Monday, July 13, 2015

Q&A: Does copyright law apply to and protect names and titles?

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, you can’t register names, titles, short phrases or expressions. Here are some things that the Copyright Office won’t register:

  • Names of products or services 
  • Names of businesses, organizations, or groups (including performing groups) 
  • Pseudonyms of individuals, pen names and stage names
  • Titles of works
  • Catchwords and catchphrases
  • Mottoes, slogans or short advertising expressions
     
Only “original works of authorship” can have copyright protection, which means the work must contain a minimum amount of original material. Names, titles and other short phrases do not meet the minimum requirement. However, some brand names, trade names, slogans and phrases may be protected by trademark laws and registered through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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