1. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    Name of song = name of book?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CH878, Jan 23, 2012.

    Are the names of songs copyrighted (pop songs), and is there a problem with naming my novel the same name as a song (the song is not widely known)? I'm really talking legal problems.
     
  2. Anniexo
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    Anniexo Member

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    I think using the name isn't that bad, but I might be wrong, I only think this because their are different songs with the same name (due to how many songs their are it is possible). Maybe you can help by telling us the name?
     
  3. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    The name I'm planning on using is 'Pull The Curtain', which is shared with a Sum 41 song.
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Copyright doesn't protect song (or book) titles.

    Pull the Curtain isn't unique to Sum 41 - they weren't even the first to use it! The Pink Spiders used it before them and I imagine that others have used it too.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know this doesn't answer your question, but I had the same thoughts when naming my book from a line in a song I like, it wasn't the title of the song, and I did translate it from the original in english to my own language, but I definitely understand your worries. I don't know what the law says in this case, but since there are actually often more than one song with the same title I can't imagine it would be a problem, after all, you're using a different medium.
     
  6. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    Thanks. I should have realised actually that there were songs and books with the same titles around.
     
  7. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I don't think you can copyright movie or novel titles - there are many with the same name - but obviously a publisher will look hard to make sure that doesn't prove detrimental to marketing purposes. If it isn't even the same type of product I think you're ok
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Song names and book titles are generally to short to have any copyright protection whatsoever. In theory, if you had a song name that was so well-known that it essentially served as a trademark (and a famous one at that), and you put it on a book as the title, you could open yourself up to a claim of trademark infringement, but even that seems a long shot.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mary higgins clark does it all the time... titles can't be copyrighted, so it's perfectly legal... however, if you want to include some of the lyrics in the book, you'll have to get the copyright owner's permission, if it's not an old song in the public domain...
     
  10. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Yeah like the songs "Creep", by Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, and TLC ;)
     
  11. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I would say if the book has nothing in common with the song, it is not a problem.
    But if you are writing a fictional piece inspired or based on the song and use the title, then it would be.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but that's not true at all... using a song title as the title of a novel, the plot of which follows the theme of the song to some extent [as many of clark's mysteries and other novels do] is not a problem... only using the actual verbatim lyrics would be, if you didn't first obtain permission from the lyricist of a song that's still under copyright...
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    To clarify - it is not a copyright problem. It is possible, though rare, for it to be a trademark problem. This could occur if in fact the song title serves as a trademark (and particularly if the mark were famous). Such a trademark issue is exactly what happened when the band The Red Hot Chili Peppers sued Showtime on trademark grounds for naming a show "Californication," which is also the title of one of the band's albums and hit singles. I believe that case is still pending, and it is not at all clear the band will prevail. It is clear, however, that the lawsuit is costing Showtime and the band money.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true... i should have mentioned the trademark issue exception... thanks for the catch, sp!

    hugs, m
     

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