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Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 15743
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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In 1996, I executed a copyright book in the name "Anything I

Customer Question

In 1996, I executed a copyright for my book in the name "Anything I Want To Be". In 2000, I did a copyright on the "Children's Anthem-Anything I Want To Be". In the song, the refrain says, "I can be anything I wanna be". Someone has written a book, entitled "Anything I Wanna Be". While their book shows a copyright date of 2014, the US Copyright Office has no listing of such.
I have now chosen to market my book and song. Has this other individual infringed
and is such infringement actionable/worthwhile?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

Aside from the title and refrain, are there other elements of book that are the same or substantially similar to your book and song?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The substance of the books are not the same. The other is a book of poetry designed to inspire, mine is a motivational story. However, my song (Anything I Want To Be, sung anything I wanna be) is the same (Anything I Wanna Be) as her book title.
Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

I see. There would be no case. Copyright does not extend to titles and short phrases (see copyright circular 34: http://copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf). Furthermore, copyright infringement is a "true infringement" type cause of action. There's no "negligent" infringement of copyrights. That is, you would have the burden of proving that the person had access to your work and copied it. An "independent creation", no matter how similar to another copyrighted work, would not be infringing. For an extreme example, suppose someone emerged from a cave after 30 years (and could prove that they really were cut off from the rest of the world) with a manuscript that was word-for-word identical to "Harry Potter". That would not be infringing, but rather a massive coincidence. Of course the similarities between two works could be used as evidence that one took from the other, but if it could be proven that the second work's author had no knowledge of the first work, that would not be infringement.

So in short, where the content of the works are different, and there's no evidence of actual copying, there's no case for copyright infringement. You'd have the burden of proof to show that it's the content that has been copied, and that there was actual copying (knowledge of and access to the work being copied).

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

I see you have not responded in some time. Did you wish to continue with this question? Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!

Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

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