Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
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Aside from the title and refrain, are there other elements of book that are the same or substantially similar to your book and song?
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!
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