As a writer, chances are very good that you are not also a lawyer. However, you probably have questions about the law as regards to writing, whether it be copyright questions, questions about fair usage, questions about where to find representation for yourself (cheaply, let’s face it, we’re probably not rich yet) in case someone sues you or in case you feel you need to take legal action against someone else over some issue. The legal world can be (and in fact is deliberately) confusing for us mere mortals.
That is why we have Mark Fowler, author of the blog Rights of Writers. Mark has dozens of posts discussing various issues of interest to the new, and not-so-new, author.
Much of his discussions are about journalism as opposed to fiction writing, but there is still plenty in there for fiction or genre writers also. Questions about what constitutes Fair Use? He’s got a post for that. Questions about the legality of including someone else’s characters in your works? He’s got a post about that. Questions about how far you can stretch the truth when talking about yourself? Questions about whether or not a real life figure can sue you for liable or slander? Questions about where to find other legal resources for authors, hopefully within your budget? He’s got all of that.
Now, I do want to stress one thing. While Mark is a lawyer, his blog does not constitute “legal advice.” He is offering advice, clarifications, and opinions from his years as a lawyer, he is not advising -as a laywer.- There is a subtle but important distinction.
If the legal side of writing seems a bit overwhelming, head on over to Rights of Writers. The answers you seek may be there, and at the very least, he may have links to where you can get the answers.
Follow Mark on his twitter account, linked to from the sidebar of his blog.