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I'm new and ignorant. For this reason I hope that you feel sympathy and want to help! (1 Viewer)

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DrJosephDiaz

I signed up last night to this forum specifically to ask this question. As I read and look around, I can tell that I'll be a member for the remainder of my natural life... if not longer!

Here is where I need some legal help about my next project: My name is Dr. Joseph Diaz and I'm a criminologist and writer. A few years ago I started writing letters back and forth with a rapist/serial killer who is in prison for the rest of his life in England. In my first letter to him I indicated that I wanted to write about him and I invited him to participate in the project and he agreed. I've written one study about him based on the letters and it appears in the Internet Journal of Criminology, but I'v now got enough letters, that I want to publish the text of his letters to me as my next book. In it I'll analyze the content of his letters to me to explain the psychology behind what he is writing and his choice of words, but my question is:
Since the letters are to me can I publish them? I'll be giving him credit of course for his words, but am I allowed to publish his letters to me? Legal advice on this would be most appreciated.

Thank you!
Joseph
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
A chat with a lawyer might be a good idea. The mixture of circumstances would make me cautious of printing the letters without his consent.
 
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Daniel Malone

Senior Member
You have the letter where he agreed, so ask him if he still does not mind, and that you will give him the credits. You should have no problem. My 14 years experience with men in prison is that all they want is some credit for something, even if negative.

However, if the letters reveal new information, on unsolved crimes, you might want to contact the authorities.
 
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Hawke

Patron
Patron
Hello and welcome to the community, Joseph. Good advice here. Advice from a lawyer and written permission - it certainly won't hurt to have all your bases covered.

Enjoy!
 
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DrJosephDiaz

Ok, now, how would I find a lawyer who could help with a question like that? A literary lawyer? Who do I go to?

Joseph
 

smilinghelps

Senior Member
Superpages.com

lol

I'm sure there are many lawyers who can answer your questions, he doesn't need to specialize in publishing to know if you can print the prisoner's letters. You would need specific permission to use the letters and give him credit, which I'm sure any lawyer with contract experience could help you with.

Good luck. I love Criminal Justice type stories, when can we see an excerpt?
 

Nickie

WF Veterans
Jospeh, first of all welcome to the forum. I'm not a lawyer, but I did study law during my uni days, and I have had dealings with law more than once. I don't see a problem that you can't publish letters written to you - after all, they are yours and you can do whatever you want with them. Also, if that person you were talking about has given a written permission that you are allowed to use his letters, no-one can take any objection.


Nickie
 

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