Using Real-Life information in Fiction

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  • Hello everyone! I was on an eternal quest for a forum regarding copyright, etc. and finally I found it. Although I live in Italy and law may vary here, I'd like to ask what you can tell me about the legality of using information such as really existing people's names, buildings, roads, shops, McDonalds, literature in a written fictional work intended to be as realistic as possible?

    Do I need any permissions to do so, of each and every copyrighted thing that I mention in my book?

    Is it against the law to create give fictional roles to really existing people/things/groups?

    e.g. I create a fictional character: an author called Dan Brown (really existing person) who in the book belongs to a satanist group; a reporter called Larry King who wants to destroy the universe; a political party who suddenly become "archangels"?

    The examples above obviously don't reflect my real work, but I wanted to make the example clear ;-)

    Thanks and warmest regards!
  • You're probably not going to run into copyright law problems for real-life names and likenesses. What you will run into are trademark problems and problems associated with using real names such as defamation and publicization. Those are definitely different in Italy than they are in the US (and they're not all uniform in the US), so I'd look locally.

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