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Litchick, UQD....anyone else who may know about slander/libel

(13 Posts)
jofeb04 Thu 18-Jun-09 19:36:10


I've been writing a fictional story for some time now, and am starting to get worried about slander/libel.
The story concerns a British government, and whilst it is completely fictional, it does involve wrong-doings by the government.

When reading books, there is always a disclaimer. Does this remove any chance of slander etc?


OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 18-Jun-09 22:31:40

As long as you're using fictional names for your book, and it's not presented as fact, I don't see how anyone could sue for libel.

jofeb04 Fri 19-Jun-09 19:55:22

Thanks for that, it is what I was hoping for.

edam Fri 19-Jun-09 19:58:14

There's usually a disclaimer to the effect that all characters and events exist only in the imagination of the author. Sure you can find examples.

Is your book going to be published? If so, the publishers will check for libel.

jofeb04 Sat 20-Jun-09 07:45:16

Thanks for that Edam. At the moment, I am just writing it for me iyswim. Would like it to be published, but that is far off in the distance.

Scootergrrrl Sat 20-Jun-09 08:08:06

There are very specific criteria to be met in order for a libel or slander prosecution to suceed.
In the first instance, the person suing you for libel (libel is something permanent, ie a piece of published writing and slander is something spoken) must be identifiable from what you've written. If your story is completely fictional, the characters exist nowhere but inside your head.
The disclaimer is normally so people can't come along and say you've pinched their life for your story.

MegBusset Sat 20-Jun-09 08:26:44

Erm, Scootergrrrrl I'm not sure you're right. I believe that there has been at least one successful action by someone who just happened to have the same name as a fictional character in a book. So although it's unlikely to happen, it's not impossible.

MegBusset Sat 20-Jun-09 08:31:14

In fact the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Otherwise I could write a book called 'The Adventures Of JoFeb04' in which JoFeb04 was ugly, smelly, worked as a prostitute and snogged tramps for fun whilst coshing old ladies over the head. I could argue that "Oh, JoFeb04 is just a fictional character" but the book could still possibly bring the JoFeb04 into 'ridicule, contempt or hatred'.

MegBusset Sat 20-Jun-09 08:31:39

could bring the real JoFeb04

jofeb04 Sat 20-Jun-09 10:48:19

Lol @ being a prositute , but I am starting to understand what you mean.

Basically, the story is surrounding the time that coal mines were closed, and the govenment at that time did somethings dodgy!

So, whilst the names and persons are completly fictional, people will know what I am talking about iyswim.

Litchick Wed 24-Jun-09 11:23:08

Just right it as you think best and then when the time comes the publishers will advise you. But it sounds okay to me. My books always have fictional politicians, senior coppers etc doing rotten things. grin
Out of interest how far are you in?

Litchick Wed 24-Jun-09 11:24:01

write it obviously. Can't even blame my dyslexia or RSI for that one!!!!

jofeb04 Mon 29-Jun-09 12:48:15

Thanks for that. I've got about 40,000 words so far.....backed up everywhere!

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