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Thread: Using real life brands in your book.

  1. #1 Using real life brands in your book. 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Can i say my character takes a glass of for example, jack daniels whiskey. Or is there rules against that?

    If not could i possibly talk to the brand owner, jack daniels as an example - to get money for the "free commercial" of using their brand in my book?

    If it is against laws etc. Can you change the name to... "Ray Daniels whiskey" or some fictional made up name, or is it better to just generalize and simply write "Whiskey"?

    My first book Thanks for any help.


    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    You can do whatever you want, but simply place the ®, ©, or ™ after the name where appropriate, for example: Kleenex®. I'd say to use it once or twice, but then refer to it generically ... the car, his smokes, etc. People don't repeatedly use brand names when they talk.

    I recommend using either a real name, or one that's far away from a real one. Drinking Ray Daniel's whiskey is as irritating as driving a Lord car or smoking Carlboro cigarettes -- too close for comfort (and readers will wince or roll their eyes).

    If you want to invent, I suggest using a really cool sounding name -- a name that people will think is a really great name, but too bad no one has a whiskey, car, cigarette by that name. The guy drives a rare 1948 Sphynx roadster with supercharger and right hand-drive. OMG!! After that, it's just "the roadster".

    I do have a book on this, I just need to dig it out for you.


    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with saying "Jack Daniels" or "Marlboro" or "Coca-Cola."
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    On second thought, I have to agree. I looked into my books on writing, but couldn't find the passage I had read about adding trademarks symbols etc. The standard of the profession for fiction writers (and non-fiction writers) actually is to use brand names without symbols.

    Perhaps radio, television and movies led the way to ignore any technicalities that might exist (technicalities which I cannot verify). I mean, how does one apply a trademark to an audio or video depiction?

    Writers might even use, for example, "kleenex" instead of "Kleenex". Still, I'd think the Kleenex company would love the free advertising.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Brand owners do not have the right to limit the discussion of their brand. It would be like policing us here for discussing Coca-Cola, what they have the right to limit is if you put a giant Coca-Cola label on the front of a book or implied a connection between your book and the company. You can also get around issues of libel with a disclaimer that the work is purely fiction. Then you can even write about coca-cola giving everyone cancer, or being a tool of brainwashing.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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