Can I use names (not the characters) from other games/movies, etc.?

Venex

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Hi,

can I use a name from an anime, a movie, a game in my own games? For example, I'd like to use the name 'Zeldris' for my main character, it's actually a character from Seven Deadly Sins. Though I'd not like to use the character itself, just his name to create a character of my own. Is this legal?
 

Tiamat-86

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names are just names. would only need to worry if the name can be linked to an iconic image and the character with that name matches the image.
so you can use the name Mario and be fine,
but having mario as plumber or a guy in red shirt/hat with blue overalls... not so much

Zeldris's backstory is somewhat generic. just dont match his exact appearance and daddy/brother issues.
 

EpicFILE

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Of course it's alright.
For example, "Yui" is a very generic name, couple of animes used the name.
There's no issue with that. :D
 

Andar

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it completely depends on whether the name is trademarked or not.

If the name is trademarked, then using it is illegal outside of "fair use" - and that has some very strict requirements. So if you use the name "Mickey Mouse" you can bet on Disney sueing you.

if a name isn't trademarked, then it counts as any other name - as long as it is not obviously intended to infringe on a story copyright it can be used.
 

Elissiaro

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I'm pretty sure you can name your characters whatever you want as long as they're clearly not the famous character you got the name from.
Cause I don't think you have copyright on names.
Some characters are trademarked though, and I have no idea how that works.

But as long as it's not a super famous character, that's like, the main company mascot, it's probably fine.
Also if the character has 2 names and you only take one. Like, naming a character Mickey is fine, naming it Mouse is fine, naming it Mickey Mouse, proooobably not.

I'm not a lawywer though so... Take my comment with a bag of salt.
 

BK-tdm

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You cant copyright names, what is copyrighted is the likeness of the character.

Tl;DR: You can use names from anime characters, just dont copy their entire personality and dresscode, there's a line between reference/inspired of and blatant ripping.


You can name your character Mario, you cannot make him wear overalls, add a beard and color it blue and pretend you didnt rip off anything (like some mobile games do).

You can name your character Reaper, you cannot make your character dual wield shotguns, turn into smoke, wear a black trenchcoat and use a skull mask and pretend you wont raise eyebrows on Blizzard.

Superhero names are not copyrighted. Superhero names are trademarked. Using a trademarked name absolutely will get you sued, and you will not win. The laws concerning trademark are much more stringent than copyright, this has a few things to it.

You can name your character Thor, because norse mythos is public domain and Marvel didnt make him up, they just built his version and reimagined the whole Asgard deal, so did Saint Seiya, anyone can reimagine myths to suit their needs as long as you dont rip other people's takes on them, what you cant do is copy marvel's Thor design and change colors.

Adding to the case above, there's some stuff that are simply no-no's like the case with Spiderman, even if you would reinvent everything and make a game like rampage with a giant spider humanoid monster kaiju, you will get knocked on your door by lawyers, because Spiderman is no longer a name, its a concept (the name is a widely recognizable character and entire fictional universe) which has a long and well-documented history with Marvel, and that in itself would transcend the name limitation and on top of that, these are well-known trademarks of Marvel which are regularly and frequently enforced. You cannot simply make anything Spiderman(and variations like "Spiderboy" "Spiderwoman" "SpiderJohn" ) and not think of the Marvel IP or a variation of it, as they themselves have done different universe/protagonist takes on this ip like the case with SpiderGwen, using this name/brand or anything that can be confused as being similar (Man-Spider for example) will get you in trouble.

You can use punny names to make small references like doing a small event at a cinema with a dialogue that says something like "oh its the new Revengers movie, endless war!" but even then, making negative references can also get you in trouble.
 

Venex

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Thank you for all the answers!

EDIT: Just trying to figure out how to check on trademarks in Japan ...

EDIT2: I guess I have found the right site, but it's all in Japanese ...
 
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