1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Intellectual Property in Literature

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Cacian, Jan 26, 2012.

    when does intellectual property such as names/ideas from books whne taken up by others to use becomes infringed?

    for example
    Yahoo is a name of a place in Gulliver's book but has been obviously taken up by Yahoo the search engine?
    Is this something that is/should be allowed?
     
  2. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Not really. That book was written in 1726 and the search engine was created in 1995. How were they supposed to know?
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Someone from the Yahoo team read the Gulliver's book and then took it from there.
    Not the other way around.
     
  4. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    You can't copyright names and titles.

    You could name a fiction novel 'Justin Beeber Goes to Mars' and get away with it so long as you don't portray his likeness.
     
  5. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Very true.
     
  6. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    It really all depends on the country, but typically words that enter mainstream vernacular are no longer subject to copyright. You might want to search Google for "fair use" and "public domain". Not everything is owned.
     
  7. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Sure I was thinking more along the lines of unusual invented words that means 'something to the book.
    For example if I invent the word GROLT in a book to indicate a name of a caslte.
    This word is new andonly means something to the story.
    If someone takes it out of context then it means nothing because it is one unique word invented for the book.
    So if someone borrows it to name a search engine with it then I think I am not sure private intellectual property.
     
  8. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    No. You are not allowed to take the word GROLT and say nobody for the rest of eternity is allowed to use GROLT or else there will be consequences.

    There's hundreds of legalities and to make more sense of it take a look at this page. In particular look at the difference between copyrights and trademarks.

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html
     
  9. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Thank you.
    Just another question:

    What about the word Yahoo which is taken from Gullivers' book and used as a name for a search engine?

    in the same breath as
    Google which means this:

    It's derived from the word "googol"
    Googol is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The term was coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, and was popularized in the book, “Mathematics and the Imagination” by Kasner and James Newman. Google’s play on the term reflects the company’s mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the web.”

    The word Google drives from Latin dictionary word "googol". It is mathematical term of 1 followed by a repeated zeros

    Are these too names in breach of intellectual property?
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it wasn't a place, just the name of a race of brutes he encountered in his travels... a

    since swift wrote his book several centuries ago, all in it is 'public domain' so use of the word can't be any sort of intellectual property breach... besides which, single words from a copyrighted work can't be copyrighted... they can only be trademark protected, if a brand name and/or connected to the marketing of peripheral merchandise...

    can't have been 'originated' by anyone in modern times, if it was already a latin word... however, i've checked several latin dictionaries and cannot find any word like that meaning 'a lot'... 'multus' is the latin word for 'a lot' and i can't even find any latin root such as 'goog'... can anyone here find it?

    and if 'google' was coined recently, or what it derived from is simply a latin word, even if it was from something that was written and copyrighted in the past century, it still can't be any breach of anything, unless it was trademark registered, and 'googol' wasn't...
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This is not necessarily true. There are sometimes trademark concerns as well, and this is likely to be one of those times. The fact that you aren't infringing a copyright or using a likeness won't preclude a trademark action.
     
  12. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I don't know. There are thousands of different cases that you can think of, but if every single name, title, and slogan were protected under copyright law than artistically we would all be in a very boring world. I'm not a lawyer, but I imagine it would be very difficult to beat a company like Google in court.
     
  13. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    that is very true.
    It is not about wether we should or we shouldn't, it is about making sure that taking things that belong to others is done under an appropriate manner.
    The reason why I asked is because I previously thought that those names were just a brand that belonged to the search engines but now I found out they did not.
    It raises questions over property and the right to protect what yours in order for you to get your recognition and not someone else who years later comes and takes it away from under you feet and get the recognition they do not deserve.
    It is deceptive and should not be done in aworld where intellectual property is particularly difficult to protect or prove.
    Being aware of this issue makes life much easier for all of us.
     
  14. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I don't think the mind who came up with the word Yahoo and Google would be offended if they knew there names were still ringing bells in the year 2012. Again these people brought something to the table and somebody took the names Yahoo and Google and ran with them in a completely different direction. I would be honored if the name of a character I've written turned into one of the most recognizable brands in the world 200 years from now.
     
  15. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    without asking you?
    what is the point if you woud not be here to know about it?
    isn't it better to be aware of it even after you have gone rather then notknowing at all.
    I mean it is just manners to ask before you take.
     
  16. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    You're going to be one lonely person, not being able to speak in a language that anyone can understand. I know that I didn't make up any of the words that I'm using, and neither did you. Someone else did a very long time ago, and we just use them.
    Seriously, look up fair use and public domain. You'll figure it out.
     
  17. Ziggy Stardust
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    Whoever "invented" the word "the" would be the richest bastard in the world! :D

    I'm interested to know how Cacian is planning on "asking" someone for permission after they've been dead for 200 years? That would be a neat trick! :p
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The Yahoos in Gulliver's Travels where brutish human-like animals encountered somewhere near India, in a land ruled by talking, sentient horses. Yahoo is an internet search-engine. I'm not saying you can copyright a name, but the two being so different and John Swift written the book at the same time as Robinson Crusoe, it's slipped very much into the public domain.
     
  19. Cacian
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    Hehe...that is not the same because THE is a word that means something.
    YAHOO is something that means nothing.
    IT is a made up name.
    THE is a grammatical word and it is a tool/mean to write language.
    YAHOO is the equivalent of a made up word like GARCOLET.:p

    I am not planning to ask the owner who is no longer with us that would be promesceous oops sorry I mean impossible.:p
    What I was trying to say is that if there was a law now in place, such as the protection of specific inventend words that belong to a given story, and therefore means nothing if taken out of context , then users say that come afterwards years later would not be able to take anything that is not theirs at the first place.
    If it is copyright spefic to a story then it is not for anyone to use.
    The possibility of someone else in the near future of wants to use 'googe' or 'yahoo' as a brand name for their cars then who is to stop them?
    Yahoo cannot because it is not theirs and Google cannot either because google is taken from another source without persmission.
    in others words brand will start to clash.
    The idea is this:
    If someone did to someone else then another person will come and do it to them is what I am trying to say.
    It is not about what was it is about what is now.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    A lot of misinformation in this thread, mostly in the realm of trademarks. The information I'm posting below is a very basic primer on trademarks, and hopefully it will clear up some of the above.

    First, yes virtually any word or slogan can be protected by law under trademark law, with some getting stronger protection than others. The fact that a word has existed for a long time has no bearing on the matter. Think of the trademark "Apple" for computers. The word 'apple' has been around for a long time, but it is a very strong trademark when associated with personal electronic devices, from computers to mp3 players.

    Also, keep in mind that trademark protection is typically limited to one or more specific goods and/or services. So while you might have a trademark protected for soup, for example, someone else might have the same trademark for auto parts. The exception to this is when you are dealing with "famous" marks, which get a great deal of latitude across good and services, whether the trademark owner is using the mark on those goods and services or not.

    Trademarks are supposed to fulfill a role for the consumer. They serve as a designation of origin. When you see the word "Toyota" on a car, it tells you something about where that car came from, and the goodwill (or lack of it) that you have in your mind then becomes associated with it. If another company could build cars and call them "Toyota," then it would clearly cause confusion in the marketplace.

    With respect to what can be protected, and how strong the protection is:

    1. Generic marks cannot be protected, and if a trademark becomes generic the trademark owner will lose the mark. The word "aspirin" used to be a protected mark, but now it is generic and anyone can use it. Xerox and the company that makes Kleenex actually take out ads in writers magazine asking people not to use their marks in a generic manner. They don't want to lose them. People at Xerox cringe every time someone says "I need to xerox these papers." It's not as common a phrase anymore, but for a while people said that sort of thing a lot. Xerox took out ads asking writers, at least, to stop.

    A term that is generic in one market may not be in another, and it may be protectable with respect to other goods. For example, if I make aspirin, I can't protect the word "aspirin" because it is generic for an analgesic. If I started a car company and instead of Ford or Chevrolet I called my cars "Aspirin," it would be protectable. Aspirin is not a generic term for cars.

    2. Descriptive marks are the next level of protection. If you try to register a trademark for a descriptive word (again, as applied to your specific goods and services), the Trademark Office will refuse it. You have to prove that even though it is descriptive, the mark you want has come to be associated with your company in the minds of the consumer. There is a company that makes air fresheners for cars called CAR-FRESHENER. When they first tried to register that mark, it would have been denied. The idea is that it is unfair to keep other from using that descriptive terminology on their own products. But, after years passed and they kept using it in the marketplace, they were able to successfully demonstrate that even though the mark was descriptive it had come to be associated with their company in the marketplace, and now they have a registered mark for it.

    3. Suggestive marks can be registered right away. They get fairly strong protection. A suggestive mark tells something about the product, but doesn't just describe it like a descriptive one does. An example is GREYHOUND, for a bus line. It suggests speed, etc. It is a good mark.

    4. The strongest marks are arbitrary and fanciful. These are words that really have no prior association with the product in question and don't even suggest the goods and services. The only reason they have any association with a certain set of goods or services is because of the trademark owner. A good example would be REEBOK, for shoes, or KODAK, for film, PENGUIN, for books (and though PENGUIN is completely arbitrary for books, if you were selling penguins it would be generic and you couldn't protect it).

    So...those are very briefly the principles underlying trademark law in the U.S. Canada is pretty similar. Single words and short slogans of the type referenced in this thread are not generally subject to copyright. It is usually a trademark issue, and it doesn't matter how long the word has been around, and it doesn't matter whether the word is used in every day language. It is analyzed according to the four categories of marks, above.

    When you are dealing with real people, right of publicity also comes into play. In some places, only celebrities have a right of publicity, but in many places any person can have it. And trademark law comes into play when the name of someone (like celebrity) also gets trademark protection. As I noted above, the idea that you can use "Justin Bieber" on something and you're OK so long as you don't use his likeness is simply untrue. There are issues associated with use of the name alone, without any sort of likeness.

    A good rule of thumb, particularly when advising new writers (many of whom in this day and age self-publish and do not have a publishing house with its own lawyers to look things over), and particularly when it comes to legal matters, is not to offer comments if you do not know the answer. It does more harm than good in the long-run to perpetuate misconceptions about trademark and copyright laws. Someone might read comments in a this thread or others like it, here or elsewhere, and act. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the person undertaking the action, of course, but it certainly doesn't help to have people throwing out comments, stated as fact, when they really have no idea whether or not what they are stating is true.
     
  21. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    This is actually the fallacy that SOPA and PIPA are supposed to solve.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    jonathan swift wrote gulliver and daniel defoe wrote crusoe 7 years earlier...
     
  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I was being general, since they were both written in the 1700s. And in terms of centuries 7 years is not a very long time. I don't see why the frankly small distinction of a mere 7 years merits a response to be honest. ;)
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, i mistakenly took your wording to mean that swift wrote both... no offense was intended... as an unrepentant virgo's virgo, i have a hard time letting mistakes in names and authorship slide by...

    my apologies for any unintentional insult thus perceived...
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I can see why you might have thought that, looking back on my post now, I guess - so I should apologize myself for the confusion. Daniel Defoe is a particular favorite of mine (I freaking love Moll Flanders and Robinson Crusoe) so I guess my reason to not name Defoe - just naming his most famous work as something not even worth even mentioning, since who wrote what in the canon is pretty common knowledge. Or easily googled. So yeah, sorry. I guess I should be aware of the world outside University life. :p
     

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