Proper Names and Permissions-Part II

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JessicaLeigh
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Proper Names and Permissions-Part II

Postby JessicaLeigh » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:11 pm


JessicaLeigh
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:57 am

Proper Names and Permissions-Part II

Postby JessicaLeigh » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:11 pm

This is in today's Publishers Weekly e-mail:

Thursday, February 16, 2006
Authors Asked to Fight Trademark Bill
The Authors Guild is asking its members to contact senators who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge them to make a change in a trademark bill that has the potential to weaken free expression protections. The bill, known as H.R. 683 and which has already passed the House, is aimed at clarifying the dilution provisions of trademark law by providing stronger trademark protections. But as written, the new law would remove liability protection currently in place on noncommercial and news reporting uses of trademarks. The Guild wants the Senate to reinstate these existing noncommercial exclusions to the bill.

Failure to do so, said the Guild's Paul Aiken, "could muddy the waters" on what trademarks can be legally used by authors in fiction and nonfiction works. In the example cited by the Guild--Tom went to McDonald's, had a Coke and waited for the Harley to arrive--an author who used those trademarked names could be exposed to greater liability under the proposed bill than the existing law.

Aiken said the Guild is not sure if the proposal to remove the exclusion was done "accidentally or on purpose," but that if the bill is passed in its current form it could lead to litigation or intimidation of authors by corporations.
--Jim Milliot

Jamesaritchie
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RE: Proper Names and Permissions-Part II

Postby Jamesaritchie » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:29 pm

I wasn't aware there was an existing exclusion for fiction, but only for news and non-commercial purposes. My understanding is that, in fiction, the law has simply not been enforced because doing so is impossible.

But this does sound like a serious issue, though I'd have to read the bill itself before writing a senator.


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