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Winter Lone
02-21-2008, 05:55 PM
Greeting,
I'm a newbie.
Can anyone help me with the guidelines for writers using real names, such as hotels, malls, drinks products (like Coca Cola) or stars?
Thanks so much for the help.

Neon
02-21-2008, 05:58 PM
I dont know about any laws restricting you from using brand names, but mentioning stars can date your book.
For instance, if a book is speaking about how a girl has a huge crush on Nick Carter, you know that it was probably wrote 10 years ago. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but it's something i would want to avoid.

Prawn
02-21-2008, 06:00 PM
I believe you are in the clear as long as you don't defame them. If you are going to say anything bad about them, you might want to use an imaginary place or product.

bubbagringo
02-21-2008, 07:35 PM
my son asked me this Q last night

he wants me to write a novel depicting Oprah as the Anti-Christ...

KikiteNeko
02-21-2008, 08:51 PM
I've been told that to use events, you will need to get a copyright for certain proper names. But I don't think this is difficult or expensive, as I've seen a lot of low-budget and bestsellers mention several of these.


Greeting,
I'm a newbie.
Can anyone help me with the guidelines for writers using real names, such as hotels, malls, drinks products (like Coca Cola) or stars?
Thanks so much for the help.

Mumut
02-22-2008, 05:07 AM
If you are a member of a writers' group you might be able to get free legal advice. The Queensland Writers' Centre offers this service to members.

Shweta
02-22-2008, 05:14 AM
I wonder if this question would get more useful answers in the Roundtable. It doesn't seem to me to be novel-specific information... so would you like me to move it over and see?

Also, wow, several of you here joined just this month! Big :welcome: to you all!

jannawrites
02-22-2008, 05:15 AM
I'm with Prawn. If, in example, a character's gonna drink a Dr Pepper for the sake of drinking a Dr Pepper, you're in the clear. But if you try to alter what we know as Dr Pepper today, how it came to be, or use it in a poor light, there may be a concern. I'd say put it in your ms. When it comes down to it, your agent or pub can make the final call.

IceCreamEmpress
02-22-2008, 07:19 AM
You don't need to get permission to use the name of a trademarked product, a public figure, or a public place in fiction. However, as Prawn says, you're open to challenges if you invent anything even remotely defamatory about the item, person, or place.

The other area of legal conflict would be if you infringed on anyone's right to exploit their intellectual property or brand. So, for instance, you can't write a book called The Disney World Book of Fairy Tales or The Oreo Cookie Recipe Collection without permission of those entities.

OK: He stopped outside the gates of Disney World, waiting for Joan to arrive. He took a long drink from the bottle of Evian he had 'liberated' from the hotel lobby.

Not OK: He stopped outside the gates of Disney World, waiting for Joan to arrive so that they could join in the weekly craps game that took place behind the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. He thought about drinking a bottle of Evian someone had left on a bench, but then remembered that it was full of mercury and other toxins.

Winter Lone
02-23-2008, 11:25 AM
You don't need to get permission to use the name of a trademarked product, a public figure, or a public place in fiction. However, as Prawn says, you're open to challenges if you invent anything even remotely defamatory about the item, person, or place.

The other area of legal conflict would be if you infringed on anyone's right to exploit their intellectual property or brand. So, for instance, you can't write a book called The Disney World Book of Fairy Tales or The Oreo Cookie Recipe Collection without permission of those entities.

OK: He stopped outside the gates of Disney World, waiting for Joan to arrive. He took a long drink from the bottle of Evian he had 'liberated' from the hotel lobby.

Not OK: He stopped outside the gates of Disney World, waiting for Joan to arrive so that they could join in the weekly craps game that took place behind the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. He thought about drinking a bottle of Evian someone had left on a bench, but then remembered that it was full of mercury and other toxins.

Yep, that's what I meant by using real products name to make it sound like we are real people drinking Cola or Evian, and in real places instead of imaginary hotels or something. I wouldn't use the names for purposely intended to exploit their intellectual property or brand, but what if something bad happened in that place that had nothing to do with them? Say if we ate at the hotel's restaurant XX and then got into a fierce fight (surely not over the bad food ;-)) or stayed in Harvard dormitory, but were kicked out by the administration board for some reason?
Contrariwise, I assumed it would be ok if I give the places a good appraisal (say like in good ambiance), or describe their places?

Thanks a lot. I appreciate all the inputs.

Winter Lone
02-23-2008, 11:34 AM
I wonder if this question would get more useful answers in the Roundtable. It doesn't seem to me to be novel-specific information... so would you like me to move it over and see?

Also, wow, several of you here joined just this month! Big :welcome: to you all!

Thanks for the warm welcome.
Where's the Roundtable's section? (sorry, I'm still very new here, think I've read somewhere but not sure where it is).
I wouldn't mind (as long as I could find it).
:-)
Thanks again for the attention.

JB_Finesse
02-23-2008, 08:29 PM
This (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21546) is the best thread I've found on the subject. That's how I found this site. I googled "Puffs brand Kleenex". Why? Don't ask.

Scrawler
02-25-2008, 12:56 AM
My personal rule of thumb is this:
Neutral or positive mentions are fine and I'll use the real name.
Negative portrayals of a person, place or brand and I'll invent a name.

As for celebrities: I've come across novels gushing over Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt's "perfection marriage". It seems so false now, as though the writer lacks credibility in a weird way.

DavidZahir
11-22-2013, 02:54 AM
Just wanted to say this is a very useful thread.

A word of explanation--I wanted a character to have favorite movie based on an unwritten-novel, and I want her to praise the cast and star very much. Nobody will mind that, methinks.

Cath
11-22-2013, 03:05 AM
Resurrecting five year old threads makes my head hurt. Please don't.

There are lots of threads on this topic, and it looks like you have the answer you need already. No need to post.