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questions before I starat writing new novel


Nancy Sonneman

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My new novel series of mystery novels is set in a retirement community (and I do really live in one). Is Bingo considered not good in Christian books? If it's okay to uses I'd like to use it (The Retirement Community Saturday Afternoon Bingo Club is the series name. I can change it if it's ruled against.) Is Bingo a registered trade mark? How do I get permission to use it, if so? The winner of each game gets material prizes, not money. Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me.

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If a word is in common-use, it's fair game. That means any card game or bingo can be used. It means Kleenex, google, and Coke can be used. Brand names can never be used, (without permission), unless that brand name becomes a word in itself. 

 

In your case, bingo is free and clear because no one owns the trademark or brand. (I'm not sure anyone ever did.) 

 

But since I can google how to blow my nose, found out I can blow it with a Kleenex, and then drink a Coke (cola) after I do so, even though those products are trade names, they're also common-use, so no one can sue. Same thing for bingo.

 

(Suspense gave a good answer. I just added more so you have some idea when to worry about a word you want to use.)

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Contact the Patent and Trademark Office. Fer cryin' out loud, don't assume anything. The maker of copiers, Xerox, went out of its way to keep people from saying or writing "I xeroxed something." as opposed to "I made a photocopy."

 

That's why the company I work for has copyright attorneys, who also check on trademarks. That's why when we created a name for an alien race, we were contacted by a law firm representing another company who held a  trademark on that name. Fortunately, nothing further happened because the name was changed in later printings.

 

As far as Coke or Coca-Cola, when was the last time anyone saw that in a fiction book?

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22 hours ago, robg213 said:

As far as Coke or Coca-Cola, when was the last time anyone saw that in a fiction book?

I'll let you know when my first novel comes out.

 

Sad to see this much work with lawyers. I think Mars learned its lesson with ET. If they didn't, Hershey's sure did. (It was supposed to be M & M's, but Mars said no, and Hershey said yes. Reese's Pieces skyrocketed when ET skyrocketed.) If products are placed in a story that goes no where, it doesn't matter. The companies don't hear about it. If products are placed in a story that does become profitable, then yay, a boost in sales with no marketing money spent. As long as we don't disparage the product, (and it's not Disney who will sue everyone over the smallest infraction), common sense and past history teaches companies to appreciate the free plug.

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The mythical "free plug." Common on the internet but not true. Companies have people who carefully decide where to place products for endorsement. Pepsi paid LucasFilms $1 billion dollars to put Star Wars images on their soda pop cans. Companies like Coke paid money to have carefully lit and then digitally inserted Coke cans in reruns of Frasier. And the placement in a scene had to look natural and appropriate. The can appeared on a desk or table as opposed to any other, less than believable place.

 

What is true is people wanting free legal advice. I don't blame them. I know all about the ET story. I have contacts in Hollywood. And Disney, along with other media giants, hire companies that do nothing but key word searches on the internet regarding any comments made about them. That data is compiled and sent on to Disney for a fee.

 

Anyway, from Writer's Digest:

 

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/legal-questions/are-you-using-trademarked-words-in-your-writing

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I drew a comic story (Human Beans) for ten years. I am restarting it Jan 2020. 

 

I wrote Jelly Belly Candy Co. for permission to use there factory logo and building for one episode of Human Beans, because that's where baby Human Beans come from. They wrote me a nice letter and wanted money. I told them that I am not making any money off of Human Beans because it is free on the internet and it is Christian comic stories. They didn't care and wanted money. So I called the bean baby factory the Jelly Bean Candy Co. 

 

http://www.angelfire.com/trek/adventurebooks/humanbeans/hbstory22.html

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They wanted money? Of course they wanted money. Just because something is free on the internet does not mean they won't ask for money. This is a good example of people doing a comic for fun as opposed to for money. Too many people want to do what you do and monetize it.

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23 hours ago, robg213 said:

And Disney, along with other media giants, hire companies that do nothing but key word searches on the internet regarding any comments made about them. That data is compiled and sent on to Disney for a fee.

If Coke is paying money for people to do key word searches for product placement, they're getting ripped off.

 

Here's the results for Coke in fiction through Google's book SERPs. Granted some titles aren't fiction, however plenty of novels, easy to find, that don't seem to be causing Coke consternation.

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I can post things I know to be true, tips and pointers but there is a limit. I will not name the companies who are doing something far more in-depth than you think. Back to Disney, they are getting real, real-time information and regularly scheduled data packages about what people think about them. That matters a great deal to any larger than average business.

 

It's similar with the Coca-Cola Company and involves market analysis, which I won't go into here. It's not directly about product placement.

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The first part of your question seems to be about whether Christians are okay with playing Bingo. I grew up in  a super conservative Christian community (We were Mennonite.), and Bingo was viewed much the same as gambling. I don't know all the whys of it, just that no one would ever play Bingo. So not all Christians are okay with Bingo, but it seems, from all the other responses, that by and large, Bingo is considered okay to most Christians. 

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When I wrote a Christmas play several years ago, I wanted to use some modern, yet popular Christmas carols. I wrote the company that  created the new hymnals in my church. I received a letter from a different music company. That letter asked questions I couldn't answer and, as I remember, named a price for my use of the Christmas carols. I went with songs that were in public domain.

 

I prefer to take the stance of being safe than being sorry. Take the time and do some research to discover the copyright question. It may keep you from getting into hot water later on.

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On 11/19/2019 at 5:05 PM, quietspirit said:

I went with songs that were in public domain.

 

I prefer to take the stance of being safe than being sorry.

Agreed. Check out CCLI — Christian Copyright Licensing International. Yes, you pay a fee, and then you can use much of modern Christian music as well.

 

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