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Old 07-18-2011, 12:32 PM   #1
mr ploppy
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Using privately owned landmarks

I'm thinking of gunning some people down at a nearby indoor shopping centre, is that something I would need to get permission for in advance, or something they could object to at a later date if/when they found out? I know it would be safer to use a fictional shopping centre instead, but I want part of it to take place on a local motorway nearby so it would still be obvious which one it was.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
James_Wilde
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This sounds like the perfect disprover of the concept that there is no such thing as bad publicity. I assume you mean you're thinking of writing about gunning some people down, btw.

Good question. I'm setting my next novel in our local sixth form college - there is only one in our little community and my novels take place in our little community and use actual buildings - and I haven't asked permission yet. But now you say this, I suppose I should really, and I'm not planning anything half as bad as gunning people down.

Don't expect any enthusiasm though. On the whole, perhaps better not to, and hope your book is not a box office breaker. Imagine if Warner Bros came and asked them for the movie rights. That would really drop you in the shit.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:51 AM   #3
JeremyR
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There was a video game, Resistance, for the PS3, that took place in a Cathedral in England. The Church was upset (can't remember if they sued...)

Then again, that used the likeness, which could be copyrighted. Granted, with words, you are describing the likeness, but it's your own words.

So basically, beats me....
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:56 PM   #4
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I would lean towards it is okay. But to be safe you can change the name, and only local readers would stand a chance of guessing it. I wrote comics for a while and used "big brown truck" as shipping company for a long time in that spirit. I was never contacted by anyone about it... but that could just mean not enough ppl read it.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:10 PM   #5
EileenG
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Just use it. It will give a feeling of realism to your story, and as long as you make it clear that this is a work of fiction, I can't see a problem. At what point does the landmark become so small you need permission to use it?

If you were mentioning actual people who were not public figures, then it's different and leaves you open to accusations of libel if what you've written is unflattering.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:26 PM   #6
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I don't believe public spaces, even privately held, are protected by any sort of publicity or privacy laws, unlike people.

I've also seen disclaimers in some books saying that recognizable places are used fictionally.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:51 PM   #7
anamardoll
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Stephenie Meyer told the world that Forks, Washington was a dreary place to visit where it rains constantly and tourists will likely get eaten by a vampire or a werewolf if any were foolish enough to visit, and the Forksians practically worship her as a patron saint nowadays. So, there's that.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:53 PM   #8
apbschmitz
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I can't imagine that every film ever set in NYC has paid something to the owners of the Empire State Building, or that Yellow Cab gets a slice of the action if a cab is pictured driving down a NY street. But I'm no lawyer.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:51 PM   #9
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My uneducated belief is that it's okay.

Remember the disclaimer in front of EVERY book published?

Quote:
BOOK is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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