I'm sure you already know that when you write a book or story for publication that you can't "lift" the words from someone else's writing.
But what about items that are trademarked?
The Chicago Manual of Style tells us:
"Brand names that are trademarks––often so indicated in dictionaries––should be capitalized if they must be used. A better choice is to substitute a generic term with available."
Thus, your characters should not drink a Coca-Cola or even a Coke, but they can drink cola or a soda or pop. They can make love in a whirpool bath, but not a Jacuzzi. When they get out of that tub, they can dress in jeans, but they can't put on their Levi's.
As for copyrights, watch out. Chicago states:
"Whenever a book or article, poem or lecture, database or drama comes into the world, it is automatically covered by copyright so long as it is 'fixed' in some 'tangible' form and embodies original expression. The term tangible applies to more than paper and traditional media; it includes things such as electronic memory. A copyrightable work is 'fixed' as long as it is stored in some manner that is not purely transitory. Thus an e-mail message that is stored in the sender's computer is fixed and copyrightable, but an extemporaneous lecture that is broadcast without being recorded is not."
Don't let your admiration for someone else's writing lead you to violate copyright law. Don't even use the words from someone's email improperly.
But what if your character is listening to a song on the radio that she likes and she wants to sing the lyrics? Don't use lyrics in your writing unless you have permission from the holder of the copyright or the words are in the public domain.
A way to solve the problem would be to write your own lyrics for your character to sing.
Or make up the title of a book that your character reads.
Last week, I read online that titles of books are not copyrighted. However, Chicago says titles such as Gone With The Wind and The House At Pooh Corner, in their fame, remain trademarked as long as they are copyrighted.
For more information, check out http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/titles.html.
Infinities of love,
|Bad, bad sign's.|