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PostPosted: January 11th, 2004, 9:27 pm 

Joined: December 31st, 2003, 10:31 pm
Posts: 63
The tenative title for my first book is also the title for a theatric production. According to my sources, the production ran for a short time back in '99, and was only staged in New York City.

My question is this: Can I still go with the planned title of my book even though it is also the title to a play? The subject matter of my book is nowhere near the plot for the play.


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 Post subject: probably
PostPosted: January 12th, 2004, 3:49 pm 
Yes, probably. The only reason that you might not be able to use the same title is if the screenwriter or production company trademarked it. This is highly unlikely, but not impossible. You can do a trademark search at http://www.uspto.gov/

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 Post subject: Titles & Copyrights
PostPosted: January 13th, 2004, 11:28 am 

Joined: November 7th, 2003, 2:33 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Philadelphia Suburbs
Titles are generally considered too short for copyright. A title for one book (as opposed to an entire book series) is usually not covered by trademark. But title-confusion may be litigated as misleading advertising under the Lanham Act or by state unfair competition in some states.

According to the US Copyright site (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ34.html):


Names, titles, and short phrases or expressions are not subject to copyright protection. Even if a name, title, or short phrase is novel or distinctive or if it lends itself to a play on words, it cannot be protected by copyright. The Copyright Office cannot register claims to exclusive rights in brief combinations of words such as:

*Names of products or services
*Names of businesses, organizations, or groups (including the name of a group of performers)
*Names of pseudonyms of individuals (including pen name or stage name)
*Titles of works
*Catchwords, catchphrases, mottoes, slogans, or short advertising expressions
*Mere listings of ingredients, as in recipes, labels, or formulas. When a recipe or formula is accompanied by explanation or directions, the text directions may be copyrightable, but the recipe or formula itself remains uncopyrightable."



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