Q – Can You Claim to Have “Channeled” Deceased Celebrities in Your Book?

Q – Can You Claim to Have “Channeled” Deceased Celebrities in Your Book?

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific situation. 

I received an email from a woman who claims to have written a book about her channeled conversations with deceased celebrities. Whether you believe in channeling (a two-way conversation between the living and the dead) or not is irrelevant. What bothered me was the fact that the author used celebrities instead of regular folks, which may indicate a belief that, by doing so, she might make more money on her book. Hmmm….

Imagine being a family member of one of the people “channeled” in the book. If it were me, I’d be livid that someone was trying to make a buck using my family member’s name…whether he or she was a celebrity or not.

Second only to the ethical issue is the legal one. I first asked the author if she’d obtained permission from the celebrities’ heirs before writing her book. Her response was very long but, in essence, she said no. She went on to say that she hadn’t written anything negative. That doesn’t matter.

It was very difficult for me to be polite in my response but I believe I was successful in doing so.

Here’s what I wrote:

The names of many dead celebrities are trademarked. You can’t use their trademarked names for commercial gain without obtaining permission from the current owners of the trademark.

This article will be helpful:
https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/using-name-or-likeness-another

We will not be publishing your book.

RELATED

Read More "Ask The Expert" 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!

33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters



I admire any writer who wants to tackle a blind character. But so many writers take up this challenge and FAIL. They research blindness by reading other fiction books, by observing their blind colleagues and acquaintances, and by tying on a blindfold and pretending to be blind themselves.



I understand the challenges your characters face, their triumphs, their hopes and their fears, because I've lived them. I work with people who have varying degrees of blindness every day, so I've seen every challenge, every situation you could imagine.



Let me share my knowledge to improve your writing. You can create blind characters that readers will fall in love with.

~Stephanie Green







TRAVEL WRITING 2.0: Earning Money from your Travels in the New Media Landscape - SECOND EDITION


Completely revised edition of the ground-breaking travel writing book that provides a road map to success in the digital age. It dives headlong into the entrepreneurial world of blogging and digital books, while still acknowledging the real money to be made in declining print forms.

Drawing on interviews and survey responses from more than 100 successful travel writers and bloggers, this is the definitive guide to creating success instead of waiting for permission. Written by a veteran, award-winning writer with two decades of experience as a book author, online publisher, freelancer, and blogger.

Read more here:
http://writersweekly.com/books/4814.html





4 Responses to "Q – Can You Claim to Have “Channeled” Deceased Celebrities in Your Book?"

  1. Terry Arnold  October 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Dear Ask the Expert

    A person asked me to review his self-copyrighted 30-page synopsis of a book he wanted to publish and wanted me make it book form. I agreed and offered to develop the first three chapters to see how he liked my approach and style. He disagreed on my approach. We said our goodbyes and that was it.
    I recently retrieved my copy of the synopsis and first chapters I produced and decided I wanted to continue to make it into book. I have tried to contact the originator by letter and email with an offer to purchase his rights. I received no response to numerous received tries.
    I have developed the text to more than 12,000 words and 35 pages so far with new and significant changes to the original synopsis. I plan to have at least 50,000+ words upon completion.
    Can I proceed with the book’s completion without fear of copyright infringement?
    Terry A.

    Reply
    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  October 8, 2020 at 1:58 pm

      I’m not an attorney so I can’t give you legal advice. You should consult with an attorney. That said… The originator owns the rights to his story. If you publish that book, I believe you’ll have a hot legal mess on your hands.

      Angela

      Reply
  2. p  October 7, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Great advice and very diplomatic.

    Reply
    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  October 8, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      Yeah, it was difficult to be diplomatic on that one…. 😉

      Ang

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.