Proper Names and Permissions

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RE: Proper Names and Permissions

Postby bongobro » Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:57 pm

Hi, Jessica!

Proper names--if they're used sparingly--can provide insight into a character. A guy driving a new Corvette will evoke a different image than a guy driving a clapped-out Mercury. The key here is "sparingly." since you don't want to turn your novel into a book-length commercial (unless you're being underwritten by Chevrolet!)

There's a reason why Kimberly-Clark doesn't want you to refer to all facial tissue as "Kleenex." Actually, two: The Kleenex brand name appears on other products besides facial tissues. And K-C does not want the word "Kleenex" to become a generic term--as have "cellophane," "escalator, and "shredded wheat", which were all once specific brand names.

You may recall another ad campaign in the 1970s when the brand name "Frigidaire" had all but become a synonym for "refrigerator." General Motors, which then owned Frigidaire appliances, spent millions on ads with the tag line "Every refrigerator is not a Frigidaire...every Frigidaire is not a refrigerator." The idea was to show the company made ranges, washers, dryers, and other things besides...uhh..."fridges." (Obviously it wasn't too successful!)

That's also why "the document company" cringes when someone says "I'm going to Xerox these papers."

If you refer to written material in passing, as, "She was leafing through the current issue of Vogue," that's no problem. If you quote specific passages, song lyrics, etc., you must ask permission of the copyright owner.

Hope it helps...

Keep the beat goin'...

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RE: Proper Names and Permissions

Postby Georganna » Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:03 pm

From Tips and Updates from 02-14-06:

As writers, we should wait to submit our work until it’s perfect. Grammar, spelling and manuscript format really do matter to editors and agents.

This is a direct quote from the Forum's moderator, Robin Hampton's editorial in the current WD newsletter.

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RE: Proper Names and Permissions

Postby JessicaLeigh » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:07 pm

Everyone can relax. I contacted the organization whose name I intended to use in my novel and they simply requested to see the passage before it would be printed. Case closed.

Actually, they asked me if I would be interested in working on a film treatment based on the organization's volunteers...sadly, I'm not a film treatment writer of any sort, so I had to decline. That would've been a neat twist, huh?

I'm sorry the discussion became so lengthy...everyone can put away their Kleenex, stop making Xerox copies and close the Frigidaire. :)


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