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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! I'm wondering if it's fine to include the names of other writers, musicians, etc in your book? Like

He was a big fan of James Dean.

or

She really liked The Beatles.

or

He carried an old edition of On the Road in his bag.

I know many famous novels include references to other works of art, but they're trad published and I'm wondering if it's any different for indies?

Thank you for your time!
 

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Yep, just having their names in your book is okay.  Most problems you'd have with copyright is if you were trying to sponge off another book to make your book work.  Like, if my character was an adult wizard named Harry P. and he talked about how life was crazy when he was in school, that would be a problem.  If you can interchange the names: he was a big fan of James Dean, he was a big fan of the Ramones, and it doesn't matter, then it's just flavor.  But if the book relies on the reference and people knowing the reference to function, then it would be something to rethink.
 

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You do need to watch out for slander and libel issues, but the examples you gave above are fine. Also, with music you can name a band or song but do not use any lyrics from a song without permission.
 

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Yes but you should stick to mentioning them positively or neutrally to best avoid any trouble. Don't write in a joke about Prince Andrew being an alleged pedophile, for instance, or don't just say it that blatantly. But if the idea of somehow pissing off a company or public figures makes you nervous then put a disclaimer at the front of the book making it clear none of these people or businesses or products have any relation to you or endorse what you're writing.
 
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