The following stories are not based on real events. In fact, they're completely made up — even thought they're meant to seem real.

No, Queen Elizabeths staff never hid a copy of the Sunday Times from her because of a front-page headline saying: "Queen Should Abdicate in Favour of Prince of Wales — Half of British Public Agrees."

No, former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Jerry West didn't fly into fits of rage so violent that he tossed his Most Valuable Player trophy through a window in his office.

And no, the two police officers who unwittingly missed an opportunity to arrest Jeffrey Dahmer before he could kill again were not given honors as officers of the year by the Milwaukee Police Department.

But the millions of people who watched the historical dramas "The Crown" and "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" on Netflix and HBO's "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" were left to separate fact from fiction on their own.

These series are hardly outliers in the flourishing genre of based-on-a-true-story entertainment. As the number of shows and movies that depict real events has grown in recent years, so, too, have the liberties that screenwriters are taking with the facts.

In many instances, these are not mere embellishments for dramatic flair but major fabrications. Shows like "The Crown" have been forced to belatedly add disclaimers stating that what people are watching is in fact a dramatized version of real events.

Sometimes disclaimers are enough to protect a studio from legal liability. The First Amendment offers broad protections for expressive works like film and television productions.

But if someone can convincingly claim that they were harmed by what screenwriters made up, that is grounds for a strong defamation suit, said Jean-Paul Jassy, a lawyer who works on media and First Amendment cases in Los Angeles.

"A disclaimer is not a silver bullet," he said.

HBO's show on the Lakers added a disclaimer. But West demanded an apology from HBO, saying the show "falsely and cruelly" maligned him as an "an out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic."

Hollywood screenwriters argue that creating dramatic tension means sometimes exaggerating the details. This was the case in "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story."

While the series uses historical records to accurately portray much of how Dahmer preyed on young men and got away with it for so long, it invents moments to convey that systemic failures in the criminal justice system allowed him to remain at large.

Lawyers who represent studios say it's often not feasible — or legally necessary — to fact-check scripts for historical accuracy. But filmmakers often try to be as sensitive as possible to the people whose stories they're telling, said Brad Simpson, producer of the "American Crime Story" anthology, which covered three dramatic moments in recent history — the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the assassination of Gianni Versace and President Bill Clinton's impeachment.

"I think when you're making TV based on real people, you always have to be incredibly aware that there are real victims at the center of all these stories," he said.

But Simpson acknowledged that at the end of the day, the focus is on creating entertainment.

And the cold reality, he said, is "your story can be used to sell streaming subscriptions."