1. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    Using Real Agencies In A Fictional Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Psychotrshman, Jun 27, 2012.

    My story takes place in in the 1800's. At that time the railroads and banks were using Pinkerton Detectives to guard their assets from the outlaws and bandits. My characters interact with outlaws and the people pursuing them during the course of the story. Are there rules or regulations against using real organizations to pursue fictional outlaws? Can I use the pinkertons or would I be better off creating my own fictional organization to go after them? Thanks for any insight!
     
  2. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    FBI, CIA, LAPD, NYPD you can use all of them in your story and portray them however you want. I'm going to say if its a government funded entity than it should be open source.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Pinkerton is still in business, so all the usual legal caveats about using real world persons or companies apply.
     
  4. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    No reason you shouldn't be allowed to. Personally, I think it adds a dash of authenticity to the story and with historical fiction that counts for a lot.

    - Darkkin
     
  5. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    What kind of legal caveats would apply? It's not anything that would cast them in a bad light if that's what you mean. A few of them die, but they don't r*pe, pillage or plunder. No dirty detectives or anything.

    Would I have the same issues if I created a fictional agency that did something similar?
     
  6. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Basically, if it's a private company than they are in control of how their trademarks are used. The other post I made is incorrect. If you infringe on somebodies copyrights they can sue, and worst case scenario, have your work pulled from shelves. There are hundreds of technicality's.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Trademark law is unlikely to be the problem. Trademarks are only applicable in competitive markets, where the company's business could be impacted by someone else using the same or too similar a label, phrase, logo, etc.

    Defamation is a real risk. Even if you don't think a portrayal is harmful to their reputation, the company (or key personnel) might see it differently, Privacy violation lawsuits are less likely in this case.
     
  8. Psychotrshman
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    Psychotrshman Member

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    Thank you all for the help! I'm gonna go make my own group of detectives. Better safe than sorry. :)
     

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