on The Book Designer:
Writers worry about using real people’s names in fiction. Even memoirists and nonfiction writers identify people by name and worry about the ramifications. Can writers model characters after real people and name names without getting sued?
Yes, they can, with some common sense limitations.
Over the next three posts I will talk about the legal risks of using real people in your writing; namely defamation, invasion of privacy, and misappropriation of the right of publicity. A thorough discussion of these issues would fill a bookcase, so don’t read these posts as the definitive word. My goal is to help you spot issues so you know when your need to learn more or seek expert advice.