1. Bones_PXOXM

    Bones_PXOXM New Member

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    Questions About Character Names

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Bones_PXOXM, Jan 9, 2017.

    New writer here. So I've run into a bit of an issue recently, every character name I've come up with as of late turns out to be in use! I've even wrote down first & last names then combined them manually & found out others were using them already. So a couple of questions here, first I'll give an example. So the character I'm working on is named Kitty, okay so I came up with a few last name combinations & the two I liked best were Kitty Lovelace & Kitty Valentine, turns out Kitty Valentine is the name of a painter & Kitty Lovelace is a freelance author & the name of a book character. So question one would be am I legally prohibited frome using those names? & question two is how to come up with original names that aren't in use?
     
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    You don't think that every character ever written has a namesake somewhere else?

    My name is not that common, but there's a famous sportsman with the same name (who's the same age as me, so I have been mistaken for him), and a famous film director too; apart from working at the same place as yet another of my namesakes.

    If you write about a character called Kitty Valentine whom you portray as a painter, and you then include something that the aforesaid Kitty might find offensive, you might find yourself in a libel case...but even then, she would have to prove that it was her to whom you were referring in your work of fiction.

    I think your concerns are the reason why you keep seeing "This is a work of fiction and the persons referred to are not real people..." disclaimers in books.
     
  3. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    There's no legal issue to be concerned about. And it's very unlikely that you'll be able to form a truly unique name out of existing ones like Kitty (as in, not fantasy/sci-fi type non-word names), so I wouldn't worry about that one too much either. Pretty much every name is already being used by someone.
     
  4. Bones_PXOXM

    Bones_PXOXM New Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate the info. you guys have provided. I've attempted writing many times without following through & one concern I've always had is I'd probably get sued, not a big reason but it was in my mind a lot. So if my character is unique & doesn't mirror an actual person the names are fine? What about names that are close to other fictional characters? All this sparked from me reading about the "Spots the Space Marine" fiasco.
     
  5. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I don't know anything about the fiasco you're referencing but getting sued is not something that's probably going to happen unless you're actually trying to publish fanfiction or something (and hey, that worked out for E. L. James). As long as you're not obviously using someone else's IP - eg you don't have a magical wizard school and a chosen one main character named Harry - you're in the clear.
     
  6. Bones_PXOXM

    Bones_PXOXM New Member

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    A gaming company had a freelance writer's book removed from amazon for using the term "space marine" because they also use the term space marine in their game, despite the phrase being used decades before their game existed (You can google it, it's super easy to find the story.). Bethesda tried to claim the rights to the word scrolls. Stuff like that has made me nervous about writing.

    And no I have no intentions of doing fan fiction or intentionally copying anothers work. If my character were to have a name similar to another's the character it's self would in no way match the other. I want my stuff to be original. So that being said nobody thinks I have anything to worry about?
     
  7. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I googled "Spots the Space Marine" before and just found it on amazon, and an article a couple results down about how the case didn't stick. Neither did Bethesda's attempt to get Mojang to change Scrolls' name. Yeah, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
     
  8. Bones_PXOXM

    Bones_PXOXM New Member

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    Well I knew it didn't stick, it was just the thought that they would even consider doing something like that. Anyway like I said thanks.
     

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