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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Have You Ever Named a Character After...?

   
Author Topic: Have You Ever Named a Character After...?
Robert Nowall
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Has you ever done something like this?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,521426,00.html?test=latestnews

I've named characters in a couple of (unpublished) stories after a grade-school bully...I may have been relying on his not being able to read in order to get away with it...but is it defamation of character and invasion of privacy?


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InarticulateBabbler
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I try not to use any real-life people's names (especially ones I have any enmity for--or vice versa) or descriptions, although, I've used people as models for character behavior.

And, it doesn't look like the case has legs, because of their admission that Goldfinger (Isn't that a James Bond villian's name? She can use that to her defense, lol.) showed no animosity toward them.


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Meredith
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Anybody can file a lawsuit. It doesn't mean that they'll win. I wouldn't call this one either way with the few details given.

But I sure wouldn't recommend using the first and last names together of a real person that you know. If you've never met or heard of somebody that happens to have the same name as your character, it's a lot harder for them to sue. For all we know, there's a real life person out there named Harry Potter, or Tom Riddle (probably not with the middle name Marvolo, though).


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tnwilz
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I once wrote about a character named Ricardo Ware who was a tattoo artist that would do wonderful works of tattoo art then dismember his clients... was that wrong?
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Robert Nowall
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Of course, doing it on "CSI" in front of millions might look different than doing it in an SF magazine in front of hundreds...
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Pyre Dynasty
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I once wrote a story where a Guy named Robert Nowall murdered a guy named InarticulateBabbler. But my editor told me she didn't exist and that I actually didn't write anything. That made me happy, usually she criticizes my comma usage too.
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Robert Nowall
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Wow, a more-than-form rejection slip...
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Unwritten
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quote:
I once wrote about a character named Ricardo Ware who was a tattoo artist that would do wonderful works of tattoo art then dismember his clients... was that wrong?

That made my day.


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tchernabyelo
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quote:
And, it doesn't look like the case has legs, because of their admission that Goldfinger (Isn't that a James Bond villian's name? She can use that to her defense, lol.) showed no animosity toward them.

Animosity isn't the issue.

Frankly, it was utterly stupid on Goldfinger's part, and this is preceisely the reason that writers often receive contracts containing clauses that indemnify the publisher against defamation lawsuits. The publisher (network in this case) had no particular reason to suspect that the names were based on real people. But writer/network relationships, being work-for-hire based, are handled differently from writer/publisher relationships.

I suspect that Ms Goldfinger may find real trouble selling her scripts after this.


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