How closely can a game use a copyrighted name?


I've already angered some experts w legal questions :D - not - I know I shouldn't hope for such binding certainty w, basically, friends!
If I put in a game, a character, npc called Brad Pitt, I'd get in trouble, but how strict are they on similar names,

like, Bradd McPitt, or Ranakin Slywalker? How does a similar character look factor. Space Quest III had the Vader v Obi-Wan duel in their hangar, briefly. I'm sure Sierra got legal permission. I think I saw that if you make a character that is in all black, helmet and laser sword, that is a no-no. What about a dead ringer for an Alien? (xenomorph)
What should I know!?
beavoidSelf EmployedAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

David Johnson, CD, MVPRetiredCommented:
Consult with a copyright attorney. Many of us may or may not be in your jurisdiction. You may be fully within your rights but defending these rights if taken to court will cost you major amounts of money.

Brad McPitt may be legal as long as you don't use the image or likeness of Brad Pitt. Since you can't use the likeness why not just use your own made up name.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Computer Games

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.