1. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    'Permanently Borrowing' kick ass published names

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Patrick94, Mar 26, 2011.

    If I wrote a story where the main characters were called say Harry Potter and James Bond and it was published, could I be sued, or is it only morally wrong?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    1. Only if you published it, thereby profiting from someone else's intellectual property.

    2. Why would you want to?
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    People would think you're trying to write fanfic.
     
  4. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    BOTH!

    Those names can't be for your MCs; they didn't originate from you.
    You can refer to them in your work, thereby giving their creators their due credit.

    And, for your artistic pride and creativity, why even consider that?
    Plagiarism is a serious offense.
    Do your 'own' thing.


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  5. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    What happens when all the good names get taken?
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Invent more.
     
  7. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as there are different languages there will be plenty of names. It is hard creating names anyway. I'm writing a historical novel set in the 18th century. It took me months to come up with names I was happy with and which didn't seem cliche or overused to me.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This never happens. For one thing, if you think they are, you're not thinking hard enough. For another, a good writer could make the name Blerf Snorfk very, very cool.

    (BTW, if you want to use the name Blerf Snorfk, go ahead. I'll think of a better one.)
     
  9. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Playing Devil's Advocate here, so bare with me. There is a loophole.

    There are plenty of people named Harry Potter in the world. Back when Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone, for the European members of the board) was coming to the silver screen there was a story in the news about a NYC principal whose name was Harry Potter. He was followed for a week with a camera and everytime he showed his ID to buy beer or whatnot, the clerk couldn't shut up about how he was named Harry Potter.

    James and Bond are also common names in the US and UK.

    So, depending on your story, you could always make an Office Space style plug at the fact that your character is so coincidentally named.

    However please keep in mind: This is a very risky venture you're considering. Tread lightly.
     
  10. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.
    Goodness knows how many original and zingy names can be created from the almost infinite combinations of them.


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  11. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha, that's an awesome name. But don't worry, I won't use it.

    Agreed.
     
  12. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's about deliberately taking a name you know exists. Those are just too prominent.

    There are endless combinations of names out there. Or just make something up.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    James Bond is a borrowed name. It was taken from the author of a book on Ian Flemings' bookshelf - a book about birds.
     
  14. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    When all the good names have been taken, puppies and kittens will explode all over the world. Scientific fact.
     
  15. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    NateSean brings up a good point.

    It could work if you have a really dweeby incompetent guy named James Bond and he constantly got crap over it.

    I wouldn't do Harry Potter though, just because in the story, HP himself gets random people who don't shut up about him being Harry Potter.

    If it was James Bond, Nancy Drew or something like that then it could be funny.

    I thought you meant just making some badass character and giving them that name without addressing the name issue at all. :)
     
  16. Hollowly
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    Why not just name the character Harry Bond and James Potter? Actually I think that was Harry's dad's name. Seriously though the name, "Harry Potter" appeared many years before in a movie called, "Troll". It's a common name. I think Warner Bros. would much more vigorously defend their claim to the name though.
    Too many people know who Harry is and would, I think, have trouble differentiating your character from Rowling's. Same with Bond.
     

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