How to Protect Titles of Creative Works

Although movies, TV shows, art, books, musibooks-498422_1280c, lyrics and recordings are protected by copyright, the titles, names and tag lines associated with these types of creative works do not qualify for copyright protection. However, in certain instances, titles of creative works may be protectable as trademarks.

For example, you cannot register a trademark for the title, or a portion of a title, of a single creative work (such as a book, a television episode, a film, a live theatre production, or a phonograph record).  [NOTE: Computer software and computer games are not treated as single creative works.]

However, if the title has been (or will be) used in connection with a series of creative works (e.g., a series of books, the second edition of a book with significant changes, a periodically issued magazine, a television or movie series, a series of live performances [such as by a musical artist], educational seminars, or a continuing radio program), it may constitute a mark for either entertainment or educational services.

For more information about how to protect titles, here’s an article I wrote entitled A Different Kind of Title Insurance: How to Protect Titles of Creative Works that was published in Bloomberg BNA’s Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal.

 

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