1. Helga Rune
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    Helga Rune New Member

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    Can I use this or not?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Helga Rune, Dec 16, 2015.

    Hi all. The land of Karnath is mentioned in a story I have written. Apparently, my friends dad remembers a Commodore 64 game called the Staff of Karnath or very similar. Can I still use Karnath in my story or will I get hammered? I did a quick check on the net and there are loads of people with the surname of Karnath and a few companies too.

    All the best

    Helga.
     
  2. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Tread lightly, and add a disclaimer. That is the best way to avoid to much complication. :p
     
  3. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Find Karnath Replace with Kranarth..... a moment passes. A msg box appears '177 replacements have been made'..... and zero ambiguity now exists. :) Job done.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Doesn't sound like a problem. Is it even in the title? If not, I wouldn't worry about it. There doesn't appear to be a trademark registration for "Karnath," so even if you had it in the title it seems like the risk would be pretty small.
     
  5. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    You can use it.
    I write a story about Gods in Asgard and decide to put the Gundestrup Cauldron in it for shits and giggles. So what? Some other author happens to write the 4,987th remake of Romeo and Juliette. Still not a problem. Oh and there's some kid in said remake playing a Donkey Kong video and drinking diet coke while reciting passages from the bible. Still not a problem.
    There is only plagiarism issues if plagiarism actually exist.

    Imagine what it would be like if no writer ever was allowed to reference actual products or names that sound similar? Story telling would cease to exist.
     
  6. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    KhalieLa has the wrong reasoning and interpretation - copyright/trademark is different from public domain or mythological references. Generally, passive referencing of everyday items is fine, but it is not entirely "safe". In this case, the word itself is not an issue for a few reasons.

    As mentioned in the opening post, Karnath is a surname and it is found in numerous places, including and specifically as place names in video games and books. The game being mentioned is one, another is Battletoads. For books you have Legends of Auryona: Return of the Queen by Wulf where it is a place. Andy Briggs uses it in the new Tarzan books as the name for a gorilla. Even still, your usage is passive and not related to the others. It is just a name.
     
  7. Mr. Galaxy
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    Mr. Galaxy Member

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    Precisely, a name is just a name, and little more. Now if you outright lifted something from something else, calling it the same thing or place. Like if I wanted to make my characters travel to the land of “Disc World”, and it was more or less a clone of Terry Pratchett’s Disc World, then that would be grounds for an issue. But just two completely unrelated places with the same name? Knock yourself out.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t title a story about a book of faces “Facebook” if I where you.

    Carry on!
     
  8. WriterMMS
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    WriterMMS Member

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    Book of faces? The necronomicon is amused.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    A name can be subject to trademark protection. You can't assume just because something is a name you can use it. In this case there doesn't seem to be a registered mark for this name, nor do common law rights seem to be at issue.
     

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