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  • Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by viky7258 at 14:39 on 16 January 2005
    Just wondering what I'd be allowed to use in a book (if perchance it got published).

    For example, are you allowed to use famous peoples names freely or do you have to contact them to make sure they're ok with you using their name.

    The same goes for mentioning films, books or theatre shows etc in your book, due to copyright, and to what extent can you say stuff without being accused of slander (should such comments be negative of course).

    Any ideas?
  • Re: Quesiton on using famous names/ titles etc
    by Account Closed at 16:50 on 18 January 2005
    In my novel (published in 2007) I quoted Ricki Lake from The Ricki Lake Show. I was quoting exactly one sentence, comprising of oooh twenty one words. Sony Pictures, the show's representative, said it was fine for me to use the quote - as long as I paid them $700!

    Needless to say, I dropped the quote. Always worth checking though.

    JB
  • Re: Quesiton on using famous names/ titles etc
    by Silverelli at 17:01 on 18 January 2005
    James, it was only 7 c-notes. You definitely should shelled out the dough.

    Curious, who got in touch wiht Rikki's people and how did they come up with the figure?
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by Dee at 18:40 on 18 January 2005
    This is potentially a minefield. I would suggest you lay your hands on a copy of A Guide to Publishing by Michael Legat. It has some good sections about the legal pitfalls we need to avoid. Make sure it's a recent copy because legislation changes...

    Dee
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by scoops at 12:21 on 19 January 2005
    Viky, I used some lines from songs of the sixties and seventies in my first novel, and found myself facing a massive bill for copyright. In the end I used only four, all of which required full writing credits at the front and cost me around £100 each after long negotiations - the amount is tied to the expected number of sales... I also heard of a first run novel being scrapped in its entirity at great cost to the author after the publishers discovered on the eve of distribution that attributed quotes within the narrative had not had copyright clearance... If you're only using is names in passing - She looked like Oprah Winfrey before the diet/Elvis was singing Blue Suede Shoes in the background- there's no problem as long as what you're saying doesn't libel the individual. If you're using Catwoman or Superman or whatever, these characters are trademarked and that may prove problematic:-( Shyama
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by viky7258 at 18:46 on 19 January 2005
    Thanks for all advice - I've managed to get hold of the publishers email address of the book I want to use excerpts from and am just waiting for a reply... it's all a bit off really having to pay fees to use their stuff as it must generate alot of advertising/publicity for their product and therefore make them money. If it does end up being costly then I just won't use it. If I can write a book I can certainly make up stuff to use instead
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by Account Closed at 19:51 on 19 January 2005
    Silverelli, u sly dog - how are u?

    It was actually Sony pictures who got in touch after I emailed them with a query. I have no idea how they came up with that figure. Maybe Ricki needed some new shoes that week?

    JB
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by Dee at 21:05 on 19 January 2005
    it's all a bit off really having to pay fees to use their stuff as it must generate alot of advertising/publicity for their product and therefore make them money.

    Not necessarily. For all they know, you’re using their name to promote sales of your novel. It won’t necessarily benefit them and you might earn money from using their name. You can hardly blame them if, after years of struggling, they baulk at having others treading on their success.

    Dee
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by Terry Edge at 21:24 on 19 January 2005
    I used a lot of quotes by famous people in my book on film and TV, as well as stories about directors, actors and writers. I also did interviews with people in the business and transcribed them into the book. I was never asked for money, although I did quite naturally return favours, like listing someone's book in exchange for listing mine. Neither the publisher nor my agent expressed any fears of being asked to pay (and the agent was pretty well sussed on this kind of stuff).

    Mind you, nothing I wrote with a name attached to it was negative. And the quotes were taken from books of quotations. As for telling say a story about a director, I don't think he can claim copyright for that anyway (e.g. I told the story of James Cameron being visited by some big Hollywood producers. He was working on small films at the time, and they were looking for someone to direct a big budget affair. When they arrived he was filming a scene with loads of worms. Unknown to them, he had them on an electrified plate, so when current was applied, they writhed around all over the place. Anyway, they were filming and he shouted 'Cut!' and the worms stopped moving. The producers were impressed: if he could control worms like that, actors should be no problem. He got the job.)

    Terry
  • Re: Question on using famous names/ titles etc
    by LuckyStar at 20:08 on 27 January 2005
    Not 100% certain but I think you can use the names, say of a pop star or a song but you need permission to actually quote lyrics or poetry. Shame because I really fancied using a piece of poetry in my novel and the lyrics of a song.