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WHAT CAN I DO : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

WHAT CAN I DO

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
LilliesCarol
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WHAT CAN I DO

Postby LilliesCarol » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:46 am

A few years ago I helped a friend write stories of how he collected over 600 autographs of famous people and had them embroidered onto a tablecloth. He would send me his notes of the interview via email and I would write stories from there doing extra research, if needed, to enhance the story. Much of what he wanted to keep in the story was all the leg work and personal things it took him to do to get the autograph. I felt most of this should be left out, but he insisted it be kept in. I wrote fifty stories and would like to know if I can turn these tales into a book about my friend? WE had no written agreement about the stories so can I use them to suit my purpose? What are your thoughts along these lines.
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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pls
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Re: WHAT CAN I DO

Postby pls » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:38 am

Sure. Why not?

600 embroidered signatures? OMG. And I grumble when I have to sew a button on one of my shirts.
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: WHAT CAN I DO

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:48 am

If you wrote them for him, or based off his work, then, no, you can't use them without his permission. Work for hire is still work for hire, even if there is no written contract, and even if no money changed hands. A good example of work for hire is when you say: Much of what he wanted to keep in the story was all the leg work and personal things it took him to do to get the autograph. I felt most of this should be left out, but he insisted it be kept in

At the very least, he owns fifty percent of these stories, and my guess is that without a contract, a court would stand a good chance of giving him full right. At worse, my experience says he is going to get the fifty percent.

Clear it with him first. Ask him if he minds if you turns these into a book. You may gain rights this way, but as is, I'd wager much that at least fifty percent of the stories, and what happens to them, belong to him, even though you wrote them.

LilliesCarol
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Re: WHAT CAN I DO

Postby LilliesCarol » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:17 pm

Please forgive me, I forgot to mention that my friend died earlier this year or around Christmas of last year. I wondered why I could not reach him, and another friend wrote and told me of his death. So would this make a difference. I would not write the stories as we had each agreed, I would make this book about him. He had no children, his brother and sister both died and he only has a niece, but I have no idea what her name is or where she lives.
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

James A. Ritchie
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Re: WHAT CAN I DO

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:27 pm



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