Harvey, IL asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Illinois

Q: Is it legal to write a novel about a man that gets sucked into a real video game? Can I name the game in the book?

Can I use characters or the lore in the game to help tell my story?

2 Lawyer Answers
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
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  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: Use of the game's name is permitted as "nominative fair use" when referring to it, and it is also fair use of the game's characters and story line as commentary or parody. The essential point is that you are not creating another game to compete with it.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: Using the name, characters, or lore of a real video game in your novel would likely constitute copyright and possibly trademark infringement under California and federal law, unless you obtain permission from the rights holder. The game's elements are protected intellectual property, and using them without authorization could expose you to legal action. If you want to explore a similar theme, it's safer to create a fictional game with original characters and lore.

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