klm672
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Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:14 am

Hey,
I am interested in writing a book about my experiences as an FA for a small regional airline. Its mainly interesting stories, exposing myths of the airline industry and the "luxurious" job itself and in no way bashing the airline. I've been told that I should not publish it because I can get sued, but I guess I don't understand how others can publish books about people and companies and "exposing the truth" type books and be ok, but yet I shouldn't dare do this. Can someone explain to me the reasoning around this and how I should go about it? I've changed all the names of the people, places and even the airline.

[Edited 2012-07-06 17:20:52]
 
PITingres
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:43 am

In the US you are probably OK, but your best bet is to come up with a few hundred bucks, find a lawyer who specializes in libel / slander, and buy an hour or two to ask questions. You won't get definitive answers but you can at least find out how to minimize your exposure. It may also give you a resource for a quick counter-suit if you get hit with a nuisance action.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
cedarjet
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:26 am

If you've changed the name of people, places and the airline, I fail to see the problem. I have come across this because I have worked in a previous life with a lot of famous musicians and want to write a tell-all - not necessarily to make them look bad, but for people to see the whole artist, not just a shallow public persona. Anyway the trouble with defending yourself against claims of libel is that you have to prove your case, and in fact I have not kept the incredibly abusive 2am texts etc, and apparently my word is not enough.

There's another aspect which is "restraint of trade" - if you make someone look bad, even if it's true and demonstrably so, you can still be prosecuted (in the UK at least - and presumably you want to be able to sell your book in the second-biggest English speaking market) if your truth-telling adversely affects the person (or possibly company too)'s ability to make a living.

I would check with a lawyer - cos it's also possible that your tale doesn't fall foul of any of this, and not only can you publish, but you can name the airline and co-workers. I think it would be a shame if you don't, btw, cos otherwise it's a novel but constrained by the banality of real events. If it's set at "Columbia Airlines", "Trans Global Airlines" or "Astral Horizon Airlines", you may as well throw in a few crashes and a trans-gender Head Of Flight Ops.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:00 am

Quoting klm672 (Thread starter):
Can someone explain to me the reasoning around this and how I should go about it?

You can write the book. It's more like a warning, like a "if you know what's good for you, don't write it". Even if you change the airline, places, and names (which, in my opinion would make the book not that interesting), there will still be someone who will make the connection between the author and airline. Rather than changing names of things in the story, I'd go with a pen name, like JK Rowling did when she wrote Harry Potter (though don't make it that obvious). Of course, this applies if you are working with said airline. If not, I see absolutely no reason not to publish it.

When you do publish it, let us know. I'd like to read it.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
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zkojq
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:32 am

Could you publish it anonymously? I'm not sure how much protection that would give you, but it may be beneficial.
First to fly the 787-9 (ZK-NZE, NZ103, 2014-10-09)
 
Ps76
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi!

I don't know if this is the same but I've read a book by a guy called Bob Buck called "North Star over my shoulder" which is exactly this, telling the stories of his flying life. I don't think he changed any names and the book is extremely interesting and can be read by adults and children alike. He talks about TWA and many employees and even movie stars and Howard Hughes and stuff.

http://www.amazon.com/North-Star-ove...ywords=North+star+over+my+shoulder

Maybe it was ok to write it because TWA had probably ceased operations by then.

Also in the excellent magazine Airways there are many articles written by current airline pilots and even flight attendants. I have noticed that they don't use real names and airline names all the time but sometimes do. One guy is a 737 pilot for Alaska airlines and says this and uses real names of copilots and FA's and stuff. Another says only he is a 777 pilot for a certain Middle-Eastern carrier and it is very obvious it is Emirates by the aircraft and routes he flies. Then there is the FA for Iran Air who never mentions the airline name but who else flies from Tehran to CDG in th 60s/70s.

Anyway it sounds like a very good idea to me. If it was family orientated reading I'd definitely buy it!

Hope it might help,

Pierre
 
klm672
Topic Author
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:19 pm

Thanks for all your help! I will start out as an Ebook and take it from there. I guess, it stems from seeing my family, friends, strangers and even in job interviews where peoples' faces would light up "OMG, you were a Flight Attendant, that must've been awesome!" I would have to say "well actually...".
 
Maverick623
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:39 am

Quoting klm672 (Thread starter):
I've been told that I should not publish it because I can get sued

Who told you that?

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 2):
(in the UK at least

Libel/Slander laws in the UK are far more strict than in the US. Basically, in the UK you can print the absolute truth about someone and still lose a lawsuit, while in the US, you can blatantly lie about someone and they can't do anything.

You might not remember, but back in 1986, 60 Minutes did an "exposé" on how "unsafe" certain Audi cars were due to faulty unintended acceleration. It was quickly discovered that 60 Minutes had actually engineered the on-camera failures by sabotaging the cars. It took Audi over a decade to recover their sales volumes, and 60 Minutes was never held accountable.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
Ps76
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:34 pm

Hi!

It's a bit off topic but here's an article written about Air Zimbabwe in the Chicago Tribune. It paints Air Zimbabwe in an extremely bad light. It was also completely made up. I'm not sure what this woman writer's motives were in writing the piece but Air Zimbabwe sued the newspaper. I don't know if they got anything but they are no longer flying anyway.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1...kpit-door-air-zimbabwe-hwange-park

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1...907180165_1_air-zimbabwe-fly-canal

Many thanks,

Pierre
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:32 am

It could be problematic if you write about other people/organisations & cannot prove it even if its true.....so be carefull about that.....best bet is state generally like "an airline from west coast" etc.....try not to be specific....
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
NoUFO
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:03 pm

Of course you can.

However, your working contract will probably quote a confidential agreement. And even if not: using a pseudonym and change the airline's name as well as some other details (names!) would be wise.
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babybus
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:54 pm

The only problem with this is what law might you be breaking. Remember we live in a free society with free speech (or so they keep telling us).

If you are telling the truth about an event with the accuracy of a report the law would say it is valid. It could also fall into the realm of being a benefit to the public to know the truth of what happens.

As long as you are not making things up and distorting the truth with malicious intent you can print whatever you like.

Do what newspapers do, write it and run it past a lawyer. Simples.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:48 pm

Quoting babybus (Reply 11):
If you are telling the truth about an event with the accuracy of a report the law would say it is valid. It could also fall into the realm of being a benefit to the public to know the truth of what happens.

In todays world,its not about speaking the truth,its about speaking the truth & be able to defend it when someone calls it a lie....
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Maverick623
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:42 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 10):

However, your working contract will probably quote a confidential agreement.

I doubt it, being a "small regional airline". Most have policies of not saying anything that could harm its reputation, but that's only for the period you are employed.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
NoUFO
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RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:09 pm

I thought the OP was still working for said small airline.
I support the right to arm bears
 
klm672
Topic Author
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Joined: Mon Oct 04, 1999 6:09 am

RE: Writing A Book, But Might Get Sued?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:24 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):

I thought the OP was still working for said small airline.

No, haven't been there in about 6-7 years.

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