Writing about real people can raise a number of complicated legal issues for authors. Laws governing defamation, privacy, and rights of publicity have a number of fact-specific rules, exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions that can be difficult to navigate without help. We’ve found that these issues can be an obstacle to creation for all types of authors, from bloggers to narrative nonfiction authors to historians, cultural anthropologists, and other scholarly authors.
As part of our highly used series of guides on legal issues for authors, Authors Alliance has created a guide to writing about real people for nonfiction authors. This latest guide covers three main legal issues: false statements and portrayals (e.g., defamation), invasions of privacy, and rights of publicity and identity rights. The guide includes substantial practical guidance, addressing issues such as permission, documenting your research and working with an IRB.
Join us on December 7 to learn more about the guide and what it covers, how you might use it in your work, about plans we have for accompanying materials we will release in the near future, such as one-page summaries for quick reference.