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Is it okay to use the actual name of a university or should I make up a fictitious name?

By Robert L. Seigel

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Question: I am writing a spec script with a main character that is a lecturer in a well-known university. Is it okay to use an actual name of a university or should I make up a fictitious name?

If you want to play it safe, use a fictitious university name. (You may note the numerous references to "Hudson University" thoughout the years in the different incarnations of the "Law & Order" franchise.) If you need for some storytelling purpose to use the name of an actual university as part of the backdrop of your story, then make sure you depict the university in a neutral to positive manner and not in a derogatory manner.

About Robert L. Seigel

Robert L. Seigel ([email protected]) is a NYC entertainment attorney and a partner in the Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP law firm which specializes in the representation of clients in the entertainment and media areas.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act or rely on such information without seeking the advice of an attorney and receiving counsel based on your particular facts and circumstances. Many of the legal principles mentioned might be subject to exceptions and qualifications, which are not necessarily noted in the answers. Furthermore, laws are subject to change and vary by jurisdiction.
Screenwriting Article by Robert L. Seigel

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