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Is it OK to have characters in fiction using real websites like Facebook? I have written a fiction manuscript where using an anonymous social networking site like My Space / Facebook is crucial to the story. I'm trying to find out if I need to create a fictitious website instead (buy that domain name too) and somehow inform the reader that this fictitious site works like Facebook. Thanks!



How about your characters listening/dancing to a specific song by a specific living singer?

"I would do anything for love- but I wouldn't do that" by MeatLoaf?


Crawford Kilian

Kiera, as long as you don't quote the lyrics, you should be OK. It's fine to mention the title of a song and the singer/composer.

But quote even a few words of the lyrics, and you'd better be ready to ask the rights owner for permission, and to pay whatever they ask.


Thank you for the swift reply- have enjoyed your blog/site thanks for taking time to help (us) fledglings!



Hi Crawford
If I were writing a self-help book and wanted to use the events in a particular episode of Star Trek to explain my theories, would I need permission?


Re my question, I do realise it's about non-fiction rather than fiction, but the principle would be the same, I guess.

Julia Detering

How about using fictional characters that work for real organizations such as CNN and Fox News?


It's done all the time. But you'd better really know what the environment of such organizations is like, and avoid any criticisms that you couldn't back up in court.


I'm working on a project where I'm using Older government agencies from World War II such as the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the British counter part Special Operations Executive (SOE). Would there be an issue in using entities as a backdrop? I'm not using real names or events here.


Shouldn't be any problem at all, Michael. For the sake of plausibility, what you say about such organizations should be fairly accurate historiclly (not that we know much about them!). So the OSS can't warn FDR about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor, because the OSS didn't yet exist. But otherwise you should be fine.

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