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Writing Books/Legal standing?


Hi Jannie,

For a long time I have been thinking about compiling a collection of ghost stories and spooky coincidence from within the medical profession. Whether true or urban myth is unimportant to me. I have approximately 15 that have either been told to me or I have experienced. I am aware of the patient privacy issues surrounding this endeavor. I have been a member of an online nursing forum for a number of years and by coincidence a recent discussion was started on the same subject. I thought that this may be a good source of material, but I am unsure of where I stand legally. Would I need to approach each contributor to seek pernission or can I simply use the stories as they have already been made public?
Thanks for any help you may offer me.  

No, you cannot use stories you have heard or read-- you must get permission by the person to reprint his or her story.

Just because they are posted on the Internet in a forum, does not give you permission to reprint. Each post's author has an automatic copyright, being the author of that post.

Contrary to what some people believe, the Internet is not a free source of un-copyrighted material especially in forums. There is ownership of the posts and rights associated to that ownership.

Seek permission, even by email, to obtain an email permission that is electronically signed by the person/author.

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Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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