1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Would it be ok to...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, May 7, 2011.

    use a well-known song-title for my book title translated into my own language? Since song titles are never translated (opposite to book titles and movie titles) at least I don't see anything wrong with it, but maybe I'm breaking some rules or something or it's just considered a bad thing for other reasons? Does someone know if it would be considered tasteless or bad? I can't remember if I have seen any examples of that anywhere right now...
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see a problem unless the title also happens to be a trademark.
     
  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    It should be fine. Song titles aren't protected under copyright law. There're people who use song titles in full for their novels and I haven't heard of anyone getting in trouble for it before.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    They aren't protected by copyright, but something as short as a song title could, potentially, be a trademark. In which case it could cause problems even when translated. Chances are relatively slim, but it is worth looking into.
     
  5. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    People steal titles all the time. Do you really think that Twilight by Stephanie Meyer was the first book anyone ever imagined giving that title to? It isn't. It's just the most popular.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    oh, thank you, I was hoping for it to be ok since I found it could fit and I have had such trouble coming up with a appropriate title for this one.
    Steerpike: do you know where you can check if it is protected in any way? Since it's an english title (english/american, I'm not sure which) I don't know where to search for that kind of information.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That's also a good example of a title that is now also a trademark.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you want to PM the title to me I can check to see if there is a U.S. registration for it. Like I said, doubtful, but it is worth a quick look.

    Heading out the door, but if you PM me I will look this evening.
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    But is the registration even valid for translations into other languages? I mean, how can you trademark words put into a certain order? an in a different language as well? I didn't know it was even possible...
     
  10. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    LOL, what do you think books are? A whole bunch of words put in a certain order. And the translation thing has to do with world rights, I believe, and who retains them. So yes, you can.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Translations can be an issue at times, though just because there is a trademark registered in the U.S. does not mean any given translation will be protected in another country.

    In this case, you really don't have much to worry about. But I always do a quick search when in doubt, because it is easy to look for any obvious problem. Even if you're in the right, you do not want to spend what it takes to defend a trademark suit. But it is fairly rare that you're going to find a title having that level of protection. Titles like Twilight, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and probably Lord of the Rings...those sorts of things have numerous trademark issues tied into them. The vast majority of titles do not.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's done all the time and is perfectly legal...

    as for 'twilight' it's a word, not just a book title, so the use of it cannot be forbidden or controlled under trademark laws, which in fact cover more than just the use of a brand name in a story...

    look up the actual meaning of trademarks and tradenames here: www.uspto.gov

    and for copyright info: www.copyright.gov
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The use of no words can really be forbidden, whether there is trademark protection or not. The use of the word "Twilight" can certainly be controlled, however. The trademark owners can prevent any confusingly similar uses of the word on products covered by their trademark rights.
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting, I didn't know there were issus like this, but I guess the ones mentioned above for obvious reasons, like Pesonal names of characters etc, that I can understand, even though I find it silly. Who would try to copy them anyway? doesn't most writers want to be original?
     
  15. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think a few (very few) just want to make a quick buck.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, but not in one's writing... which is the point being discussed here...
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, but the OP was talking about a title, which is something that does present that problem. If you are dealing with a word that is also a trademark and it is the title of your book, you could run into problems. The specific facts surrounding the usage would determine whether you need to be concerned or not.

    If you wrote your own original teen vampire/romance novel and entitled it Twilight, I suspect you'd be on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter and, ultimately, a lawsuit. Not because there is any copyright protection for the title of Meyer's Twilight book, but because there are a lot of trademark rights wrapped up in it.

    A book is a product.
     

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