When Google steals your word...

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the_anomaly
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When Google steals your word...

Post by the_anomaly » December 15th, 2009, 2:51 am

In the story I'm currently working on, I went through a series of names for a company called the Nexus Corporation. There's a legitimate reason for the name as well (i.e. it's not random). But then Google just does what it always does and vomits its yummy goodness out into the world with their new phone called the Nexus One. So now, since it's Google, everyone will think of the word Nexus and likely associate it with Google. When they would see it in my book, they might think I copied it and at the same time their minds will be going back to the whole Google thing.

My question is, am I being paranoid? Is this really how it would happen? And should I stick to my guns and keep the name or change it? If it wasn't Google, it probably wouldn't matter a lick. But it IS Google. _sigh_

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You have a name or an idea for something in your story, something you've grown quite fond of, then out of the blue, you find someone or something else has taken it out from under you and twisted it to fit their own whatever. I swear they creep into my brain in the dead of night and steal my thoughts with vindictive pleasure.

onefinemess
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by onefinemess » December 15th, 2009, 12:09 pm

I think "nexus" has enough weight to it to stand on its own if you still want to use it - it's not like it's a made up word like "iPhone".

bgannon
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by bgannon » December 15th, 2009, 3:03 pm

I don't think you need to worry. Questions of copyright infringement vs. fair use generally hinge on whether the use of the name can be confused with the existing brand, or construed as an endorsement. But that's why publishers have legal departments--you can let them worry about it.

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Scott
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by Scott » December 15th, 2009, 4:49 pm

Hmm...I almost hate to say it, but you may want to pick up a copy of Blade Runner. The Tyrell Corporation manufactured Nexus-6 model replicants, and that book/film is very popular.

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Matera_the_Mad
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by Matera_the_Mad » December 15th, 2009, 9:44 pm

Any cool-sounding (and relatively common) word either has already been used or will be in the next five minutes. That's life.
A drum is empty always, and when the skin is rightly taut it gives right noise, right sound. Attention is like that.
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coscooper
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by coscooper » December 16th, 2009, 11:00 am

Common words, names and such have been used in "Fiction" for years. I'm no expert, but I do know there's a lot of books written that refers to real places and names (Walmart, Target and other major chains are used in books all the time). Since it's "fiction" it's usually not a big deal. Plus, the name of your company and a product name are very different things. I'm sure Google has other things to do than go after an author for using a similar name. BTW... do a Google search for Nexus. It's not a newly used word.

Wouldn't worry too much about Google, but if there's a corporation that has Nexus in the name and there is (NEXUS Corp is here in Denver Colorado), you may want to revisit the name and/or depends on what's being said about the company you're writing. If it's just in passing, no biggie, if it's key and they are killing people and putting the pieces in cookies (ala Soylent Green) then, you may want to rethink it or modify it slightly.

JMHO
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Scott
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by Scott » December 16th, 2009, 11:31 am

I agree with a lot of what you say, coscooper, but if you're writing in the same genre or even close, you do run some risks––and legal is just one of them. It's like a fantasy writer deciding to set their novel in a fictional world called Middle Earth, or centering the majority of your monster/derring-do novel's action on Skull Island. Some narrative elements are probably too popular to appropriate even if Middle Earth is actually an apartment building for gnomes and Skull Island is a theme park, and the last thing I think you'd want to do is anger or offend your market. A Nexus Corporation that manufactures a brand of make-up in a romance novel and is mentioned sparingly probably isn't an issue. But one that is accused of questionable or nefarious activities and is more prominent would raise a red flag for me.

Sometimes, even if you think you can "get away with it" isn't it just better to change it? As a writer, I'm always trying to be as original as I can be unless I'm satirizing or lampooning something for effect.

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androidblues
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by androidblues » September 30th, 2010, 7:02 pm

Scott wrote:Sometimes, even if you think you can "get away with it" isn't it just better to change it? As a writer, I'm always trying to be as original as I can be unless I'm satirizing or lampooning something for effect.
Great advice Scott. :D
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dios4vida
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by dios4vida » September 30th, 2010, 8:24 pm

the_anomaly wrote:Does this ever happen to anyone else? You have a name or an idea for something in your story, something you've grown quite fond of, then out of the blue, you find someone or something else has taken it out from under you and twisted it to fit their own whatever. I swear they creep into my brain in the dead of night and steal my thoughts with vindictive pleasure.
I know exactly what you mean. I had a name for my male protaganist that I really loved, and I randomly decided to Google it to see if it would turn up any results. In fact, this name is the first name of an international supermodel - and a woman, at that! I was dismayed, but I changed it just a bit and I think it actually sounds better now.

I tend to agree that words like Nexus are universal enough that it shouldn't be a problem, but if you're really concerned you might want to see if there's a variation or something that would work just as well.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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sierramcconnell
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by sierramcconnell » October 6th, 2010, 5:52 pm

I'm sorry, but when I hear of Nexus, I think of the hair care products.

http://www.nexxus.com/

XD I'm making it worse, aren't I?
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

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Quill
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Re: When Google steals your word...

Post by Quill » October 6th, 2010, 6:24 pm

I think of Nexus magazine. Published since '86.

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