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Writing Books/Getting permission writing a book.


My book will hopefully be non-fiction, depending on the answer you give me.  If I want to write a memoir/biography about my life, do I need permission from relatives, or friends who will me mentioned in the book?  Also if I want to use a reference like a sceen from a movie or a title to a movie or book, do I need permission from the movie maker or author/publisher of the other book?  Thank you for your help.

Hello Veronica:

You have two choices: write it and check with your friends/relatives before you publish it, or, just write it.

Is it libel you fear? So long as you tell the truth, there should be no problem (in a perfect world). Your opinion is not libelous: "I think Paris Hilton is ugly," is OK, while "Paris Hilton won this year's Ugly Contest" is not. You may mention Life Magazine or When Harry Met Sally as often as you like, but you may not copy material from either.

Facts are not protected by copyright but it might be best if you have some way of documenting them. If, for example, if you remember an incident one way and your mother another, you may want to agree on something before you publish.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 800 questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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