1. Balmarog
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    Balmarog Member

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    Book/story titles

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Balmarog, Oct 17, 2012.

    So I noticed this while preparing for this year's nanowrimo, but it's a good question I guess.

    Are book and story titles copyrighted or otherwise protected?
    The first few titles I've come up with for my nano are in use by published books already. I only know this because I googled the titles, not because they are necessarily popular or well-known books already.
     
  2. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I think its ok to use names, but not be blatant with it ie you write a wizzard story dont call it Harry Potter. (not a subtle example) but there are many books with the same name
    I googled this below using a famous title:

    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
    Twilight by Meg Cabot
    Twilight by Elie Wiesel
    Twilight by Cate Tiernan

    So go for it, just make sure you can easily styep away from other books with the same title.
     
  3. Balmarog
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    Balmarog Member

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    I didn't even think of googling a well known title.
    Thanks :)
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most titles are not subject to copyright or trademark protection, primarily because they are simple words or phrases that are otherwise relatively common, and therefore can't be claimed as original. Writers run into this issue all the time -- they find out that a title they wanted to use has been used before. It's not that they're not allowed to use it, but most don't want to, because they want their novel to be unique and don't want any confusion with something that's already out there.

    It's more of a marketing and business issue than one of intellectual property, although IP could come into play if there is some kind of unique and original name or there appears to be an attempt to confuse consumers.
     
  5. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Your welcome, and besides if it gets to the publishing phase (fingers crossed for you :)) let the publishers and agents fight it out, that's their domain anyway. lol.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no... titles cannot be copyrighted...

    anyone who wants to be a writer should learn the basics about copyright... you'll find it all here:

    www.copyright.gov

    that applies to the US... all other countries that are signatories to the berne convention will have the same or similar copyright laws...
     
  7. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Like film, it is only an issue if it can be confused with, or falsely presented as, another original work.

    Twilight above is a good example. You can make a gangster movie called Twilight, no worries, but make a movie about a teenage girl falling for a vampire and call it Twilight, a lawyer will be dropping by.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But then again, if you have a similar title to a really famous one, especially if you're self-published, that could actually do you some good. It means while no one would be actively searching for your book, people might search for the famous one and then your book would pop up along with it. Exposure!
     
  9. MightyPen
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    MightyPen New Member

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    This entirely.

    Copyright laws are usually really lax concerning titles. However, if you were to use a title of an already published book and practically copy the story's idea, then you might have a bit of trouble on your hands. Other than that I'd say go for it. Throughout the many years I've been reading I've come across a lot of books that had the same exact title and never really thought twice about it.
     
  10. idle
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    idle Active Member

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    I'd be worried if the title was creative, like a made-up word, an uncommon witty phrase and such. That could look like you were copying it (even if you came up with it by yourself).

    With most titles, simple words or phrases, I agree with what everyone here says.
     
  11. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Yeah, i just checked if anyone had published with the title of the book i was writing (Legacy of the Starshade: Last of the Imirri) and thankfully found no titles like that but then fat chance anyone would come up with that exact title. (if ur wondering Legacy if the Starshade is the name for the Trilogy like Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle) but overall i don't worry overmuch aobut having the same title as another book -with so many authors publishing and likely more than a hundred books with the same title you can be pretty relaxed about it. What matters is the story content and i found like three books with almost identical stories but with different titles. (anyone ever read a book on a cursed polar bear who turns into a man at night and he takes a girl as his bride but she isn't allowed to see him when it is night? It gets really boring after the second time you read a similar book cuz you can just about guess what will happen.)
     
  12. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always check my titles just out of curiosity and I suppose a desire to not have a book titled the same thing as twelve other books out there. lol
     

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