Historical Figures in stories?

Can we include historical figures in stories?

When I speak on historical figures I mean a person who died hundreds of years ago but was a real person/existed in real life; to which I’m asking if I can have them actively apart of my episode plot.

I’m wanting to write a story that of course has my own storyline and twists to the point where it’s my own; but I was contemplating having Henry VIII in it since I was fascinated with Tudor history and his 6 wives.

I read the guidelines and I’m confused,

It speaks on celebrities and brands but doesn’t elaborate on historical figure heads that have been long dead and are so old that they’re interpreted through writings/etc rather than media. No one can say what Henry VIII looked like or what his personality was truly like since there wasn’t photos or videos in that time, he was simply a figure of the past with no blatant evidence/copyright to his name if that makes since. It was all in exaggerated writings and unrealistic paintings.

Basically, I’m asking if it’s okay to include a historical figure as a plot device who died 500 years ago as long as I have a warning/disclosure at the beginning of the story.


Personally I wouldn’t classify Historical Figures as Celebrities. But that’s just me. I could be wrong and maybe they classify under celebrities.


I got curious and actually researched this lol.

I’m pretty sure you should be in the clear if they’ve got no living grandchildren, as long as you can’t defame them or damage the value of their estate in any way. Elvis or Dr. King, best not try, Henry VIII or Cleopatra, sure. There’s no way to trademark a part of history, so there can’t be any trademark infringement.

Link for a related Quora question



dang- my argument looks like a 5 year old wrote it…

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Also, I’m pretty sure “celebrities” refers to anyone who makes money off of their image. Singers, actors, Instagram influencers or whatever, those are celebrities. Politicians usually aren’t under the same classification (thus why people make fun of and satirize politicians all the time lol. And I imagine a king classes as a politician lol.)


Pfshhhh, nah, you’re still helping lol. :wink: :+1:

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lol uh huh. Thanks :joy:

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“Publicity rights do not last more than 100 years after death”

Oooo boi it seems like I’m clear then


I’m hoping to get a word from somebody on the episode team so I don’t waste my time writing a story that goes against the guidelines


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Henry VIII is fair game. The important thing to watch out for is if there’s a modern upkeep of a person’s estate, like Walt Disney but that’s much more recent history.


Thank you for the response!

Time to get writing :sunglasses:

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