1. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Real world products in the story world?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Meteor, May 22, 2016.

    Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this post.

    The title mostly sums up what I'm asking. I'm asking here because delving through copyrights and so forth is rather complicated. Not to mention my web searches leave me somewhat empty-handed more often than not in this area. I see it in pictures mostly(usually indie)and various other places so I wanted to ask. So the example is as follows, and it is an example only.

    *Jayce glanced up, peering out of his hood, green eyes catching the light of a large neon billboard over head. The familiar Pepsi advertisement he used as a landmark showered him in blue light.*

    Could a scene like this be considered copyright? I've always had trouble figuring out if it is OK to use(especially when it comes to big real world products)such things in writing. Lets face it, Pepsi and Coca-cola aren't going to up and disappear for awhile. I doubt for a hundred years depending on certain circumstances. Lets not forget clothing brands. Are we, as writers, totally screwed on this front and just have to be neutral or make up our own brands? I really look very forward to any help! Thanks again!
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It's not copyright. It's trademark. And no, that's not trademark infringement. But if you cast a product in a bad light and the trademark owner tries to make something of it, it would be expensive to defend even if you're in the right.
     
  3. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Thank you for the corrections, I'll try to be more on top of that next time. So what exactly constitutes trademark infringement? Selling a product with the same markings as another product, or one with uncannily similar markings?
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Selling a product with a name, logo, packaging design, etc that is confusingly similar to the trademark is infringement. That's the standard. In the U.S., famous marks also get protection against blurring and garnishment. Pepsi probably qualifies as a famous mark, but the use you are talking about doesn't really concern me in any of those areas.
     
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  5. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    Awesome, thank you for the reply. Its nice to get a better idea of how these things work before getting to deep into anything.
     
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  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No problem. Note: "garnishment" is due to my phone's autocorrect. It should be "tarnishment." :)

    If you have any other questions about it I'm happy to answer them.
     
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