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Can I use a company's name in the title?

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Hi, all,


This may be an odd question... I am not sure. I have an idea for a picture book, and I was wondering if I can use a popular company's name in the title? The context of the book (fiction) will also somewhat involve the company. What are the implications here? What kind of permissions do I need? Is it even worth a shot to write my story, or will I be wasting my time?


Thanks!
#1 - April 13, 2014, 05:11 AM
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You might be able to use it but if it's trademarked, you probably need permission and you may need to license it. But think of Kate DiCamillo's BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE. Of course, now companies would fall over to be featured in her books, but she was unknown when it was published.

(On the other hand, at the time I thought the use of the name was odd and seemed like corporate product placement. It made me doubt the literary quality, which of course I know now is not in doubt).
#2 - April 13, 2014, 06:55 AM
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 06:56 AM by Kell »
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I wouldn't just bc if something bad happens to the company, your book is tied to potential bad press.....
#3 - April 13, 2014, 07:58 AM
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When you say that the context involves the company, what do you mean? If it's completely flattering and puts the company in a good light--I don't think there should be a problem. If not, don't do it. I can tell you from personal experience, most editors don't want to acquire anything that might create problems of any kind with a third party--no matter how remote the chance or how trivial the issue.

An editor (might have been Alvina Ling) once said that editors are looking for reasons to reject your manuscript and get on to the next one. They don't like complications.

Obviously there are exceptions, but I wouldn't count on it.
#4 - April 13, 2014, 09:50 AM
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Yes, what Betsy said. Plus a title is really only a working title... could be changed to anything at all by the time your book is published. I'd go with an unproblematic one while querying.
#5 - April 13, 2014, 10:03 AM
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Thanks, all.
Betsy, I meant I intended to mention what the company does in the picture book...it would be an integgral part. But that would be like advertising, as mentioned on this thread.
#6 - April 13, 2014, 02:06 PM
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I know this is old...

But when I'm reading a picture book, I'm not usually going to expect company names and if I did find one then I'd wonder why it was there. If I was writing with a company name, I would only do it if it helps establish the setting of the story. Company names, as well as popular figures, news events, and dialogue can all give clues to time, place, and the society.

For example, something set during the American Civil War would have different 'proper names' than the Great Depression, World War II, currently, or the future, etc. For example, imagine the context surrounding these names/brands: Betty Boop, Apple II, Beatles' White Album, or even someone reading Harry Potter. Just by saying those brands, I'm giving an idea of setting.

If the story is not only better with it but also can't be without it, then it could work.
#7 - June 21, 2014, 10:24 PM

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Thanks, Robert.
#8 - August 03, 2014, 12:42 PM
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