Readers have seen the short publisher’s statement that places, names of people (alive or deceased) and incidents within a book are fictional. Any likeness purely coincidental.
Well, I was reminded of this when my publisher inquired about a drug name I used in my upcoming title, Dial QR for Murder. I made a derivative of a name brand prescription medicine to avoid any claims of infringement.
I know there are authors who feel it’s okay to kill off a character with an overdose of OxyContin or other name brand drug. After all, lots of writers and TV shows do it.
But consider this.
Successful writers with large publishing houses have a whole legal team behind them. With that comes readily established licenses and privileges not extended by law to the general public. And face it–we writers are still the general public despite our fanciful notions of being famous one day.
Mystery/thriller fans appreciate seeing fairly common methods of murder and mayhem. Yet, I insist creators get creative. Don’t be a fibber and purposefully use name brands and sweep it under the “Purely Coincidental” rug. Why not make up your own poison and name it?
In my short story series, The Colored Doors, an illegal substance called X-ibit is wreaking havoc on the city. Crime and death rate escalate. How does this drug work? Who are the people making it, and who are those using?
Wouldn’t you be more invested in the story to find out, rather than if police were simply battling crack- and meth-heads?
I believe both authors and their readers can benefit more from establishing fiction doesn’t always have to rely on reality. Because at the end of the day, reality can land you in court for trademark or copyright infringement.
What do you think?