S17E7 – Can I Mention Copyrighted or Trademarked Material?

Any book taking place in the real world – especially those in the modern era – will have mentions and references that anchor them into a timeline. That can be anything from mentioning the type of phone they’re using (is it a flip phone or a smart phone?) to dropping actual names of people or things. There is a common question we see a lot, especially from anyone wanting to start writing something like Ready Player One, which is chock full of so many references it has any nostalgic heart longing for the past.

What’s the line, though? What makes something fair use or a copyright infringement? Can an author mention someone else’s work without having to get a written, contractual permission? The short answer is yes, but with limitations. Listen to this episode for a break down of what does and does not apply under fair use laws in fiction.

First aired December 24, 2020.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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