using Lovecraft last name


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Thread: using Lovecraft last name

  1. #1

    using Lovecraft last name

    I want to use the Lovecraft last name for my main character for my YA novel series, I don't want to officially get in trouble with the blood desendants of H.P. Lovecraft.

    If I can't use this lat name then I need help find a proper Monster sounding last name for my Human Boy main character,


    LW

  2. #2
    Why should you get in trouble? Do you think thousands would object if you called him 'Smith'? As long as you are not making a direct reference to HP it is just another surname isn't it?
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  3. #3
    You could always try Munster or Addams if the Lovecrafts are litigious.
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  4. #4
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  5. #5
    You can't copyright or trademark a name. Period.

    On the other hand, unless there's a literary point to it (as in Kafka On The Shore), appropriating the name of a well-known horror author for a character in a horror novel is extremely unimaginative, hackneyed and amateurish.
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  6. #6
    Yep, you can use Lovecraft as your character's surname if you want to.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    You can't copyright or trademark a name. Period.

    On the other hand, unless there's a literary point to it (as in Kafka On The Shore), appropriating the name of a well-known horror author for a character in a horror novel is extremely unimaginative, hackneyed and amateurish.
    I am not sure that first bit is 100% so, there are several big chains of shops that carry their founder's name, so if you started selling newspapers under the name W H Smith for example I think there might be some recourse for them, and fan fiction sometimes comes up against the law, but I can't see it applying here, unless you are pretending to be him.

    Your second point is a valid one though, unimaginative etc., Maybe you should go with Smith?
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    You can't copyright or trademark a name. Period.
    Just to be clear: does this also include the names of fictional characters?
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    You can't copyright or trademark a name. Period.

    On the other hand, unless there's a literary point to it (as in Kafka On The Shore), appropriating the name of a well-known horror author for a character in a horror novel is extremely unimaginative, hackneyed and amateurish.
    As I understand it brand names relate specifically to the trade of the company holding them. At one time the computer company Apple couldn't trade in any music associated products because the music company Apple created by the Beatles held that brand name in the music domain and customers could have been misled by the similarity.

    Intel used to number their microprocessors, e.g. 80386, 80486, usually just known as the 386 and 486, but it isn't possible to make a number a brand name, so they changed to using names, the first being the Pentium, which was actually the 586. On the other hand "Three" actually is a brand name used by CK Hutchison Holdings Limited in the UK, but that is a word, not a number. However, their trademark embodies the number 3, but trademarks are works of art, not just text.

    I agree that using the name Lovecraft in a horror context is unsubtle. In my perennially mentioned novel I used the name Clancy Burnside for a Manhattan businessman who was told that the British had plans to take back New York in a fantasy scene. One reader of the novel told me that that was a highly unlikely name for an American, but I had it fact derived it from those of Clancy Spangle, a one time top American executive at Honeywell with a delightfully colourful name, and the controversial civil war General Ambrose Burnside, who seemed to me with my scant knowledge of American history an appropriate person to lose New York to the British. Evidently I was being too subtle for that particular American reader though.

    If you are going to use recognisable names then I think that you should be a little subtle about it so that readers who notice the connection feel that they have achieved a rapport with the writer through their own perceptiveness rather than just spotting a very obvious reference.

    Now if the character owned a dog named Lovecraft then that would be more acceptable because people do give their dogs meaningful names. Evidently that dog's behaviour was appallingly horrendous. In fact one day when my angel and I were out walking we heard someone calling their dog, whose name was evidently Asbo. That was very funny as in the UK an ASBO is a court order, an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, so the dog was clearly prone to antisocial behaviour, like not coming when called repeatedly.
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  10. #10
    I'd be cautious and check with a trademark lawyer. Purely because there's both trademark and licensing to consider, especially if the families of famous people have a found a way to protect thier names. E.g, here, with Albert Eistein.
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