Copyrighting cities and towns?

So I’m working on a story, the setting of which is a fictional town. Now I’m damn crap at designing towns so i decided to use a real life town, just change street names and shop names and history and the like. Basically use the basic layout, like the map, as the foundation.

So it got me wondering, would anyone notice if I did that? Is there like some law forbidding you from renaming a town for fiction?

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  • As a writer, artistic license allows you to use real life places as settings for your stories. You can rename them or create your own histories about them as much as you want. If you notice, a lot of the published works use reality as basis for their settings and whatnots.

    Goodluck on your writing!


  • The only thing you can’t do is steal a fictional town from another author and call it your own. I couldn’t make a town with a place called Diagon Alley, based on J.K. Rowling’s location.

    But you could do what R.L. Stine did and use a place like Kings Island Amusement Park and invent details that don’t really exist in real life, in order to tell a story. There’s no law that protects real places from being fictionalized.

  • No, of course not. There are lots of works of fiction set in New York City, to pick just one example, that use the actual names of the boroughs, streets, subway lines, etc.; and the same is true of many other cities and towns around the world. “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” for example — it uses the actual name of Brooklyn and of various places in New York.

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