What are the rules regarding using real world brands?

DAgent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
So I'm busy working on a WIP where someone is forced to switch from using their current day, all the bells and whistles smartphone, to an old, "indestructible" Nokia. And it got me wondering, what are the rules about referring to real world brands? I do have a whole load of jokes I want to make regarding the situation and at the expense of the Nokia phone itself, but I'm wary of stepping on toes and getting into legal do dah.

I know for example there are rules about quoting other works of fiction, quoting song lyrics and so on (I think you can reference the song and it's title but not use the lyrics for example), but is there anything similar about what you can and can't do with real world products? I know I've seen direct references and jokes about Coke Cola vs Pepsi in some novels for example.
 

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
13,742
Location
nearly the New Forest
You seem to be confusing two separate matters -- copyright and defamation.

I've posted summaries of talks I've given on these two issues on the Chronscast. Copyright (what you can quote of other works) is here The Toolbox -- The Important Bits and defamation (the dangers of using real life people, companies and commodities) here The Toolbox -- The Important Bits

I'd recommend that you listen to the whole of the latter talk though (there's a link on my post to the Chrons thread which will take you to it) as obviously it gives more detail.
 
Last edited:

DAgent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Messages
160
You seem to be confusing two separate matters -- copyright and defamation.

I've posted summaries of talks I've given on these two issues on the Chronscast. Copyright (what you can quote of other works) is here The Toolbox -- The Important Bits and defamation (the dangers of using real life people, companies and commodities) here The Toolbox -- The Important Bits

I'd recommend that you listen to the whole of the latter talk though (there's a link on my post to the Chrons thread which will take you to it) as obviously it gives more detail.
Thanks, I'll give that a look ASAP.
 

Wayne Mack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
1,139
Location
Chantilly, Virginia, US
I think the bigger concern with using brand names is that it can make the story feel too 'insidery.' For example, I'm no technophobe, but I also don't pay much attention to cell phone brands. I'm afraid that all of the Nokia brand specific jokes are going to go over my head. Be careful that the target audience is not too small to justify the references.
 

Similar threads


Top