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Thread: Hate to admit this...

  1. #1
    Registered User kittypaws's Avatar
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    Hate to admit this...

    But I have spent 2 years in a cyber relationship that turned out to be a dump. It did contain a lot of interesting turns and twist and has all the key components of being personal, sexual, disagreements, problems, other lovers, wonderful sexy writes and then dismissal. It is personal and carries allot of character....and I think this could be a very great book!! Here is my question...can I use the emails sent to ME from my cyber friend/lover in the write? This would make for a great book as it has everything from love, sex, argument, jealousy, and just plain fun!

    What do you think?

    Again....If I put his emails in "quotes" can I use them?

    Look forward to your in-put!

    kittypaws
    Everyone finds himself in the world where he belongs. The essential thing is to have a fixed point from which to check its reality now and then.
    Ancient Egyptian Inner Temples

  2. #2
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    You probably could quote the emails, but better to rewrite (and spice up) because the other person's words are at the end of the day the other person's and not yours

    If they were to suddenly have a tragic fatal accident it would be no problem, but as long as they're still breathing, they're able to wish seven Hells upon you

    If it was up to me I'd rewrite them (but also I wouldn't write a book about it in the first place)

    But something else to consider: it has already been done - though badly in my opinion - by a woman about ten years ago using her 'actual experiences'

    I can't remember the author or title, but it was in the great age of internet chatrooms and featured a lot of cybersteam and crazy nicknames, so this weary reader had to try and accept SexxyGrrl and AlligatorMonster as real people - it was tough going


    But I have no doubt you could do much better

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    biting writer
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    Letters have no copyright protection, but if the relation in question is not a public figure, their privacy might be an issue.

  4. #4
    Registered User kittypaws's Avatar
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    I plan on addressing the reader....is that a good approach?

    He wrote this and I thought...hmmmm, tell me does this seem right or am I losing my mind?

    Opinions?

    Kittypaws
    Everyone finds himself in the world where he belongs. The essential thing is to have a fixed point from which to check its reality now and then.
    Ancient Egyptian Inner Temples

  5. #5
    biting writer
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    Why not write it first? If you are going to use second person to invite the reader into a conspiracy, I'd suggest sampling Jennifer Weiner. My sister passed one of her novels onto me, and I only read so far because I don't care about low self-esteem sex with bad boyfriends, but she is, for those chick types like my sister, funny, and she has something to say to gen-X types. I think it's gen-x, but I'm a senile baby boomer

  6. #6
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    I would think twice about directly quoting anyone else's words without their permission (regardless of context).

    But rephrasing the correspondence so the gist is not lost I would imagine is not beyond your abilities. At least then you can hold up the finished article as all your own work when it becomes a blockbuster.

    H

  7. #7
    a dark soul Haunted's Avatar
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    I think the key question is what kind of book is this?

    If it's a memoir — a tell all book and you bleep out his name for privacy sake, I think you might be ok.

    However, if this is going to be a fiction novel, then he might have a claim on intellectual property because it's afterall his own writing, and if he is smart he would get a scumbag lawyer to sue your sexy kitten @ss and get you declawed. I wouldn't do that without rewriting / paraphrasing it.

    I think this question is really for your copyright lawyer. I wouldn't proceed without legal advice if I were you.

    "But do you really, seriously, Major Scobie," Dr. Sykes asked, "believe in hell?"
    "Oh, yes, I do."
    "In flames and torment?"
    "Perhaps not quite that. They tell us it may be a permanent sense of loss."
    "That sort of hell wouldn't worry me," Fellowes said.
    "Perhaps you've never lost anything of importance," Scobie said.

  8. #8
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    There might be issues with copyrights as it has been mentioned above and...

    What if we flip the coin?

    How would you feel if he used your emails in his writings?

    I am pretty sure I would not take it kindly and feel our privacy violated even though the relationship has ended.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  9. #9
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Letters (I seem to remember) are the property of the person who receives them. I assume e-mails are, too. Therefore, it seems that it is fair for you to use letters from a legal standpoint -- although it might be a betrayal of trust from a moral standpoint.

  10. #10
    a dark soul Haunted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post
    There might be issues with copyrights as it has been mentioned above and...

    What if we flip the coin?

    How would you feel if he used your emails in his writings?

    I am pretty sure I would not take it kindly and feel our privacy violated even though the relationship has ended.
    yeah, I would feel totally violated and I would sue for infringement and emotional damage *tough New Yawker talk*


    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    Letters (I seem to remember) are the property of the person who receives them. I assume e-mails are, too. Therefore, it seems that it is fair for you to use letters from a legal standpoint -- although it might be a betrayal of trust from a moral standpoint.
    Letters sent to you are yours to use in your book...isn't it like saying, I bought a copy Great Gatsby, the book belongs to me now, so I can now copy and paste it to write my own book? It would be interesting to see how the opposing lawyer argues it.

    "But do you really, seriously, Major Scobie," Dr. Sykes asked, "believe in hell?"
    "Oh, yes, I do."
    "In flames and torment?"
    "Perhaps not quite that. They tell us it may be a permanent sense of loss."
    "That sort of hell wouldn't worry me," Fellowes said.
    "Perhaps you've never lost anything of importance," Scobie said.

  11. #11
    Banned
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    My instinct says not to quote the emails, just out of tact. Unless you really think the actual emails will lend a lot to your work. I guess you'll just have to way the consequences against the benefits--that is, after you find out if it's legal or not.

    And, as to MystyrMystyry's "it's already been done," comments. I literally just wrote this in another thread:

    "Also, I wouldn't worry too much about originality. Every time I think of a story, I think to myself well, that's been done before, but, really, what hasn't? I think if the writing is good and engaging, it will pull you through."

  12. #12
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haunted View Post

    Letters sent to you are yours to use in your book...isn't it like saying, I bought a copy Great Gatsby, the book belongs to me now, so I can now copy and paste it to write my own book? It would be interesting to see how the opposing lawyer argues it.
    Apparently I was wrong in England, acc. to this article:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3204121.stm

    This guy (not surprisingly) says it's complicated:

    http://www.strom.com/pubwork/iwwoe94.html

    As far as my opinion about what OUGHT to be the case -- in general I'm pro-freedom of speech. That means I'm anti copyright benefits and anti intellectual property in general. That doesn't mean that I think that we should not help authors make money by allowing them to copyright things they write commercially. However, we should limit intellectual property rights as much as seems feasible, while supporting artists' and scientists' ability to make a living at it.

    In the case above, I'd suggest (and I don't know the law, I'm just giving my personal preference) that publication of letters or e-mails that is NOT profitable might differ from publication for money. It would be reasonable for the author of the e-mails to share in any profits. However, if you can't quote letters in public, what's next? Can someone sue if you repeat something they told you verbally? Is gossip protected by copyright? Can songwriters demand royalties for singing in the shower? Copyrights are properly tightly tied to money.

    (Of course it might still be dishonorable to repeat what someone told you in confidence, whether verbally or through e-mail.)

  13. #13
    biting writer
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    I am a standing member of the ACLU, even though they horrified me recently, and according to them, my hospital, and net neutrality, email transmissions have no legal protection, and I have been bitten in this manner, with my intemperate tongue lashings posted in public. It is not against the law to transmit them once they are sent, but everyone forgets this.

    In this instance though, I side with the conservatives. The roman a clef form is difficult to master, more so if it is grounded in cyberspace, and using his [sic] transmissions verbatim might not be as interesting as the OP believes.

  14. #14
    Registered User kittypaws's Avatar
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    Jozanny, MystyrMystyry, hillwalker, Ecurb, Mutatis-Mutandi, Scheherazade..

    I would never 'steal' someone's words...that would be disrespectful but I would adjust them!

    MystyrMystyry

    But something else to consider: it has already been done - though badly in my opinion - by a woman about ten years ago using her 'actual experiences'
    Not like this!

    Haunted
    yeah, I would feel totally violated and I would sue for infringement and emotional damage *tough New Yawker talk*
    He is eccentric and his personality lends to a very good write. I will tell him of my efforts, he will object and then two/three weeks he will say OK and by the 5th week he will be asking to join me in writing it! After two years...I believe I know him; better then he knows himself.

    Weltanschauung ~ thank you for thinking of me....yeah it could be lethal....but what he hell! Is not life about taking risks?

    With hugz and hopefully all my claws (Haunted )
    Kittypaws
    Everyone finds himself in the world where he belongs. The essential thing is to have a fixed point from which to check its reality now and then.
    Ancient Egyptian Inner Temples

  15. #15
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    KP- An interesting thread indeed. (And cyber-romances actually exist? How do you maintain a relationship if you have no physical contact?)

    As for the legal aspect of this conversation, I think you received much good advice. I myself know nothing about copyright law. I can speak about the ethics of the situation. I suppose if you really were published using his words as part of the body of work, this could lead to him experiencing great humiliation in his personal life. I wouldn't wish that one anyone.

    People have many reasons to publish such books based on these types of experiences. It is important to think about what drives the need to do this. The termination or lack of termination of your relationship sounds extremely painful as if you were left hanging out there blowing in the wind. I don't think revenge is ever a good reason, and forgive me, I don't mean to imply that is your motivation. Just for discussion's sake, I think it's worth mentioning.

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