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  1. #1
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    DRG's Avatar


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    Question Copyright Question - line from a book/film

    In the Cormac McCarthy book/film The Road the protagonist uses the phrase "Carry the fire" as a credo for remaining faithful to a cause, or pressing on in adversity.

    Inspired by this quote, I came up with a design based on it, just for fun.

    An individual wants to purchase this design for their own use and so I am looking into potential copyright issues.

    POV 1: I am not the author of the phrase, so I cannot rightfully sell a design inspired by it.

    POV 2: It isn't a trademark. I assume movie/book copyright doesn't extend to cover every last word of dialogue. Surely it's akin to using something like "Shaken, not stirred"? While many people would understand it as a James Bond reference, it could be argued it isn't specific enough to be considered intellectual property; it's not a name, or an image, or a likeness, or a jingle. It's just words.

    Good people of the GP Forum, I ask you: Can I legitimately sell a design using the phrase "Carry the Fire"?
    "One day we'll all laugh about it as we try to warm ourselves around a barrel of burning posters, equals once more." - Crosshair

    Army of Cats Design

  2. #2
    Hrabovsky's Avatar

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    It's also the title of a book by Mike Collins, the guy who got to wait in the car while Aldrin and Armstrong played grab-ass on the moon.

    I think the idiom "carrying the fire" has been passed around for hundreds of years—if not thousands—either literally or figuratively. In Atharva Veda, an old Hindu text, one translation has it used to refer to a divine fire carried by all life and matter. Then you got your whole Captain Caveman Quest For Fire origins—literally carrying fire.

    And I think he uses a similar line in No Country For Old Men, too, about dude's dad carrying the fire into the darkness.

    At any rate, I'd say yeah, go for it. Just like the phrase "Carrying the water," it has some literary citations, but its origins pre-date any use in literature.

    You could sell junk that said that with less hassle than a Bond quote.

  3. #3
    soupsandwich's Avatar

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    What about "Frankie Say Wham!" ?

  4. #4
    RichieGoodtimes's Avatar

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    Where's the beef?

  5. #5
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    We didn't start the fire.

  6. #6
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    Perfect. Thank you Hrabovsky & fellow poster comrades.
    "One day we'll all laugh about it as we try to warm ourselves around a barrel of burning posters, equals once more." - Crosshair

    Army of Cats Design

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRG View Post
    In the Cormac McCarthy book/film The Road the protagonist uses the phrase "Carry the fire" as a credo for remaining faithful to a cause, or pressing on in adversity.

    Inspired by this quote, I came up with a design based on it, just for fun.

    An individual wants to purchase this design for their own use and so I am looking into potential copyright issues.

    POV 1: I am not the author of the phrase, so I cannot rightfully sell a design inspired by it.

    POV 2: It isn't a trademark. I assume movie/book copyright doesn't extend to cover every last word of dialogue. Surely it's akin to using something like "Shaken, not stirred"? While many people would understand it as a James Bond reference, it could be argued it isn't specific enough to be considered intellectual property; it's not a name, or an image, or a likeness, or a jingle. It's just words.

    Good people of the GP Forum, I ask you: Can I legitimately sell a design using the phrase "Carry the Fire"?
    No problem using it. It's generic, and in common use. Even if it did have a copyright or trademark on it, you would not infringe unless you used it to create a pirate poster based on the book which you then sold. It's safe.

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