Are Lawsuits Against Writers About to Rise? – Day 334

One of the services that publishers provide that many self-publishers won’t have access to is legal advice. I figure it’s only a matter of time before some poor writer pays the price.

We’ve all heard the stories about “legal” not thinking such-and-such is a good idea. I believe I’ve experienced similar things in my day job (though not in my fiction… yet). It seems like a hassle, but I’m certain that they’ve prevented lawsuits from happening just by stepping in.

But what happens when this process is skipped? Can the author really be opening himself/herself to a lawsuit? And what happens then — do they have to pay for a legal defense all of a sudden, or will it be simply a cease and desist type thing?

I started thinking about this today as I was writing myself. I have mentioned a fairly big company, and although I’m not saying bad things about the company necessarily, it’s not exactly entirely complimentary either. It got me to thinking — what if I self-published this, and the company sued me for defamation of character? Would that company be more likely or less likely to do so because I’m a “small-time” writer? And would that company also sue Kindle or Apple or whatever platform the book is on, simply for distributing it? Would that then force the content “publishers” (since that is essentially what they are) to then do a legal review of every ebook before it goes on sale, thus upping the costs for self-publishers?

Would this actually stifle self-publishing altogether?

A lot of ifs, I know. But there is going to be some legal action against a writer — at least, I find it very hard to imagine it is not going to. I might be in a grey area, but how many writers are going to write patently libelous things against a company, and get themselves into trouble?

Never mind companies — how many are going to publically let loose on a boss, co-worker, ex-spouse, etc., and perhaps do the same thing? I mean before, it would be hard to get something so blatant through a publisher, but now anyone can do POD and ebooks on Kindle.

Not sure how this will all play out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing about these little legal battles starting to pop up.

What do you think? Is this something writers should be worried about, or is it just a figment of my overactive, paranoid imagination?

Got two solid hours in today. Having troubles again with the plot line, but it’s coming. Sometimes I feel more like a sculpture than a writer — adding a bit here, taking a bit away there, and watching the whole thing take shape… Very fulfilling, actually.

More time scheduled tomorrow, so until then…

~Graham

Novel Writing Totals

Today: 2 hours
Total: 160.5 hours

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