Legal Advice - Book Publishing -

bentobox

Old-Salt
As I have already mentioned, even if I change the names, anyone who I served with will know exactly who I'm talking about anyway. I don't believe it is possible to tell a true story when the names are fictitious. It just doesn't make any sense.
But who does it make sense to? If you are hopeful of a decent sized reading population, the vast majority will be none the wiser if a few names are changed.
 
As I have already mentioned, even if I change the names, anyone who I served with will know exactly who I'm talking about anyway. I don't believe it is possible to tell a true story when the names are fictitious. It just doesn't make any sense.

Would it possible to be non-specific, while also being somewhat specific. For example you could refer to RSM of 14 Mess Tin Repair Unit being an absolute spanker, but if you don’t say what have period you are referring to, it could be the bloke in question, or any of his predecessors or successors.

Even if you said something like “the RSM was a real belter, but Tommy Atkins was a great Badge” it still doesn’t ID the belter, because Tommy could have been before or after. I would think all you have to do is leave a little doubt. Or say “we had many units in Germany at the time, and one of the RSMs….”

There’s a question in my mind though, what if you do uniquely identify somebody, but don’t name them, is that still bad juju? “The pilot of Lynx ZA718 that shot down a German UH-1 with a mess cannon and tennis ball in May 87”, for example?
 
In his wonderful book "Quartered Safe Out Here" G.M, Fraser used false names for just about everyone and it didn't harm the story at all. Anyone who served with him would probably know who they really were of course. (Yes I know much later on he did publish the real names) . I'd go with made up names .
 
It does if it stops you being taken to court.
After doing a lot of research, I believe I haven’t slandered anyone, or committed Libel. As far as defamation of character is concerned, I haven't accused anyone of being a criminal, or suggested in any way that they could commit or may have committed a crime.

I have been brutally honest in giving my opinions about how I felt about certain individuals based on their behaviour, their attitudes, and how they impacted or affected me as a result.

These are my personal opinions about NCO's during Basic Training, Course Instructors throughout the gazillion courses I attended over 24 years, some work colleagues, some bosses I worked for. If I felt and believed at the time they were knobs
persons of low moral fibre then that is how I've described them. Who is to say I'm wrong?

I wish there was a way around using their actual names, but at the moment I can't see it. If you served in a particular Corps or Regiment, and you know some of those people you served with will read the book; and they were present at the time of the event you are describing, they will know exactly who you ate talking about regardless of what name is used.
 

ACAB

LE
After doing a lot of research, I believe I haven’t slandered anyone, or committed Libel. As far as defamation of character is concerned, I haven't accused anyone of being a criminal, or suggested in any way that they could commit or may have committed a crime.

I have been brutally honest in giving my opinions about how I felt about certain individuals based on their behaviour, their attitudes, and how they impacted or affected me as a result.

These are my personal opinions about NCO's during Basic Training, Course Instructors throughout the gazillion courses I attended over 24 years, some work colleagues, some bosses I worked for. If I felt and believed at the time they were knobs
persons of low moral fibre then that is how I've described them. Who is to say I'm wrong?

I wish there was a way around using their actual names, but at the moment I can't see it. If you served in a particular Corps or Regiment, and you know some of those people you served with will read the book; and they were present at the time of the event you are describing, they will know exactly who you ate talking about regardless of what name is used.
Well, I hope you have deep pockets for when the inevitable shit storm happens.
 
Well, I hope you have deep pockets for when the inevitable shit storm happens.
If someone wrote a book and in it they had written something about me in the way I have; I may be a tad annoyed, but I don't think I would have grounds to take anyone to court.
 

Troy

LE
If someone wrote a book and in it they had written something about me in the way I have; I may be a tad annoyed, but I don't think I would have grounds to take anyone to court.

"Wandering back through my memories; back to my time in service. I recall the incident of those two small boys who were savagely raped. It was a terrible time, and everyone came under scrutiny. Many little side deals were uncovered and a couple of skivers were caught and marched up before the OC. However, everyone investigated was absolved and cleared of suspicion. Except I recall there was this one bloke, known to us as Club Swinger. He always seemed a bit strange to me, and although he was supposed to be away on leave at the time of the incident. He could have travelled a bit later. No one would have known. There was this little B&B place he sometimes stayed at. I don't think anyone actually checked him out properly..."

So, see how easy it is? No actual accusation and not even named properly. Yet I think you would consider going to Court over it.
 
"Wandering back through my memories; back to my time in service. I recall the incident of those two small boys who were savagely raped. It was a terrible time, and everyone came under scrutiny. Many little side deals were uncovered and a couple of skivers were caught and marched up before the OC. However, everyone investigated was absolved and cleared of suspicion. Except I recall there was this one bloke, known to us as Club Swinger. He always seemed a bit strange to me, and although he was supposed to be away on leave at the time of the incident. He could have travelled a bit later. No one would have known. There was this little B&B place he sometimes stayed at. I don't think anyone actually checked him out properly..."

So, see how easy it is? No actual accusation and not even named properly. Yet I think you would consider going to Court over it.

"Except I recall there was this one bloke, known to us as Club Swinger. He always seemed a bit strange to me, and although he was supposed to be away on leave at the time of the incident. He could have travelled a bit later. No one would have known"

And there you have it, an accusation without foundation in truth. Based on that statement, if the person known to us as 'Club Swinger' happened to read that he would have reasonable grounds to sue for defamation of character, especially as no charges were ever brought against him.

I do get the point, and appreciate that everyone is advising me to err on the side of caution for my own sake.

But in the book I'm not accusing anyone of doing anything. I am just explaining a point of view, expressing my feelings of how I felt at the time, and in order to justify those feelings, I have to give the back story. That includes providing details about the person. Otherwise there is nothing to justify what I have written.

If this were a work of fiction I could just make it up as I go along, but this isn't so I can't.
 
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I have been brutally honest in giving my opinions about how I felt about certain individuals based on their behaviour, their attitudes, and how they impacted or affected me as a result.
If the book went online and became searchable, and those "certain individuals" found that their names popped up during a Google search as a result... it might affect their ability to change jobs. Lots of firms trawl social media and the web, as a quick audit of whether they're about to hire an absolute nutter or a lying weasel; that's your financial impact, right there.

IMHO the people who don't know them, won't care who they are; the people who did know them, will recognise them through any anonymisation.
 
These are my personal opinions about NCO's during Basic Training, Course Instructors throughout the gazillion courses I attended over 24 years, some work colleagues, some bosses I worked for. If I felt and believed at the time they were knobs
persons of low moral fibre then that is how I've described them. Who is to say I'm wrong?

 
If the book went online and became searchable, and those "certain individuals" found that their names popped up during a Google search as a result... it might affect their ability to change jobs. Lots of firms trawl social media and the web, as a quick audit of whether they're about to hire an absolute nutter or a lying weasel; that's your financial impact, right there.

IMHO the people who don't know them, won't care who they are; the people who did know them, will recognise them through any anonymisation.
Thing is, at least half of them are probably dead by now, and the other half are way past employment age. So I think the risk if what you describe is minimal to zero.
 
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If only I could. But in a way getting it all down on paper is a sort of cathartic relief.

It is, as a personal thing but publishing is different. I've just remembered part of an old song:

"If you can't say anything real nice,
Just say nothing at all, that's my advice."
 

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