Author Topic: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For  (Read 3197 times)  

Offline isaacsweeney

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Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
« on: June 18, 2020, 02:17:43 pm »
It's too short for a novel, too short for a novella, but too long for a short story.

I guess it's a novelette?



Description: A serial killer uses Door Dash to lure his prey. Hes got the local police fooled and his property booby trapped. But Sarah is his next target, and she may turn into his greatest challenge.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 08:54:29 pm by isaacsweeney »

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    Offline Gessert Books

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    Re: A DoorDash novelette? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #1 on: June 18, 2020, 02:23:50 pm »
    Far from an expert and certainly not a lawyer, but you might think about making up a different name for the courier service. My very limited understanding it that it's ok to mention a character is having a Coke, but a little dicier if suggesting that having a Coke might be dangerous.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: A DoorDash novelette? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #2 on: June 18, 2020, 02:35:20 pm »
    I wouldn't use DoorDash. You'll get sued. Pick another name for a similar company.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: A DoorDash novelette? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 08:06:25 pm »
    I'm not selling enough books to get sued. I'll wait until they contact me. I could use the publicity.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: A DoorDash novelette? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 08:12:47 pm »
    Not a good idea for a title or theme.

    Come on, you were creative enough to come up with the story, aim it in a direction that won't bring about the negative consequences.

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: A DoorDash novelette? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #5 on: June 18, 2020, 08:18:59 pm »
    Not a good idea for a title or theme.

    Come on, you were creative enough to come up with the story, aim it in a direction that won't bring about the negative consequences.

    Thanks for the shaming, but I thought it was a pretty fun idea.

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: A DoorDash novelette? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #6 on: June 18, 2020, 08:23:12 pm »
    I think it's possible that Tony Xu would be proud that his company has transcended into different media spaces. I doubt they care about my little novelette that much.

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #7 on: June 18, 2020, 08:55:06 pm »
    I guess I'm a little nervous now.

    Online Vidya

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #8 on: June 18, 2020, 09:00:01 pm »
    As you said, there isnt much chance theyll even hear of your novel if your sales arent high.

    But why take the risk when you know they could sue you if they do hear of it? And it doesn't sound like DoorDash is essential to the story. Any made up Food delivery service would do.

    Online jdcore

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #9 on: June 18, 2020, 09:11:44 pm »
    I would make the following changes.

    Title: Be Careful What You App For.

    Inside the book: rename the company with a fictional name.

    Description: A serial killer uses a Door-Dash-like company to lure his prey.

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #10 on: June 18, 2020, 09:20:08 pm »
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going to keep it though. If it sells enough copies to make them care, then maybe I'll have enough money to pay for an attorney.

    Online Paranormal Kitty

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #11 on: June 19, 2020, 01:27:42 am »
    It's called brand disparagement, and it's the one thing companies actually care about when you're mentioning their products in fiction. A story about a couple who met through Door Dash is free advertising. A story about a serial killer using it to lure his victims is a lawsuit.

    Offline SND

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #12 on: June 19, 2020, 01:46:53 am »
    How did Stephen King get to use Mr. Mercedes where a killer uses a Mercedes to go on a killing rampage. Surely the was "brand disparagement"?

    Offline nail file

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #13 on: June 19, 2020, 02:36:36 am »
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going to keep it though. If it sells enough copies to make them care, then maybe I'll have enough money to pay for an attorney.

    Hahahaha...hahah..haha--oh wait, you're serious.

    You're being told this is a bad idea and you're saying that you don't care. Okay. Live and learn, I guess. But all you need to do is ask around this forum to talk to people who were involved in lawsuits and see just how quickly legal fees stacked up.

    How did Stephen King get to use Mr. Mercedes where a killer uses a Mercedes to go on a killing rampage. Surely the was "brand disparagement"?

    Seriously? You're going to use Stephen King as an example? When you get to be as big as Stephen King, things work a little differently.

    Until then, caveat scriptor.

    Offline Clay

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #14 on: June 19, 2020, 03:56:31 am »
    Seriously? You're going to use Stephen King as an example? When you get to be as big as Stephen King, things work a little differently.

    Until then, caveat scriptor.

    He asked a valid question. The fact that it was Stephen King makes it MORE likely he would get sued, not less. Since obviously Stephen King has more sales and therefore more money to lose, and the "brand disparagement" more severe because of the greater exposure.


    Offline A Dark Path

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #15 on: June 19, 2020, 04:36:58 am »
    He asked a valid question. The fact that it was Stephen King makes it MORE likely he would get sued, not less. Since obviously Stephen King has more sales and therefore more money to lose, and the "brand disparagement" more severe because of the greater exposure.

    I don't definitively know the answer to your question. However, it may be that SK's villain happened to be using the Mercedes as a murder weapon, whereas the OP is writing of a scenerio in which using the DoorDash service actually places you at risk?

    You could write a story in which someone leaves McDonalds and then gets mugged and murdered a hundred yards down the road. But I wouldn't suggest you write a story involving someone taking their kids for a meal at McDonalds, and then one of the children chokes to death on a fragment of bone in his burger. See the difference?

    Online Paranormal Kitty

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #16 on: June 19, 2020, 06:03:09 am »
    He asked a valid question. The fact that it was Stephen King makes it MORE likely he would get sued, not less. Since obviously Stephen King has more sales and therefore more money to lose, and the "brand disparagement" more severe because of the greater exposure.

    It's trad pub so pretty sure they got permission and covered all their asses. Plus it's not nearly as egregious as implying you're at risk for being murdered by using Door Dash. The guy using a stolen Mercedes to run people over isn't implying that something is inherently wrong with the car. It's not that much different than mentioning the brand of a gun or a knife. Having a serial killer use Door Dash to lure victims is telling people there's something wrong with Door Dash and they don't have adequate safety measures. If the book gets popular it could logically result in a real loss of business.

    Offline Carol Davis

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #17 on: June 19, 2020, 06:30:51 am »
    Every large corporation has a team of lawyers whose job it is to protect their brand. No, your book may not get much readership -- but that team of corporate lawyers may well have a couple of lower-tier folks running daily algorithm searches for trademark infringement.

    You may not get sued; you may just get a cease and desist letter. Or the lawyers could turn straight to Amazon, and Amazon could shut down your account to protect *their* brand.

    I honestly don't see what your purpose is in insisting on doing this. Just to be a smart***? As someone who works hard to build my business (tiny as it may be), I have to say I'm giving you a little bit of a side-eye.







    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #18 on: June 19, 2020, 07:36:07 am »
    I guess I think using DoorDash instead of "a DoorDash-like company" is just a little cooler. As a reader, I would feel like I'm reading something more authentic. Like when you watch a movie about professional football, but they make up the team names because the NFL didn't give permission. The movies that use actual NFL teams seem more authentic.

    While I am sometimes an a**, I'm not entirely trying to be one here. There's an artistic purpose.

    Online Usedtoposthere

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #19 on: June 19, 2020, 08:36:58 am »
    Your topic is about whether you will get sued. You do not care, so I wonder why you asked the question? What was your intention in posting?

    Offline C. Gold

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #20 on: June 19, 2020, 08:47:02 am »
    Call it FoodZip or some other clever word combo that is instantly recognizable as a DoorDash equivalent and avoid the potential lawsuit or takedown notice.

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #21 on: June 19, 2020, 09:45:32 am »
    Your topic is about whether you will get sued. You do not care, so I wonder why you asked the question? What was your intention in posting?

    It wasn't originally. I changed it when that's what it became about.

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #22 on: June 19, 2020, 10:40:11 am »
    It wasn't originally. I changed it when that's what it became about.

    It would be fine to start a thread in the WC to ask about real legal concerns, but please keep in mind that anything that's really intended just to announce/promote a new book needs to go in the Book Bazaar. Self-promo is not permitted here.

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    Offline Indiecognito

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #23 on: June 19, 2020, 11:33:57 am »


    Definitely fodder for a lawsuit. Easy win for them, too. At the very least you'd get a takedown notice, so I'd suggest changing the name immediately.

    But I get the impression you don't feel like doing that, so good luck with the lawyers and all that.

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Am I gonna get sued? Careful What You Dash For
    « Reply #24 on: June 19, 2020, 12:59:28 pm »
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going to keep it though. If it sells enough copies to make them care, then maybe I'll have enough money to pay for an attorney.
    Or they'll just take everything you own and put a lien on all future earnings. That might be fun, too.

    Here's the thing, there's right and wrong. The right thing is to make up a name of a similar service. The wrong thing is to do what you're doing. The rules on this are pretty simple. You don't even have to drop the Dash part. You could do DrivewayDash, for crying out loud. PorchPass. It's pretty easy.

    Amanda M. Lee

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