Character protection rights

by Jacqueline
(Las Vegas, NV)

Question: How do you protect your characters names when you are writing a book based on a true story?

I know to change all the characters first and last names, but can the new character names be similar to the original names? For example: Jacqueline can be changed to Jocelyn in the book?

Thank you,


Answer: The thing you have to worry about is whether a living person, or their heirs, will feel the book damages their reputation, such that it costs them money.

You may be fine changing your own name to something similar, but the risk is that, for example, Dan's customers will recognize that the character Dave is really Dan and assume that Dan is just as much a villain as Dave in the book.

When basing characters on real people, it's best to alter the characters so they're not recognizable or make them amalgams of several real people so no one takes offense.

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