I understand it is just based on or inspired by Piper Kerman's story, so most is made up. But how did the publishers and producers fact-check her story when they bought it, so they did not end up having another Million Little Pieces debacle? (James Frey had completely lied about spending his 87 days in jail and had to confess he'd only spent 5 hours there, then bailed out...among other flagrant lies.)

The events that take place in prison are almost impossible to fact-check, for the most part. They can obviously see who was murdered in prison, but other than that, everything that happens behind those walls is invincible to corroboration. A lot of inmates don't even know the real names of a lot of other inmates. Couldn't anyone just come out of the joint and make stuff up? Does anyone know how the companies bought her story made sure she told the truth?

Once again, I know most of the show is made up. But when they bought it, these productions companies and publishers still wanted some element of veracity to her story, and that is the particular element I wish to know more about.

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    Why would they care if its true or not? They just want an entertaining story. – madmada Sep 21 '17 at 22:39
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    As Madmada said, I think that most likley Orange is the New Black is adapted from a book 'based on a true story'--so from there one would have to find out if and how the book has been passed as non-fiction, but even so, surely the TV series took liberties and expanded on the source material, as it is not beholden to since it is classified as prison dramedy and fiction. – Darth Locke Sep 21 '17 at 22:55
  • No, you cannot publish something as a memoir and have things falsely stated. So no, it does matter more than entertainment. And whoever edited my question has a poor sense of sentence structure. – August Canaille Sep 22 '17 at 7:37
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    @AugustCanaille The show isn't "published as a memoir", so I'm not clear on what relevance that has. – Anthony Grist Sep 22 '17 at 8:35
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    There are approximately a million military movies "based on a true story" that attribute the actions of non-American military forces to Navy SEALs or Marines. Even if there are strict rules for books published as non-fiction, the same clearly does not apply to Hollywood, so all bets are off for the TV show regardless of where it got its source material from. – Steve-O Sep 22 '17 at 13:33

The issue here is that you have two "creative forces"; Piper Kerman (and any co-authors/editors), and Netflix. The original book was most likely based on actual events, some of which the editors probably changed because they had the hindsight of, "It's be more entertaining if...". So that book was probably 80% truth and 20% "artistic license". This may be a better question for a writing community, but I don't think it's a publisher's job to fact-check a story, but they may explain that if anything turns out to be Fiction in a Non-Fiction book they they may be in some deep trouble and the contract becomes void.

Then the TV studio wants to make a show out of it, and they say, "Great book, but it'd be more entertaining if...". Now they rewrite some scenes. Change some characters. Make up completely new situations. So it's probably 30/70 at this point.

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