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Question: Can I Legally Use the Name Of A Store/Slogan?

 
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StupidInventor



Joined: 29 Oct 2009
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:06 am    Post subject: Question: Can I Legally Use the Name Of A Store/Slogan? Reply with quote

I have a comic idea that mentions the name of a store and it's slogan. (Syms, and their whole "Educated Consumer" slogan).

Am I allowed to mention it? do I have to put a trademark symbol or something?

Like If I ever become super famous (I'm not) and want to publish the comic in a book (not going to happen) would I be allowed to?

Thanks for the help!
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LukeSurl
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 1050
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YES YOU CAN USE WHATEVER YOU LIKE

If you become sufficiently famous you will have a publisher. Your publisher will know what the law is regarding publications. It will also be their liability.

If you are self-publishing online or in print no one will (legally) care whatever you do. Even if they did, they can't threaten you with anything more than a cease-and-desist asking to take the image in question down.

Have you ever heard of the phrase "soft censorship"? It's a way that the powerful control media not by actually undertaking censorship, but by the overhanging vague threat of legal action. This is sort of what I worry is happening here.

You're American right? Your 1st ammendment rights are powerful. Use them. Criticise, satirize and mock without inhibition. The suits aren't as powerful as you think they are, but they will be if you let them.

(also legal action being taken against you would be the best free publicity that a webcomic has ever had)
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ryan.noriega
Plan Eleven


Joined: 21 Mar 2009
Posts: 336
Location: Texis

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's been a big string of these copyright questions. I think for the most part, people like to make jokes about how they've broken a copyright and are going to get sued, but for the most part, anything done inside a comic is going to fall under fair use as a parody or satire. Unless you're making a very bold quality statement, there isn't anything to worry about.

Plus there's also this other category called "under the radar" that most webcomics fall into.
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elbowmacaroni



Joined: 31 Mar 2008
Posts: 64
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go for it. I used Best Buy in one of my comics: http://elbowcomics.com/archives/327

But in another, I changed the names of mall stores just for fun: http://elbowcomics.com/archives/96

If Syms ever saw the comic and sent you a cease and desist letter, you could have some fun (and get loads of traffic) by posting a scan of the letter.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4126
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you run a webcomic and it's not Penny Arcade then the chances are the company in question will never notice, let alone care.
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StupidInventor



Joined: 29 Oct 2009
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wendyw wrote:
If you run a webcomic and it's not Penny Arcade then the chances are the company in question will never notice, let alone care.


Oh, I totally realize that out of the 1,000 or so total visitors my site has had so far, that none of them are lawyers working for Syms, I was just curious what the actual law was, whether or not I would actually get caught for violating it.

I'm going to go ahead and make the comic.
Thanks again everyone for your help and advice!
-zach
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elbowmacaroni



Joined: 31 Mar 2008
Posts: 64
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

StupidInventor wrote:
Oh, I totally realize that out of the 1,000 or so total visitors my site has had so far, that none of them are lawyers working for Syms, I was just curious what the actual law was, whether or not I would actually get caught for violating it.

-zach

Even with the law on their side, they still want to spend the least amount of money.

Remember, it's easier to apologize later than ask for permission first. Wink
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alsobagels



Joined: 21 Feb 2009
Posts: 197

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also a little confused by the amount of threads essentially asking the same question. Tomorrow's xkcd, Penny Arcade or Sheldon could say "eating McDonalds gave me Swine Flu" and you know who would come after them? Absolutely nobody. The posted worries are completely unfounded given the relative poularity that everyone who posts in this forum has now or even will have in a few years.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking of this from a different angle, depending on who it is you're talking about in the comic you might even end up with cool stuff.

If I remember correctly, Greg Dean who does Real Life comics was invited to the opening night of Serenity and meet some of the cast because one of the crew read his comic and knew he was a huge Firefly fan. He also ended up as a beta tester for one of the games he likes without even applying to be one. One of the game's creators reads his comic.

So, depending on what company it is, if you're reasonably nice about them or not and if they actually see your comic in the first place, it can have positive results.
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jdalton
Spambot Extraordinaire


Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Posts: 2182
Location: 1 hr east of Vancouver (currently)

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LukeSurl wrote:
If you become sufficiently famous you will have a publisher. Your publisher will know what the law is regarding publications. It will also be their liability.

No it won't. Publishers routinely include lines in their contracts that absolve them of this sort of legal action and pass the buck to you. Or at least, the few contracts I've seen so far did.
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StupidInventor



Joined: 29 Oct 2009
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice guys!
I ended up making the comic about Syms
(should appear on the site eventually)

I even decided to go even further parodying with a comic this week, (which I posted early because it kind of has to do with Thanksgiving)

Here it is:


Thanks again for the help and advice!
-Zach
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bagged&boredom



Joined: 06 Dec 2009
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

parody is more than legal, and great strip, i lol'd
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StupidInventor



Joined: 29 Oct 2009
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bagged&boredom wrote:
parody is more than legal, and great strip, i lol'd


Thanks!
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