1. Kate O Neill
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    Kate O Neill New Member

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    Traditional Publishing Rights to a story

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Kate O Neill, Jul 1, 2013.

    Just wondering if anyone can help me on a matter in regards to a book just recently published that is claimed as fiction but is clearly based on an associate of mines life story (was admitted by the author that it was in an email yet a disclaimer is present in the book). She was asked by the author if the author could write her story but she refused and the author proceeded to write it anyway.. It is a story that has been in the public news and names have been changed but it is clearly based on my associates life and that of her baby girl who passed away in very tragic circumstances... Really need to help this lady as her life and her babys story are being exploited for monetary gain. thanks for any feedback anyone can give me...
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt any solicitors hang around here, I think you should go seek professional help.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with the advice to seek professional counsel. If the underlying story itself is or has been in the news, it may present some problems (see, for example, Law and Order, a TV show that routinely took cases from the news and did their own take on them, changing names and so on. But even they got sued for defamation at one point (not, however, for taking the details of the story in the first place), though I never heard about any resolution of that case. The law is going to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so depending on where the book is available, you may get different answers in different places.
     
  4. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    I don't know if you can do anything. He changed names, he could lie in court. You have no proof otherwise. I'm sorry for your friends loss but a baby dying isn't an original story and you'll need a very good lawyer to pull it off... :(
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree... since he changed the names and the story was in the public view on news reports anyway, then your friend may not have any grounds for a lawsuit...

    and no one can tell you/her that but an attorney who specializes in such litigations...
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Real life events inspire many a story -- a couple years ago there was a novel that was clearly inspired by Laura Bush and her experience with having accidentally killed someone in an automobile accident years ago. But it was not purported to be her story and was not in any sense sold as a biography or true account. Also, the Law and Order episodes are almost all inspired by true events, as has been noted above.

    If there are inaccuracies that make the friend look bad, and it is clear that it specifically makes the woman appear bad (such as it indicates she really murdered the child, even though there is no evidence she did so), she *might* have a case, but even then it would depend on a lot of things. To know for certain, your friend would have to contact an attorney in Ireland who specializes in this area (not just any attorney.)
     

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