Can I use real presidents (past and present) and real companies in a fictional story?

Asked by: Mike Rubio

Can you use real people in a fictional story?

Using real people in your fiction—whether they are correctly named or not—can be legally hazardous. If an author includes enough details that a specific fictional character is identifiable as an actual person, that person could possibly pursue legal action.

Are you allowed to use real people in books?

The First Amendment usually wins unless the work is purely advertising, including political advertising. Using someone’s name, image or life story as part of a novel, book, movie or other “expressive” work is protected by the First Amendment, even if the expressive work is sold or displayed.

Do you have to get permission to write about someone in a book?

Some of the most common questions I hear from picture book biography writers: Q: Do I need permission to write a picture book biography about somebody, living or dead? A: Permission is technically not required if the biography subject is a public figure unless their estate has created a kind of legal fortress.

Can someone sue you for using their name in a book?

Misappropriation of the Right of Publicity

Using someone’s likeness, name, or identifying information for advertising, promotional, or commercial purposes may get you sued. Whether the person is a private individual or public figure, you would be liable for damages, including punitive damages.

Can I mention a famous person in my book?

The good news is that celebrity names are not copyright protected, just used as a name. If the name is only used to describe the person, it is not covered.

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Can you stop someone from writing a book about you?

Understanding Invasion of Privacy

Even if everything you write about someone is completely true, you still need to consider her privacy. Invasion of privacy occurs when you publicly disclose private facts not related to public concern. As with defamation, only living people can sue for invasion of privacy.

Should you use real names in a memoir?

Don’t use the real names of people you speak negatively about. You can use the real names of those who have given you written permission to do so. But when getting written permission isn’t something you can or want to do, it might be easier to change the names of the characters in your memoir.