How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask montysimmons Your Own Question

montysimmons
montysimmons, Patent Prosecutor
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 240
Experience:  Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar
9204196
Type Your Intellectual Property Law Question Here...
montysimmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have written a book that I plan to self-publish. The title

Customer Question

I have written a book that I plan to self-publish. The title references an ancient historical city. As a for instance, let's say the title is, "The Coliseums of Rome". It isn't actually set in Rome, or really has anything to do with the city itself. The word Rome doesn't show up anywhere in the novel besides the title. I am simply using the city as a reference, as I feel it gives the story the "vibe" I'm going for.

Just recently, though, I discovered that "The Coliseums of Rome" (again, not the actual title) is also the title of a song from the '70s. The song shares no similarities with my story except the title. This song is actually about the city of Rome, whereas, as I mentioned, my book is not. I also discovered that a second band also had the same exact title for one of their songs.

I understand that you are not allowed to use a song's lyrics in a novel without permission, and I have no interest in doing this. But I'm a bit confused about the copyright surrounding song titles, because the title of the song (as with many songs) does show up in the lyrics.

Am I allowed to use "The Coliseums of Rome" as the title for my book, even though it's appeared as the title of two songs (that I know of) so far? Or is this risking some kind of copyright infringement/potential lawsuit? Because I am self-publishing, I am taking very great pains to avoid any type of legal issues, even going so far as to changing store names where some of the action in my book takes place.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  montysimmons replied 1 year ago.

Hello, thank you for your question.

 

Yes, a good title can help a book peak one's interest in a book; like making a good first impression.

 

Thus, selecting a good title is important.

 

Copyright Law

 

No problem here.

 

Copyright does not protect short phrases, names, or titles (such as title of books or songs).

 

 

Trademark LAW / Unfair Competition Law

 

If you are going to have problems, it will be with Trademark Law or Unfair Competition Law.

 

Trademarks protect words, logos, short slogans and just about anything a person/company can use that will uniquely identify the source of a product or service.

 

For example, if your title was: "Rome for dummies", you would likely have trademark issues as such a titles implies you have association with the "for dummies" brand.

 

 

Thus, just make sure your title is not confusingly similar to a brand already out there.

 

 

IF you are going to be publishing a series of works/books, consider a unique name and register your mark with the USPTO.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any additional questions, please ask.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that seems to be the issue. Trademark. I don't believe I'll be infringing upon this, as the cover art for my book looks nothing like, say, the album cover that contains the song. Likewise the font or title. It was originally created specifically for my book, and running it through Google image shows no similarities to anything in Google.


 


Does the fact I'm dealing with two very obscure songs factor in? Or that, say, a place like Rome, with its cities, cannot be "trademarked" by anyone?

Expert:  replied 1 year ago.

I would not worry about the titles of two very obscure songs.

 

The term "Rome" can be trademarked but not as a name of a city.

 

For example, "Apple" is a trademark for computers manufactured by a well known company. But this company cannot stop anyone from using the work "Apple" to describe anything but computers.

 

Same for terms such as "Rome".

montysimmons, Patent Prosecutor
Satisfied Customers: 240
Experience: Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar
montysimmons and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you! I think I understand now.

Expert:  montysimmons replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome.

Come back if you need more information.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/sosolid007/2010-08-05_070536_Suitpic.jpg Alex Reese's Avatar

    Alex Reese

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2588
    Experienced in intellectual property law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg Robert McEwen, Esq.'s Avatar

    Robert McEwen, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    387
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/tswartz123/2010-02-08_225658_Tommy.jpg Thomas Swartz's Avatar

    Thomas Swartz

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    374
    Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    371
    I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/personwilt/2010-1-10_164828_person1.jpg Wilton A. Person's Avatar

    Wilton A. Person

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    339
    MBA, Experienced and Knowledgeable in Intellectual Property Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/bart0358/2012-1-23_232424_1056.64x64.JPG BartEsq's Avatar

    BartEsq

    Researcher

    Satisfied Customers:

    192
    Juris Doctor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IP/ipesq/2012-1-9_164431_RetouchPortraitHighResCopy.64x64.jpg ipesq's Avatar

    ipesq

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    134
    Specializing in patent prosecution, trademark and copyright registration/enforcement.
 
 
 

Related Intellectual Property Law Questions

Chat Now With An IP Lawyer
montysimmons
montysimmons
IP Lawyer
240 Satisfied Customers
Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar