You don't need permission to dress up as a copyrighted character, but do you need permission to write about it?
October 30, 2012 10:41 AM Subscribe
My novel involves a costume party with some guests dressed as recognizable characters from films, TV, etc. I'm clearly not trying to claim them as my own and it's just all Halloween costumes, but am I asking to get sued?
posted by scaryblackdeath to media & arts (4 answers total)
This is for a sequel to a self-published e-novel. I've got a big Halloween party sequence. Some people show up in generic costumes (ninja, doctor, zombie, etc), but main characters show up as the Ninth Doctor, Arthur Dent and a colonial marine a la "Aliens." So far I've also got one random guy in a Spider-Man costume.
The closest anyone comes to dropping quotes or adopting traits for the characters is when the guy dressed as Dent says he never got the hang of Thursdays and he ensures he has a towel. (He never actually manages to say "Arthur Dent" because he's always interrupted.) It's not a matter of going fan fic or anything like that so much as the characters themselves are avowed geeks.
I don't actually need to contact those copyright holders and get permission, do I? Does this count as fair use? Alternately, would a disclaimer noting no claim to ownership be good? I can't really do the "any resemblance to real or fictional characters is purely coincidental" thing when this is plainly deliberate.