Is Ghostwriting Legal?

A table with three books, handcuffs, a pen, glasses, and a judge’s gavel

In short, yes. Ghostwriting is legal. 

But that statement doesn’t make for much of a blog post, so let’s dive in a little deeper, shall we? 

What is it that makes ghostwriting a legal way to get your work out there when you’re not the one doing the writing? 

Is ghostwriting legal in every format? Or are there exceptions? 

If ghostwriting is legal, does that mean it’s also ethical? 

These are great questions. 

Why is Ghostwriting Legal When the Author Isn’t the One Writing? 

Ghostwriting – well, legitimate ghostwriting anyway – is legal because of the contract that’s in place between the ghostwriter and the author. 

Ghostwriting contracts should contain language that makes a few things clear: 

  • The author owns the copyright to the material being written. 
  • The author maintains intellectual property rights for the material being written. 
  • The ghostwriter will not and cannot pass off the work as their own. 

Any ghostwriter who knows what they’re doing will have a detailed contract ready for their author clients to sign. 

If they don’t, it’s best to steer clear so you can avoid a potential ghostwriting scam

But as far as the legalities of ghostwriting go, there’s nothing illegal about it at all. 

For many authors, having their books ghostwritten is the only way they’ll ever get done for a number of reasons. 

Are Their Exceptions to the Legality of Ghostwriting? 

In everything we do, things are very rarely black and white. 

There are always exceptions to the rules, and that includes ghostwriting. 

Even with a contract in place, there may be some forms of ghostwriting that could potentially cross the line of legality. 

It’s always best to avoid a possible lawsuit, which is a risk an author might take if they hire a ghostwriter to, for example: 

  • Conduct academic research on their behalf and write and publish articles in their name. 
  • Write any type of article for a client who then uses that work to try to get a job as a writer. 
  • Write and submit medical or scientific journal articles without any real communication with the ghostwriter about the content. 

In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with ghostwriting as long as the author is transparent about it. 

That’s the key – transparency

Misleading people in any way could cause problems and there may be legal ramifications in time. 

Is Ghostwriting Ethical? 

Most businesses hire ghostwriters to write their marketing copy/content. Did you know that? 

It’s very rare for a business owner to write copy or content themselves, even though the byline might be theirs. 

Why is that? 

Most of the time, it’s because people either don’t have time to write, don’t know how to write well or would rather focus their attention elsewhere. 

Ghostwriting is very ethical as long as there’s transparency, as we stated earlier. 

Book authors shouldn’t be worried about the ethics of ghostwriting because an entire book project is (or at least should be) a partnership between the ghostwriter and the author. 

When we ghostwrite books for our authors at Colwell Creative, there is a tremendous amount of back-and-forth communication. 

In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to spend hours in Zoom meetings with our authors to be sure we accurately communicated their ideas. 

Ethical? Yes. It’s just that some authors need assistance, and we’re here to provide it. 

Ready to Hire a Ghostwriter for Your Book?

At Colwell Creative, our main focus is book ghostwriting, editing, and publishing. Every client receives a clear contract that outlines every aspect of their project and what to expect. 

We’re here to answer your questions about working with a quality ghostwriter who can help make your dream of becoming a published author come true. 

Contact us today! 

…because the world needs to hear your story.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *