Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/pen name

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Question
I am writing my 1st novel and want to use a pen name that is similar to Professor P (not actual name). I found out that a character in a video game uses that name. If I publish under it, will I be liable to run into legal troubles with the video game people?

Answer
Hello colin,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

There are civil and criminal penalties for copyright infringement.  You would do well to get some help and confirm whether the character name is copyrighted.  If the video game people are at least modestly organized, I'd wager they copyrighted all their characters and works.  If you use a character name as your own, the copyright owner will likely sue you.

As a non-legal suggestion, I challenge you to consider writing up a different name.  You're talented enough to write a novel, how hard can it be to come up with a name?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement#Existing_and_proposed_laws

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
SMITH & RAVER LLP
Minneapolis, Minnesota
http://smith-and-raver-llp.biz
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)

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Morgan Smith

Expertise

Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.

Experience

I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Civil-Commercial-Litigation-911/indexExp_80217.htm

Publications
AllExperts, Yahoo Answers, http://smith-and-raver-llp.biz/News.html

Education/Credentials
J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, MN

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