1. CadillacXLR8r
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    CadillacXLR8r Member

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    Copyrite Laws?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CadillacXLR8r, Jun 29, 2011.

    I was wondering about copyrite laws for cars? I was wondering, because in one of my latest stories I am writing, I use a lot of cars because the book is called Midnight Racer. I was just wondering, if I were to want to publish the book, would I have to talk to all the car companies about it?
     
  2. The Degenerate
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    As long as you aren't libeling the company, I doubt they'd throw up a fuss over free advertising.

    You might not want to use any trademarked slogans though.
     
  3. CadillacXLR8r
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    So just saying that the character now owns a Cadillac CTS-V would be fine?
     
  4. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Chuck Pahlaniuk has entire books that serve as clever product placement.
     
  5. CadillacXLR8r
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    I mean, because there is no getting around the issue, because a lot of the whole story is based on the cars and their drivers
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Short words or phrases like car names aren't generally protected by copyright. You're talking about trademarks here, and in general you can go ahead and refer to them in your work. If you're dealing with a particularly litigious trademark owner, then you might want to avoid, just because they can create expensive headaches for you.
     
  7. Cogito
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    This is not a natter of copyright (note spelling) law. It is trademark law.

    But you can use trademarks in works of fiction, unless that use causes confusion about the actual product. For example, if your use of the name Chevy Impala suggestsa a history of low speed rear-end collissions causing fuel tank explosions, that would be considered a trademark infringement, as well as being anfamatory.

    If your use of the trademark is limited to ordinary use of that item, and makes no implications about the brand other than its advertised properties, you will be fine. So your character can freely sip a couple fingers of Jim Beam, and smoke a Marlboro after washing and waxing his classic '66 Ford Mustang, then call for a Domino's pizza to be delivered.
     
  8. CadillacXLR8r
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    Okay, thank you. That was very helpfull. And as I was making the thread, I was wondering if it would be trademarked or copyrighted.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Also, you should consult a literaru attorney if you have any doubts about copyright, trademark, or defamation issues.

    Our opinions here come with no guarantees. A literary attorney has passed a Bar Exam, and can tell you not only where the clear points fall, but alsoi which ones are close to a gray area that could get you into trouble.
     
  10. CadillacXLR8r
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    Okay, when I get around to planning on publishing it, I will use your advice and talk to a literary attorney. Thank you everybody.
     
  11. NecessaryPain
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    It's a shame you can't say whatever you feel in your own novel.

    It's a work of fiction, if you state this at the beginning of your novel, how can anyone suggest your opinion is infringing?

    Even if it was, it's just an opinion. It's hardly going to affect sales of that particular product.

    Let's say you write your novel and publish it for free (e-book style) Can they still make a case over it? Surely there is a line where freedom of speech comes into play? non-profit-wise.
     
  12. digitig
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    I am not a lawyer, but in my understanding yes they can, and no there isn't. If what you write is libelous or defamatory then they can come after you for it and "ha ha, only fiction" is not likely to be a defence. It makes sense -- just look at some of the stuff on snopes.com to see how things written as fiction have entered into the public consciousness as fact.
     
  13. SeverinR
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    Just from reading published works, car names are allowed.

    Christine is a "58 Plymouth Fury",possessed by evil.

    Bandit(Smokey and the bandit) drove a 1977 Trans Am S.E.

    Austen Powers; 1967 Jaguar 1967 E-Type "Shaguar"

    Duke boys drove a 1969 Dodge Charger
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Whether you are making a profit or not isn't really going to be an issue. The underlying elements of infringement of intellectual property, or defamation, remain the same. If you are trying to make a "fair use" argument with respect to copyright (for example), then your non-profit nature becomes one factor of many.
     

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