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Chat Uses

Defamation Law Discussion Forum

Chat Uses

Postby Buckly » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:26 pm

Hi, I dated a woman online for over a year.  We broke up about 2 years ago and I have since decided to write a book on my life.  I need to use our chats from some of our talks, when I talk about that part of my life.  I have decided to change my name(using a pen) and changed everyone's names.  Is it illegal to use our chats because she will not give me permission? Thanks for the help, Nick
Buckly
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:58 pm

Chat Uses

Postby Malise » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:03 pm

Hi Nick

I believe that whatever a person writes is owned by that person under copyright laws unless whatever is written is on behalf of the company that person works for.

Whatever you write in an email(a personal email) is copyrighted to you and if your emails are passed around without your permission then that is a breach of copyright law.  That's why people put a disclaimer on the bottom of their emails stating that what has been sent is not to be passed on etc etc without the specific permission of the writer.

Chat logs would(in my opinion) be the same.  What you write belongs to you and what the other person writes belongs to him/her. Just because you have kept copies of the chat sessions does not give you the right to publicize anything the other person typed. I personally would never use word for word quotes from any chat logs especially when the other person has denied you the right to do so.

The best thing to do is to seek legal help regarding your concerns because I live in Australia and you in the USA and our laws could differ.  It's worth paying the price to have in writing what the copyright legal expert rules.  

It's also important that if you use any brand names in your book you must seek permission in writing to use those names. You must also follow any directions given by those companies as to how you use the brand names in your book. If you don't then you are leaving yourself wide open for copyright infringement.  I sought permission in my book to use the brand name of an alcoholic beverage.  I was given written permission with certain provisos on how I used the brand name and I was very careful to abide by those rules.

I mentioned in my manuscript about downloading music online(which at the time was prevalent in the chat rooms I frequented and there were actually music rooms set up by the IRC service provider that we all used to download music for free).  Before I commenced writing however those rooms were shut down because the service provider was warned it was breaching copyright law and could face huge claims against it.  I didn't think a thing about what I had written but was advised by my lawyer to remove all references I had made to downloading music because in his opinion I could be used as an example by one of the large corporations and be sued for breach of copyright for an amount I could never pay.  That's how fine the line is between freedom of speech and being sued for breach of copyright.

Surely you can write your book without having to quote actual words typed in a chat session?  A good writer can get across what he/she wants to without taking the chance on being sued by quoting what people have said/typed.  You must also be very careful that even though you change the nickname or name of someone you write about, that you ensure the other person could not prove that a third person reading your book will know who you are writing about. Again, any sections of your book that you may be concerned about should be read by a legal expert in cases of defamation to evaluate the risk, if there is one. The fact that the other person involved here knows your plans to write a book leaves you(in my opinion) wide open for litigation if you make an error in judgment about what you write.

Good luck and good writing.

Vena  
Malise
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:31 am

Chat Uses

Postby jarel » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:08 am

Hi, I dated a woman online for over a year.  We broke up about 2 years ago and I have since decided to write a book on my life.  I need to use our chats from some of our talks, when I talk about that part of my life.  I have decided to change my name(using a pen) and changed everyone's names.  Is it illegal to use our chats because she will not give me permission? Thanks for the help, Nick
jarel
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:50 pm


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