On Saturday, Google confirmed that it has developed a new phone around the semi-open-source mobile operating system it calls Android, and according to press reports, the company intends to sell the device under the name 'Nexus One.'...but you still gotta get permission - at very least. It gets harder when you get big to do fun things like name your products after a favorite character or creative work; even if it's a cool "in-joke." Being ironically hip will get you in hot water when you're making big bucks and don't offer royalties or get permission from the artist, owner, or estate.
The Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? concerns a bounty hunter charged with tracking down a group of escaped robots tagged with the name Nexus-6. These are said to be the sixth generation in a line of, yes, androids, and, well, you get the picture.
"In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father’s novel," said Isa Dick Hackett, president of the Dick estate outfit that handles licensing of his work. "We were never consulted, no requests were made, and we didn’t grant any sort of permissions."
In this digital age artists need to be - and are - more vigilant on how their creative works are used or exploited. Breaking down barriers to accessibility tends to water down the notion that a work is the creation of the artist and has ownership. The result is the impression that everything is public source.
Call it arrogance, the naivete of a boundary-pushing company, or idiocracy, one thing is for sure, Google knows enough about the value of a name to file a trademark. There's still time for Google to do the right thing or got to "Plan B."
Philip K. Dick's kid howls over Googlephone handle