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libel and slander laws

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've decided to write a play based on my own experiances of one of my numerous conditions, but i suddenly thought that some of the stuff that i want to write others probably wouldn't want seen. but if i change names and such, is that a problem?

could someone just clarify the boundaries of libel and slander in the artistic format?

thanks

(and yes i've googled and couldn't understand a lot of the stuff i found)

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is this any good to you?

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Writing-Books-675/Fiction-based-fact-legal.htm

    I think the bottom line is as long as you are making some efforts to disguise their real identities and its not going to be the biggest selling play in the world then you will be ok. But that's just from the link.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    but what if it is? I doubt it but you never no...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldn't know really. I mean the obvious direction is to get legal advice but I think in the meantime and drafting it up just write it how you want. If you need to change names and locations later do that. I don't see how it's slander if youve changed enough details that the person in the play isn't identifiable as the person in real life. But I'd just concetrate on writing it really :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Useful link

    http://www.helium.com/items/761594-understanding-the-difference-between-libel-and-slander

    Scroll down halfway, for "Understanding the difference between libel and slander". Hope that helps.


    Poppi
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not very useful fact #279

    If someone says something slanderous on the telly, it's classified as libel as it's been broadcast :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If someone can be identified changing a name isn't good enough - so if the villain of the piece is the head of housing at Blochester Council and they've got an eyepatch and a wig, if the real head of housing at Blochester has an eyepatch and a wig you could find yourself in trouble.

    Best thing is to set it in a fictional place and make sure the characters are different enough from their real life counterparts that they can't be identified...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    but is what you want to say true and factual? In that sense it wouldn't be libellous or slanderous.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's not a problem if you don't present it as true.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The issue is though, even if you veil people's identy, if you make it too general then you could still be accused of implying that the event happened to someone you know. That way people can argue that because they know you and people KNOW that they know you that you can still be accused of defamation....

    My background is in editorial as opposed to literary, so I'm not sure what the exact rules are. I would have to say talk to someone who speciailises in media law.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Libel, slander or defamation shouldn't be an issue. It has to be untrue for that. There might be some issues with privacy laws though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It doesn't have to be untrue, defamation is defined as something that defames a person, causes them to lose face, earnings etc. Even if it's true.

    There are several exceptions where it may be overturned for example the information is already in the public domain, it's in the interest of the public for the information to be known (The Beckhams' injunction against him cheating with the nanny or something was overturned because the judge defined him as a role model and thus it would seem irresponsible for him to keep a squeaky clean persona with activities such as that). Etc.

    Take a look at the PCC code of conduct. Not sure if it applies to literature (as I said) but gives you an idea of things you can and can't get away with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you're really concerned consult a specialist solicitor.
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