What exactly is "fair use"?
September 7, 2009 7:16 PM Subscribe
What are the legalities of mentioning copyrighted characters in a work of fiction?
I'm editing a novel for someone who has used well-known characters from several classic books as descriptors. They take the form of "they looked like [classic characters]" and "I had to wear my [character] t-shirt." This second one gets tricky, because it also carries over into trademark issues with character-related products that do exist. Does something like this require official permission from the copyright/trademark holders? (I'm guessing it does, but I want my ducks in a row when I tell her to change it)
Added wrinkle: what if the references are *slightly* incorrect (as in, a possibly intentional misspelling), but still close enough to be a clear reference to a specific character? Is this a loophole she could exploit if she really wanted to? Note, this is not my suggestion to her, but how it's presented in the text I've been given to edit.