Writers frequently ask whether they can mention brand name products and services in their fiction. The answer is "yes," provided that you take some common sense precautions. Indeed, if it were unlawful to include brand names in fiction, countless product references in Bret Easton Ellis's novel Glamorama would have been expurgated, and David Foster Wallace could never have described in Infinite Jest an alternative present where large corporations purchase naming rights to the calendar years (e.g., "Year of the Whopper," "Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar," "Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken," "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment," and "Year of Glad").
The four areas of law to consider in connection with brand names are "trademark infringement," "trademark dilution," "trademark tarnishment,"and "defamation."
A classic case of "trademark infringement" is the unauthorized use of a name in a way that creates a likelihood of confusion as to the origin of the goods or services. For example, if you were the manufacturer of aluminum foil and decided to name your foil "Glad," the Glad Products Company, manufacturers of Glad plastic wrap and Glad trash bags would likely think your use of the term is an infringement. Even if Glad Products Company doesn't manufacture aluminum foil, aluminum foil is sufficiently close to plastic wrap to create a likelihood that some shoppers would be confused as to whether your aluminum foil is manufactured, licensed, or endorsed by the makers of Glad plastic wrap. Keeping this principle in mind, it is evident why fiction rarely gives rise to trademark claims. When David Foster Wallace imagines a world in which Glad Products has bought naming rights to the year that would otherwise have been called 2010 (under the old number/naming system), he isn't using "Glad" to sell his own confusingly similar goods. He is, in fact, using "Glad" to refer to Glad Products' own goods. Trademark lawyers call this "nominative fair use," and it does not constitute infringement.
"Trademark dilution" is a somewhat different legal theory that gives owners of famous brand names a legal right to prohibit others from using those names in a manner that would make them less "distinctive," less able to identify and distinguish the owners' goods or services. For example, trademark owners have fits when writers of fiction or non-fiction use their brand names as generic terms for products or services. The Xerox Corporation doesn't like writers or the public to speak of "xeroxing" documents, instead of photocopying them; Johnson & Johnson doesn't want their Band-Aid brand to become the generic term for bandages; and Google complains about the use of the term "googling" instead of using the Google brand search engine for "searching" the Internet. Once in a while, a writer will receive a lawyer's letter from a company urging him/her not to genericize the company's brand names. Usually, the dispute goes no farther than that. Writers can avoid even mild reprimands of this sort by respectfully capitalizing brand names.
"Defamation" and "tarnishment" are the areas where there could, in rare instances, be greater cause for concern. If, for example, you falsely depict a brand name product as being dangerous or defective, a manufacturer could be heard to complain. Ultimately, the manufacturer should have to prove that some readers actually understood the disparaging depiction to be a statement of fact, not fiction, but there is seldom an artistic necessity to test that line.
Trademark "tarnishment" is a kind of hybrid between trademark dilution and defamation. Such claims arise when a non-owner uses another's trademark in highly disparaging or offensive contexts. The best-known tarnishment case was a successful claim by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (who owned a registered trademark) against the makers of the pornographic movie, Debbie Does Dallas, in which the actresses were depicted in the cheerleaders' trademarked uniforms, to the extent that they were depicted in anything at all. The Appeals Court's famous (at least to trademark lawyers) decision is here. Notwithstanding the Debbie Does Dallas decision, some uses of trademarks in ways that the owner regard as highly disparaging may be successfully defended as parody, as described in this online article by Leslie Lott and Brett Hutton.
A sensible precaution: if you are depicting brand name products or companies in an unsavory light in your novel or short story, it is often prudent to invent a fictional brand or a fictional company. If there is a compelling artistic reason to use real products and real companies in contexts that arguably disparage them, it is wise to seek advice, prior to publication, from your publisher's attorney -- or an attorney of your own -- on how best to minimize the legal risks.
The movie industry has always been exceedingly cautious about the use of brand names and the names of real people in films. For example, the director Danny Boyle, told the press that he caused Mercedes Benz logos to be digitally removed from cars in his film Slum Dog Millionaire when the manufacturer objected to the depiction of its cars in Bombay slum settings. (It is difficult to imagine a successful claim arising from such innocuous use, but movie studios are unwilling to run any legal risks that could conceivably lead to an injunction interfering with timely distribution of their films.) More frequently, of course, companies pay the movie studios for product placement. (There are even isolated isolated reports of paid product placement in novels.) I can only speculate that the movie industry's obsession with the depiction of brands in fictional works is the source of the largely unfounded concerns about the depiction of brand names in written fiction.
Again, the use brand names in fiction is not a sleep-depriving issue. It would be obsessive (and stylistically unpalatable) to use the R-in-a-circle symbol or the TM symbol every time you refer to a brand name in your text. And, as long as you do not write falsely and disparagingly about real brands and the companies who manufacture them, you are unlikely ever to run into a problem.
Thank you for this post - it certainly makes a rather muddy area clear and is a lot more sensible than some of the posts on this subject currently on LinkedIn.ReplyDelete
This was very informative. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I'm constantly wondering about this stuff and how much I can get away with without being sued, so this is very helpful.ReplyDelete
This is an excellent post, especially for those of us considering self publishing who don't necessarily want to consult lawyers! I Googled 'use of brand names in fiction' and ended up here (see what I did there?) :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you for the post. This is an excellent piece of work and is highly informative.ReplyDelete
I get this question frequently in my group http://AgileWriters.com - can I make a copy in our blog with full credit and linkback to you?
What about if it is non-fiction? Like memoir style.. Do these same rules apply?ReplyDelete
Thanks for your help!
My novella currently has a four year old zombie with Spiderman slippers on. Would this be considered tarnishing to Spiderman brand? Thanks for a reply, if possible. :DReplyDelete
Well, you certainly answered my questions. Google+ by me!ReplyDelete
Awesome, thank you so much for your help!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Mark. I was a little concerned and confused about my rights, but you cleared it up for me very succinctly.ReplyDelete
This shows a brand name comes from the situation where the product or services belong or an intuition which delivers a name for the brand.ThanksReplyDelete
Mark you have some great advice here! I have a specific question concerning trademark - if I reference Jedi Knights and Star Wars in my novel is that copyright infringement? I'm thinking about signing with a publisher who does not protect author rights when it comes to law suits so I want to be absolutely certain. Here is the line from the book if that would help - “Mind tricks? Am I a Jedi Knight now?”ReplyDelete
“Hardy har har har. Tell the geek another Star Wars joke.”
Thank you for your help and for this blog post! Means a lot to us writers just starting out :)
Id really like an answer to this one as well. I know it can be done, but how? One of my favorite serieses is the Dresden files books by Jim Butcher and one of the best parts is that they chock full of cultural references. Everything from star wars to bugs bunny. But does Butcher have to get permission each time he uses the word padawan?Delete
I am planning to make a show set in a private school. The school has "All rights reserved"; should I make a school up?ReplyDelete
What if you wrote a book and your character continuously talks about a character from a show throughout the entire book?ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this post. It's a relief to see the complications of using brand names broken down like this so we can see the exact issues and whether or not they apply to whatever we're working on. With this I can judge if it's worth saving myself the trouble and just making up a fictional name! Thanks again!ReplyDelete
I am about to publish my first novel and since it is a modern romance, I mentioned Facebook, Google, and Amazon in a way that It's like advertising their services. I can I'm out of trouble? The story is so realistic that I can't use any fictional company....ReplyDelete
I would mention them as "Social Media" for FB, "Internet Search" for Google, and "a shopping website" for Amazon.Delete
Thank you for a nice well written article on the subject. It cleared things up for me quite nicely.ReplyDelete
Thank you. I now think I have nothing to worry about in the brands I want to use. Thank you, very informative.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I have been searching for this info for a short story:)ReplyDelete
I have a question about writing non fiction: Is there any problem with mentioning real life people, if it's in a flattering way? Say for instance a book which mentions empowering music - would I be ok to "recommend" listening to the uplifting lyrics of x,y and z famous singers?ReplyDelete
There is a very simple way to avoid any lawsuit from companies if you want to really play it safe. Just use the generic term, such as soda versus a famous brand name soda or beer versus a well known beer.ReplyDelete
Your suggestion is inadequate, Anonymous. We'd lose so much implicit detail that way. "Soda" could mean anything from Coca Cola to Dr. Pepper to Seven-Up. "Beer" could mean Miller Lite or Double Chocolate Stout. Your suggestion is equivalent to saying we should call anything from a California redwood to a bonsai simply "tree". That kind of vagueness does not lend itself to the creation of a scene that the reader can see, feel, taste, etc.Delete
That suggestion leads me to remember how many of my friends were confused at one point in Twilight, a book I have never read. Apparently it said that the main character used her "favorite search engine," and to quote one person, "can't you just say Google or Yahoo and make it easier?"Delete
I don't know, that stuff just sort of… bothers me. It's like saying it doesn't matter if its by J K Rowling or James Patterson or Rick Riordan or Gary Paulsen, just call it a "book" and be done with it. Okay, not the best example, but it's late. As long as there's no copyright infringement, there's no reason to avoid using brand names entirely; after all, what kind of person says "let's search this up on the Internet" rather than "Google it"?
Thank you for this great post! I'd like to be a bit more picky in my question. Say my story is about an NHL hopeful. Now it's not about the NHL exactly, but I fully intend to say he's being scouted by the New Jersey Devils and the characters discuss the excellent goal tending of Martin Brodeur... would you say that's still within "reasonable limits"?... I'd love to get your opinion as I don't see how I can invent a whole new Hockey League :)ReplyDelete
Did you ever get your answer on this one? I was googling and came across this blog. My new fiction novel is going to be about a NY Yankees hopeful and was wondering that same exact question!
If you haven't gotten your answer, I know that Tyreese in "The Walking Dead" comic series plays an NFL linebacker (pre-apocalyptic career) specifically for the Atlanta Falcons. If Robert Kirkman can get away with it, perhaps so could you...?Delete
are you allowed to use city names and country names in a bookReplyDelete
You're kidding, right?Delete
I agree with the person above me, but to actually answer the question: Yes.Delete
You are allowed to use city, county, state and country names. There are no copyrights on those because they are owned by the tax payers and not private companies. However, there are a few exceptions to that rule. You can't use a states advertising slogan, (I.E. Kentucky has "UNBRIDLED SPIRIT®" or Wyoming that has a trade mark horse and rider as the logo.) this not to be confused with state nicknames such as Kansas is the Sunflower state or Arizona is The Grand Canyon State. Those you can use.Delete
Some advice about using real locations vs. fictional. I use fictional town and city names more than I do actual real locations. In a fictional environment you do not have to mention a specific state or geographical location. You can make your fictional places look the way you want to be. Be careful to make them believable and as real as possible.
The trouble of using real cities or states is that you need to research that location and maybe visit it and take pictures so you will know the history and culture of the area you want to use. People are sticklers for detail when it comes to the real world and if it doesn't seem right to your readers, they will let you know about it. So be sure to do your homework and do it well before you start writing. You will be thankful you did in the end.
can I use names like Star Wars and Sipderman in a child bookReplyDelete
A most informative post. I thank you.ReplyDelete
Great information here. Extremely useful. However I do have a question. Do I need to secure permission if I am referring to the names of British royalty currently living (Queen Elizabeth II) in my work of fiction?ReplyDelete
Thank you very much for this!ReplyDelete
I got into it with someone validating my story for a website that I post through. I had submitted a chapter for validation and was told that I could not publish that part of the story unless I cite the book title mentioned. I mention three book titles in ONE sentence in the chapter as part of a dialog between two characters. They threw a nit fit over the mention of the title Pride & Prejudice being used and not the other two.ReplyDelete
Now, as far as I know, book titles are not copyrighted; and as long as you are not using direct quotes or references to said book, you should not have to cite the title's reference. It seemed odd to me that they would throw a fit over one book title and not the others which are equally popular classics.
I could understand trademark infringement if the title was used in reference to a movie, but it is clearly in reference to the book. The dialog even states as much. When I pointed this out regarding another title I mentioned (Taming of the Shrew), the validator told me that particular title was not a movie at any point. BZZZ! Wrong. IMDB it. It stars Elizabeth Taylor.
Am I'm in error of the assessment of my usage? Or is the person validating the story is a complete idiot? I'm generally thinking it is the latter.
why not simply try to get along with the folks who pay you money?Delete
Thanks for the info. It's always better to be safe. I love this site. I have it bookmarked.ReplyDelete
Hello. I just came across your article and found it to be very helpful. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Can anyone tell me about the laws regarding songs? For example 'she was humming x,y,z' or they burst into a rendition of .... please?ReplyDelete
Citing a song title shouldn't get you into trouble, but avoid quoting lyrics. They're more trouble than they're worth.Delete
You can mention a song title but not the lyrics as I have checked up on this myself.Delete
You can use the song title but not the lyrics. I checked with the copyright laws and spoke with someone regarding this.Delete
i am writing about 2 interesting years of my life. i do mention an online music site and some songs and artist. is this ok, or do i need permission.ReplyDelete
I found this article really helpful. I was surprised that a blog on blogger came up in the no. 1 spot on google when searching for "style guide for brand names in fiction". I spent several years in advertising and I would have to argue that even though corporations may seem to throw a fit over the use of their brand name as a verb or noun I would think they are only doing that to save face. It is a huge victory in advertising and was discussed several times in lectures in college about how they would relish that because it puts their product in the dictionary and has the public saying their product name repeatedly. Mindless repitition, as we all know, is an old advertising trick to try and brainwash the perceived stupidity of the average consumer. However, I do see where it could cause serious legal concerns. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Nice blog you have here. I look forward to reading the rest as I am working on my first ebook. Cheers!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much! I used to think if I mentioned something in my story i'd get sued or a song or what ever. Now i can make my characters listen to real music. :DReplyDelete
Hello! I have a question.... I want to write a book about proper skin care. At the end of the book I want to list brand names of skin care products that is a good fit for the techniques that will be explained in the book. I will state in the book that these companies are not affiliated with nor endorses my book. Is it okay to do this? Can I be sued for this?ReplyDelete
Simply send an email to each manufacturer and ask permission. Most have a link on their website. If not, you may have to call the main number and ask who handles this issue. They may want to review the work before they agree. If they say yes, keep the email on file. If they say no, then omit the product. Don't assume they will agree with your "positive reviews" either. It may conflict with their marketing plan. And don't assume you can use a business name that has gone out of business like Packard. The family still holds the rights.Delete
Mark Fowler never replies, people :) He's mysterious like that.ReplyDelete
So for instance if I made reference to Motorola instead of saying two-way radio, knowing full well that all EMS services use Motorola two-way radios, there shouldn't be a problem?ReplyDelete
I greatly appreciated this explanation, it's an issue I've been wondering about ever since I noticed that Neil Gaiman will occasionally refer to real products in his writing.ReplyDelete
Hi Mark. This is a great post. I have a burning question which I cannot get any answers to a wonder if you can advise. I wrote a book several years ago about how to get a job with a particular company. The company is large and has very prominent, hence why I wrote a book on this company. After it was published, I received a letter from the company's lawyer advising trademark infringement and passing off. As a clueless author, I was clearly wrong as I blatently used their logo and an image depicting their uniform on the cover, along with the corporate colours. Talk about being stupid. Anyway, the book was removed from sale and they let me off with a warning.ReplyDelete
So, my question is, how would I go about writing a book about a company without infringing their intellectual property rights? Can I use their name on cover? Am I allowed to write a book which discloses advise on passing their interview for a job?
I'd really appreciate some input, even if only a little.
Thanks in advance.
Important note, especially when it comes to "genericising" a brand... part of why companies do sue, is because to keep their trademark active, they are required to defend it. That is an over-simplification, but nonetheless, true. So they may really have no problem with your usage, but find themselves needing to sue you to prevent the trademark being lost.ReplyDelete
Hi, I wrote a comment but it didn't appear. Will try again - sorry if it doubles up. I'm wondering if you can help me. I'm working on a nonfiction book about writing and it's got pictures of writing tools like typewriters and laptops.ReplyDelete
Am I allowed to include photos that contain brand names in my book? What about highly identifiable products?
For example, can I include photos of laptops and cameras with the brand name showing? Can I include photos of ipods and iphones?
Thanks for this very helpful blog. I am sure that all writers who read it appreciate it as much as I do! John DeFlumeri Jr, author of "Ultimate Money Finder"ReplyDelete
Thank you a lotReplyDelete
What about a song title? Not the lyrics, but mentioning a song title as someone's ringtone?ReplyDelete
You can use the title but not the lyrics.Delete
Am I allowed for my character to have an iPhone?ReplyDelete
Quick question: would I be able to mention the name of a famous book series (such as Harry Potter) in my book? Because I want my character to have a set of books but I don't feel like being sued.ReplyDelete
I’m planning on calling my finished historical novel “The Kodak Journal Murders”. Within the manuscript never is the word Kodak used in a disparaging manner. Does anyone know any published precedents where a brand name is used in the title? Also, on the cover design I’ve used a number of photos found on the net; these are not specifically right-protected. Can I freely use these?
@Jonathan, I can't vouch for the author's authority, but I found this article while searching for your same question (paragraph 5): http://accentuateservices.com/archives/567Delete
Also, see Casey's comment (April 14th, 2014 11:00 am) and the author's response (August 9th, 2014 1:34 am).
Your novel sounds cool.
Hi I write fiction and I use weapons models and car models in my books.Delete
Hi, thank you for the helpful information.ReplyDelete
May I ask.. if I wrote a song, and used characters names from a movie or a series, (my own music score) do I need to pay royalties to the owner for using the names if I make money from the song?
I've talked to someone about this before, actually. This might be wrong, so it would be best to get a second opinion, but from what I know you don't need to give copyright, but I would be careful if you are in any way shaming the name or company.Delete
Hope this helps!
Thank you! What about when you create a fictional company for your novel, which is run by an idiot billionaire. You'd never think someone would call their company such a ridiculous name, but then (right before self-publishing) you accidentally find out that a small company with such name exists in US? I'm in Australia, about to publish on Kindle, and my novel is set in US. Thank you in advance for your help!ReplyDelete
Just wondering about using company names like facebook, twitter and eBay in a children's poem. Is this allowed?ReplyDelete
Where do I sign up? This is exactly the type of knowledgeable, free legal advice I've been seeking. There is precious little of it for writers. It's a litigious jungle out there.ReplyDelete
Can you use names of Companies that still do or may not trade any longer?ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for having this blog! You absolutely answered my questions :)ReplyDelete
I'm writing a book on advertising copywriting and I'd like to include real ads that use the Unique Selling Proposition. It will be done in a flattering way. Do I need to contact the Ad agencies that produced the ads or the manufactures. I Know I could use fictitious brand names but I'd rather use the real thing. ThanksReplyDelete
I recently read Full Ratchet, and found it amusing how the author invented a whole new person that is never seen, but yet clearly depicts a Real Person in our society involved with money and business. A clear act of prudence to avoid defamation. While cute and wise, I could also tell it wasn't EXACTLY the same thing as if the real person's name had been used.ReplyDelete
 - http://www.amazon.com/Full-Ratchet-Silas-Thriller-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B00AFPVQ4E/ref=la_B005P3K4AS_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453164710&sr=1-1
I have written a novel where the characters use Facebook and YouTube, a child wears Spiderman clothing and watches several different named TV shows, a man drives a certain make and model of vehicle rather than always saying 'his SUV', and mentions of Disney movies and popular theatrical plays are in the book as well. Are any of these concerns? I have already edited some real-life restaurant, food and store brand names out and replaced them with made-up names.ReplyDelete
What if you want to use a brand name for a something other than a company or a foundation in your novel? Maybe for distinguishing a new kind of alien species with a cool name that a brand took it before you?ReplyDelete
I want this use a well know cooking brand n my story and the name brand is also a part of my title. I have not tarnished the name in any way, in fact the book falls into the romantic comedy genre. What do you suggest I do, contact the company to see if I can do this?ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh Thank You! I was having trouble with things in my production company with referencing something in one of our animated featuresReplyDelete
A very informative post. Thank-you.ReplyDelete
I'm writing a book and want to use a mobile phone store; but in prior have gone to a pay as you go place and would like to use more of a "Verizon or ATT" Such as "Can we stop at Verizon on the way home?" Is that okay?ReplyDelete
What if in a story, I mention that my character went to a real life college?ReplyDelete
There are like a bajillion books with people who graduated MIT... cuz it makes them qualified to use computers to fight aliens and junk (Independence Day?).Delete
Or look no further than Dan Brown's Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (of Da Vinci Code fame) As far as I know, that field of study doesn't even exist.
My understanding is that if you're going to use a product brand name, use it in "context". For example, "Can we stop by the Verizon Wireless Store on the home?" Or, "I blew my nose on the Kleenex brand facial tissues." Instead of "I blew my nose on a kleenex."ReplyDelete
I would want to know a "Verizon" what anyway. Verizon business office? Verizon cell phone store? What?
I would make a "thing" out of it:
Jerry said, "Is that a Band-Aid brand bandage you're putting on my knee?"
"No, it's generic from the drugstore," replied Sam.
"I want Band-Aid aid brand. They're waterproof and provide air to the wound. Can you guarantee your generic brand does that?"
"What? Shut up and hold still."
"Ouch! You pressed to hard on purpose, didn't you?"
Maybe get a little insight into a personality or something.
I was planning on writting my novel based at a private school in New York. However, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to use a real life private school. Or if I should just make up my own school?ReplyDelete
I would make up my own. I am writing a novel, and my school in it is based in Oswego, IL. There are two high schools here, Oswego East High School and Oswego High School. So what I did was I made up a school and called it Oswego North High School, but it is based on Oswego East. I say this because you do not want to draw any attention to schools, especially with all the psychos who have been going around shooting up schools. We don't want to make any certain school a target by enfaming it.Delete
Thank you for this informative article. I was wondering what the law is for using song titles and/or lyrics in fiction. Is it okay to have a character playing a song on his guitar, for example?ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for this post. It really helps. I have a similar question to the one above. I want to mention the kind of music I was listening to when I wrote the book or find fitting for that scene. Is that a problem? Do I have to write to every music company and ask for their permission for putting their song as a footnote in?ReplyDelete
Great article. Thank you for the explanations. I'm amazed if any companies really have opposed the usage of their brands as verbs like Hoovering, Xeroxing, Googling (synecdoches?). Surely this would be way worse publicity than whatever the original usage was(within reason obviously!).ReplyDelete
The pointed avoidance of using brand names or instances where they've used fictional alternatives can be painfully jarring when reading fiction. Unless it's used for comic effect that is.
This is a great article. But I have one unanswered question. Do these rules change when you convert the written word into a filmed format and put it on TV? And what about referencing A famous rock band and their song title when used as a historical fact. If it is part of well known rock history, does that become public domain to talk about?ReplyDelete
Hi, great article! I wrote a children's book/nonfiction about the 2016 Chicago Cubs postseason. I mention the Cubs and specific players and events. I want to include the Cubs name in the subtitle of the book and include illustrations that depict the Cubs logo by itself and on jerseys. Is this allowed without permission?ReplyDelete
This is really helpful, but I wonder what limitations there are on referencing a "brand" that is another creative property. For instance, if I were writing a story in which my main character believes that the Serenity/Firefly universe is actually real and that he is a part of it? Does that fall under fan fiction automatically even though the story actually takes place in *our* world?ReplyDelete
I want to use 2 guitar model names, more specifically the Fender Jazzmaster and a Fender Jazz Bass in my book. The two characters own the guitars and don't speak bad of it. I guess this same issue is comperable to car models. Is that still fair use?ReplyDelete
Hi. I plan to write a comedy set in a post apocalyptic world, and would like to include a moment where the main character discovers the ruins of an old gaming shop. Within this shop is a small cult who worship Mario, using the games as their "sacred text." Would I be allowed to include a scene of this cult forcing the main character to play a NES, as well as having them refer to Mario by name a few times?ReplyDelete
What about writing a book (fiction) about cyber bullying. Making up a social media network takes a lot of the realism and almost makes it hokey/fantasy. But when saying that someone used facebook to cyber bully someone else- that definitely can be construed as a negative use of the brand. And just saying generic "social media" would get vague and repetitive. Especially if they are being bullied across multiple types of social media.ReplyDelete
Can I have Youtube in my book? It's a big part of it as well.ReplyDelete
Can I have Youtube in my book? It is a huge part, so I want to be sure before I continue.ReplyDelete
I'm writing a story about a street racer from LA who owns a Nissan GT-R, and everyone else in the book owns a car from some company. The bad guy owns two Porsches, the main character's "trainer" owns multiple cars. Several BMWs, a Chevy Lumina, the 1965 Lamborghini Miura and Countach, and a Volkswagen Golf GTI are all mentioned. Is it safe to use all of those? Also, the Lumina has a reference to the 1996 Daytona USA arcade game by Sega AM2. I only stated that it was "a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina #41 Nascar that looked like the player car from the 1996 Daytona USA arcade game." Is it safe to use that as well?ReplyDelete
Can I have characters in my book dress up as famous people at a fancy dress party and talk in character?ReplyDelete
In my novel, is it fine to write that my characters are drinking Chartreuse? Chartreuse as in the liqueur.ReplyDelete
Speaking of brand names, I have mentioned one of my characters listening to a certain song released in 2013. I have explicitly mentioned the name of the song and the artist. Would that be a problem? Can I leave it like that or do I change it "was listening to one of his favorite numbers"?ReplyDelete
Thanks for writing this post, Mark. It was an area of uncertainty for me and you really covered all the bases. Much appreciated. ~eReplyDelete
I half understand. I want to put car brands and specific cars in my book, but am I allowed to? And do I have to use the trademark (tm) symbol with it?ReplyDelete