I’ve learned over the past few years that when I have a question about copyright or other literary law issues, Randy Morrison has the answer. Randy is a nationally recognized authority on the “intersection of First Amendment and zoning law” as well as literary law issues. So when a DearEditor.com reader sent me a question about the legality of using real people in fiction, I took the question to Randy.
I was wondering what legal problems (if any) are associated with using real people as characters in fiction? I’m not talking Elvis, or someone who would obviously have an estate with a problem, more like a fantasy novel about people who have disappeared through the ages (like Louis Le Prince, or Dorothy Arnold.) What’s the rule? Is it easier to just avoid it altogether and name them something else?
Sure enough, Randy had the answer. I invited him to share that answer as a Guest Editor today on DearEditor.com. If you’re curious, click on over and check it out.