Stack OverflowIs it okay to use dead poets names as sample contacts?
[+10] [3] Art Shayderov
[2010-08-19 18:32:11]
[ sample-data ]

I need about 10 sample contacts to prepare screen shots. Is it okay to use dead writers names with 555 phone numbers? Like "Mark Twain +1 (555) 4567777". I'm from Russia and I think it's perfectly okay, but I have to show it to Americans. I don't want to get sued or something. I don't even want them to raise eyebrows you know like "those Russians, they don't have respect for anything". Thanks

IANAL, but it should be okay I think. If you're concerned, make up fake names. - Daniel Vandersluis
(2) You know more than 2 dead poets from America?!? Wow! Better than most Americans. - S.Lott
use movie characters. @S.Lott Tupac and Biggie count? :-) - aaa
(2) Not that it matters, but is Mark Twain considered a poet? Anyway, another option is to use something like - Michael Burr
@Michael for some reason your link reminded me this: - aaa
@S.Lott Wikipedia is your friend too :) - Art Shayderov
@Art Shayderov: "or else published much of their poetry while living in that country". So they aren't all "citizens"; but they are "Americans". How confusing. You'd almost think America was nothing more than a bunch of Immigrants. - S.Lott
(2) I think closing this is a bit harsh! Surely generation of test data is a valid question related to programming in general. - James Gaunt
@aaa: You know two poets! Are you American? I think not. - S.Lott
(2) Voting to reopen. Questions about the nature of test data are perfectly on-topic. - John at CashCommons
@S.Lott I have been in US for past 15 years. might as well be. but to be fair, US is not known for their poets, unlike England or Russia. - aaa
@aaa: That's my point. You know two American poets. Proof that you're an adopted American. Thanks for playing. Carl Sandberg and Robert Frost is the correct answer. - S.Lott
[+2] [2010-08-19 18:34:17] James Gaunt [ACCEPTED]

Of course it's ok - you can use anyones name living or dead - names aren't copyright.

Maybe keep away from the names of dictators/criminals - but other than that no one should have a problem. In fact if it makes test data more memorable and so easy to discuss it could be an advantage.

(3) I think (s)he's concerned that it might a social faux pas. - pessimopoppotamus
@pessimopoppotamus - exactly. I just didn't know this word. Thanks - Art Shayderov
@pessimopoppotamus: "I don't want to get sued or something." doesn't sound like a "social faux pas". It sounds like very real fear of American lawyers. - S.Lott
(1) @S.Lott - okay, both - Art Shayderov
Avoid using the names of politicians is you seek to avoid faux pas. With today's political climate, it's nearly impossible to avoid offending or at least irritating somebody with making mention of a politician. - Adam Crossland
[+2] [2010-08-19 18:34:55] S.Lott

Please, use famous Americans for test data. A name cannot be copyrighted.

Just don't make "extensive" quotes from their works.

+1 for famous names. - Icode4food
The Rock might disagree, but I do think that S. Lott is correct. Certainly, you are free to use fictional names from works that have fallen out of copyright protection, too. - Adam Crossland
@Adam Crossland: However, "fallen out of copyright" is sometimes hard to establish for some works. There are some gaps in copyright durations that may have created orphan works. Or may not. But a name taken out of context is not an "extensive" quotation. - S.Lott
@Adam Crossland: The Rock can't copyright "The Rock". He can trademark it, however. He can try to copyright his catch phrases, you smell what I'm cooking? - S.Lott
Quite right, S. - Adam Crossland
[+1] [2010-08-19 18:36:00] John at CashCommons

I don't think Mark Twain is going to care at this point. At the very least it shows your customers that you know an American author!

I'd stay away from emotionally-charged names though. Like "Weird Al" Yankovic or Alfred E. Newman.


Mark Twain is cool, but I wouldn't use Michael Jackson. I believe his name is protected somehow, same as Elvis (trademarked perhaps? I heard a radio show discussing it some time ago). I know, MJ and EP are songwriters/performers, but it's sufficiently close to poetry I thought I'd bring it up. Emerson, Whitman, Twain...all good. - Jay
"believe his name is protected somehow, same as Elvis (trademarked perhaps? " Trademark has nothing to do with copyright. The name can be used in sample data. If they actually did take out trademark protection, you can't infringe on Elvis or Michael Jackson as performers or composers. This question doesn't seem to involve an illegal knock-off of "Hound Dog" sold under the Elvis Presley name. - S.Lott