Legalities of Novel writing

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Hells Bones, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Hey guys,

    Been wondering this for a while, I did a collaberation effort on a book a couple of years ago and we decided to base the story in a fictional town because we didn't know the legal rights.

    Are you allowed to use existing shops, streets, businesses, that kind of thing?

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2008
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I'm not a lawyer, so don't take this as gospel, but:

    AFAIK there is no law against using actual towns, businesses and people. However if the people/businesses you identify take offence at your protrayal of them and decide to sue you for defamation or something similar, you might be in hot water - it would be a civil matter for the parties who feel wronged, rather than a criminal matter.
  3. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    So to get around this I could write to them, tell them what capacity the businesses/premises are being written in and ask for written permission?
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2008
  4. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Having written a full length novel and several fan-fics, (and had to alter stuff on legal advice) the advice I would give would be to use real towns and streets, but steer clear of using actual people or shop names.
  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I suppose so :confused: , although if it was my business I'd want to see finished copy before I gave any sort of permission in writing. No harm in asking, though.
  6. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Thanks for this, the reason I ask is because I am thinking of writing one now and the town I want to base it in has a street full of nightclubs that I was going to have a scene take place in. Walkabout, Weatherspoons, places like that.

    Indeed, but then the manager's wouldn't have authority over that unless they owned the business, yes? They'd have to go to their bosses, area managers. Starting to talk myself out of this now :( lol
  7. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Spelling the places that you want to write about correctly could be a good start! :)

    Wetherspoons :p
  8. hicks

    hicks Member

    I would agree with the previous comments - don't use names of actual businesses. In fact I can't recall reading any novel which had such references. Don't they usually have a disclaimer in the front "This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to real characters etc. is purely coincidental" (words to that effect).
  9. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I'm not a big drinker, don't spend much time in pubs lol!

    I see your point and agree, I have read all off the Rankin books based in Edinburgh and other than police stations, football clubs and public buildings (libraries, museums, that kind of thing) he doesn't really mention businesses, hmmmm.

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