Legal Question in Entertainment Law in Ohio

Can I use real names of towns and radio/newspapers in a fictional book

I'm ready to publish a fictional book. The book's site is my home town. Final editing/writing will be done now. May I use the name of my home town and some of the public official's names, such as Mayor XYZ of St. Louis etc? Will I be libel for defamation of character even though all events that happen in the book are a novelist fictional creation? I have changed all character names and used only fictional names but everyone will know who I am referring too when I mention first name only. Example Mayor Jim or Solicitor Jim. I also have used real newspaper/radio personalities/restaurant names in the book. Do I need their permission to put their names in print? Example (The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Radio station WKYT, Burger King).

Asked on 4/07/06, 12:17 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Joseph Jacobs Jacobs & Lowder

Re: Can I use real names of towns and radio/newspapers in a fictional book

No real names of persons without their permission.... You should also state at the beginning the same thing you see on TV shows. Something to the effect of "any similarities between these characters and any real persons is strictly coincidental." No use of companies' names either. You are definitely stepping all over these people's rights to the extent that you are using any part of their real names.

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Answered on 4/07/06, 2:04 am

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