Is it illegal to do this?
For example, if a character in a story I write resembles someone I know or is inspired by someone I know can I get in legal trouble even if my intentions were good? Same first name, but a different (similar-sounding) last name. He is one of the good guys.
- 1 month ago
It's done LOTS OF TIMES. Just remember to put at the beginning of book a statement like "This book is work of fiction. Any characters or events contained in it resembling real persons or events is purely coinciidental" Or SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I see that at the beginning of many of the books I've read lately
- Elaine MLv 71 month ago
Completely change the name.
- Sir CausticLv 71 month ago
Hooks them every time, eh?!.........
- MsBittnerLv 71 month ago
Like my mom's very worst answers: It depends.
Would people who know you recognize it's That Guy? Would people That Guy knows--friends, family, teachers, acquaintances--recognize him in your writing? Would he recognize himself?
If your answers were all solid NO, then you're fine. But if even one is a maybe or a yes, then you face a legal risk, even if the character is a good guy.
Not that he's likely to sue you, but the fact exists that he could if he is recognizable.
You can think of the character however you like, but at a minimum change his appearance and use a name that's nothing like his.
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- 1 month ago
no I don't see how it is illegal. Now if you were plagiarizing a character from another author, then that would be illegal.
- tham153Lv 71 month ago
I have on occasion based a character on someone I know. I've always changed the name, and once the gender (history professor who played off my last name in class). Took two nasty people, used first name of one with last name of the other, made the mash up ruler of a planet of (stop here if you want to read my books) cannibals. One is long dead, and the other wouldn't read anything I write if you paid her.
Changing a name is usually easy. If non-English, translate the foreign meaning.
- Jimmy CLv 71 month ago
Change the name completely and solve the problem.
- MarliLv 71 month ago
If the person you know doesn't like your portrayal of him, or if he suffers unwanted attention (teasing, bullying, being pointed out whenever he leaves his house), he might sue or he might not. Either way, you will have lost his friendship.
Change the entire name and the obvious similarities. You'll know he inspired the character. It will be your sweet secret that you may want to tell him when he and you play with the baby.
- 1 month ago
There's a small possibility with the first name being the same, and the last name being similar, but if it's a common name or you change the first name too, you should be fine no matter how similar the actual character is.
- TinaLv 71 month ago
It would be much more sensible to make the name completely different, and ideally change his nationality or sex.
However, unless you actually have a contract with a publisher I wouldn't worry about that for a while.