SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    94
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    My site name is the same name as a song. Legal Issues?

    I am currently about to launch a site of mine which is for VOIP phone reviews. I thought of a cool name however I have recently found out that the site name is also the name of a song released in 1963 by BMI.

    Not only does my site name have the same of the song, but the name of my site is all the words in the chorus of the song. The song is about "calling someone".

    What are the potential legal issues with this?

    Is the topic of viop phones too similar to the song topic of calling someone?

    Can you even copyright/trademark/whatever a song name?

  2. #2
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Aurora, Illinois
    Posts
    15,495
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You'll want to talk to a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property and trademark law on this one.

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,054
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    If you live in the US, you can check with the US copyright office to see if the title has been trademarked or copyrighted.

    However, although IANAL, I really think you should "Don't worry, be happy". After all "Night & Day" many phrases and titles in songs come from commonly used phrases. If you can sleep "in the still of the night" without "tossin' & turnin' " you probably aren't doing anything wrong. Yet, if you think your choice of a site name may destroy your "happy birthday" for years to come and land you bankrupt "in the ghetto", you should contact a lawyer.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    r937's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    39,021
    Mentioned
    53 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    linda, you must be a fan of doo wop (as i am)

    r937.com | rudy.ca | Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL
    "giving out my real stuffs"

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    94
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the advice. I have talked to a lawyer. In short, he said I should think of another name. There are too many sue-happy companies out there.

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,054
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by r937
    linda, you must be a fan of doo wop (as i am)

    Off Topic:

    I don't think its called doo wop -- Gershwin, Cole Porter, Bernstein -- those are my boys. My favorite music is classical, but there's just no reason to name a web site Beethovan's Symphony Number 7. -- and I like broadway and other show music Andrew Lloyd Weber, John Williams. I guess I'm sort of an oddball.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard dreamscape's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    1,080
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In the US anyways, the name of something is not subject to copyright laws. With a song, copyright protects the lyrics & musical composition. The sound recording of a song is also protected, but that is a different copyright that is related to the sound and not the song itself. So recorded songs actually have 2 copyrights, which can get tricky if you want to use a recorded song since you need permission from both the owner of the master recording for use of the recording and the owner of the song for use of the song. Well that's a bit off topic, but this FAQ from the copyright office has some info on names & copyright.

    http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html

    Several songs have the same name as other songs. Some albums share the same name, as do some movies (not counting remakes there are unrelated movies that share the same name).

    It may be possible that a song name can be trademarked, but I'm not sure. It would almost certainly have to not be a common phrase. Although I've never heard of any record company claiming trademark on the name of a song.

    A common lawyer would probably not know very much on the issue, and would probably tell you to change the name based on just the possibility that somebody might sue you. But then somebody can sue you for anything if they really wanted to. To really get the right help and advise on this issue, you don't want to talk to any ol' lawyer, IMO. Really you should talk to an IP lawyer who is intimately familiar with IP laws. (though it may be difficult to locate a local IP lawyer if you don't live in or near an area where IP issues are hot topics, such as a music center, art center, film center, etc)
    <.smarter.web.development.>
    PHP Stuff: Plexus | Chocolate (BDD Framework... coming soon)
    Graphite


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •