LEGAL Nightmares! by Harvey Randall
- Don’t Invite a Lawsuit with Your Memoir By Angela Hoy
- Featuring Real People in Your Writing? Protect Yourself From Lawsuits! by Angela Hoy
- Well, Excuuuuuse Me for Trying to Protect You From a Lawsuit! by Angela Hoy
- More Q&A with Angela!
The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication
Practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.
We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts
and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!
Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor,
which makes it fun for creative folks like you!
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!