How do you go about using real people in writing. Do you need their permission o

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  1. Sarah Masson profile image65
    Sarah Massonposted 8 years ago

    How do you go about using real people in writing. Do you need their permission or can you just...

    change their names and it's okay?

  2. onegoodwoman profile image74
    onegoodwomanposted 8 years ago

    I can not advise you on the legalities or even the protocol, but I would not, out of respect, write about another person, by name, without their permission.

    It may be different things to say, my sister, or my sister, Sarah......especially if you are writing under a pen name.

    I often say, " my brother", but unless you personally know me, you will not know my brother among the crowd.

    Again, I am not keen on legal issues, but do protect the privacy of those that you refer to.

  3. moncrieff profile image77
    moncrieffposted 8 years ago

    Writers do it either way. Just expect that some living people may be offended AND if the writing is serious enough they may bring you some headache. But as long as defamation and libel are not in question, I don't see any problems.

    Some people, though, prefer to be out of any written accounts, whether good or bad, especially in our Internet age, when one can easily get additional info about others..

  4. theseus profile image80
    theseusposted 8 years ago

    it depends on the kind of paper one is writing and if you personally know the people you are going to write about, i believe.

    if its an autobiography and it's meant to inspire others, then, one should get the permission of the person since its his life that is going to be made public.

    if one personally knows the person and he knows that he will not be offended, then, i think it's okay.

  5. Sarah Masson profile image65
    Sarah Massonposted 8 years ago

    Thankyou all for your comments, I was just wondering for anything I may write in the future, thanks again smile

  6. MickS profile image66
    MickSposted 8 years ago

    Nope, it's not all right to just change their names.
    If anyone can recognize themselves and they perceive what is written as being a negative portrayal, you are in danger of a libel action.
    A libel action is one of those strange quirks of the legal system where the accuser doesn't have to prove the case, the defendant has to prove innocence, usually the only defences is the ability to prove, absolutely, that what you have written is, absolutely, true.  It is best, always, to base your characters on several people.
    That is very rough and ready, you would get best advice from a solicitor, libel law is a minefield.  I'm referring to works of fiction, articles and news stories are different but still need to be reported warily and truthfully to avoid court cases.

  7. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image96
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 8 years ago

    I've called out some real life drug and weapons smugglers here on this site. . . . . .and that particular piece got taken out of circulation; but that might have had more to do with the extent of the realities there.

  8. Jaymeyaroch profile image61
    Jaymeyarochposted 8 years ago

    You have to change names and stipulate in a disclaimer that all persons included therein are fictional and any coinciding persons you may or may not know is a coincidence.

    Of course, everyone I know now wants to be in my novels, so I obtain written permission per project, so that I am protected against any future litigation for royalties or creative rights.

    I also include disclaimers.


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