When writing a book, if specific people are mentioned by name must you get releases signed?

I’m currently in the process of writing a book. I am a married man with 3 stepchildren. My wife and kids are going to be mentioned in the book. Do I need them to sign consent forms or can I use pseudonames?

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Personal Injury, Missouri


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since you are writing a book where your wife and three (3) step children are specifically mentioned by name in it, it would be a good idea for each of them to sign a specific release to you allowing the use of specific reference of them. The document should be dates and signed by each of them before a notary public.

Better practice is not to use the names of your wife and stepchildren in the book. Most authors do not make specific reference to actual people that a writing is about and in the book's preface makes some reference that "any reference to specific individuals alive or not is specifically a coincidence."

You need to be aware that some people may desire a sense of privacy and do not want specific reference to themselves in a book.

Good luck.


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