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Tog
2010-Mar-11, 10:51 AM
For a story, I had a question about the use of a phrase that is close to, but not exactly the same as, a film or book character's catchphrase, used in a way that invokes thought of that character.

Would that be okay to do under fair use?

Like a store that carries all sorts of sci-fi themed action figures and collectibles being called "Found Something You Have".

Or a hobby shop that caters to fantasy gamers being called "Filthy Hobiestses".

What if the someone in the story mentions Yoda or Golum by name when trying to explain the joke to someone that doesn't get it?

01101001
2010-Mar-11, 12:51 PM
Would that be okay to do under fair use? What if the someone in the story mentions Yoda or Golum by name when trying to explain the joke to someone that doesn't get it?

US Copyright Office: Copyright Basics (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf) (PDF)


What is not protected by copyright: [...] Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols
or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation,
lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients
or contents

Swift
2010-Mar-11, 02:36 PM
I also suspect the answer is different in different countries.

rommel543
2010-Mar-11, 02:57 PM
If Vanilla Ice can get away with ripping of a Queen song by putting in an extra beat, I think that something 'similar to' but not copying would be perfectly acceptable.

KaiYeves
2010-Mar-11, 10:01 PM
You can name characters and phrases if the characters are discussing or explaining a movie or story, that's perfectly acceptable. If you featured said characters in your story saying said phrases, that would be problematic.

cran
2010-Mar-11, 10:10 PM
I also suspect the answer is different in different countries.
not really - at least, not in the English-speaking world ...

fair use (or fair dealing) provisions were as good as internationally standardised even before the internet ...

but, as numerically indicated - off the cuff references are safe, and examples abound ...


"are you driving with your eyes open, or are you, like, using the Force?"


If Vanilla Ice can get away with ripping of a Queen song by putting in an extra beat, I think that something 'similar to' but not copying would be perfectly acceptable.
quite a few lawyers and judges think otherwise ...

Moose
2010-Mar-11, 11:49 PM
You might check to be certain the catchphrases aren't trademarked.