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Copyright/libel Referring To Real Places In Fiction Novels?

Defamation Law Discussion Forum

Copyright/libel Referring To Real Places In Fiction Novels?

Postby Elya » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:22 pm

Vincent,

Congrats on your writing awards. Here's my query.

I researched the name of actual small companies(Mom & Pop type companies, etc.) throughout my novel. For example, a shop providing ocean diving advetnures off Hawaii I tentatively plan to list that company's actual name. Is this a bad idea in terms of legal issues? Does it expose me to potential lawsuits of libel, even if I place the company in a neutral-to-good light? Is it necessary to worry about this and as a practice scramble / change the company names to fictitious ones instead?

Thank you,

Carl
Elya
 
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Copyright/libel Referring To Real Places In Fiction Novels?

Postby Farnleigh » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:49 pm

Carl:

Defamation law, including libel, is nothing to take lightly, but neither is it something to lose sleep over.  Portraying any person, place, or thing in a positive light - or even a neutral one - will almost certainly not bring the wrath of law down on you.  Generally speaking, in order for you to be sued, you would have to say something negative that is not true.  (If you want to say something negative, and can prove that it's true, you also don't have any cause for worry.)  Further, it would probably have to be shown that(a) you said this with the intent of causing harm, while knowing it was false, and(b) that actual damages were suffered by the 3rd party.

A lot depends on just how much you plan to utilize this company in the book.  For example, if your reference to the diving adventure company in Hawaii will be mentioned only briefly, as a place, perhaps, where your protagonist goes to plan his island getaway, you don't have any worries.  However, if you're planning on making it a more prominent fixture in your book, that's another matter.  In that sort of situation, I'd strongly recommend fictionalizing your company.  
Farnleigh
 
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Copyright/libel Referring To Real Places In Fiction Novels?

Postby Carne » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:28 am

Vincent,

Congrats on your writing awards. Here's my query.

I researched the name of actual small companies(Mom & Pop type companies, etc.) throughout my novel. For example, a shop providing ocean diving advetnures off Hawaii I tentatively plan to list that company's actual name. Is this a bad idea in terms of legal issues? Does it expose me to potential lawsuits of libel, even if I place the company in a neutral-to-good light? Is it necessary to worry about this and as a practice scramble / change the company names to fictitious ones instead?

Thank you,

Carl
Carne
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:28 pm


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