1. Josh A. Murphy
    Offline

    Josh A. Murphy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Using somebodies name - permission ect.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Josh A. Murphy, Jul 26, 2015.

    Hi there, i've signed up to this forum for a little advice.

    I'm a self published writer through Amazon, and I've released two books of what will be a trilogy. When I started writing the first part, I was talking to a girl and thought it would be a good idea to name a character after her. Soon after me and this girl started dating, and we ended up being together for a year. In that space of time I finished the first book, and finished the second. Shortly after a year, we split up. It was quite a messy split up, and she sold my Xbox One... so it's safe to say I have zero contact with her noe. It soon dawned on me that I might need her permission to continue to use her name, as the character not only has her name, but it's also built around her personality.

    It's quite a dark series set after an apocalypse, and I had two idea's for what was going to happen to her - neither of them were good, both resulted in a barbaric death. My concern is, many people may think that I did these things to the character out of spite, when in reality it was the plan all along. She loved the books, and she loved the idea's that I had for her, but I'm worried that since she's turned out to be a bit of a she-devil she might kick up a fuss about it?

    I emailed her asking for permission to use the name still, but she hasn't replied, and I don't think she intends to. So, even without her blessing to continue to use her name, am I okay too? Especially since she's almost certainly going to be die a horrible and humiliating death, as the plans were anyway.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,220
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Oi, this is a bit of a pickle you've found yourself in.

    Is her name a common/popular name? Does she know about the character that has her name and personality? Know generally what the plot is about, and the general idea of what the setting looks like?

    My instincts are telling me that if I were in your situation, I'd change the character's name and maybe alter the 'she dies a horrible, barbaric death' thing to 'she barely makes it out alive, sustains heavy injuries'. If your girlfriend is the 'she-devil' you say she is, incurring her wrath because you brutally murdered a character based off of her might not be a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
  3. AgentBen
    Offline

    AgentBen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    England
    You can't copyright a name/personality.

    Also, she sold your Xbox One, who cares.
     
  4. Josh A. Murphy
    Offline

    Josh A. Murphy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    She's called Elizabeth Jones, so it's about as common as it comes to be fair. She knows all about the book, she's read each about 2/3 times and really enjoyed them. I'm just worried since she's gone back on everything she's ever said to me or promised, that she might see another chance to be an evil cow and try and cause a mess with that too.
     
  5. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,220
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    OK. That name is a pretty common name, so you're good. :D I probably should've also asked: is fictional Elizabeth a new character, or was she already in the previous two books? Because if the latter, you're gonna have to deal with readers wondering why this character has a sudden change of name.

    Last question: what are you afraid she'll do? What's the worst case scenario: go to her blog and type out a long-winded rant about why she thinks your book sucks?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
  6. Josh A. Murphy
    Offline

    Josh A. Murphy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2015
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    She was in the first book as a kind of love interest, and was absent in the second, but i spent alot of time building for their reunion... would be such a waste not to use that I think as i've got some fantastic idea's for it. In the book she's called and known as Lizzie, which is somewhat more specific too.

    I'm not exactly sure what she might do, that's half the reason I came here. Just double checking that she can't like potentially sue me or something. I know she probably can't, but I'm just being safe and doing a little research.
     
  7. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,220
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    In that case, I'm not sure. I don't think it's possible she'll sue you, but I'm not a literary attorney. My best guess would be to contact your agent and talk with them about it.

    You should be safe, but if you think she'll do it as another way to make you miserable then talking with your agent might be a good idea.
     
  8. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,098
    Likes Received:
    5,311
    Location:
    California, US
    It's possible it could cause a problem. Depends a lot more on the specific facts - what occurs in the book, how close it is to her life, basically how identifiable the character is as her in totality, not just by name.
     
    Link the Writer likes this.

Share This Page