New HotM possible legal issues with name

I just read an upcoming HotM will be named Elrohir. That name is a character in The Lord of the Rings (one of Elrond’s sons) and probably has trademark or copyright protection by the Tolkien estate. It would have to be licensed for use. FYI!

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Guess it comes down to who owns the interletrical property of the “name” but I’d pretty sure sgg would of looked into it.
Names like Athena poseidon are used they are more common, plus there is other hero’s with names used.
Dunno what a Elrohir is… but ain’t like they trying to use luke skywalker :wink::+1:

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Likely not. You don’t necessarily get copyright over every single name in your piece of work. If the name could ONLY be associated with your work, yes, like if costume Melandor were renamed Gandolf or something, but an obscure, relatively unknown character that would not immediately and unconditionally be recognized as coming from LotR very likely would not be restricted. If I name the main character in my book Jim, I don’t get copyright over the name Jim. It’s way more complicated than just, hey I used that name 70 years ago, so now I own it forever.

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That kinda how it works. Copyright trademarks etc… Realistically sgg probably cross there T’s and lower case j’s when developing a new hero.

I wonder who owns the trademarks on mythical creatures like elves and dragons themselves? Bet they could sue thousands of different franchises for directly copying their concepts.

A name is just a random assortment of letters. The idea of being able to copyright words and phrases seems kind of stupid to me, as anyone could put some letters together and then claim they were the first to come up with it.

I guess people haven’t as it’s been tales/storys over years so guess nobody can claim it as there “own” and one person came up with it.
You can pretty much trademark copyright anything really to a degree. You own the rights to it you got to pay for it. if someone wants to use it they got to ask your permission for it n prob give cash to do soo.

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I’m still waiting for the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star writer to sue the pants off of the ABC song writer, or vice versa. It’s clearly the same song.

With people nowadays trying to claim ownership to terms like “that’s hot”, “you’re fired”, and “okurrrrrrrrr”… I think I’ll secure my next meal ticket by purchasing a trademark on something like “hello” or “thank you”. It obviously doesn’t matter who used it first.

For that matter, there are so many nearly identical clones of this game alone, I don’t even know who came up with the original. The fact that they are all allowed to exist simultaneously on the same platform, and that I actually get Mystic Vision ads in this game for games that are practically exact duplicates of this game, seems to suggest that nobody really owns any of it. It’s a free for all concept that anyone can borrow.

It is the same. Also in the public domain so no one to sue.

So then if an entire game concept is seemingly in the public domain, certain songs are in the public domain, characters like Santa Claus are in the public domain, it’s also quite possible that one character name from one franchise is also now considered part of the public domain.

Trying to claim copyright on names and words is something that kicked off a few years ago in the romance writers genre when an author tried to claim that no other author could use a particular word in book titles. It went to court for them to fight it out. In the meantime, lots and LOTS of authors deliberately rushed out works with that word in the title, just to make a point.

And that’s kind of my point. Borrowing a name or an idea is not necessarily stealing or copyright infringement. Nearly everything that exists today was at least partially borrowed from a previous idea. I don’t think a single word should be able to be copyrighted, except as maybe a business name. Google is a business name, I know I’m not allowed to create a business and call it Google. But I am allowed to write a book and mention the main character “Googling” something without having to pay royalties. Just as I’m allowed to write a story about someone ordering a Big Mac from McDonald’s without paying them, so long as I don’t open a restaurant called McDonald’s and sell burgers called Big Macs.

Could maybe become troublesome if my book character finds a rat in his Big Mac, then maybe I’m opening myself up to litigation…

Sounds like you have done as much reading on this subject as myself. The example I use is that you can have a character go to a real hospital, but if the story has the hospital screwing up something the patient suing or dying then you are crossing the line that leads to lawsuits. This is why I use made up names all the time.

I have vague recollections of an Apple issue wtih another company and copyright arguments over that name.

With character names it is trickier. A name that is so well known and so associated with a particular book or series is going to cause trouble if someone else uses it - Gandalf, as already mentioned being one of those, Harry Potter is another. But the less well known names are unlikely to raise a fuss. The one of the new HotM I didn’t recognise at all, and I have read Lord of the Rings.

Funny that you mention Harry Potter!

Harry Potter movies: Are there people in the world called Harry Potter? Yes, and they’ve got AMAZING real-life cast trivia to tell – but they’ve never been to hogwarts - Radio Times

:slightly_smiling_face:

So do they get to sue JK Rowling, or are they now forced to go back and change their birth given names?

To put it in another reference… 7.6 billion people on the planet. Less than 200,000 words in the English language. What are the odds that two people might use the same combination of words at any given time? Fairly high.

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The lawyer one in that article is my favourite. That is just priceless and having worked in the legal profession for years myself, very believable.

The famous Harry Potter isn’t the only fictional Harry Potter. But I doubt anyone would dare to use the name again now. I also doubt that any other creator of a fictional Harry Potter would have any success suing JK Rowling over the name, even if they had it first.

Anyway, back to the OP’s point, I very much doubt there would be any issue with using the name.

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That was pretty much my assumption also.

It’s a random name that has probably been used multiple times before. If every new intellectual property had to come up with completely unique names for every character and location, we’d be reading books about how Zweroi Hxoisweq traveled to the faraway city of Xhglhhlabh to slay the rowydsltehlnth creature from the realm of Azshqwwilu.*

BTW, I have now copyrighted those names, so don’t even think about stealing my book idea!

I actually once read a book that was with characters with no vowels in their names. It drove me mad trying to figure out how to pronounce them.

I pick very boring names and even accidentally gave three different characters the same first name. Oops!

I doubt Tolkein’s names have been used that frequently simply because of how unusual many of them are. There is a long list of names that Middle-earth Enterprises claims copyright of at the Tolkein Gateway and the name Elrohir is not on the list. That being said, there are a lot on the list that I can’t remember that I would say are really pushing the criteria for copyrighting names. There are also some on the list that clearly get used by other people/companies (orcs for example).

As mentioned, if the character is well known it could raise some problems.

Do not forget that Drake Fong was originally named in beta Drake Lee, clearly a reference to Bruce Lee and changed soon after.

And notice that “Lee” is quite the common name, but associated to a kung fu-like hero the reference was obvious.

Names themselves cannot be copyrighted. LIKENESSES can be copyrighted. Many intellectual property laws will favor those who insist that certain household names are part of those likenesses. For example, Chewbacca cannot be separated from…Chewbacca. Therr is no way a character could be named Chewbacca without conjuring up the wookie likeness. Therefore, the two go hand-in-hand. Skywalker, Spock, Indiana Jones, etc. However, simply because you have used a name in a piece of literature does not, in any way whatsoever, give you intellectual property rights over that name. Especially when it’s a character that isn’t even really IN the book.

Now, that being said, I am not in Beta so I don’t know what this character looks like. If it’s clearly an elf in the Tolkien style, and the name goes along with the likeness that one would expect of him? That might be a different matter. For example, if they had named Bera “Arwen” instead? They could sue over use of her likeness. But not simply over the use of her name.

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It mostly comes down to this. Two characters can share similar names, as long as one is not modeled after another.

However… even that being said…

I cannot write a book about a character named Indiana Jones who goes around exploring ancient ruins and recovering artifacts. I can, however, write a parody book of a character named Jambalaya Bones who eats tons of Cajun food and gets run over by boulders and eaten by snakes in the jungle.

The hero is obviously an elf dressed in what looks like outdoor type clothing (furs, green vest and pants) with some weapons on his back performing some kind of green swirly ball nature magic. If they ever come out with another elf named Elladan (Elrohir’s brother in LotR) then the coincidence argument would be moot. I have read a lot of “high fantasy” and have never come across Elrohir as a character name except LotR. Granted there are many similarities with LotR characters in other books (Eragon, Aragorn) and everyone uses Hrothgar from the Norse but just Googling Elrohir brings up nothing but Tolkien web sites. Curious SGG would use something so tied to LotR and not more generic.

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