When contemplating whether to pen something potentially controversial, your best defense is knowing when your work is protected and when it crosses the line. While libel laws vary from state to state, there are general principles you can rely upon.
For several years I labored in the agent fields, trying to harvest one for my book on helping doctoral candidates finish their dissertations. My approach, I was sure, was new, based on my longtime practice of coaching doctoral students and editing their dissertation drafts.
We're writers, not legal experts—and yet, every time we put words down on paper a number of legal questions arise. How do I copyright my work? Do I need to? Am I allowed to quotes song lyrics? Can I use someone else's character in my book? And that's just the tip of the pencil. Here I've collected a writer's set of FAQs about legal issues that will help you navigate the basics.