1. Samsonjh

    Samsonjh New Member

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    Brand names and products?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Samsonjh, May 12, 2017.

    Hi, I'm a first time author coming to the end of my book and after a bit of advice if possible? I've received conflicting accounts about the legality of using product names and / or references to celebrities? None of the references I've used are in a derogatory or bad light, just in certain cases I've drawn comparisons or used a product as a way of describing something..... if that makes sense?

    Thanks

    Simon
     
  2. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    From what I can gather it's okay to use brand names. The no-nos I found is:

    -Trying to sell/advertise the brand/product.
    -Using a brand name instead of the generic name (Exampel: Your character shouldn't be Googling, he should be "searching on the internet" or such)
    -Putting them in a bad light (of course)

    Your character can eat at Domino's and wear Reebok, is shouldn't be a problem. Then there might be companies that are more strict then others, but those seems to be the general outlines.

    When it comes to celebrities - I have no idea.
     
  3. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The issue is usually not copyright, but rather trademark. In either case, you can use it if the trademark name is commonly used as a generic reference, such as Coke or Kleenex. Otherwise, it could be an infringement. Even when a product name is used in a positive manner, the holder of the trademark may want to charge a fee to use the name.

    Use of celebrity names is problematic. Like companies with trademarks, they could demand a rights fee for use of their names. But there's another risk, too. Using celebrity names could limit the appeal of your work, both by dating the work and by referencing celebrities that only some of your target audience may recognize.

    Anything I've missed, I trust @Steerpike will fill in the blanks.
     
  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I used the names of many well-known chefs and high-end restaurants in my first novel and my publisher was perfectly fine with it.
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    You're fine with the celebrities so long as you're not being libelous. Otherwise tabloids, unauthorized biographies, and South Park could not exist.
     
  6. Samsonjh

    Samsonjh New Member

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    Ah ok, thanks for the answers. It sounds like what I've written SHOULD be ok. Again, new guy, just blundering my way through the process....I take it any issues will be brought up by the publisher?
     

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