Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Inevitably, real life experiences are the source of all artistic inspiration. Yet, to draw from this source often leaves the author open to potential allegations of libel; fictional characters created entirely in the author's mind are, in fact, "of and concerning" real people. In this article the authors examine the dilemma presented by real people and writers of fiction. By analyzing the creative process and looking at three recent cases, they argue that the current standard is unduly protective of plaintiffs. Only by requiring proof of malicious use of the fiction device as a subterfuge to defame the plaintiff, the authors conclude, will first amendment standards be met.