Does Google Need Permission From Philip K. Dick's Estate For The Nexus One?

from the seems-a-bit-ridiculous dept

There's been plenty of buzz over the past few days about Google's alleged plans to offer a phone of its own design (built by HTC, potentially sold both directly and by T-Mobile, if not others), which has been dubbed the "Nexus One." I didn't write anything about it, because there didn't seem much to write about at this point. I'm always happy to see more competition in the market, though, and if the phone is really good, that's obviously a good thing. But one thing did catch my eye. The NY Times is noting that the name "Nexus One" appears to be a play on how Philip K. Dick named the replicants in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was subsequently turned into the still popular movie Blade Runner. In both stories, the replicants are "Nexus-6" devices, being the sixth generation of that type of robots. It's a fun little homage by Google and an obvious play on the fact that its operating system is called Android.

And yet... the estate of Philip K. Dick is not pleased. The article notes (surprisingly) that Motorola paid George Lucas for the rights to use "Droid" for its Android phone, but no one spoke to the Dick estate, who now claim they are "shocked and dismayed." Really? Shocked? Isa Dick Hackett, Philip's daughter is claiming:
"We were never consulted, no requests were made, and we didn't grant any sort of permissions."
Perhaps that's because Google doesn't need permission from you to do such a thing. Of course, since Google hasn't made any official announcement on this, there's still a good chance they could change the name, just to avoid having to deal with an angry and misguided family member who doesn't like the idea of anyone paying tribute to her father without first paying up. You have to imagine there must be some other science fiction author out there who would be thrilled to have Google promoting his or her work, rather than whining about getting permission (i.e., "payment") for the use of a name.

Filed Under: nexus one, philip k. dick
Companies: google


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Rev AKL, 16 Dec 2009 @ 8:07pm

    Mind You! It could very well be!

    Google's Android software and smartphone memory, information processing and organisational abilities, perhaps exceed human abilities. Although humans have initially emplaced the information the 'Nexus one' will organise and present it in relay to its own information input, even that information gained from its camera lens. The information gathered by the smartphone will be able to influence the mental processes of the humans that utilise it. Is this the borderline of automatically organised information becoming artificial intelligence? Capable of changing the very decisions and actions of the people who use it, they in turn becoming the constructs relating to an artificially generated reality. Does this make the nexus one manlike(android) and if so isn't the connection to the allocation of a numeral to the term nexus breaking the copyright of Philip K. Dick's original idea of a series of developing artificial constructs?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.