What are the ramifications of using real life town in a novel? 2 Answers as of April 16, 2014

I need to know what the rules are concerning using a real life town in a novel. The characters, businesses, etc. would be fictional but the town lay-out, street names and it's history would be fact. Do I need to get permission? What if I get a fact or place name wrong?

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Your problem is not with using the town's name and layout many authors place their stories in real locations. The bigger concern is that someone actually living in the community will believe that a character or situation in your book is defamatory to that person, that it harms his or her reputation, or is out-and-out false. Brush up on defamation laws before making a decision, especially if you're dealing with a small community.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 4/16/2014
Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
That all sounds fine. A novel is fiction. You can set it in a real town. You should seek out legal advice if you plan to write about any real people or real businesses, particularly if you plan to use their real names. If so, get legal advice early on to avoid big trouble later.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2014
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